#1
I've asked my music partner in band about this and he just keeps telling me "You just know" well excuse my French but that's just bull****. There's gotta be some sort of process to this
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Quote by Attack
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#2
well the easiest was is find a scale that sounds good in every chourd of the song and the key of the scale is usually the key of the song
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#3
im not shure either but i know sometimes (if you know a few scales) you will recognize a pattern from a scale and sometimes i use that and find out the root
#4
you just know - or you can train yourself to find out through ear training
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#5
i think its the first note of the piece kind of gives it away. something that starts in c is most likely in c.
#6
Quote by lesclaypool101
i think its the first note of the piece kind of gives it away. something that starts in c is most likely in c.


Not always. You can usually tell by the chords in the song. Also how many sharps and flats there are (excluding accidentals). The root of whatever chord the song resolves to, and typically ends on, is usually the key.
#7
Quote by lesclaypool101
i think its the first note of the piece kind of gives it away. something that starts in c is most likely in c.
that only works once and a while i can start a song with a G but the song could be in a
Quote by notsojoeyb4eva
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#8
the key to a measure is the first note played in the progression. for example:

|-------------------------------5-8-|
|-------------------------5-8-------|
|-------------------5-7-------------|
|-------------5-7-------------------|
|-------5-7-------------------------|
|-5-8-------------------------------|

that first note on the 5th fret of the E string (or A in musical terminology) is the key. the key can be changed in the next measure by simply playing a different note on a different fret like so:

|----------------------------------------------12-15-|
|-------------------------------------12-15----------|
|----------------------------12-14-------------------|
|-------------------12-14----------------------------|
|----------12-14-------------------------------------|
|-12-15----------------------------------------------|

now the key is the note played on the 12th fret of the E string ( E because its the octave note from the open tuning). there is no trick to figuring out the key of a progression, measure, staff, etc aslong as you know the first note in the progression you have your key. hope this helps, good luck and keep rocking

IMPORTANT!! sorry forgot to throw this in to as said above previously in a song where there is no real stoppage the key is almost always the majority first note so if you have 40 measures and 20 start in C 10 in G 5 in A# and 5 in D your key is C even though the song might start in A# G or D what i said above still applies though if you are trying to find a key to a progression or measure
Last edited by Zeppelin Addict at Oct 11, 2007,
#9
if you're reading music, it'll be in the key signature.
if there are sharps in the key, then you take the last sharp and raise it a half step to get the key.
ie 3 sharps. last sharp is G#. raise it to get A, the key.

if flats, then the next to last flat in the key signature.
ie 4 flats, Bb, Eb, Ab, Db.
your key will be Ab.

exceptions: C maj has no sharps or flats
F maj has one flat. (hard to figure out next to last flat when there's only one)
#10
Quote by Zeppelin Addict
the key to a measure is the first note played in the progression. for example:

|-------------------------------5-8-|
|-------------------------5-8-------|
|-------------------5-7-------------|
|-------------5-7-------------------|
|-------5-7-------------------------|
|-5-8-------------------------------|

that first note on the 5th fret of the E string (or A in musical terminology) is the key. the key can be changed in the next measure by simply playing a different note on a different fret like so:

|----------------------------------------------12-15-|
|-------------------------------------12-15----------|
|----------------------------12-14-------------------|
|-------------------12-14----------------------------|
|----------12-14-------------------------------------|
|-12-15----------------------------------------------|

now the key is the note played on the 12th fret of the E string ( E because its the octave note from the open tuning). there is no trick to figuring out the key of a progression, measure, staff, etc aslong as you know the first note in the progression you have your key. hope this helps, good luck and keep rocking


If you played one of them backwards, it'd still be in the same key, but not starting on that first note...
#11
Quote by Zeppelin Addict
the key to a measure is the first note played in the progression. for example:

|-------------------------------5-8-|
|-------------------------5-8-------|
|-------------------5-7-------------|
|-------------5-7-------------------|
|-------5-7-------------------------|
|-5-8-------------------------------|

that first note on the 5th fret of the E string (or A in musical terminology) is the key. the key can be changed in the next measure by simply playing a different note on a different fret like so:

|----------------------------------------------12-15-|
|-------------------------------------12-15----------|
|----------------------------12-14-------------------|
|-------------------12-14----------------------------|
|----------12-14-------------------------------------|
|-12-15----------------------------------------------|

now the key is the note played on the 12th fret of the E string ( E because its the octave note from the open tuning). there is no trick to figuring out the key of a progression, measure, staff, etc aslong as you know the first note in the progression you have your key. hope this helps, good luck and keep rocking


definatly not

a song could star in D but really could be in G.
#12
Quote by phoenix_88
if you're reading music, it'll be in the key signature.
if there are sharps in the key, then you take the last sharp and raise it a half step to get the key.
ie 3 sharps. last sharp is G#. raise it to get A, the key.

if flats, then the next to last flat in the key signature.
ie 4 flats, Bb, Eb, Ab, Db.
your key will be Ab.

exceptions: C maj has no sharps or flats
F maj has one flat. (hard to figure out next to last flat when there's only one)


Ahh.....so that's how you figure it out if your reading sheet music. But to figure out a key by ear or reading tab you just have to find to the note that occurs the most and that's your key?
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Quote by Attack
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#13
Reading tab or by ear, looking at the chords will determine what key you're in.

