#1
Okay guys i hear quite alot of people nowadays on youtube saying oh yeah this is played in the key of C major and in the key of A major and in the key of F Major.


What does this mean?


I know i am a noob, when it comes down to theory. (puts hands in the air)
#3
it means that there are a certain selection of notes that will sound good when played in conjunction with a chord, and the rest will sound odd. however, if you play the notes in the right places, etc, the "odd" notes may not sound odd.
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#4
A key (I'm talking about diatonic playing) consists of seven notes which we adhere to while playing.

For example, in the key of C major, we have the notes C D E F G A B.
This means that when playing in the key of C major, we'll play only these notes.

Of course, auxiliary and passing notes are not counted.
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#5
“Science cannot solve the ultimate mystery of nature. And that is because, in the last analysis, we ourselves are part of nature and therefore part of the mystery that we are trying to solve.”


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Last edited by metal4all at Mar 24, 2008,
#6
since you ask about majors i will answer about majors and not put any minor stuff in here(even though it is all relative).

first music alphabet, there are 12 notes

A, A#/Bb, B, C, C#/Db, D, D#/Eb, E, F, F#/Gb, G, G#/Ab, A

-you pronounce '#' as sharp, you pronounce 'b' as flat(A# -> "A sharp", Ab -> "A flat"
-yes, there are 5 notes with 2 names(A#/Bb, C#/Db, D#/Eb, F#/Gb, G#/Ab)
-these are called accidental notes(or accidentals)
- you can call the notes A sharp B flat, or just one or the other(technically if you are going low to high you call it by the sharp, and high to low you call it by it's flat)
- the notes without the funky symbols and weird names are called natural notes(or naturals)
- there are names for distances between these notes, called intervals
- moving one note over(like from B to C) is called a half step
- moving two notes over(like from A to B) is called a whole step

so how does this effect you and wanting to know keys? Well a long time ago a guy found if take the musical alphabet(western musical alphabet mind you, eastern music has all kinds of notes) and you pick a note to start on and then go in a particular ascending pattern then all the notes sound really good together, and pleasing to the ear. This pattern is: 1 whole step, 1 whole step, 1 half step, 1 whole step, 1 whole step, 1 whole step, 1 half step.

that pattern derives a major scale
let that sink in...

what it is doing is this: lets start on the note 'C' and apply our pattern and see the resulting notes

C -> D -> E -> F -> G -> A -> B -> C

play them on a guitar neck like so:

e--------------------------------------------------------------
B---------------0-1-------------------------------------------
G----------0-2------------------------------------------------
D---0-2-3----------------------------------------------------
A-3-----------------------------------------------------------
E--------------------------------------------------------------

and that is a C Major scale

to play in a key means you only use these notes, so if the song you are learning is in C the you only play natural notes in your chords and leads.

Common misconception: a major scale is not all the natural notes between your start and stop point. I purposefully picked the major scale with all natural notes as an example for ease of use, to get an idea these are all the major keys and some of them get ugly with accidentals:

C major: C D E F G A B C

G major: G A B C D E F#/Gb G

D major: D E F#/Gb G A B C#/Db D

A major: A B C#/Db D E F#/Gb G#/Ab A

E major: E F#/Gb G#/Ab A B C#/Db D#/Eb E

B major: B C#/Db D#/Eb E F#/Gb G#/Ab A#/Bb B

F# major: F#/Gb G#/Ab A#/Bb B C#/Db D#/Eb F F#/Gb

C# major:C#/Db D#/Eb F F#/Gb G#/Ab A#/Bb C C#/Db

G# major:G#/Ab A#/Bb C C#/Db D#/Eb F G G#/Ab

D# major#/Eb F G G#/Ab A#/Bb C D D#/Eb

A# major: A#/Bb C D D#/Eb F G A A#/Bb

F major: F G A A#/Bb C D E F


this was a quick overview and not completely detailed or correct, it is much simplified so that you might have a clue what i am talking about, but i hope it helps
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Last edited by gumbilicious at Mar 24, 2008,
#7
Quote by gumbilicious
first music alphabet, there are 12 notes

A, A#/Bb, B, C, C#/Db, D, D#/Eb, E, F, F#/Gb, G, G#/Ab, A

-you pronounce '#' as sharp, you pronounce 'b' as flat(A# -> "A sharp", Ab -> "A flat"
-yes, there are 5 notes with 2 names(A#/Bb, C#/Db, D#/Eb, F#/Gb, G#/Ab)
-these are called accidental notes(or accidentals) - you can call the notes A sharp B flat, or just one or the other(technically if you are going low to high you call it by the sharp, and high to low you call it by it's flat)
- the notes without the funky symbols and weird names are called natural notes(or naturals)
- there are names for distances between these notes, called intervals
- moving one note over(like from B to C) is called a half step
- moving two notes over(like from A to B) is called a whole step

No, those notes are called enharmonic because they produce the same tone yet have different names.

