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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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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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4answers
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Why was “A” called “a good country key”?

Background I'm a novice. I'm currently learning to play and sing a "country"-style song on guitar. I'm playing it in G major. The melody is just over one octave, from E3 though G4. That's ...
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3answers
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How to make a chord progress go from the key of C major to the key of A minor?

How do you chord progress go from the key of C major to the key of A minor? I would do it this way: progress to the III chord (Em), change the III chord to a Dominant 7th form (E7), now the E7 chord ...
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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 ...
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4answers
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Shifting between bemols (flats) and diesis (sharps)in the key signature

I am a beginner in music with little knowledge, but like once in a month spend a little time playing with a digital keyboard. I noticed that if I have some notes of a song which got 4# in the ...
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3answers
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Can I use this chord progression in G major?

I am trying to write a song in G major and I am wondering if it would be ok to use this chord progression in G major: G - Em - D - Am
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4answers
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Is an accidental considered off key?

If you have a song with accidentals and you sing it, are you then singing off key? And if you are in the key of C major for example, and in the song a D is raised to a D# with an accidental and ...
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5answers
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What intervals are common for sudden key changes?

By "sudden", I mean that there is no dedicated harmonic preparation leading into the new key. The commonly used ones I can think of are: Up a semitone (the classic signal that this is final repeat ...
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244 views

How do they decide the key?

Duke Ellington plays a beautiful solo Take the A Train in 1956 [see youtube live performance is awesome] I think it's in C and most transcripts are in C. But there is a video of him playing with the ...
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3answers
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How can you tell when you unintentionally change keys when singing?

My dad always tells me that when I sing I change keys. Like I'll start out right and then change for a single phrase or word and then change back. I don't know when I do this, I can't tell and my ...
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300 views

what kind of chord progession is this?

im quite new in music theory and i really dont understand what he is doing here. is he changing the key after every chord? he talks about c minor being the root note. after that he switches to c# ...
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8answers
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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 ...
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6answers
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How do you think of the natural minor scale (or any non-major scale), when you play it?

I would be grateful to know how other beginner musicians think of the natural scale. For example, do you think: I need to play in A minor - the relative major is C. I shall therefore play in C ...
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4answers
907 views

E# note in the D# Major scale. What does it mean?

I've been having this doubt for a quite a while and haven't been able to find a satisfying answer. Is the 'E#' note technically an F? If so, why does it not exist on the chromatic scale like other ...
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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 tonic....
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Break from conventionality in Mahler Symphony no. 1

In the Wikipedia article for Gustav Mahler's Symphony No. 1, in describing its structure, a paragraph ends with The usage of F minor for the last movement was a dramatic break from conventional ...
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721 views

How to know singing is in a particular key

At Deering's web site, they have a blog entry Learning Banjo by Ear for Beginners. The third step says, "Sing that melody aloud in the key of G. (keep strumming that chord if you need a reference ...
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4answers
378 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 ...
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6answers
822 views

V chord becoming 7th? minor key [duplicate]

Im analyzing a song that is in the key of e minor. And the chords for the song are: Em B7 Am Now, I'm no expert but from my theory I learnt a while back for a minor key the chords are: Minor- dim -...
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4answers
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How to know key of a melody

How can you tell what key a melody is in if it uses notes found in multiple scales? And if a note is introduced from a different scale than the one it was in, does that change the key? What if it only ...
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4answers
776 views

Determining the seventh chords of a key

I know that every key has a set of 7 chords by taking each note of the scale as a root. I also know that the pattern for naming these chords go as follows: Major, minor, minor,major,major,minor and ...
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1answer
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Key used by clarinet

I do not understand the key notation for the clarinet in an orchestral score I am looking at. This is an extract from the Andante of the Ravel concerto in G: The clarinet has a different key ...
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4answers
811 views

Key signature change from D Major to G Major? [duplicate]

Which of the following is correct to indicate a key signature change from D Major to G Major?
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5answers
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What key is correct when guitars are half step down?

