#1
If a piece's key signature has one sharp, an F#, is it definately in the key of G major? or is it possible for it to be in something else?
help would be appreciated.
#3
B Phrygian mode.
A Dorian.
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#4
Yeah. Because E minor is the relative minor of G. Rule of thumb, if you're in an exam, is to check the key signature and the first chord of the piece. It should be either G or E minor.
#5
hmmm.....ok, so how do i figure out whether this piece is in B Phrygian, A Dorian or G Major/E Minor?
#6
Quote by armadildo
B Phrygian mode.
A Dorian.
I don't like denoting modes in the key signature. I've seen it done, but I don't like it.

Let's just say that one sharp is G major or E minor, nothing else. You determine if it's major or minor by listening to the sound.
#8
Quote by Testament23
hmmm.....ok, so how do i figure out whether this piece is in B Phrygian, A Dorian or G Major/E Minor?
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#9
Quote by facesofhope
the only modes that can be used as a key signature are ionian (major) or aelion (minor)


Sorry to tell you, but aeolian is a mode too (dont eat meeeee)


Ionian (yes a mode too, im kinda contradicting myself but i hope somebody understands what im getting at) is what the key signature is "based off", so yes, one sharp is F#, which would be using the notes in the G Major scale. Depending on what notes are used frequently and accented in the song will give you an idea of the mode of the song.

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#10
Quote by 6DgOfInTb
Depending on what notes are used frequently and accented in the song will give you an idea of the mode of the song.
I'm still going to argue this. Though I've seen it done, I don't like using one sharp if you're playing A Dorian. True, you aren't playing F naturals, but one sharp in the signature tells me that the song is G or E minor, while nothing in the signature would tell me that I'm in A minor.
#11
Quote by bangoodcharlote
I'm still going to argue this. Though I've seen it done, I don't like using one sharp if you're playing A Dorian. True, you aren't playing F naturals, but one sharp in the signature tells me that the song is G or E minor, while nothing in the signature would tell me that I'm in A minor.
What would be wrong with thinking that an F# in the signature is simply letting you know that you need to sharp the Fs? That is, after all is said and done, precisely what the key signature tells you. Yes, one sharp in the signature is certainly a wonderful clue that we're in either G Major or E minor. But since A Dorian is an integral part of both G Major and E (natural) minor, why not give ourselves a break and just put that sharp in the signature?
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#12
Quote by gpb0216
why not give ourselves a break and just put that sharp in the signature?
Becase it is the key signature, not the scale signature.

If we want A harmonic minor, do we write one sharp on G in the key signature? Of course not, because the key is A minor, not A haromonc minor.


I don't know, I don't like.
#14
Quote by bangoodcharlote
Becase it is the key signature, not the scale signature. If we want A harmonic minor, do we write one sharp on G in the key signature? Of course not, because the key is A minor, not A haromonc minor. I don't know, I don't like.
You have made my point much better than I was able to. Of course it is the key signature and not the scale signature. But, since A Dorian is completely contained within the keys of G major (Ionian) / E natural minor (Aeolian), it's perfectly natural (no pun intended) to use these two keys' signature, namely one sharp. It makes much more sense, it seems to me, to know at a glance whether we're talking about (and more importantly, playing) A Dorian vs. A harmonic minor.

Put another way, something written using A harmonic minor will have boatloads of G#s all over the score. If we don't use the appropriate key signature with A Dorian, aren't we going to have boatloads of F#s all over the score? Why make the chart any harder to read than is absolutely necessary?
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#16
Quote by bangoodcharlote
Because I don't like it! Let's just agree to disagree.
I think that's a fine idea. This is just one of those areas where reasonable people of good will can disagree agreeably. I enjoyed this courteous and thoughtful discussion.

All the best,
gpb
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- Dr. Thomas Fuller (British physician, 1654-1734)
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#17
GAH, you don't write in harmonic minor. You write in minor... it's an all or nothing thing

Personally, I don't use key signatures... most contemporary composers don't... most session musicians prefer not to have them. Music that's highly chromatic is simply easier to read with the accidentals in place, and a liberal usage of courtesies.

That's a bit beside the point though... I wouldn't indicate modality with just a key signature either. Honestly, most trained musicians who aren't guitarists don't think in modes; it's convenient for guitarists, but it's a mildly broken concept for most music.

Anyway, the point is that if you're notating a specific non-tonal modality (ie. not tonal major, or strict minor), then it should be noted at the key signature, or with a footnote that says "Indicates <mode>". Just thought I'd add my 2/5ths of a nickel.
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#18
Quote by Corwinoid
GAH, you don't write in harmonic minor. You write in minor... it's an all or nothing thing
You're absolutely correct. What triggered this outpouring of anguish?
Personally, I don't use key signatures...
...which is a matter of personal preference...
...most contemporary composers don't...
...and most guitarists on this forum aren't going to be playing the music of contemporary composers anyway...
...most session musicians prefer not to have them.
Since I no longer play sessions it doesn't really matter to me whether studio charts carry key signatures or not. If I were still working in that arena, I personally would want a chart that, at the very least, gave me some idea of the song's tonal center. That doesn't seem like that big a deal to include something like that, unless the chart is just stone-simple.
Music that's highly chromatic is simply easier to read with the accidentals in place, and a liberal usage of courtesies.
Music that's highly chromatic is going to have accidentals in place with or without a key signature.
That's a bit beside the point though... I wouldn't indicate modality with just a key signature either.
I don't know anyone who would.
Honestly, most trained musicians who aren't guitarists don't think in modes; it's convenient for guitarists, but it's a mildly broken concept for most music.
Agreed. Guitarists have latched onto this concept far out of proportion to its importance. My own personal opinion is that guitarists perceive modes as some kind of shortcut around the deep, dark forest of (gasp!) music theory (cue sinister organ music).
Anyway, the point is that if you're notating a specific non-tonal modality (ie. not tonal major, or strict minor), then it should be noted at the key signature, or with a footnote that says "Indicates <mode>". Just thought I'd add my 2/5ths of a nickel.
I think that's a good idea. I've never seen it, but it sounds like it would work.
All things are difficult before they are easy.
- Dr. Thomas Fuller (British physician, 1654-1734)
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#19
sorry to bring this topic back but i thought i should just mention that the piece im looking at is Sisters by Steve Vai, maybe this could help settle the debate. (i really wasnt expecting this much interest)
anyway, i think i might just settle with saying its in G major...
#20
whats the difference between a key signature, and a scale signature.
do you figure it out by looking at the treble clef or bass clef? sorry noob qu.
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