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#1
Maybe this is because I listen to a lot of metal, but I find that many bands find a key they like and stick with it. I *play in about 4 or 5 keys regularly, though I like D Minor a lot (and detest soloing in E Minor), but what are your opinions on this?

*Edit: I meant when composing or fooling around, which is basically all I do at this point.
Last edited by bangoodcharlote at Aug 17, 2008,
#2
Beethoven said D had a very sexual and primal sound to it, which started me finding information on note qualities (not in relation to other notes). I have found that notes by themselves express themselves differently, so I use whatever key best expresses itself for what I'm trying to play.
#3
totally agree, thats when you get things like unforgiven III 17 years or so in the making. the only way I can get out of the same key is moving the chords up/down the fretboard, I'm kinda stuck in Bm.
#4
Quote by The_Sophist
Beethoven said D had a very sexual and primal sound to it, which started me finding information on note qualities (not in relation to other notes). I have found that notes by themselves express themselves differently, so I use whatever key best expresses itself for what I'm trying to play.


I've heard that about Beethoven as well. I currently fail miserably at writing music in different and or unique keys. It is something I should do, but damn it is so easy to just riff around in E minor lol.
#5
Quote by Fender_M1A
but damn it is so easy to just riff around in E minor lol.
Yup, and contrary to my original post, I like riffing in Em a lot, and then to solo, I move up to F#m and then back to Em for the riffing.

Em -> F#m -> Em Is easy; "Enter Sandman" does it several times and you wouldn't even realize it by listening casually (as opposed to the key change in "Livin' on a Prayer').
#6
Depends on the style i guess. Most things I write I make up completely in my head before touching a guitar, and the key I hear in my head is what I try to play it in.

When noodling with Metal riffs I do a lot of chromatic stuff, but I do often go Em to F#m just because it's kind of an attention grabber.
#8
Quote by bangoodcharlote
Yup, and contrary to my original post, I like riffing in Em a lot, and then to solo, I move up to F#m and then back to Em for the riffing.

Em -> F#m -> Em Is easy; "Enter Sandman" does it several times and you wouldn't even realize it by listening casually (as opposed to the key change in "Livin' on a Prayer').


that movement happens a lot in Metallica... the verse in 'Master of Puppets', the solo in 'Damage Inc'....

anyway... keys... yeah, I prefer open string keys like E, E minor, A, A minor, D, D minor etc... every guitar and bass player does, for obvious reasons

I think the popularity of dropped D tuning and its variants has meant many some bands aren't as varied with their key choices.. you want to sound heavy, you choose the lowest note you have... I love Metallica but they set an example to all bands who followed them that you could play every song in E
#9
Quote by bangoodcharlote
Maybe this is because I listen to a lot of metal, but I find that many bands find a key they like and stick with it. I play in about 4 or 5 keys regularly, though I like D Minor a lot (and detest soloing in E Minor), but what are your opinions on this?


Yup, I vary a lot cuz it keeps the music interesting.

My favourite keys are both A Minor and E Minor, basically any key where you can create lines that utilize all six open strings!

Joe Satriani - Belly Dancer as an example.
#10
^ indeed. i feel kinda constricted when i can just blast off to some open string licks or whatever. it's awkward.
at very least the scale has to have an E (when going a little heavier)
#11
playing well in different keys is IMO the hardest to thing to do. i find my self playing in d minor, f major, e minor, b minor alot
#12
Yeah, C#m and Dm have been fairly popular with me. Also wrote a lot in C/Am early on. Em and Gm make an appearance every now and then as well. Most recent song has been in D.
#14
I occasionally modulate when I'm writing metal metal. But a lot of times I don't.
Last edited by Guitar Guy21 at Aug 17, 2008,
#15
A major is the perfect key for me .. nice open string for pedal point and all the bigger arpeggio shapes i use are in comfortable positions, nice chord voicing possibilities with the open string. same thing for F#m, cause for metal riffing you're still low but now have the possibility of a seventh below the root. that's something i dont like about riffing in E minor. but if im doing like some phrygian dominant metal stuff, then E is perfect for some reason. open string possibilites are big points i guess lol
#16
Quote by bangoodcharlote
Maybe this is because I listen to a lot of metal, but I find that many bands find a key they like and stick with it. I play in about 4 or 5 keys regularly, though I like D Minor a lot (and detest soloing in E Minor), but what are your opinions on this?


