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SanityTheorist
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PostPosted: Mon May 21, 2012 10:51 am    Post subject: What is a key in music? Reply with quote

My explanations I've read online are just confusing and are written in very tedious and extrapolated detail. From my analysis I am thinking it is closely related to the root note since rock and metal often goes between two keys. I have noticed the large changes. Perhaps it's when multiple isntruments play the same notes together...but I am thinking that more syncopation.
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izzeme
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PostPosted: Mon May 21, 2012 1:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

in music, a 'key' (in standard methods often called 'key signature') is a way of naming the main cord you will use for that (part of the) piece/song.
most modern and rock music often switches around or alternates between different keys, where more classical pieces usually stick to one for the entire composition.

this key does two things:
firstly, it indeed tells you the root note you're 'supposed' to use, but secondly, it also syncronises the note-modifications (flats and sharps) that are used for as long as you use that key

for example, in "C", all notes are played 'normally' (in piano terms: you only use the white keys), but if you change to "B", suddenly all b's and e's get a flat added to them, whereas in "G", f's become f-sharps.


it is indeed also used to get several instruments playing together, especially if their individual tuning is different.
usually, a key is given for a 'concert' pitch, or "C-tune", like a piano, and instruments ate named after the difference.

example: if you use a basic guitar (pitched in "G"), to play a piece for piano (written in "C"), you will have to play 4 tones higher (if you read a c, play a g, if you see a b, play an f), and aside from that, add one sharp (or remove one flat, if there are any)
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redrobin62
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PostPosted: Mon May 21, 2012 1:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi. Allow me to retort. You're right that the key is related to the root note, but that bit that rock & metal goes between two keys is actually rare. Most songs start off in one key and usually stay that way all through the end. Typical keys are G, E minor, F, E flat, etc.

If you meant that songs go between just two chords, well, that is also rare. I do know one popular song that only uses two chords - One Thing Leads To Another by The Fix.

I wonder if you're getting 'keys' and 'chords' mixed up? Common mistake. Chords (and chord progresssions) are the roadmaps, if you will, of a song. For instance, a typical blues song will have three chords only. So if. the song is in the key of G, the chords will be G, C and D. What's you'd also need to know is how long each chord is played for. That's when you're now talking about bars or measures.

Music is fun but learning theory can give you a stroke! Seek out someone to show you hands on how it's all done. Good luck.
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mushroo
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PostPosted: Mon May 21, 2012 2:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Musical "key" is the home-base or "one" to which the music returns or "resolves" at the end of the piece. For example if you are listening to "Mozart Symphony in C Major" then you can bet the final chord will be a big C Major chord!

The key also tells you which notes will be sharp, flat, or natural. This is called a "key signature" and is notated at the start of the written music as shorthand. When the composer uses a note not in the key signature (adding a sharp or flat) this is called an "accidental."

When a song switches between multiple chords in the same key, this is called a "chord progression" or "harmony." It's also very common for most styles of music to temporarily change to a different key; this is called "modulation" (and in pop music, the part of a song that modulates is often called the "bridge").

Some music (especially of the 20th century) does not have a key; this is called "atonal."
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redrobin62
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PostPosted: Mon May 21, 2012 3:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

@izzeme - you wrote "most modern and rock music switches around or alternates between different keys." I didn't know that. Shows how old I am! Which songs are you speaking about? Just curious.
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mushroo
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PostPosted: Mon May 21, 2012 3:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

redrobin62 wrote:
@izzeme - you wrote "most modern and rock music switches around or alternates between different keys." I didn't know that. Shows how old I am! Which songs are you speaking about? Just curious.


I found this for you with Google:

http://www.buzzfeed.com/akdobbins/12-greatest-key-changes-in-pop-music
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redrobin62
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PostPosted: Mon May 21, 2012 6:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yeah. I'm aware of those songs listed. I can "hear" their modulations. You had said modern rock, though. I thought you meant from the modern rock bands. A lot of those modulated tracks from MJ, Genesis, Queen etc are quite old, no?

@izzeme - please don't take this post entry as me trying to be a showoff or a sign of arrogance. It is only within the context of explaining music theory that I mention this. Thanks - and absolutely no offense intended. Very Happy
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mushroo
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PostPosted: Mon May 21, 2012 7:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

redrobin62 wrote:
Yeah. I'm aware of those songs listed. I can "hear" their modulations. You had said modern rock, though. I thought you meant from the modern rock bands. A lot of those modulated tracks from MJ, Genesis, Queen etc are quite old, no?


I don't know much about modern rock (maybe you are confusing me with another poster?) but most of what I hear on the radio these days is either based on electric guitar riffs (like rock has been for 50+ years) or strummed chord progessions like I-V-vi-IV. I don't think there are many progressions left to discover, since there are only 12 notes in the scale. Wink
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redrobin62
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PostPosted: Mon May 21, 2012 7:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Oops. My bad! I got the poster's name wrong. You're 100% right about that I - VI - IV - V bit. This section of the thread, however, was in reference to key changes in modern rock to which I'd like to hear a few examples. Just curious, trying to learn and expand my - and the OP's - knowledge. Very Happy
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mushroo
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PostPosted: Mon May 21, 2012 8:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

LOL, I-vi-IV-V is soooo 1950's, all the cool kids today are playing I-V-vi-IV. Wink
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AScomposer13413
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PostPosted: Mon May 21, 2012 9:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

mushroo wrote:
LOL, I-vi-IV-V is soooo 1950's, all the cool kids today are playing I-V-vi-IV. Wink


lmao
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Who_Am_I
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PostPosted: Tue May 22, 2012 4:21 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Besides what the previous posters have written about the key being related to the "home" note or chord, the sense of key is developed by using the notes of the musical scale in particular ways in relation to the "home" note/chord (which is called the tonic/tonic chord), and to each other.
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Music Theory 101: Cadences.
Authentic cadence: V-I
Plagal cadence: IV-I
Deceptive cadence: V- ANYTHING BUT I !!!!
Beethoven cadence: V-I-V-I-V-V-V-I-I-I-I-I-I-I-I-I-I-I
-I-I-I-I-I-I-I-I! I! I! I I I
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AngelRho
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PostPosted: Tue May 22, 2012 4:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The "key" of a composition is its tonal center.
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TheArtOfThrash
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PostPosted: Wed May 30, 2012 10:00 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Just for reference, a key change sounds very distinct.



This is the first song that popped into my mind that has one. The key change is at 5:05. It's actually quite a drastic shift...
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AngelRho
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PostPosted: Wed May 30, 2012 5:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

mushroo wrote:
LOL, I-vi-IV-V is soooo 1950's, all the cool kids today are playing I-V-vi-IV. Wink

You mean like this?


VERSE:

I___________V __________vi_____________________IV
When I was a young boy, said put away those young boy ways
I________________V________________ vi ____________IV
Now that I'm gettin' older, so much older I love all those young boy days.
I____________V___I ___________V
With a girl like you, with a girl like you,
vi_________________IV__________________V
Lord knows there are things we can do, baby, just me and you. Come on and make it hurt

CHORUS:
I_____V______I___________________V
hurt so good. Come on baby, make it hurt so good.
IV________vi_______IV____________________________V_____I
Sometimes love don't feel like it should. You make it . . . hurt so good.


(you're welcome) Laughing
If you really wanna try it, here's a little hintt: Key of A
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