I see many charts for praise and worship songs charted in sharp keys (A#, F#) major. One song is charted F# Major. I would think the guitars are tuned a half step down and they are playing like it is ...
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2answers
143 views

Special case of polytonality, why does it sound like a single key?

I watched Adam Neely's video on polytonality and came across a special case of polytonality. He was playing and singing Mary Had a Little Lamb in 2 different keys. ...
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4answers
433 views

Is modulating from major to relative minor a key change?

I know that C major and A natural minor have the same key signature. Are they considered different keys though? Is modulating from one to the other considered a key change?
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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 ...
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1answer
150 views

Are there J.S. Bach pieces that do not start with the tonic chord?

I know some simple pieces where the initial phrase starts in the IV chord or the V chord, but I'm wondering if Bach used to do that.
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2answers
981 views

Singing in a preferred key?

Occasionally, when backing vocalists, I hear them say 'I sing in Bb', or I usually sing in my favourite key - G'. They sometimes proved themselves wrong, when I had to change key to one which fitted ...
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3answers
836 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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1answer
383 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)?
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1answer
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Why did Mozart only write two symphonies in a minor key?

Mozart wrote over fifty symphonies, but only two of them, the 25th and 40th, are in a minor key. Interestingly, those two are some of his most highly regarded and most often played works. Why did he ...
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5answers
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If parallel keys aren't closely related, then why are they so easy to get to?

I got this comment on an answer of mine: "Parallel major/minor keys are not closely related. They are easy to get to, but not closely related. It's like you might live by a subway that make it ...
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3answers
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Lowering the key of a song by a semitone

What does lowering the key of a song by a semitone exactly mean? If a song is for example in F major, and you lower the key by a semitone, do you lower every note by a semitone? This becomes E G♭ A♭ A ...
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3answers
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How do you know when a key name needs an accidental?

Take the following example from musictheory.net. If we go by the "cheat" rule where you can take the last sharp, then go one half note up, it will tell us that the major key is A. Next, if we use the ...
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6answers
815 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 ...
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4answers
979 views

Why does the circle of fifths have to be symmetric

I have studied music theory ever since I studied piano playing. So I know about things like accidentals and how white key accidentals like Cb or E# make sense. But one thing I don't know about is ...
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2answers
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Why is the C♯ chord in B minor diminished?

When I was looking through what chords I should use in the key of B minor, I realized that C sharp diminished is one of them. But C sharp diminished has a B flat in it, which isn't in the scale of B ...
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5answers
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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! Is there a shortcut ...
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4answers
162 views

Is there any objective evidence that different keys “feel different” or have different moods?

In an advertisement in YouTube for composer Danny Elfman's master class viewable here the composer says: When somebody starts talking about “this should be in such and such a key because such a key ...
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Why do so many pieces written in a minor key sharp the 7th?

I've been going through several pieces (mostly of Bach, but also others) and I noticed that very commonly, the 7th is sharped when played coming down from the tonic. Examples: Little Fugue, Toccata ...
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6answers
458 views

How do I contextualize chords from different keys that sound good together?

For instance, an E major triad followed by an A minor sounds really good to me. I don't believe these can belong to the same key, because you can't have a sharp g and a natural C in the same scale as ...
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2answers
886 views

Should I configure my keyboard transposition to match the key of a score?

If a score is written in say the the key of A, should I transpose my keyboard to the same?
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4answers
212 views

Are all modes/scales in a given key signature perceived as equally bright/dark?

Many people experience certain keys to be "brighter" or "sharper" relative to other keys. Keys with more sharps than flats are reported as being "brighter" and keys with more flats than sharps as ...
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6answers
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What key has the chords G, Dm, Bb, C and F?

I've been trying to brush up on my music theory recently, but I can't work out what key "Home" by Sheryl Crow is in. The chords are: G, Dm, Bb, C and F. It would appear to be C major, except for the ...
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1answer
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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 ...
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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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248 views

Is it considered polytonality if the song is using two keys but not on top of each other

I've run into a couple songs recently that use two keys at the time, but not in the way that would meet the definition of polytonality. What they do is they establish one key as the primary key and ...
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3answers
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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 ...
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6answers
839 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 ...