#1
if a song is using power chords then how do i find what key its in since there is no third
#2
Write out all the notes and try to match it to a known scale. If you have an A5 F5 G5 progression, you will notice that the F5 chord contains a C note, making it A minor.
#5
woo hoo.... not your average plain ol' "how do i find the key" thread this one has a small twist, i'll be glad to answer

I would collect the root notes of the power chords used, say the song is simple like

G5, C5, D5, A5

your root notes will be

G,C,D,A

chances are in a basic 4/4 pattern the G will be implied as the resting note.... therefore it would be the root note and the key would most likely be G major

if there are any additional notes in additional guitar parts collect the non accidentals and put them in with your collection of notes

another thing to ask yourself, are any specific types of chords implied through a second guitar or bass harmony? these can also give away the scale and key of a song.

now BGC and some of the other theory gurus may disagree with this because in a normal scale there is generally a Dim chord with a flat 5th and your song may not contain this chord even where it should. this is why i collect the root notes and note the root and fifth of the chord together.

another example would be

D5, G5, F#5, B5

the notes would be

D, G, F#, B

these all match notes in the B minor scale and this sounds in a typical 4/4 progression like it comes to rest on B. so i would call this a B minor type scale.

edit : i patiently await a "WTF are you thinking!?!?!" from BGC
Last edited by z4twenny at Feb 23, 2007,
#6
WTF are you thinking!?!?!

Hey, I have the same number of !s and ?s as you. Is it a simple coincidence, or a SIGN OF ThE APOCALYPSE!?!?!

Or copy and paste


Anyway, you didn't address the fifth of the powerchord. An important note could be there.

Also, how did you determine that D, G, F#, B resolves to B?
#7
^ well really ( i don't have my guitar here, i'm at work) but i use those set of chords often in the "how do i determine keys" set, that and i can pretty much hear that progression in my brain and i know it sounds at rest on the B5. the reason i didn't advise your answer (which really btw threadstarter is the best way to go about it) is 'cuz i've heard several 'tallica songs such as "for whom the bell tolls" where there are notes out of key. for example in the beginning you have an F#5 to E5 movement. and it sounds at rest on the E5, the collection of notes (excluding non accidentals) gives the song an inherent E minor quality (as most of their songs are) but as we all know there is a C# in the F#5 and no C# is in E minor. would you call this C# an accidental considering how often the F#5 is used in the song? thats more or less my question out of curiosity to you.
#8
Quote by z4twenny
would you call this C# an accidental considering how often the F#5 is used in the song? thats more or less my question out of curiosity to you.
I would say that they are using the dorian mode, so yes, I say it's an accidental.


But you do bring up a good point. If you to do this, you would determine that the notes in an E5 and F#5 (and G5 so we make it E Dorian and not potentially mixolydian) chord are contained in the key of D major. Clearly, the Metallica song is not in D major. The song clearly resolves to E, so you would see that and go, "it uses the notes in D major, but it resolves to E, the second. I guess they are using the E Dorian scale." From there, you determine that the song is in E minor, not D major (yes, E Dorian is in the key of E minor-it just has an accidental). The actual song contains all kinds of chromaticism, though, so E minor is really the only logical key and resolution.
#10
another suggestion: figure out what scale the guitarist is soloing in, often its the key. (or at least what the lead guitarist of the band thinks the key is, ha)
#11
Quote by guitarviz
another suggestion: figure out what scale the guitarist is soloing in, often its the key. (or at least what the lead guitarist of the band thinks the key is, ha)
Well, yeah, but you find the scale by finding the notes, which leads us back to finding keys.

But I know what you're getting at. If you see a lot of blues stuff between frets 12 and 15, so can safely assume that they key is E minor or E major for a bluesy-ish song.