Welcome!
Just a few a ground rules first...

Promotion, advertising and link building is not permitted.

If you are keen to learn, get to grips with something with the willing help of one of the net's original musician forums
or possess a genuine willingness to contribute knowledge - you've come to the right place!

Register >

- Close -
Results 1 to 8 of 8

Thread: arpeggio key indentification

  1. #1
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Posts
    86

    arpeggio key indentification

    How do you identify what key an arpeggio is in? heres an example... I found this by ear and i like how its sounds, but how do I figure out what key its in?

    Code:
    -----------------------
    ----8----6-------------
    --------------7--------
    -------------------9---
    -----------------------
    -----------------------

  2. #2
    Registered User Malcolm's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2004
    Location
    Deep East Texas Piney Woods
    Posts
    3,145
    .....but how do I figure out what key its in?
    First figure what notes you have. G, F, D, B

    Next figure what chord those notes make. G, B, D, is a G chord and the F is the flatted seventh so you have a G7 arpeggio.

    Next what key has a G7 chord? The key of C is the obvious choice as G7 is the dominant seventh chord in the key of C (C, F, G7).

    However, as people hang sevenths just about anywhere that G7 could belong in the key of G ( G7, C7, D7) or even the key of D (D7, G7, A7).

    But my first choice is the key of C.
    Last edited by Malcolm; 06-22-2008 at 02:47 AM.

  3. #3
    Registered User Revenant's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Norway
    Posts
    170
    To learn how it WORKS and to be able to use it musically, you need to know the five shapes of the tonal center (key, not scale!) and locate all diatonic arpeggios inside it. Being able to quote any arpeggio on reflex will help you use them effectively to play the changes.

    Violinists have standardized fingerings. You can put together as many as you want, give them the same piece of music and they will all use the same fingerings.

    Put together a bunch of guitarists, have them sight read the same piece and you will see many different approaches.
    I hope this lights up improvisation on the guitar, and also the common use of arpeggios.
    There are no strict rules in music, but these are quite good guidelines.

    I went a bit off topic here with the fingering rant, but I really wanted to make a point. Give it a try, learn the five shapes of the tonal center and work out the diatonic arpeggios inside them. It is very rewarding once you know it.
    The Young Apprentice

  4. #4
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Posts
    86
    I figured out what notes they were but got stuck there... on step 2 "find out what chord these notes make"... would you be so kind to teach me how to do that? thanks!

  5. #5
    Registered User Malcolm's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2004
    Location
    Deep East Texas Piney Woods
    Posts
    3,145
    Sure, after awhile you will just know how to "spell" the most used chords. I knew that G B D is the G chord so that other note had to be an extension and it turned out to be the flatted seventh which made that G7.

    Here is the logic behind all this.

    Major chords are made from the 1, 3 and 5 notes of the scale.
    Scale interval 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8
    C Scale is..... C, D, E, F, G, A, B, C so the C major chord is made from the C E and G notes all sounded at the same time.

    To make a Cm (C minor) chord you flat the 3rd - so a Cm chord is made from the C Eb G notes all sounded at the same time.

    Here is a chord formula chart.
    http://www.smithfowler.org/music/Chord_Formulas.htm

    Helps if you also know which scales have what notes, i.e. what sharps and flats as that also enters into the formula you will use to make the chord.

    For example

    E scale is E, F#, G#, A, B, C#, D#, E

    So the E Major chord would use the E, G# and B notes and the Em chord would use the E, G and B notes --- remember you flat the 3rd to make a chord minor.

    This may come in handy:
    http://www.looknohands.com/chordhous.../index_db.html

    Have fun.
    Last edited by Malcolm; 06-23-2008 at 11:46 PM.

  6. #6
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Posts
    86
    I know how to create chords, and I know basic theory but I am struggling with identifyign a chord I know nothing about other than the notes. I know the 1, 3, and 5.

    Thing is... how do I know which of the notes in the chord is the tonic? I mean it could be an inversion? could it not? which would screw the whole thing over if it was?

