#1
How can you tell what key a song is in. I am pretty sure that is the correct term for it. Like for instance take the song Anna Molly by Incubus how would you find what key that song is in. And instead of someone just telling me its E or something could you explain how you figure that out. Thanks
#2
Usually it's based on the first note or chord they play.
Although it's not as easy to work out the key of a song by the first note that's played because a key of a song could be in E major, or E minor, or even something like E Major 7...and so on. In that case, it'll depend on other notes played in the song.
#3
Find what scale the solos and riffs are in.

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#5
theres two main ways that i use, however most songs i listen to are in major keys so its easier
You can learn key signatures if you have the written music (based off circle of fifths) ie one sharp is in G two sharps is in D etc
The other way i use is based off what chords are played, the root chord and the 4th and 5th are major chords and using that u can work out the key
If anyone is more precise about this sort of thing please add cos i only use this at rudimentary levels
Last edited by Barnabas at Feb 20, 2007,
#6
It's a good idea to consider what notes make up a chord.
For instance Eb Major is made from the notes Eb, D#, and G.
So if your starting note, or root note as it turns out, at the beginning of the song happens to be Eb, and there's a D# and G also played, then there's a good chance you're in that key.
However, if there's still a D# in there, but also an F#, you'll find the key might be Eb Minor. The third note in the chord determines if it is a major or minor.

Having said all of that, the key of the song may be entirely different. This is just a rough guide.
#7
That's a very intellegent(and learning/teaching) question. If you can't just tell by listening, and you know all the notes in the song, you can simply just play all those notes in your scale pattern until you land on the root. This root note may not even be played though, also the scale may be a mode of the key. I hate to confuse you, but music is that confusing. What I do is Pedal the note(or notes) throughout the song. This seems to help, especially when the notes seem too be odd, and one in particular doesn't fit. That's the thing about music, there's only 12 notes. These same 12 notes have been used for at least 400 years. Make sure your instrument is tuned, and trust your ear. If it sounds good to you, somewhere, someone will hear your message. As far as figuring out the key, learn to trust your ear. Relax. Listen without trying. It's like looking at one of those 3-D pictures. There is also memorization of what key is what. My girlfriend took choir for years and knew exactly what notes were in which key, but she was never able to explain to me why other notes fit. Truthfully, that's how I see it. If someone lets you in on the secret let me know.

haha, I am a total idiot, don't listen to a word I wrote.

I don't really think I'm an idiot, I just can't explain in the correct terms, what I think in my head. I wasn't trained in music or musical ways. I just can't help but put in my 2 cents because someone somewhere thinks exactly the I do.
leave me alone, please.
Last edited by astrocreep71 at Feb 20, 2007,
#8
Well thank you for the compliment Astrocreep71. and I appreciate everyone who answered. This just has been a very annoy thought that kept coming into the back of me head.
#9
Quote by Muggus
Usually it's based on the first note or chord they play.
Although it's not as easy to work out the key of a song by the first note that's played because a key of a song could be in E major, or E minor, or even something like E Major 7...and so on. In that case, it'll depend on other notes played in the song.


No, it's not the first note played, and there's no such thing as the key of "E major 7"
Someones knowledge of guitar companies spelling determines what amps you can own. Really smart people can own things like Framus because they sound like they might be spelled with a "y" but they aren't.
#10
Quote by Muggus
It's a good idea to consider what notes make up a chord.
For instance Eb Major is made from the notes Eb, D#, and G.
So if your starting note, or root note as it turns out, at the beginning of the song happens to be Eb, and there's a D# and G also played, then there's a good chance you're in that key.
However, if there's still a D# in there, but also an F#, you'll find the key might be Eb Minor. The third note in the chord determines if it is a major or minor.

Having said all of that, the key of the song may be entirely different. This is just a rough guide.


wow.... ummm, not to be "that" guy.... but this is inaccurate. a Eb major chord is comprised of Eb, G & Bb.... also Eb and D# are enharmonic so chances are you're not going to see a chord containing both of these very often (although you may depending on the function of an add/sus note) the third note in a chord doesn't determine its major or minor (such as inverted chords) however the III of a chord will determine its major or minor. basic triad chords contain I-III-V and if you have a Major (or natural) III then it is a major chord, if you have a minor (or flattened) III then you will have a minor chord.

also to astro creep, the "extra notes" in a scales are often times passing tones, you can use these to highlight notes primarily used in the scale, for example in E minor, if you want to highlight a riff that is in a B pentatonic position, you may use Bb to give a harmonic effect against the B.
#11
I'm not taking this for my own...more reiterating what was said earlier.

The general way to do it is...the three major chords in a key are...I,IV,V...generally...and it cna be varied A LOT.

If you are playing something fairly simple then it is not hard...perhaps country or blues tend to make it fairly easy.

A quick way to find these chords are on guitar...Find what note it is on the E-String for each fret (also what chord is sounded by playing an F-Chord on that fret....Example...3rd fret...E-String= G Note....F-Chord on 3rd fret is G chord)

OK...POINT to this rambling...Let's say we think the song is in G...so that is your third fret...assume this is the "I" or "1" position...find the "IV" or "4" position which will be your 8th fret and C-Note/Chord....and just go one up for the "V" or "5"....and it is a D.

So...your major chords in the key of G are G,C,D...

This is oversimplified...but that is a quick and easy way to do it.
#12
i would like to throw my 2 cents in on locating the key. a song will sound as though it comes to rest when you hit a certain chord. an easy example would be

Am, E,F,G

the progression will sound as though it comes to rest on the Am

another way to look at it (since the first chord in that progression is the key) would be

G, F#m,Em, Bm

the song will come to rest on the B

generally (not always) the key of a song is the first or last chord and this is a good general rule of thumb to go by (but not always accurate)

really the best thing you can do is take the notes comprising the chords being used and collect all the notes, then place them in order and remove the extra notes (if an E is used in more than one chord then remove all the excess ones) this will give you the notes of the scale being used, you can then take the intervals and compare them to a given scale. take these notes and compare them to the beginning and ending chords, most of the time (again not always) you can relate the scale to one of those chords
#13
take all of the chords in the song wwrite them aside, then, (if using major) name all the notes for in the major chord, then after u do that to all chords find all the nots and list them. To the left write major,minor,minor,major,dominant,minorflat5,minor, then guess a key (lets say a) then start the a on the first major, then write the rest of the scale along with the major/minor order. ull know if its the right key if the all the notes that are named in the scale are in the chords you put aside

example:

G A D


G A d
b c# f#
d e a Notes used:G B D A C# F#

now guessed in D
D major
e minor
F# minor
G major
A dominant
B minorflat5
C# minor
and since all of those notes were used in the chords

its in the key of d
#16
^ this is really the best way, this is actually what i do, i was just kinda suggesting an easy fairly accurate way for noobs.
#17
Quote by z4twenny
^ this is really the best way, this is actually what i do, i was just kinda suggesting an easy fairly accurate way for noobs.



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