I'm not sure I understand. Do you mean play over stuff(song or progressions)
that modulates or just choosing different keys for what you'll be playing at the
moment?

I used to just practice in G major. The benefit of this is that the locations of things
are always the same. This works out pretty well at first. However, the downside
is you become (unconciously) dependent on the dot markers. That can really
throw you off when you do use another key. Now what I do is pick a "key for the
day" and practice everything in that. I just pick one randomly.
#17
^ that's very much true. i'm getting out of that right now, myself. i miss the notes on the new scale quite often. the ones which i miss more are precisely the ones who are usually on the dot markers.
#18
I like C#.
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#21
Quote by edg
I'm not sure I understand. Do you mean play over stuff(song or progressions)
that modulates or just choosing different keys for what you'll be playing at the
moment?
I meant when you are composing a song. Sorry for any confusion. Please change your answers if this new information is not what you originally thought I meant.
#22
Quote by bangoodcharlote
I meant when you are composing a song. Sorry for any confusion. Please change your answers if this new information is not what you originally thought I meant.

Yeah, I tend to modulate when I'm writing a ditty, but only if it feels like it wants to go that way if you know what I mean? Sometimes it sounds better if you don't force a key change.
#23
Quote by bangoodcharlote
Maybe this is because I listen to a lot of metal, but I find that many bands find a key they like and stick with it. I *play in about 4 or 5 keys regularly, though I like D Minor a lot (and detest soloing in E Minor), but what are your opinions on this?

*Edit: I meant when composing or fooling around, which is basically all I do at this point.


What kind of metal are you into?

I vary keys quite a bit, but only recently have I been able to properly compose around and for key changes with confidence (if poorly and bluntly).

I played a lot in drop D and A, and I have a seven string, plus I compose away from the guitar, so I probably use anything up to around 5 sharps with ease and about 3 flats. After that I get pattern based and hazy.
#24
^I used to favor keys with flats more, probably still do when writing for bassoon. Major keys, anything from E to Db is good. B shows up occasionally, Gb is very rare for me. Minor keys vary about the same, the relative minor keys of the above.
On guitar I tend to come up with stuff and then go back and figure out the key. I literally find a note that sounds "right" for that moment and improvise, so key varies quite a bit. The stuff I listed above is for when I just sit down and compose on some sheet music.
So yeah, I guess I vary my keys a fair amount.
#25
To be honest, when jamming or fooling around, I pick a general key, but I end up going all over the place, the key barely matters in these cases. Thats the nice thing about playing with a trio, because when we jam, theres no set chord progression and key.

That all being said, I do tend to vary keys, and I don't let the lesser-used keys intimidate me. I write in whatever key sounds good. And I'm fully aware of the fact that that may sound like a 'i playz wit da earz, screw theory' statement, but it isn't. I figure out what sounds good via theory.

If I had to pick 2 keys that I'm usually in though, its A or G. Don't know why though, I guess I like cowboy chords.
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Last edited by bluesrocker101 at Aug 17, 2008,
#27
Quote by bangoodcharlote
Maybe this is because I listen to a lot of metal, but I find that many bands find a key they like and stick with it. I *play in about 4 or 5 keys regularly, though I like D Minor a lot (and detest soloing in E Minor), but what are your opinions on this?

*Edit: I meant when composing or fooling around, which is basically all I do at this point.



I think most players/composers utilize materials they are comfortable with. Im no different in that regard. I don't purposefully try to play in different keys. I basically follow my ear, and utilize my base of knowledge. So while I could write in any key, I don't do it for the sake of doing it. I let the music dictate things like that.
shred is gaudy music
#28
I just looked at all my songs and realised that nearly half of them are in E major or minor... never noticed that or did it conciously tho. My favourite key is C# tho - major or minor. Its comfortable to play on guitar and piano and I like the sound of it - I think Beethoven described it as "heroic"
#29
I change around a lot. But I use D the most and then C#minor second most.

