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40

First, a key is only really a basis. You can have an F# in a piece written in C Major without having the piece "switch" keys. Second, keys are defined arbitrarily. Sure there is theory about what sounds good and that sort of thing, but at the end of the day it's just a group of notes that's just as valid as any other group of notes. This is made clear by ...


40

The keys are only identical on equal-tempered instruments, but that's most modern western instruments like pianos. Wind instruments other than the trombone are built to be (mostly) equal tempered [EDIT: I might be simplifying too much here, see David's comment below], but the players can bend pitches somewhat. The trombone, all non-fretted string ...


30

A drum solo is a song without a key.


28

Music has nearly infinite potential for subtlety, and yes, drums might seem more simple on the surface, but after a few years in music school you'll be tuning drum heads every time you sit down at a snare drum, have a mallet collection that weighs 30 pounds, and enjoy discussing the relative merits of different origin rosewood on your marimba. Most people ...


26

It is common to use notes that are not in the scale to add color. It's called chromaticism, from the ancient Greek word for color. Think how composers use a G# instead of a G in A minor, for example as a part of an E chord. A semitone creates more tension and the tendency of G# to resolve to (go to) A is more powerful. This is called a chromatic approach ...


25

Your teacher is referring to the Doctrine of Ethos which was for the Greeks, a belief that listening to a certain type of music influenced your mood or character as a person. Throughout the centuries, this belief has taken various forms - from the key of Eb used in marches for nobility, D major being joyous, C minor being introspective, D minor being "the ...


22

Sharp-keys are in some ways nicer to play than flat ones. The preference for these keys is perhaps most extreme in folk styles: going through two collections of celtic-style fiddle music[978-1-85720-202-1],[1-871931-04-5], I found the distribution to be this crass: ♭♭ : 5 ♭  : 5 ♮  : 7 ♯  : 57 ♯♯ : 70 ♯♯♯: 9 In particular D major is really a great ...


20

I'm not sure why you'd have any reason to question why it's real ... it's not really related to G Major though, no more than C# major is related to C Major. It's enharmonically equivalent to A♭ major, just like C# Major = D♭ Major or F# Major = G♭ Major. As for pieces involving it, Wikipedia mentions some. In general, keys with ...


19

I would actually consider this to be ♭III - IV - I in B major, with the ♭III borrowed from the parallel minor key. In fact, with the ♭III chord, it's somewhat similar in character to one of the "Fellowship of the Ring" themes: I - ♭III - I (in your key, that would be Bmaj - Dmaj - Bmaj). It's the first three chords here. Soundtracks aside, this type of ...


18

The ♭III is a borrowed chord from the parallel minor. A bit more info: The bIII is commonly followed by the IV, giving it something of a subdominant function relative to the IV. The ii here is acting as a IV (it's the relative minor of IV) in a plagal cadence, so functionally what we have is more similar to I bIII IV, a common rock progression. Also, the ...


16

When you play in D minor, the scale -- that is your "palette" of notes -- is: D, E, F, G, A, B♭, and C You'll find it's not possible to play a D major chord using those notes. D major contains an F♯. The simplest way to find the chord you want is to identify its root note, then play a triad starting on that note, using only the notes in the scale. So ...


16

As someone who writes music, I have this to add: I usually come up with ideas for songs by improvising on a piano until I come up with a phrase that I really like. Way back when I started improvising, I came up with some ideas in certain keys (mostly based on what was easy for me to play at the time), and over time, the emotions in those songs became ...


15

The larger question is why any composer would use a certain key signature rather than its enharmonic equivalent. For instance the choral music composer John Rutter is known for notating songs in C♭ major (with seven flats) rather than in B major (with five sharps). In the equal-tempered system, C♭ major and B major are the same key. Despite the fact that ...


15

When you say "Why are the key signatures in the major key like this", you are misusing the words "key signature", so let's start by explaining that. A key is a combination of: a choice of root note a choice of which set of notes are available to be played In traditional Western music -- the musical tradition in which "major" and "minor" makes sense -- a ...


13

The easiest way for me to figure this out (until you start memorizing them or gaining more aural awareness of tonality) was to remember the orders of sharps and flats (which are opposites of each other), and two simple rules for translating from key signature to major keys. Sharps: Order: FCGDAEB = Fat Cats Go Down After Eating Breakfast From the last ...


