For questions about key signatures, scales, modes and similar topics. Most questions should also be tagged with "music-theory".

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3answers
225 views

Definition of minor key

Minor key music uses the harmonic minor scale as the basis for its harmony and the melodic minor scale for the melody. If the music uses nothing but the natural minor scale it IS NOT in a minor ...
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6answers
189 views

The teaching of scales, chords and keys

A question for the music educators out there. What are we doing wrong that is causing so many young musicians to ask so many questions based on the misapprehension that only certain notes and certain ...
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2answers
172 views

How can you find the key of a song by ear?

If you don't have the music notation available, how can you determine what key a song is in by just listening? Must one have perfect pitch to do this or is there an easy way or a trick that can help ...
12
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10answers
629 views

What key could the progression Cm - G - Dm - Am be in?

I'm working on a song (my first ever actually) and I love the chord sequence: Cm - G - Dm - Am I started off working in C-Major, but borrowed Cm from the parallel minor key C-Minor. But really, in ...
2
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1answer
63 views

Piano Accidentals and Key Signatures

I have been trying to pick up the piano and have a few questions concerning accidentals and key signature placement and interaction. I apologize I don't have a digital copy of the music in question ...
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0answers
80 views

How did the notes of the Western musical scale get their letter names? [duplicate]

The first thing a brand-new piano student learns is the name, and location on the keyboard, of "middle C". I've always wondered, why is that note called "middle C" rather than, say, "middle A"? To ...
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4answers
144 views

What are some effective ways to use a key change during a song?

In my own songwriting, I might change keys to reinforce a change in the direction of the lyrics. For example if the first two verses are first person but the last verse is 3rd person, I might change ...
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3answers
139 views

How can different compositions use C Major?

Pardon what I know is an embarrassing question - I am at the very basics of learning music theory. If a scale such as C Major is an exact pattern of intervals, how can multiple songs be composed with ...
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2answers
108 views

C major being dramatic like C minor

Here C major is being ...
3
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2answers
623 views

How to transition between chord progressions of two songs in different keys?

I play mostly in a church band setup, focused around chords. Often they'll be an interlude between songs where someone might come and share a prayer or bible reading and I've noticed some people are ...
0
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2answers
228 views

key changing in a song?

how do i change in keys? All by my self - was in the key in F major and transition to C# minor in the middle of the solo? i notice that "all by my self" and "never going to fall in love again" by ...
0
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2answers
94 views

Are there rules that determine whether a chord belongs to a particular key?

Suppose I have a chord such as FAC. How do I know whether the notes belong to C (Fa La Do') or F (Do Mi Sol) or perhaps another key? Do music theorists have theories for how a key gets established? ...
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4answers
225 views

What keys contain both E and Am, and is there an easy trick to determine this?

By 'keys contain' I mean in the normal rules of choosing what chords 'fit' within a given key, since of course you can put just about any chord anywhere if you try hard enough! More to the point ...
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5answers
179 views

V chord becoming 7th? minor key

Im listening / looking at a song that is in the key of e minor And the chords for the song are just Em B7 Am Now..im no expert but from my theory i learnt a while back for a minor key thr chords ...
20
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10answers
1k views

When is a piece in A minor versus C major?

When would you say a piece, or a movement in a symphony, is in A minor versus C major? They both use the same notes on the scale... what would indicate that the piece is in A minor? Let's take an ...
4
votes
2answers
155 views

chord progression if the chords are not part of the scale?

I've been learning about harmony, and the harmonisation of major scales. I can recognise simple chord progressions, and I try and practice by listening to popular songs. For a major scale, we ...
2
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2answers
73 views

Feeling of keyboard keys: spring (or elastic) against balanced keys keyboard

Cheap keyboards seems to have the keys hinged with springs, or some form of elastic element. Contrary to real pianos, or high end digital pianos, that seem to have a counter-weight on the other ...
15
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3answers
2k views

Why does the following chord progression sound good?

Dmaj Emaj and Bmaj I have looked up the chord progressions of all major and minor scale keys and these three don't fit in any of them?
3
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4answers
406 views

What could be the key of this chord progression?

I started writing a melody that has the following chord progression: Cm - G - Am - C What key would that be in? I imagine it could be in the key of C or Am if the Cm chord wasn't there. I've just ...
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4answers
456 views

Why do Major keys contain minor chords?

Looking through each Major Key: At position II, III, VI these are MINOR key signatures? At position VII, this is a DIMINISHED key signature? Looking at the C Major Key as an example, this chord ...
5
votes
3answers
227 views

Determining Key / Key Change / Chords?

I've been playing guitar for about 5 years... I've been slowly trying to teach myself some of the THEORY behind music.. I've just always had trouble really understanding.. When I hear a song, and ...
5
votes
1answer
295 views

Full range with white keys only?

This is probably a really stoopid question but.....I'm trying to learn to play a virtual keyboard online(Virtual Piano) but its really hard to use the black keys since you need to press Shift+(another ...
5
votes
4answers
186 views

Is a switch to the relative minor still called a modulation?

I am recording a song which is largely written in C major. About halfway through the song, the emphasis changes to A minor, with chord progressions resolving to the Am chord specifically. Is this ...
11
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5answers
221 views

Why is the choice of key considered so fundamental in Classical music that it often effectively becomes part of the name of the composition? [duplicate]

I often hear references to, e.g., "Bach's Fugue in G Minor," sometimes with a number (something like "Bach's Fugue in G Minor #13"). Why is the key of the piece so important that it becomes part of ...
10
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3answers
769 views

Is there a minimum of notes and chords i need to determine the key of a song?

Just by curiosity. What is the minimum of notes and chords i need to determine the key of a song?
3
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2answers
2k views

Identifying the key of a song by ear?

I'm developing a method for students to identify the key of a song by ear. I've seen a lot of videos on YouTube where they say that you should try to identify a common note and that will be your ...
12
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4answers
552 views

How to choose a key signature for a song that modulates often?

In jazz, let's say, how would one choose a key signature for writing a lead sheet for a song where keys change every few measures or faster? Is writing the key changes explicitly going to be helpful ...
5
votes
1answer
169 views

Why does the first note is the second Bach cello suite(Prelude) sound like C#?

Suite 2 in the Bach suites is in D minor howcome the first note sounds like C# even though its written on the 3rd line(d)?
15
votes
1answer
361 views

Are there any rules of thumb for shifting the key signature within a tone net?

[ ... struggling with giving this a better title ] I'm working out the algorithmic bases for generation of a tone-net (tonnetz) in preparation for programming the presentation layer. The problem is ...
11
votes
4answers
408 views

Do songs written in certain modes not have keys?

Up until recently I thought that if a song was written in a mode with a major 3rd, then it was in a major key, and if it was in a mode with a minor 3rd, then it was in a minor key. But I read an ...
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7answers
2k views

How to escape the C Major trap when improvising on the piano

I play/practice the piano for some decades and when improvising (Jazz, Romantic, and sometimes even Baroque), I observe a certain magnetism of the C Major key. I'm able to play scales, arpeggios, ...
25
votes
4answers
473 views

When were the terms “Major” and “Minor” applied to keys?

In 1547, Heinrich Glarean published Dodecachordon in which he posited that in addition to the 4 existing pairs of church modes (plagal and authentic versions of modes with finals on D (Dorian), E ...
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votes
3answers
483 views

How do I tell the difference between a borrowed chord and a key change?

Having muddled through for a few years, I'm finally learning the basics of harmony. I'm having a bit of trouble, though understanding exactly what goes on when chords occur from outside the key. Is ...
15
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4answers
3k views

Why is music for strings more likely to be in keys with sharps?

One thing I've noticed is that music written for strings, such as violin concertos, are a lot more likely to written in a key like D or A major than something like F or Bb major. I recently saw a ...
6
votes
2answers
442 views

Which scales are used by Tom Morello?

In Rage Against The Machine's first album (Rage Against The Machine) I frequently hear Tom Morello play with several "weird" scales. A few examples: Take The Power Back, Settle For Nothing, ... I ...
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vote
2answers
154 views

Which key mode is funk saxophone played in?

I am analysing the musical style of playing saxophone on dance beats, or dubstep, like in this song. Would you characterise this as funk? And what is the key they use. My closest guess is a minor or ...
2
votes
3answers
576 views

Picking a key for a song and how to use the notes in that scale? [closed]

So just to make it simple. When you pick a key for a song and you use the notes in that scale, do you only use those notes for all other instruments? And does the octave of each note matter? Or as ...
12
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3answers
2k views

Understanding minor key harmony

A comment discussion under this question from me, clued me in to the fact that I don't really understand how minor keys work very well. So here is what I think I know The natural minor comes from the ...
0
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5answers
360 views

A reliable foundation from which to understand what “key” really means [closed]

(my original question) I am well-educated. I'm new to, and trying to learn, music theory, but the constant hedging on what things mean is frustrating. Can you say ANYTHING that is 100% reliable about ...
0
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1answer
543 views

How to know what scale or what is the key of the composition(lyrics and singing) is this song?

I always have trouble finding the key of the song, actually when ever I write a song just lyrics and I know how I sing it I mean I know the composition, but I don’t get to know what should be what ...
4
votes
6answers
8k views

Playing a song in a different key

I trying to teach myself guitar and one song I want to perform for a friend (soon) is Akon's "Don't Matter." I can't read sheet music (but i want to learn) but i found the chord progression of the ...
2
votes
5answers
6k views

Hard to tell major from minor

I have a hard time figuring out if a song with a certain key signature is major or minor. I know some sound minor and are and some sound major and are but some sound opposite of what they actually ...
3
votes
3answers
427 views

How should I choose the key of my harmonica?

I've read few articles about it, but none of them seem to help me with this problem. Let's say we have a song in certain key - which harmonica should I choose? Let me give you an example, we have a ...
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2answers
159 views

Understanding the key concept

I'm trying to understand the concept of key. After googling for a while I found that key is the same as tonality, and it consists of the set of notes that form a scale (major, minor, ...). But which ...
3
votes
4answers
298 views

What is the best way to organize chords/keys in a database (details below)?

I am working on a project that involves putting together a database of chords/keys, and I'm wondering what you guys think is the best way to categorize each chord/key. For example, if I want users to ...
2
votes
1answer
101 views

Why a composition is made in a certain key [duplicate]

Why a composer would decide to write certain work in let's say D flat rather than D? If some of the elements have certain limits in their pitch, especially singers, it may justify even a semitone of ...
7
votes
4answers
4k views

Do I play all the F's as sharp or just the one with the sharp in the space?

I am trying to teach myself how to play piano and while I know what a key signature is, I don't have a firm grasp on it. I have sheet music in the key of G major. There aren't any F's on that line, ...
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3answers
204 views

How to establish a mode?

I would like to learn about the art of establishing a mode. For example, how to make A minor sound like A minor instead of C major.
21
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6answers
2k views

B flat minor - the key of death…seriously?

My music teacher always rambles on about b flat minor, endlessly repeating how it is the key of death and is therefore used in movies for death scenes. Alright, I understand that it is minor, no ...
2
votes
2answers
177 views

Chord performance in different scales

As an absolute beginner to both music reading and playing, I have a question that will no doubt appear silly, but it is driving me insane. In the key of F there is a Bflat, does this mean that if you ...