#1
I know that you determine key by last chord in song, chord everything resolves to. Beginners often say that you determine the key with first chord, which happens often, but it's not a rule.

So, my problem is that my student doesn't believes me, he's pretty sure that first chord is right chord for determining the key, he red it somewhere on the internet.

Give me some examples where song doesn't finish on the first chord, please?
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my neew year reslosutions are not too drikn as much lol.

happy new yeeae guyas.
#2
Any Jazz song with a ii V I progression
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#3
Just tell your student to shut up and listen: you're the teacher, and if he dares to say you're wrong, smack him in the head.

Now that's education!!

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#4
Quote by DarTHie
I know that you determine key by last chord in song, chord everything resolves to. Beginners often say that you determine the key with first chord, which happens often, but it's not a rule.

Your very first statement is incorrect.

You do not determine the key by the last chord in a song.


The key of a song is generally the group of notes used to form the chords.
You said it correctly afterwards, it is where the song resolves.
#5
Quote by branny1982
Your very first statement is incorrect.

You do not determine the key by the last chord in a song.


The key of a song is generally the group of notes used to form the chords.
You said it correctly afterwards, it is where the song resolves.


Yeah, because there are half cadences and deceptive cadences... And picardy thirds...

I worded it pretty bad. But last chord is almost always indicator of key. English is not my first language...
Quote by Johnljones7443
my neew year reslosutions are not too drikn as much lol.

happy new yeeae guyas.
#7
teach your student what a root note means and what it means to ressolve to it and how the internet is full of ******************ing idiots (points at the powerchord thread i made).
#8
It depends on the type of music, but first and last chord are bad indicators of key, I was just flipping through some Celtic guitar songs out of curiosity, every single one started with the first chord indicating the key, a large number of them ended on different chords though.

Just to give an example of first chord not being the key, Tonight I'm Going to Rock You Tonight, the Spinal Tap song starts on the b7. On the other hand Sunshine of My Love by Cream starts on the root, but it ends on the 5, so neither is a particularly better rule of thumb.
#10
well what key would a song like My Hero by the Foo fighters be in? They play E a helluva lot, but they resolve on A. So what key would that be in?
#11
Quote by DarTHie
I know that you determine key by last chord in song, chord everything resolves to. Beginners often say that you determine the key with first chord, which happens often, but it's not a rule.

So, my problem is that my student doesn't believes me, he's pretty sure that first chord is right chord for determining the key, he red it somewhere on the internet.

Give me some examples where song doesn't finish on the first chord, please?


It's often easier to determine the key of a song just by looking at how many #'s or b's there are on the stave. I appreciate that the key may change throughout however.
#13
I don't think there's a general way to determine the key of any song. Just look for the chords progression and try to see if they fit in a certain key.
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#15
Here are two simple tricks to determine the key of any song written in standard notation:

No sharps or flats: C Major

One Flat: F Major

Other Flat Keys: The second last flat in the keay signature indicates the key of the song.

Sharp Keys: One note above the last sharp in the key signature indicates the key of the song (be sure to check the rest of the key signature to see if this note is sharp).

Let me know if that is unclear (its kind of hard to explain it without showing you a key signature).

EDIT: I forgot. For minor keys, just name the note that is a Major 6th above the root of the major key.
Last edited by mccabe24 at Jul 23, 2008,
#17
Quote by foofighter4ever
well what key would a song like My Hero by the Foo fighters be in? They play E a helluva lot, but they resolve on A. So what key would that be in?
The song is in E. During the 90s, it became popular to end a song on the IV chord.
#18
Quote by LawnDwarf
teach your student what a root note means and what it means to resolve to it


yes please, can someone please explain what does "resolving to a note" mean?
#20
Quote by mccabe24
Here are two simple tricks to determine the key of any song written in standard notation:

No sharps or flats: C Major

One Flat: F Major

Other Flat Keys: The second last flat in the keay signature indicates the key of the song.

Sharp Keys: One note above the last sharp in the key signature indicates the key of the song (be sure to check the rest of the key signature to see if this note is sharp).

Let me know if that is unclear (its kind of hard to explain it without showing you a key signature).

EDIT: I forgot. For minor keys, just name the note that is a Major 6th above the root of the major key.


That doesn't determine if the key is major or its relative minor...
Chord progressions, raised 7ths and 4ths, flat 6th etc determine whether it is minor or major...