*highfives Declan* C#minor ftmfw

Quote by GuitarMunky
I think most players/composers utilize materials they are comfortable with. Im no different in that regard. I don't purposefully try to play in different keys. I basically follow my ear, and utilize my base of knowledge. So while I could write in any key, I don't do it for the sake of doing it. I let the music dictate things like that.



And that. I compose music for Movies and Ads. I normally just go with whatever Key feels the most comfortable for the movie. But I consider composing different to the music I write for my band/s. I write them differently, I go about writing them seperately. With my bands work, the melody controls the song. With my composing, the emotion controls the music and I can mess around with things much more. There's only so much you can do with guitar, but when that's given to a Double Bass, A Cello, A Violo and a Violin, there's a million more things you can do.
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#30
a lot of my songs use open strings, and that usually ends up in something in E, Eminor, A, Aminor.. I usually use B and D as well, and C#minor is a great switch in E... I usually try to noodle around with a capo or 1/2 step down tuning, to see if a different key brings out a better tone or mood.


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#31
I generally write music in Em, Dm, or Cm.... depending on if I'm in E standard, Drop D, or Drop C. I've been trying to get out of it but it's really hard to me. I used to always play in Em until I started using Drop D a lot, so I had to get used to that, and of course Drop C was easy cuz it was like the same exact thing as Drop D. It also doesn't help that my rhythm guitarist has almost no music theory knowledge, plays mostly by ear, and therefore usually plays everything that way too, but for different reasons of course.
#32
Quote by Freepower
What kind of metal are you into?
Everything from hair metal to Opeth and In Flames (the two heaviest bands I like), excluding metalcore and crap like that. I don't like the death growls, but the aformentioned bands write such brilliant music that I've learned to tolerate it.

My original music sounds most like Maiden, but I have some music in my profile, so you can have a listen.

Edit: As long as we're on Maiden, I asked this question because of their album " A Matter of Life and Death." They play 9 or so songs in E minor in a row, and I think that, at the very least, they should have tuned down 1/2 step or used a capo or something to vary the sound and make things more interesting.
Last edited by bangoodcharlote at Aug 18, 2008,
#33
^ i agree, i often write songs in standard or dropped tuning but i'll take and do one song in E standard and another song in Eb or D standard just so they don't sound like they should be connected. although for the songs im working on now most everything will be between B and D since thats my most comfortable vocal range.

as for keys, i generally only change keys if it feels natural at a point in the song, i used to be absolutely terrible at it but i'm getting better, in fact i have a song that changes from E minor to G minor and back (which is a pretty non harmonic change, even for metal)
#34
Quote by z4twenny
in fact i have a song that changes from E minor to G minor and back (which is a pretty non harmonic change
Give the final chorus to "Livin' on a Prayer" a listen.

Edit: Another point I'd like to clarify is that this thread was not originally supposed to be about mid-song key changes, though I guess there's no reason not to discuss them.
Last edited by bangoodcharlote at Aug 18, 2008,
#35
I usually stick to some basic keys since I don't really know how to play many.

I find that when I write music, I'm usually drawn to Minor Keys, like A minor, E minor, or B minor. I also use Pentatonic Minor, usually E, A or D.
Saint Louis Blues
#36
^ i'll check it out when i get home. i find a lot of minor movements feel really forced if they're not from one minor chord key to the next. like Em to Am feel natural, Am to Dm feels natural, even Em to F#m. but Em to Bb minor, not so much. country has a lot of weird 1/2 step (like Em to Fm) key changes and somehow they make it sound really natural.
#38
^ i realize that, but i was just giving another example, Em to Gm or Em to Bbm, these aren't really harmonically conducive key changes.
#40
c major/a minor is obviously the easiest key to revert into playing, but lately i've been playing in f major a lot, f# minor also.
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