#1
hi

What dose the "Key of the song" means?
because alot of times i hear some one talks about a song and its key, for example the key of Em.
and how can i know in what key a song is?


one more question:
How a scale gets its name? Is it the first note you play on the scale?

thanks alot
Last edited by shpaz at Sep 8, 2007,
#2
Usually the first chord/note you play in a song will tell you what key it's in. If you start out playing an Am, the song will most likely be in Am. Also, scales do get their name from the first, or root, note of the scale.
#3
You have to know what notes you are playing in the chords you are playing and 99% of the time it's obvious. Another thing is to look for cadences and chord movement, but that is something you'll learn over time.

A lot of time it comes back to knowing your theory. Learn your scales, on your instrument and on paper. Learn your chords, on your instrumen and on paper. Then you'll start to progress.
#4
For determining the key of a song, the easiest way is to just determine which note serves as the tonic, and whether the song is in minor or major.

So, let's say you hear a song and recognize that it's in the major key, and, after a little trial and error, you find D serves as the resolving tonic. Thus, it's in D major.
#5
If there's notes, not just chords played in the song, take all the notes in a bar or in a phrase, and see what scale they fit in. If a chord progression in a song starts with the same chord that it ends with, it's probably in the key of that chord. For example, if you play AMaj, then DMaj, then E Maj, and then finish off with A Maj, the song is most likely in the key of A Major.

As for scales, the letter (A in A Major) comes from the note that you start with. From the starting note, the pattern (separation between notes) for a major scale is Tone, Tone, Semitone, Tone, Tone, Tone, Semitone. If you have a minor scale, the third, sixth, and seventh note will be flat Therefore you'll have a pattern of tone, semitone, semitone...etc.

There are many different modes, like Dorian, Lydian, Mixolydian, Phrygian...go look at a guitar chords site and look up the different scales, memorize them, play around with them. If you know your scales, you'll be able to solo really well.
#6
Quote by third-eye
Usually the first chord/note you play in a song will tell you what key it's in. If you start out playing an Am, the song will most likely be in Am. Also, scales do get their name from the first, or root, note of the scale.


This is not always true, Crazy Train starts off with F# but is in A, and there are many other examples.
#7
thank you all, guys like you is whats make this site ROCKS
#8
Quote by shpaz
hi

What dose the "Key of the song" means?
Its the tone in which a song is based around. It is normally the first note of the ionian mode in a major progression or the first note of the aoelian in a minor progression.

Quote by shpaz

and how can i know in what key a song is?
Normally if a chord in a major progression is a dominant (X7) chord, than the key is 7 semitones down. If there is a diminished chord, than the key is 1 semitone up. If you see two major chords that are only 2 semitones apart, than the key is 5 semitones down from the lowest of the two chords.

Quote by shpaz

one more question:
How a scale gets its name? Is it the first note you play on the scale?
normally, yes

But remember, the odd song does NOT use the natural major scale. It might use some other weird scale, so some of that might not work.
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#9
The key of a piece of music determines which notes are sharp and which are flat.
A piece in C major (or A minor, its relative minor - which means it's the same number of sharps/flats, but it starts on a lower note) has no sharps or flats.
A piece in Ab major (or F minor, its relative minor) has four flats.

The names are confusing, I have to admit. All you can do is remember what they are.

Wikipedia has a big table on them. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Key_signature#Table_of_key_signatures

It's complicated, but if you get the hang of it you are on the road to becoming a far better musician.

To work out the key of a piece, I just try playing some notes along to it. Notes in the same key will 'fit in'.
It helps if you know the intervals of the major and minor scales. (Which you can find at www.gosk.com, which is very handy for that sort of thing)
Last edited by Easty1 at Sep 9, 2007,
#10
Quote by Easty1
The names are confusing, I have to admit. All you can do is remember what they are.
No

(f) Cows Get Drunk At East Brighton F#ootball C#lub

This is ingenious. This will tell you how many sharps in a major key.

All you remember is that C has 0 sharps, G has 1 sharp, D has 2 sharps and so on...
But thats not it...

To get the names of those sharps in each key, you put a f in front of all that (think of it like feeding the cows, and then those cows moo out the sharps ). Than you just count across all the sharps. So if D has 2 sharps, than those sharps would be F and C. If B major has 5 sharps they would F#, C#, G#, D#, A#. You get the drift, ask questions if you must.

But just remeber that "football" and "club" are sharp majors, those two are sharp, not natural. And when something like B or E are sharped, it just means C and F, respectively. Sharp means one semitone higher, not a note with a hash next to it.

If anyone can under stand this than I will explain how to get the other 7 flat majors.
F Bb Eb Ab Db Gb Cb. Otherwise I wont bother.
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        L.
#12
Or remember that "cows get drunk at east brighton football club"
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#13
The easiest way is to look at the LAST chord. In music, the main goal when writing is to return to the tonic. Let's say the key sig say that there are 3 sharps, but the Tonal Center is E. You're not in A Major, you're in E Mixolydian mode. Yes, it contains all the notes in A Major, but the tonal center is E.
#14
Quote by third-eye
Usually the first chord/note you play in a song will tell you what key it's in. If you start out playing an Am, the song will most likely be in Am. Also, scales do get their name from the first, or root, note of the scale.


Forgive me if I'm wrong, but I was under the impression that a scale gets it's name based on its formula/interval structure, not just it's root note.
#15
Demonofthenight you are now my god

Your cow explanation makes this sooooooo much easier!

I applaude you
#17
Quote by shellshock1911
This is not always true, Crazy Train starts off with F# but is in A, and there are many other examples.


Not always true, but a good place to start, especially for someone that doesnt have much of a theory background.

* with things like this you just have to realize that it works often, but not always.
#18
WWHWWWH

W= Whole Step
H = Half Step

C, D, E, F, G, A, B

If the chord progression contains any of these notes, it is in the key of C.

The formula can be applied to any note. Maybe study intervals and then apply the formula.

The key signature of a song is not always at the beginning.

If I'm wrong about this someone stop me, because I'm still learning too.

Peace.
#19
or in A minor as all minorkeys have a realtive major and vise versa.
also another name fr whole step and halfstep is Tone and Semitone, these names or more commanly used in theory books and should definently be remebered as to avoid confusion

also im pretty sure the key signature IS always at the begining, but please give me an example if i am wrong.

the key of C major or A minor has NO sharps or flats.

the formula Soulphonate has shown is the formula for a major scale. Start on C go up 2 frets (1 tone) on ur guitar (the second note on the scale is now D) , then go up another 2 frets (3rd note E) then go up 1 fret (semitone or halfstep) and so on and so forth.

tht is working it out on the fretboard, you can work it out on a sheet of paper too, just draw 5 lines and start wrinting in the notes a halfstep is like from C to C#/Dflat or from E to F (as E has no sharp, neither does B). A whole step or Tone is from C to D or E to F#. You must remeber though, that when writing out scales, first write out each note then put in sharps and flats, otherwise the key signatures will not be right.
#20
mdwallin is right. I meant to say the note at the beginning of a song is not always what key the song is in. Thanks for the clarification. Listen to mdwallin, he's got some good stuff going on there.
#21
well by the number of sharps or flats within the measures, and sometimes it gets confusing because of modulation but I would reccomend understanding the circle of fifths if you want to understand the basics...