13

Nope! It's not necessarily a mismatch. The major or minor quality of the key a song is in is only one of many, many qualities that determine its emotion. It gets to the point that a major song can be very sad, and a minor song can be very happy, depending on the context. For concrete examples, "Last Train Home" by the Pat Metheny group (listen on Spotify) ...


12

The notes C, E and G played together are always a C major chord. A C major chord is always the notes C, E and G. Fret that shape on a guitar, and it's always C Major. When you play in a different key, C major's role changes. If you're playing in the key of C major, then C major is the root chord - the I. F is the fourth chord (IV) and G is the fifth ...


12

If it starts on C and ends on C, it's probably in C. And vice versa. If it has lots of A minor and E minor chords, it's probably in Am (E is the dominant). Likewise, lots of Cs and Gs implies C Major. There are a few other indicators, but largely speaking it doesn't matter. They're two names for the same thing. Often people say that minor keys sound ...


12

To add to the other answers, there is also dodecaphony, or twelve-tone technique, a method to compose music explicitly without a key by trying to give equal weight to all 12 notes of the western scale. (Look ma, no key) Another example: YouTube: Arnold Schönberg: Suite op. 25 / Musette Surely sounds interesting, but this kind of music is definitely more ...


12

"Key" implies "tonality." The name of a key corresponds to a pitch class that is considered the "focus" of a key or section. Is it possible to compose a melody without a key? Of course. That was the whole point of the Second Viennese School. Of course, it is possible not to be tonal (which implies a specific framework of relationships surrounding one ...


12

You may want to read this Wikipedia article section, concerning harmonic minor. Short summarized, this variant of minor keys reduces the gap between 7th and octave, so that the seventh tone can be used as a leading tone similarly as in major keys.


12

This is an excellent and important question. In a minor key, all 4 possible combinations of 6th and 7th scale degree are used, and each combination corresponds to a scale: b6, b7: natural minor (aeolian) b6, 7: harmonic minor (creates a dominant V chord with a leading tone to the root of the key, so it was 'invented' for harmonic reasons) 6, 7: melodic ...


12

The last chord harmony of most pieces give a feeling of ending. (It would, wouldn't it - otherwise the piece goes on, potentially).With no key signature, shown, a piece could be in C major or A minor. This last chord gives a big clue as to which key the writer thinks it's in. The presence of G#, showing usually a V-I cadence is also a good clue, except that ...


11

All F's should be sharp unless they have accidentals.


11

The answer is a relatively simple answer: it is easier for the violin an cello to play in those keys because of how the strings are configured. Look at this picture of a G scale on the violin: As you can see, the G major scale fits very nicely on as the open strings notes make the scale extremely easy. Also because of the open string notes, many other ...


11

Whilst on a major scale ,borrowing chords from the minor scale with the same name is common (and vice versa). Really common to be honest. Some of the most common borrowed chords are the V (dominant), IVm and bVI. Now for your progression. Since you said you were on C major, we have: Cm (borrowed) G (V) Dm (II) Am (VI) Or if we are on A natural minor, we ...


10

You confusion is coming from mixing "common practice" harmony theory with pop music. Both of the songs you linked are in the key of D. We know this because the D chord and melody notes clearly have tonic function, meaning they are used as a harmonic "home base", and the other chords played are designed to create a tension that resolves to D. If this was a ...


10

All instruments have technique considerations related to pitch class except for the human voice and perhaps the theremin. These specific considerations then go on to inform other aspects of play. For example, the piano has white keys and black keys. The white keys are bigger, evenly spaced, and all on the same physical level. Playing in keys other than C ...


10

This is correctly answered by @Pat Muchmore, but I wanted to elaborate a bit so you can find your own way to understand more about this notational device. I hope it helps. The key signature is a fixed set of either sharps or flats that appear immediately after the clef at the beginning of each staff. The set is fixed in the sense that they follow the ...


10

What you mean is not a change of scale, but rather a change of key. A change of key is called a modulation. Modulation is usually established by a full cadence into the new key. If a piece in G major modulates to D major, then you'd expect to see a progression of D | G | A | D which would be I IV V I in the new key of D major. Sometimes you won't find ...



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