#1
can anyone tell me how to determine the key of a song by looking at the chords/tabs/notes etc and how to determine it by listening to it? how much expertise does it take to determine it just by listening to the song?
#2
The easiest way to figure out the key to is to listen for the resolution, and then to determine if you're in a minor or major tonality.

This isn't that hard with a little bit of ear training.

Figuring it out from looking at chords/tabs/notes is harder, because songs often contain notes or chords which are not diatonic to the home key. Although sometimes they don't, in which case it's usually pretty obvious you know the very basics of theory (eg, how to construct and harmonize the major scale).
#3
There are some easy ways to determine a key. Almoust every song starts with a root chord, so the first chord of a song is in 80% examples a tonic chord. So if the first chord is C major it's propably a Cmaj tonality.

If you have a guess what is the tonality, try improvising in pentatonics and check which one fits your ears best. And when you find pentatonics, try fitting the whole major/minor scale.

That were the best options for me when I started ear training and transcribing.

If you have a tab in guitar pro, you can check it there. There's a a feature to do it.
#4
Quote by danyal92
can anyone tell me how to determine the key of a song by looking at the chords/tabs/notes etc and how to determine it by listening to it? how much expertise does it take to determine it just by listening to the song?
Looking directly at sheet music, even simplified "fake" books, the key signature is the giveaway. You just have to memorize those. There's no escaping that. Here's the Wiki page on key signatures: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Key_signature Check it out.

If in tab or chord and lyric style, what chords are written down, are the key "clue".

Most music has these chords: I, IV, V as its "backbone, so to speak. The chords are derived from the "circle of 5ths". "I" is the root chord, based on the 1st note of the scale, "IV" is the "sub-dominant chord, based on the 4th degree, (or note), of the scale, the "V" (or V7), chord, is based on the 5th degree, (or note) of the scale.

By ear, you basically can attempt chords until you find one that works. Then you experiment with finding other chords, that go with that chord, in the, "I, IV, V" paradigm.

For example: in the key of C major, "C major" is "I"(1), "F major is "IV", and "G major" or Gdom7) is the "V" chord.

In the Key of G major however, "G major is "I", ">>C major" is "IV", and "D major" is the "V" chord.

Notice that G major and C major share the C and G major chords, but they're functioning differently.

So the difference in key can be determined by the differential chords, F & D major.

So, if you have the C and G majors figured out then you try playing both F and D major. if the D doesn't fit, the key likely is C major, and if the F major doesn't fit the key likely is G major.

All notes and key on the circle of 5ths, share this relationship. For example, the "I" < "IV", "V" of E major is E maj, A maj, & B maj.

In the key of A Major, the "I", "IV", "V" chords are, A maj, >>D maj, and E major.

Again, notice the 2 chord overlap in these related keys. In this case, excluding either B maj, or D maj, finds you the likely key.

You just hafta strum along, and see what fits.
#5
Quote by danyal92
can anyone tell me how to determine the key of a song by looking at the chords/tabs/notes etc and how to determine it by listening to it? how much expertise does it take to determine it just by listening to the song?


What you are talking about is being able to hear resolution. If the song ends, what pitch feels like it successfully completed the song?

Best,

Sean
#6
When im looking for the key of a song i listen to the bass line and wait for it to resolve or emphasize on a particular note or chord. I go up and down the bottom e string until i find the right note that matches the tone of the note being emphasized. The note that matches it is the key you are in. Certain chord progressions can be similar. An example would be a blues shuffle or 1-4-5. This should give u a place to look for chords after u find the key of a song. A way to test if u have the right key is to start playing some pentatonic licks and see if it clashes or not
Last edited by JamesSheasgreen at Apr 5, 2012,