An accidental is a note in a song that is outside the key. It will have a sharp sign, flat sign, or natural sign next to it. If a song is in G major and there's a natural sign next to an F# note, that note is an accidental.
“Science cannot solve the ultimate mystery of nature. And that is because, in the last analysis, we ourselves are part of nature and therefore part of the mystery that we are trying to solve.”


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#8
Quote by gumbilicious
Common misconception: a major scale is not all the natural notes between your start and stop point. I purposefully picked the major scale with all natural notes as an example for ease of use, to get an idea these are all the major keys and some of them get ugly with accidentals:

C major: C D E F G A B C

G major: G A B C D E F#/Gb G

D major: D E F#/Gb G A B C#/Db D

A major: A B C#/Db D E F#/Gb G#/Ab A

E major: E F#/Gb G#/Ab A B C#/Db D#/Eb E

B major: B C#/Db D#/Eb E F#/Gb G#/Ab A#/Bb B

F# major: F#/Gb G#/Ab A#/Bb B C#/Db D#/Eb F F#/Gb

C# major:C#/Db D#/Eb F F#/Gb G#/Ab A#/Bb C C#/Db

G# major:G#/Ab A#/Bb C C#/Db D#/Eb F G G#/Ab

D# major#/Eb F G G#/Ab A#/Bb C D D#/Eb

A# major: A#/Bb C D D#/Eb F G A A#/Bb

F major: F G A A#/Bb C D E F


this was a quick overview and not completely detailed or correct,

oh really? lol i'm just kidding, sorry.

again, those notes aren't called accidentals because they are a part of their keys. they also aren't written F#/Gb. Say for the key of G it would be written F# otherwise you would have Gb, G and nobody likes two G's (bad joke).


sorry for not editing my above post i tried but my computer always locks up.
“Science cannot solve the ultimate mystery of nature. And that is because, in the last analysis, we ourselves are part of nature and therefore part of the mystery that we are trying to solve.”


-Max Planck

☮∞☯♥
#9
Quote by Tvr
wikipedia 'major scale' & 'music theory'


I wouldn't do that. I found Wiki (at least when it comes to music theory) to be very confusing, using complicated terminology a beginner wouldn't understand. It might just be though.

I'd say that looking for the information here would be much better, as it is explained clearly, with a few dozen people waiting to help should you not understand something.
#10
Wiki can also be incorrect, and gumbilicious' post is well-meant but has quite a few errors.

Read the theory sticky at the top of this forum. That's all the discussion that's needed.
#11
Can we start banning people who don't read the theory sticky?
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#12
Quote by Archeo Avis
Can we start banning people who don't read the theory sticky?
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#13
Well this is explained in the theory sticky and there has been many threads on it. Those are the 2 links i posted. So if i were a mod, i would give a warning. But now i'm sure this is considered spamming.... so umm....


if those links didn't help you TS i'd be glad to help.
“Science cannot solve the ultimate mystery of nature. And that is because, in the last analysis, we ourselves are part of nature and therefore part of the mystery that we are trying to solve.”


-Max Planck

☮∞☯♥
#14
yes i am sorry, it has mistakes and 1/2 truths, but my post does come with a disclaimer and should be useful for understanding the jist. i feel obliged to defend myself in the since of the accidental

"An accidental is a musical notation symbol used to raise or lower the pitch of a note from that indicated by the key signature. Accidental is also used to refer to the black keys on the musical keyboard."

i learned my theory from keyboarded instruments and it had always helped me to call those enharmonics accidentals(it just sounds right paired against naturals). but i was purposefully trying to put things in more of terms a novice would understand, they generally get rather confused with an abundance of musical notation protocol.

i didn't mean to insult the music theory buffs(cuz frankly i can't hang with y'all anyway) i was just trying to communicate with the person who asked the question in a way i thought they might understand better
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"A perfection of means, and confusion of aims, seems to be our main problem."
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#15
Quote by Archeo Avis
Can we start banning people who don't read the theory sticky?



as soon as i read the beginning i knoew you were gonna say something like that lol
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#17
Quote by gumbilicious
i didn't mean to insult the music theory buffs(cuz frankly i can't hang with y'all anyway) i was just trying to communicate with the person who asked the question in a way i thought they might understand better

I'm in no way a music theory buff. Thank you though lol. I wish i were.
“Science cannot solve the ultimate mystery of nature. And that is because, in the last analysis, we ourselves are part of nature and therefore part of the mystery that we are trying to solve.”


-Max Planck

☮∞☯♥