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39

I would argue that your melody may not be in C major at all. C major and A natural minor share the same pitches, and your melody is constructed precisely in such a way that it can exist both in C major and in A minor! You might think, "Well, the first measure emphasizes C and E, which are both members of the C-major tonic triad." But they're also ...


23

You started in key C major, and you've modulated into key Am, its relative minor. True, there's no G♯ note in key C major, but key A minor has three slightly different incarnations, when written in scalar form, two of which actually do have that G♯. Those notes just before the last note, A, all work with the chord E, which most times in music will lead to A. ...


21

They share a note by name and another note by enharmonic equivalent. In your example, both C and F# have the note B. C has the note F, and F# has the note E#, which enharmonically equivalent to F. Of course B to F AKA E# is a tritone. The assertion that they only share one note discounts enharmonic equivalents. That’s all there is to that.


18

Does a scale always have to start off with the note it is named after? A scale is a collection of notes with one of those notes designated as the 'home note'. When you're playing that scale in a learning context, like in a music exam, then you usually start on the note the scale is named after. When you're using the scale in real life music, you can start ...


15

Upon listening to it, F minor is the tonic chord. It does have Dorian characteristics like you say, namely a major IV chord and melodic D naturals. Is that good enough reason to write it in a key signature of 3 flats? Ultimately it’s your call. Here are somethings to think about: The case for 4 flats: Players that read are used to having the key signature ...


12

This answer covers key labels and descriptions with a heavier focus on popular music styles, as opposed to classical music: I think the handiest way to lump all of that information together is usually "starts in X" rather than "is in X", when pieces of music have multiple keys throughout. Obviously if there is one main key (jazz standards ...


11

In addition to the musical answers already given, there's a simple arithmetical answer: given 12 different tones (not counting enharmonic equivalents), since any diatonic scale uses 7 of them, any other scale must share at least two tones in common.


11

The music-reading aspect of this is well covered. So, another perspective... Consider that Victor Wooten is best known an improvising musician. Moreover, he's a bass player, where understanding harmonic relationships is essential. I think it's no accident that in this video he never mentions music-reading, or even playing music at all (aside from scale ...


11

Although A minor does not natively include G#, it is common practice to use G#, because it is the leading tone in A minor (and major). That is, it "leads" the ear to A, just as you've described. This idea is also discussed in When to deviate from scale? Technically, what you've composed is called a sequence, a pattern of sounds that is repeated on ...


10

The most important thing to know is where home base is, the tonic chord. Is C major chord your home, or is G major your home. The home chord feels like a peaceful resting place where the song could end. All other chords and notes are experienced in relation to the tonic. If you don't know where home is, you're lost. Finding the tonic is your highest priority....


10

Well, if you mean Yamaha PSR-F51, you "feel like you don't know how to play the piano" because that is not an actual piano keyboard. A realistic piano keyboard is a weighted keyboard (which is what the P45 provides), as it imitates all the aspects of a real piano keyboard: feeling, weight and inertia. Some keyboards even have mechanics that are ...


10

I agree with the other answers that both are possible, but would err towards four ♭s. Why? Well, the piece isn't really modal Dorian. The vocal melody doesn't use D♮ for the whole verse, and when it does go to that note in the bridge/chorus it's a big reveal. (In spite of The B♭ major chord having turned up earlier in the accompaniment already... but it's ...


9

It's a good question, and one a beginner may ponder for a long time! Simple answer involves terminology. Scales are simply sets of notes, ordered ascending/descending. So many (many, many) sets of notes exist - humans love ordering and pigeon-holing - and have done just that. One such scale incorporates all the notes found on a piano - the black and white ...


9

He's right with 30. That's two with no sharps/flats (Cmaj/Am), and given that the highest number of sharps/flats in a key signature can be seven, each, that's 28, including majors and relative minors. There's nothing in that which includes harmonic or melodic miniors - they're not keys - they're scales. So, let's take C♯ as one example (or C♯/A♯m as two!). ...


9

Viewpoint #1: melodic minor is a scale, not a key More specifically, it's a scale constructed as an abstraction of how composers use minor keys in actual practice. Many composers used the raised sixth and seventh when a passage moved upward toward the tonic, but the lowered sixth and seventh when moving away from it. A piece composed strictly according to ...


