Questions tagged [key]

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

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27
votes
8answers
13k 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 ...
101
votes
25answers
23k 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 ...
29
votes
10answers
25k 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 ...
15
votes
2answers
4k views

What is a key signature?

I'm trying to learn the flute and I bought a book to help me learn. In one of the first chapters it describes something about key signatures and the circle of fifths and I'm completely lost. What is ...
15
votes
6answers
10k views

Why do musicians prefer to play in certain keys? [duplicate]

Why do musicians care about which keys they choose?
40
votes
5answers
8k 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 (...
8
votes
3answers
2k 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 ...
11
votes
4answers
17k 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 ...
21
votes
6answers
9k 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, G♯...
6
votes
7answers
7k 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.
0
votes
3answers
870 views

What significance does the Key have on a composition?

I'm struggling to understand how the key signature effects a composition. If you took an average person and played them the national anthem in any key (as long as you stay major of course) they would ...
24
votes
4answers
973 views

Where do the double accidentals go in “theoretical” key signatures?

Recent questions led me to discussions of theoretical keys, which are defined by Wikipedia as keys with at least one double accidental in the key signature. (Unfortunately, the source of that ...
4
votes
1answer
2k 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 they are related. Though, while reading a book titled 'Harmony for Computer Musicians', I've come across a ...
17
votes
5answers
26k views

How come songs in a certain key play notes not in that key

I just started trying to learn about music theory as I'm learning to play the guitar. So as beginner's do I looked up a list of easy songs to play and I start learning away. Since I'm also trying to ...
13
votes
6answers
13k views

Why have I never found any music written in the key of C Sharp Major?

Music is written in almost every key that corresponds to every note that is on my piano keyboard. There is clearly a C Sharp (black key right of C) on my piano keyboard but I don't recall ever seeing ...
24
votes
9answers
6k views

Are sharp keys “bright” and flat keys “dark”?

I was reading this book and on the "Circle of Fifths" chapter it claims that keys with sharp key signatures (C, G, D, ...) are "often though by musicians" to be "bright" sounding and those with flat ...
17
votes
1answer
662 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 ...
7
votes
4answers
3k views

Indicating Key Signature Change

Key of C Key Signature has no symbol, so say I was notating music in G Major then wanted to change to the Key of C, how would I show this?
6
votes
3answers
38k 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 ...
23
votes
4answers
14k 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 ...
10
votes
5answers
606 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. ...
23
votes
8answers
15k views

Is F Lydian mode in the “key” of C Major?

In most cases (if not all), a piece of music without sharps or flats in the key signature, would be considered in the key of C major or A minor. This question assumes the context of Western Music ...
10
votes
8answers
23k views

Why do Major keys contain minor chords?

Looking through each Major Key: At position II, III, VI are MINOR chords. At position VII, this is a DIMINISHED chord. Looking at the C Major Key as an example, this chord progression is made up ...
10
votes
7answers
4k views

Can any song in a major key be performed in C major?

Let's say we have a song in a major key. My understanding is that performing different songs in different major keys just makes the song either higher or lower in pitch. And that's just about the only ...
4
votes
6answers
480 views

Why does VII have dominant function in natural minor

I have noticed with my own compositions that I can take something like B♭ major and use it to prepare for a C minor entrance, even if C minor is in fact the tonic. Also I have noticed that I can use G ...
4
votes
3answers
2k views

Minor key and its chords [duplicate]

I am trying to learn the scales and its relative chords. I am confused with Minor scale. Lets take A minor key for an example. A minor key has following notes: A B C D E F G and its relative chords ...
2
votes
2answers
3k views

Distinction between Mode and Key [duplicate]

I am a little confused on the distinction between mode and key. If I see a lot of F#s (not in the key signature) and Cs, is it correct to say I am in C lydian mode but still in C major key? Moreover, ...
0
votes
2answers
25k 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 ...
6
votes
2answers
686 views

Why is the key signature not the same as the listed key?

Looking at the following piece, the information says that the key is G minor. However. the score in the "original key" has a key signature of D minor. Moreover, the score transposed to A minor has a ...
2
votes
3answers
512 views

Do major triad chord notes depend on the key? Key=E, Emaj=EG#B vs Key=C, Emaj=EGB?

I came across something odd shown in the picture below. (What this is from is not very relevant, but in case your interested: I'm building a simple phone app that would allow me to practice ...
2
votes
3answers
667 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
148 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, ...
32
votes
6answers
7k 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 ...
14
votes
4answers
7k 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 ...
5
votes
8answers
17k 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 ...
42
votes
2answers
5k views

Why do instruments have a key?

There are many instruments that have keys other than C. For example: The Eb Alto Saxophone The Bb Clarinet The Horn in F Why do these instruments have a key in the first place? Here's a more ...
22
votes
6answers
19k 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?
9
votes
4answers
2k views

Why does Beethoven's fifth symphony in c minor begin with a C major interval?

I have been told when composing the first thing is to establish the key. Beethoven's fifth symphony in c minor starts with major third interval. "...-". I would expect a major key. What am I ...
9
votes
6answers
4k 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 have ...
8
votes
2answers
1k views

What's the exact difference between modulation, key change and tonicisation?

I've always regarded a key change as the use of a completely different set of notes for the following music - definitely in a different key. Was in C, now is in C#, with no reason to suppose a return. ...
8
votes
1answer
859 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 ...
3
votes
4answers
2k 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 ...
3
votes
5answers
29k 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 are(...
15
votes
6answers
30k 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 ...
12
votes
5answers
3k views

Why are different keys necessary / important? [duplicate]

If all major key songs can be played in C major, then why do people play them in other keys? Assume there is no singer involved and we're just talking about what sounds "good". My understanding is ...
11
votes
9answers
7k 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 ...
8
votes
4answers
2k views

How to determine what key changes are appropriate?

In the month or so until my band get back together I've been working on writing some new material, and want to try and expand how complex my songs are. I apologise if there are a lot of questions - I'...
7
votes
2answers
1k views

How to interpret notes outside of the key signature?

Lets make this question a bit clear. If you're playing Bach's music, it shows you that its' key is E minor, or A major or anything. But, when you play something like: He add sharp in his notes. ...
7
votes
2answers
2k 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 ...
7
votes
5answers
2k views

Do the notes in a scale have to be played in order?

Beginner here, it seems like a scale just defines a particular set of notes that don't have to be played in any order to me. But if you look at A minor pentatonic scale you have A, C, D, E, G, yet ...