    So what do you do, check all 12 keys, and see which one the notes fit into?

  7. #7
    Registered User Malcolm's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2004
    Location
    Deep East Texas Piney Woods
    Posts
    3,145
    Yes inversions will be harder to recognize, however like I said you will get to where you will recognize that certain combinations make certain chords. The note order you gave in the OP was an inversion, however I recognized the G chord right off.

    C E G will always be a C chord no mater what order the notes may be in.
    G B D will always be a G chord
    F A C will always be the F chord, etc.

    There are certain giveaways -- if you see an F chord it will be in the C scale, F scale or Bb scale. Any other scale will use the F# or Fm chord.

    The dominant seventh chord is another giveaway. G7 goes with C scale, D7 goes with G scale, etc.

    What chord or note does the piece end with. If several verses end with the same note or chord you are pretty safe in assuming that is the tonic note or chord.

    And yes other than recognizing these little giveaways you list all the chords or notes (which ever one you are trying to identify) in alphabetical order cross out all duplications and then cross out all the chord extensions (take the chord back to the basic major or minor) and see which scale or key they ALL fit into. Not some, ALL.

    Sometime its easy and then other times it is not. Most of the time checking the last note or chord in the verse will point you to a scale / key and then to make sure see if all the other notes or chords fit into the scale / key you thought it may be.

    Then there are always those out of scale / key passing notes you have to flip the coin over.

    I don't think there is an exact fool proof way of doing what you asked. There are just too many variables.
    Last edited by Malcolm; 06-24-2008 at 03:43 AM.

  8. #8
    Registered User JonR's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2002
    Location
    Twickenham, UK
    Posts
    4,959
    Quote Originally Posted by Devon8822
    I know how to create chords, and I know basic theory but I am struggling with identifyign a chord I know nothing about other than the notes. I know the 1, 3, and 5.

    Thing is... how do I know which of the notes in the chord is the tonic? I mean it could be an inversion? could it not? which would screw the whole thing over if it was?

    So what do you do, check all 12 keys, and see which one the notes fit into?
    More or less, yes. But once you get more familiar with the system, you'll start to see there's only a few possibilities. Eg, for any major or minor triad, there are only three keys it might fit. (For a diminished triad, there is only one.)
    But the "tonic" is not necessarily any of the notes in the chord.

    Eg, a Dm chord (D-F-A) could belong to the keys of C major, F major or Bb major - because those keys all contain the requisite 3 notes.

    So you could say, for a minor chord, the key it's in is either the 3rd of the chord (F in this case), or a whole step below the root (C), or a half-step above the 5th (Bb).

    For a major chord (say, A), the key is either the root, the 5th (E) or a half-step above the 3rd (D). (Those 3 keys each contain all the chord tones, A-C#-E.)

    For a diminished triad (if you ever see one) the keynote is a half-step above the root.

    But this is just for MAJOR keys! Minor keys are a little more complicated...


    I suggest you get more familiar with the scales for the most common guitar keys (C, G, D, A, E) and don't worry about being able to identify the key for a single given chord.
    In any practical situation (eg a song), you will have a group of at least 2 chords, which will narrow the possibilities down a lot more. (Groups of chords tend to share a key - you very rarely get groups of chords where they're in different keys.)

Similar Threads

  1. naming a key in a progression..
    By Jeansen in forum Getting Started
    Replies: 45
    Last Post: 09-19-2007, 02:44 AM
  2. Relative Minor Key Question?
    By dwest2419 in forum Music Theory
    Replies: 10
    Last Post: 08-20-2007, 10:32 AM
  3. What KEYS can u get with the Capo
    By brent in forum Guitar Technique
    Replies: 15
    Last Post: 03-24-2007, 08:34 AM
  4. changing keys...
    By Asperjames II in forum Music Theory
    Replies: 19
    Last Post: 03-28-2005, 04:43 PM

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •