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

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5
votes
2answers
225 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 ...
1
vote
1answer
89 views

What key fits with the chords Em7, F#m7, and B7#5?

I'm trying to find some good places to start an electric guitar solo for the song Cosmic Girl by Jamiroquai . The solo will go over the verse progression. The verse progression seems to be some sort ...
0
votes
2answers
46 views

Extended chords in keys

I understand the most popular & first-learnt chords & how to associate them with the keys they belong to. I'm looking at other chord types now such as Am6. I believe that Am6 can only go ...
17
votes
6answers
4k views

With sheet music, how do you determine whether the song is in the major key or the minor key?

For example, if the key signature on the left doesn't have any sharps or flats then it could theoretically be in either the C Major scale or the A Minor scale. How do you determine which one?
3
votes
4answers
125 views

How exactly tell the root of a song over a defined scale on ambiguous harmonic context?

I play a song in either C major key or A minor key. Usually I determine the root (C or A) taking into account clues like: The happy or sad feel of it all The first chord (C or Am) Stereotypical ...
8
votes
1answer
681 views

What is this called? Why is it allowed?

"Golden Train" by Justin Nozuka (YouTube link below) is in the key of Ab major. However he uses a Cb major chord throughout the song, which is not in the key of Ab major. It sounds good and works ...
45
votes
22answers
7k views

What's the point of keys other than C and Am?

I'm VERY new to music theory, just learning. I'm reading about keys and scales right now. From what I understand major keys are all the same except for being shifted by one or more semitones (e.g. C ...
11
votes
6answers
3k views

Why do musicians prefer to play in certain keys?

Why do musicians care about which keys they choose?
10
votes
3answers
822 views

How can I easily translate between a key and a key signature?

Is there a good mnemonic or trick for working out the key signature from a given key? I can always write out the chromatic scale, then count out the appropriate intervals from the tonic, and figure ...
15
votes
5answers
2k views

Is G sharp major a real key?

I'm mostly self-taught, so I don't know much in the way of theory beyond the basics. I have heard of G sharp Major a few times. I believe a scale in the key goes as such: G♯, A♯, B♯, C♯, D♯, E♯, Fx, ...
16
votes
5answers
4k views

If Für Elise is in Am why there is a D# in it?

Für Elise intro starts with E D♯ E D♯, Wikipedia says the key is Am. What scale does it fit? Is it like a blues scale where D♯ is a flat 5? Why D♯ is used in the sheet music? Is it easier to read ...
27
votes
8answers
3k views

Is it possible to write a song without a key?

"This song is in F Major", "That song is in A Minor", "This song is in D Minor, but modulates to F Major in the middle", etc. Can we say "This song has no key"? Are there songs that have/follow no ...
12
votes
4answers
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 ...
2
votes
4answers
107 views

How to find the key of a song without a pitch reference?

For instance, if I play the middle C or any note before a song starts, I can instantly guess the key of the song(I think this is known as RP - relative pitch). Another trick I've used is finding out ...
2
votes
1answer
102 views

How are keys in the circle of fifths related?

I know this seems like a basic question, and in the traditional sense, I actually know how their related. Though, whilst reading a book titled 'harmony for computer musicians', I've come across a ...
1
vote
2answers
185 views

Chord number notation for a minor song switching to a major sound

I have a song that I am using Roman numeral analysis for a song I have written. The first part based on D minor. The minor progression looks like this: I__ Isus __ VII Dm ...
1
vote
3answers
106 views

Colour of keys in the era of equal-temperament

As I understand it, the great bulk of music from the Baroque, Classical, and Romantic eras are at least these days performed on equal temperament instruments. And yet there is still a great deal of ...
7
votes
4answers
1k views

A Major Key Song for a Sad Lyrics - a Mismatch?

Isn't it odd that I Dreamed a Dream, a very sad song from "Les Misérables", is written in a major key? Isn't it a mismatch between the lyrics and the music?
4
votes
4answers
194 views

How to write music using standard notation / Finding key

I would like to ask a typical question from amateur musician. Most of amateur musicians understand tablature notation and often even some music theory, I personally can read notes but not in all keys ...
12
votes
7answers
995 views

How to figure out what key a piece is in?

I am trying to write a guitar accompaniment to the piece "Fair and Tender Ladies", but I have no clue what I need to do to figure out what key that piece is in. Also, the instrument playing the piece ...
7
votes
6answers
626 views

Is it harder to play in a key with more flats or sharps?

This is a very naive question, but I tend to perceive a song with a key signature that has more flats or sharps to be more difficult than the same song written in a key with fewer flats or sharps. ...
2
votes
1answer
161 views

Boogie Woogie in another keys what are the limits?

I'm a pianist and I play boogie woogie very well in C and G. Everyone knows that these are the easiest to play on, but guitarists like E and A and maybe D. I started to learn some riffs in A and E but ...
6
votes
2answers
683 views

Changing key in a song convincingly

Update 3 I have started to break down this broad question to specific, smaller questions. 1) Classical music example for seamless transition from one section to other with changing keys Say, I ...
6
votes
3answers
1k views

How to identify key changes?

I have learned music theory from the internet, but I have this question that how to come to know that where one key starts and other end when I am reading the music sheet. For example, in Minuet In ...
4
votes
3answers
603 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 ...
3
votes
5answers
215 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 ...
12
votes
6answers
12k views

When playing in a minor key, will the chords be minor as well?

I've been jumping into music theory myself and I've been stumbling on creating certain melodies and such. I've played guitar all my teenage life and not once have I ever sat down and said I'm going to ...
3
votes
2answers
3k views

Which key harmonica I should use for playing All along the Watchtower - By Bob Dylan (in C# minor)?

The song 'All Along The Watchtower' by Bob Dylan is in the key of C#m. Which key Harmonica should I use to play the harmonica parts in it? I wish to play the harmonica along with rhythm guitar and ...
4
votes
3answers
277 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 ...
7
votes
4answers
5k 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, ...
21
votes
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 ...
6
votes
6answers
220 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 ...
12
votes
10answers
864 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 ...
1
vote
2answers
234 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 ...
0
votes
0answers
108 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 ...
1
vote
4answers
186 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 ...
1
vote
3answers
165 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 ...
3
votes
2answers
2k 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 ...
4
votes
6answers
6k views

Can a song in one key contain major chords that are not in the key? Or does that change the key?

As an intro to piano, I want to learn basic chords from 2 White Stripes songs. They are as basic as piano gets, yet very catchy and powerful. They are very major sounding. I have never been able ...
0
votes
2answers
118 views

C major being dramatic like C minor

Here C major is being very dramatic. Usually C major is peaceful or joyful no matter what else is going on. In fact it can make an otherwise dramatic key sound happy. ...
0
votes
2answers
398 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
votes
2answers
103 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? ...
20
votes
10answers
2k 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 ...
2
votes
4answers
260 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 ...
15
votes
1answer
379 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 ...
15
votes
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?
2
votes
2answers
112 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 ...
3
votes
4answers
454 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 ...
15
votes
4answers
4k 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 ...
7
votes
3answers
217 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.