For example, in The Ramones - Blitzkrieg Bop, the main chords used are A, D and E. These chords are I, IV and V of Amajor. In a lot of modern day music and punk etc, the songs revolve around I, IV and V - So whatever that chord I is, that's your tonic note, and therefore your key.

It gets a little bit more complicated though when chords NOT from that key are used. So, if the piece is in Amajor, and all of a sudden, you start seeing F#s, C#s and G#s, that means it's modulated to the relative minor key, which in this case, is F# Minor.

So you can see where you start to get problems, right? Just work at your theory knowledge dude.
#14
yeah figuring out the key based on tab or ear is much more difficult. like steve said, you can base it off of the chords that make up the song, and by using the progression, you could figure out the key. or, if there are certain scale patterns in the song, you could use those to find the key. if, for example, theres a solo section in the song and the guitarist is playing over that in D harmonic minor, then most likely, that's the key the song is in. or at least that section of the song. the problem lies in that most modern pop music (pop=popular) there's a lot of added in notes, or modulations therefore making it tough to figure out. like in Hey You, by Pink Floyd the chorus and verse are in different keys because they modulate in and out of the chorus.
#15
Thanks guys you really cleared it up for me. I guess its time to hit the books lol
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Vox AD30VT-XL

Quote by Attack
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#16
I think that the problem is when writing music. I'm assuming, of course, that people don't always sit down with an instrument and say "ok, I'm going to write in A," but they sit with an instrument and come up with a riff or passage. Then, they want/need to know the key to see where to take it or how to solo over it. At least that's a hurdle I usually need to overcome. If it's already written, look in the key signature of course.
#17
staff: you look at the key signature.

tab: you either identify the tonic (I) chord or the scale used. Usually (like 95%), the tonic is the very first chord played or almost certainly the first chord played in the chorus. This is the chord that the song can't live without. Or you look at the notes used and figure out what scale they form and you have the key.
#18
More often than not, the first chord or note will give it away.

Sometimes that's not the case though. If you have the sheet music in front of you, you can look at the key signature if you know how to tell keys from the amounts of sharps/flats.

Otherwise, you train your ear up.
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#19
Quote by Zeppelin Addict
the key to a measure is the first note played in the progression. for example:

|-------------------------------5-8-|
|-------------------------5-8-------|
|-------------------5-7-------------|
|-------------5-7-------------------|
|-------5-7-------------------------|
|-5-8-------------------------------|

that first note on the 5th fret of the E string (or A in musical terminology) is the key. the key can be changed in the next measure by simply playing a different note on a different fret like so:

|----------------------------------------------12-15-|
|-------------------------------------12-15----------|
|----------------------------12-14-------------------|
|-------------------12-14----------------------------|
|----------12-14-------------------------------------|
|-12-15----------------------------------------------|

now the key is the note played on the 12th fret of the E string ( E because its the octave note from the open tuning). there is no trick to figuring out the key of a progression, measure, staff, etc aslong as you know the first note in the progression you have your key. hope this helps, good luck and keep rocking

IMPORTANT!! sorry forgot to throw this in to as said above previously in a song where there is no real stoppage the key is almost always the majority first note so if you have 40 measures and 20 start in C 10 in G 5 in A# and 5 in D your key is C even though the song might start in A# G or D what i said above still applies though if you are trying to find a key to a progression or measure

Sorry dude, but definitely not. What if someone played G# Min., C# Min., F# Min., B Maj., then E Maj.? What key would that person be in? G# Minor? Nope. E Major. When writing music, the main goal according to traditional theory is to get to the tonic (or tonal center or the I chord, whichever you want to call it). You want to look at the cadence to figure out what key you're in. As you can clearly see, B Major to E Major is an authentic cadence (V to I). This method can also be used to figure out what mode a piece is in. Let's say our key sig was E Major (4 sharps, F C G D), but the cadence was C# Minor to F# Minor. Then we'd be in Dorian mode, because the tonal center is F#. Hope this clears up a lot.

EDIT: Just to clear up the whole "Look at the first chord" myth, the reason why a lot of people say that is because the I chord can go to any chord it wants to. Play the progression I listed above. That opening chord doesn't sound too pleasant...Now put E Major as the first chord and leave the rest the same. Sounds a lot better, huh?
Last edited by Vittu0666 at Oct 14, 2007,
#20
I always thought it was determined by like, modes and stuff...Say I started on C and played C Ionian, then moved up to D and played Dorian, etc.

Would all of the notes up to Locrien and back to Ionian be in the key of C since my 1 is C major?
#21
I want to know how to figure out what mode a song is in. People are saying that it's in the key of the note that it starts on, but if it started in C, how would know what mode it is?