8

It's a historical convention. Generally, multi-movement pieces are named using the main key of the first movement. The convention dates back (at least) to the suites for various instruments written as the idea of "keys" being important was gaining interest. Old Gregorian Chants were often named by appending the mode to the first few words of the ...


8

The Yamaha P-45 has weighted keys to make it feel more like playing an acoustic piano.1 They will feel heavy compared to the PSR-F51, which does not have weighted keys and so are very easy to press.2 1 The P-45 spec on the Yamaha website indicates "Graded hammer standard (GHS) keyboard", which means that the keys at the bass end of the keyboard ...


6

This is possible - in its fully-fledged form it's called Polytonality. Plenty of examples on that page. Another less extreme technique that is more common but could still be described as 'multiple keys at the same time' is modal mixture - using chords and notes from two different keys with the same tonic (e.g. using chords and notes from F minor and F major ...


6

Aside from @Tim’s good advice I also suggest learning the fundamentals of harmony and learning to recognize chords and simple chord progressions like 1-4-5, 1-6-2-5, 1-6-4-5, etc. This will often give you even better clues as to what the key the song is in. Using your hypothetical example, If the song starts and/or ends on a G chord or if G seems to be an ...


6

The key of a song is not determined by the first chord(s). The Fm and Bb chords "exist" in Eb major (and, therefore, F dorian) and F minor (as a borrowed chord from major). Ultimately, the key signature is a guide for the person reading the score. It's your call as the arranger whether you want that person to think of the arrangement in F dorian, ...


6

In the Baroque period the standard minor key signature was a so-called "dorian" signature, meaning it didn't put a flat on the sixth scale degree, and flats were added as accidentals in the score. So, F minor in the Baroque was three flats, C minor was two flats, etc. Putting the extra flat on the sixth degree in key signatures is a more modern ...


6

Here's a quote from the question with the question's incorrect assumption in bold: Say, I want to write a track in the key of D. So I have the notes D,E,F#,G,A,B & C#. I cannot use any other notes than these. Key is mostly about the home note. The home note is D. Secondarily, it is about the home chord, specifically, whether the home chord has a ...


6

If you increase the speed by 1% then all of the frequencies played back increase by 1%. If there's an instrument tuned to A=440 Hz, it will sound like it has been tuned to A=444.4 Hz. This is only about 17 cents sharp, so still rather closer to A than to B flat. If you turn it up to 8% over the standard speed, the pitch will be about 133 cents sharp, so ...


6

In naming keys, "major" is often omitted, so "in A" normally means "in A major." I could imagine someone saying "in A" to mean "A minor" in informal usage, but only if the context makes it clear that the key is A minor rather than A major. The key (apologies) to understanding E major and E minor as the same ...


6

What you describe has (almost) been done, in keyboard rather than piano form at least - the Dodeka_keyboard: The keys corresponding to C, E and A flat are highlighted to provide a visual reference as to 'where you are', but there's no mechanical reason these couldn't be white. This is a particular example of an Isomorphic keyboard.


5

A lot of songs use only the notes diatonic to one key. That means all their notes belong to that key - usually. By learning what the key signatures are for each key, you'll be 95% of the way there. For example, your sample of C D E F♯ G A B would tend to put that into key G, which has one sharp. If that song also centred around G, (i.e. G has the feeling of ...


5

There are two different questions here: A song can be in the key of X but not necessary start on the named note; however, it is likely to end on that note. If not, the ending will tend to be ambiguous. But when you ask about starting a scale on a different pitch, that's called a mode. For example, a C major scale played from D to D is called Dorian. For ...


5

They might share only one note, but they share two pitches - hence the tritone shared. And actually, those shared pitches are only true in 12tet. Played in j.i., for example, I guess even those two pitches aren't exactly the same as each other. So, it's really, as other answers tell, down to note naming. In both keys (C and F♯), there's B, in key C there's ...


5

Is "this piece is in key X” a valid statement? Sometimes, at least. Baroque-era minor-key pieces frequently end with a major chord. Obviously this stretches the limits of the question, since it can't really be said there are multiple sections in different keys, but it's worth a mention insofar as the piece does technically end in a different key that ...


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