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

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13
votes
4answers
4k 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 ...
52
votes
22answers
9k 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 ...
12
votes
6answers
4k views

Why do musicians prefer to play in certain keys?

Why do musicians care about which keys they choose?
8
votes
2answers
3k views

What is a key signature?

I'm trying to learn the flute and I bought a book that is supposed to help me learn. In one of the first chapters it describes something about key signatures and the circle of fifths and I'm ...
32
votes
4answers
1k 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 ...
21
votes
10answers
4k 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 ...
18
votes
6answers
3k 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, ...
5
votes
3answers
531 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 ...
19
votes
5answers
6k 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?
4
votes
1answer
322 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 ...
4
votes
4answers
2k 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 ...
11
votes
10answers
2k 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 ...
5
votes
2answers
693 views

How to identify a key given a certain chord progression

At the age of 53 I'm new to music theory and in particular to chord progressions. While playing around with the piano, I've noticed that I like the sound of this progression Cm Gm AM Dm I have ...
5
votes
4answers
220 views

Difference between keys and scales?

I am a Tabla (a North Indian percussion instrument) player and I am trying to learn the western music theory. My study was going well until I stumbled upon keys and scales. Now though I know what ...
13
votes
9answers
5k views

Is Emajor the dominant chord in the key of A minor?

I read somewhere that Emajor is the dominant (V) chord in A minor. Is this correct? If so, why is it not Eminor, since the A minor scale has no sharps or flats in it?
2
votes
3answers
161 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 ...
1
vote
3answers
118 views

Effect of keys on modern performances

I understand that traditionally, certain "moods" are associated with certain keys. I further understand that this is mainly due to the way keyboards were tuned during the classical era, but that now, ...
0
votes
2answers
1k 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 ...
8
votes
5answers
536 views

Comfortable notes in a key

I've been playing guitar for some time, and often when i do improvisation exercises, I hit notes which sound too tense to finish a run/lick/riff on. Kind of like having a sentence which no full stop. ...
10
votes
3answers
1k 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 ...
26
votes
5answers
3k 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 ...
11
votes
4answers
2k views

The Chords in this progression sound great but don't belong together - so why do they work?

I am a songwriter and compose my own music to go with my lyrics. Most of my chord progressions follow common patterns like using a I V IV or I IV V with an occasional ii or iii or vi chord thrown in ...
8
votes
1answer
750 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 ...
6
votes
2answers
1k 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 ...
15
votes
1answer
420 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
4answers
6k 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 ...
3
votes
3answers
393 views

Is there a simple way to transpose a song from one key to another? What is the methodology?

What is a simple way to accomplish transposing a song from one key to another key? In other words if I am looking at a song written in the key of C and can't sing it in that key and I want to ...
3
votes
5answers
16k 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 ...
14
votes
8answers
1k 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 ...
10
votes
3answers
922 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?
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?
6
votes
4answers
509 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 ...
5
votes
1answer
541 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 ...
4
votes
4answers
251 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 ...
4
votes
6answers
19k 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 ...
3
votes
7answers
877 views

Will a song written in a key only use chords in that key?

When you figure out a key that a song is written in. Will the entire song use the chords in that key? With maybe an accidental?? I've tried several different methods.
3
votes
3answers
4k 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 ...
-1
votes
2answers
52 views

How to form specific arpeggios when in a certain key?

How do you form a D Major 7th in the key of C? Should I use the scale of D or C? Could you give me some tips on how to fit arpeggios and chords in certain keys?