It is kind of funny that you post that, I don't see that explanation posted often..
I made a lesson about it, waiting for it being approved...


For minor sharp keys, go down a degree from the last alteration in the key signature to find it, for flats go up two degrees from the last alteration in the key signature to find it...
#21
Whoever's talking about standard notation in here we can't use that if we're writing our own songs cause we gotta write our own chords and we don't have sheet music to go off of you lazy note reading bastard heehee jk jk but seriously standard notation defeats the purpose of music theory cause if you can just read exactly wut to play you don't need nething but that but later that limits you when you write your own music
#23
Quote by Greendrag92
Whoever's talking about standard notation in here we can't use that if we're writing our own songs cause we gotta write our own chords and we don't have sheet music to go off of you lazy note reading bastard heehee jk jk but seriously standard notation defeats the purpose of music theory cause if you can just read exactly wut to play you don't need nething but that but later that limits you when you write your own music

Say what? Notation is very bloody important. It's the only form of writing music down to my knowledge that is applicable to all instruments. Does guitar tab apply to a flute? No, only to guitars and basses. Therefore notation is very important.
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#25
Whoever's talking about standard notation in here we can't use that if we're writing our own songs cause we gotta write our own chords and we don't have sheet music to go off of you lazy note reading bastard heehee jk jk but seriously standard notation defeats the purpose of music theory cause if you can just read exactly wut to play you don't need nething but that but later that limits you
Last edited by /-\liceNChains at Sep 9, 2008,
#26
Because if you just read everything that you play it doesn't teach you how things work together you have to listen and be able to hear that your right or else when you write stuff then you won't know how to just be inspired
#27
Quote by DarTHie
I know that you determine key by last chord in song, chord everything resolves to. Beginners often say that you determine the key with first chord, which happens often, but it's not a rule.

So, my problem is that my student doesn't believes me, he's pretty sure that first chord is right chord for determining the key, he red it somewhere on the internet.

Give me some examples where song doesn't finish on the first chord, please?

I came across a bunch of songs the other day that started on the relative minor iv-I-vi-I but resolved to the I. I wish I could remember them. If I do I'll post again. Anyway helping your student...

It is true that we almost invariably hear the opening chord as the tonic since we don't have anything to relate it to what we need to realize is that as the progression unfolds we retrospectively hear it in relation to the tonic.

More important than the opening chord when identifying the tonic, is how the chords behave in relation to each other and provide a sense of stability.

The tonic is the stable chord that provides a reference point for us to hear the other chords in relation to.

Let's play around with various progressions built off the roots E G# F# B

Example 1 The first chord is not the tonic...
If we open with a two bar intro of a sustained B7 and then start our verse with an E G#7 F#m B7 once we hear the E it will sound like a "release" from the grip that the B7 chord had on us. Despite the F#m7 resolving up a fourth(down a fifth) to the B7 the B7 still sounds as our tension chord as they are all heard in relation to the E which resolves the piece.

To finish this progression there is only one chord that sounds final - The E. No other chord will really feel like it can end the sequence convincingly. We can finish on any chord we like but the resulting feel will be different. If for example we finish on the B7 but it will sound hanging and leave the listener in suspense. The E is the chord we want to hear to settle everything - this is what make it the tonic.

Example 2, First chord is the tonic...
If we used the same two B7 bars we used as an intro and followed with a four bar sequence of B7 G#m7 E7 F#7 then the B7 does indeed prove to be the tonic. So as you can see we can start with a B7 and have B our tonic or E could end up being our tonic.

So, your student might say, if we ignore the intro then they still start on the tonic - see how the both verses start on the tonic. If we look at the main chord progression in the first example it is E G#7 F#m B7 it starts on E and E is the tonic, so too in the second progression B7 G#m7 E7 F#7 starts on B7 and the tonic is B7. So you just have to look for the main chord progression and see what chord starts it to figure out the tonic.

Really? you reply. Let's look at another example.

Example 3. Chord progression starting on iii
G#m E G#m E G#m F#m B7 E We can see that we are starting on the G# but it resolves to E. If you tried to end it on any other chord it would not provide the same satisfaction that is only provided by the E. E is our tonic even though we started our main progression on the G#m.

It is also not always the last chord either. It is as I said earlier the chord that provides stability and to which all other chords are heard in relation.

Hope this helps.
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