#1
I started learning some very basic theory today, and what wondering if someone could help me with some things.
First of all, I need some definitions for:
What Key a song is in, what is key?
Chord Progressions
and most importantly, if I'm writing a riff, are there are tips for making it sound like it belongs in a specific genre?

Thanks for your help, newb out.
#2
Key: the scale in which the song is created with.
Chord Progressions are just A series of chords
Try using techniques that guitarists of that genre use.
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#3
Quote by Metallicuh
Key: the scale in which the song is created with.
Chord Progressions are just A series of chords
Try using techniques that guitarists of that genre use.


Thanks for the reply.
So, to clarify, key is another word for scale?
#4
Quote by Fusileer7
Thanks for the reply.
So, to clarify, key is another word for scale?

No - key refers to the chords, not the individual notes.
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#5
Not necessarily. Scale is the name for the whole material of notes you have, key is just the first note of this scale.
A key is more like the headline of the scale.
#6
So what difference does key make? Is it just a way of categorising chords which sound similar or give a similar effect?
#7
Quote by BSPDelta09
Not necessarily. Scale is the name for the whole material of notes you have, key is just the first note of this scale.
A key is more like the headline of the scale.

Oh right, I think I understand now, sorry, I posted that last reply before this came through, thank you.
#8
Scale - a sequence of notes, defined by the intervals contained in that sequence.

Key - derived from the major scale. If you stack thirds from each note in the major scale it'll give you a sequence of chords, the chords of that key. The key itself is defined by the tonic, that's the chord that everything wants to resolve to, the one that feels like home.

So the C major scale is

C D E F G A B

and the chords derived from that scale are

Cmaj Dm Em Fmaj Gmaj Am Bdim

Those are the chords of the key of C major.
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#9
Before there was harmony there was key -- so I think of a key as two pieces of information:

The note that the melody comes "home" to ... and modality of the melody -- either major or minor.

Certainly harmonies are implied by a melody, but I am saying that when you just hear one melody line with no accompaniment there is still a key.
#10
I'm under the impression that the key of the song has more to do with where it resolves to than the chords used, although you can tell 90% of the time what the key is just by looking at the chords. The other 10% of the time out-of-key chords are utilised, not changing the key, but can be deceptive sometimes if you just take the chords at face value.

And this quote:


Quote by Zen Skin
The note that the melody comes "home" to ... and modality of the melody -- either major or minor.


I'm not completely happy with using major and minor in combination with "modality" here. If a song is in a major or minor key, it uses the rules of keys, rather than modes.
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#11
Quote by AlanHB
...


I'm not completely happy with using major and minor in combination with "modality" here. If a song is in a major or minor key, it uses the rules of keys, rather than modes.


Understood -- I do not want to abuse terminology but apart from tonal center, how else would you describe a key? It is major or minor, right. And all the needlessly confusing discussion of modes goes away (assuming you are playing something that is diatonic).

I had this question for my very first music teacher -- looking at the key signature only told me half the story. I suppose he did not want to overwhelm me with theory and he said "You find out what key it is by looking at the key signature then at the notes". So I have always relied on that two part answer -- when I see three flats I think "Eb Major or C minor -- let's look at the notes and see." I admit, that is my own prejudice -- but I have not found any other explanation that everyone agrees on.

Working the other way -- I can listen and hear if a piece is major or minor, but I have to grab an instrument that is tuned to find the name of the tonal center.