Poll: How do find the key of a recording?
Poll Options
View poll results: How do find the key of a recording?
Chords
1 50%
Pentatonic scale
0 0%
Other scale
0 0%
Resolving note
1 50%
Other
0 0%
Voters: 2.
#1
How do you find the key of a recording?

For the kind of simple things I play, blues and folk, I mostly find the pentatonic scale that fits or the resolving note, rather than chords. By the scalar method I can usually get it in the first few bars.

Are there other options?

Are there any strengths and weaknesses of particular approaches?
#2
There really is only one answer which, ironically, isn't included in the list and that's the chord that the piece resolves to.
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#3
^ yeah that's what i'd do (but i'm no theory ninja). Big flaw i can think of with the scale approach is that a lot of blues and rock (and associated styles of music) will use the minor pentatonic or blues scale over a piece which is actually in a major key- so judging by the scale which works could set you down the wrong path if you're not careful.
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#4
Dave_Mc

Yeah, I would take note of the major-minor tonality at the outset.

The way it works for me is that I find three consecutive pentatonic notes that are all in tune with the melody in question, that is sufficient to give you the key, unless it does an odd shift somewhere.