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I am just starting to produce music and, for music, I learn better by doing and then learning about what I've done.

Let's say that I have two measures in 4/4 time with each of the following eighth notes.

A4 B4 A4 G4 A4 G4 E4 A4 | A4 B4 A4 G4 E4 F4 G4 A4

How can I determine the key (as shown on web sites as such as beatport) and root note (unless that is what is shown on sites like beatport).

Edited for the full 4 measures:

A4 B4 A4 G4 A4 G4 E4 A4 | A4 B4 A4 G4 E4 F4 G4 A4 | A4 B4 F4 G4 A4 B4 A4 G4 | G4 A4 G4 A4 B4 C5 B4 A4

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migrated from Oct 6 '12 at 12:28

This question came from our site for engineers, producers, editors, and enthusiasts spanning the fields of video, and media creation.

Hi Spechal, have flagged for migration to music stack exchange, as this site is more suited to production and recording. – Dr Mayhem Oct 6 '12 at 10:36
up vote 3 down vote accepted

I'm pretty sure the key is the same thing as the root note. Anyway, I think that the key of that riff is A. A is the first note of the riff, it occurs a lot in the riff, and the notes are all on the A Minor scale. I'm going a little bit based on intuition, but that's my thought process.

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The key is the root note plus a quality like major, minor, dorian, etc. I'd definitely call this A minor or A aeolian, since we don't actually hear the 3rd of the scale. – NReilingh Oct 6 '12 at 14:03
Dangit, you're right. I should know this! – tesselode Oct 6 '12 at 14:10
@NReilingh I've added the final 2 measures (for this loop). Also, how could you tell this in A minor? – Spechal Oct 7 '12 at 0:13
Well all of the notes seem to be heading towards an A. Notice how prevelant the A is in the phrases. Basically I just played the riff in my head, and it sounded like A. Theoretically this could also be C major, but that seems less likely. – tesselode Oct 7 '12 at 0:16
@Spechal - Because I went to music school and studied aural skills for four years. :-) Long answer: because it starts and ends on A, and because the notes in between move in a pattern that tonicizes A. Note that if you are missing accidentals (like if the notes are actually A4, G#4, F#4, E4) this answer will change significantly. – NReilingh Oct 7 '12 at 3:03

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