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Thread: Music keys

  1. #1
    TheConeZone Terrafirma's Avatar
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    Music keys

    What does mean when thay say a songs key is C or D or whatever? Are they talking about the scales??

  2. #2
    ,.¤oOo¤., theox's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Terrafirma
    What does mean when thay say a songs key is C or D or whatever? Are they talking about the scales??
    Try reading this for starters:

    http://www.ibreathemusic.com/article/126

  3. #3
    Afro-Cuban Grunge-Pop Bongo Boy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Terrafirma
    What does mean when thay say a songs key is C or D or whatever? Are they talking about the scales??
    Sort of. My opinion is that it means two things. First, that 'most' of the notes in the song are taken from a particular scale. This is very subjective. Second, I think it also means that there is a sense of a 'grounded', 'rested' or 'resolved' that has to do with the nature of the scale being used.

    Two phrases are common. We say the tune is "in C" or "in the key of C", and that means C major (or whatever). If it's in a minor key, then I think it's common to state that explicitly, as "in A minor".

    In major keys (all 12 of them), the 1st, 3rd and 5th tones of the scale are considered resting or resolved. The 2nd and 6th tones are said to be 'mildly active'...which I interpret to mean our ears/brains make us feel a mild need to have them 'resolve'. The 4th and 7th are said to be 'strongly active'; that is, we feel a strong need to resolve these tones.

    So...this all relates to the scale being used as the main source of notes for a tune. The key a song is in says something about what tones feel like something has yet to be done, and which notes make us feel like things are complete and 'okay'.

    For an amusing historical perspective on the moods allegedly fostered by various keys, take a few minutes to read this stuff:

    http://www.library.yale.edu/~mkoth/keychar.htm
    Last edited by Bongo Boy; 07-14-2004 at 04:12 AM.
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  4. #4
    Registered User Malcolm's Avatar
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    When they say; ..." a songs key is C or D or whatever? Are they talking about the scales??"

    As Bongo said, "sorta" we tend to use both words - scales and keys as if they mean the same thing - they really do not.

    As you phrased your question above --- a songs key is C or D ---- Is telling you to use the D scales for single note work and use the Key of D for your chord work. The two are different. For example:

    D scale = D,E,F#,G,A,B,C#,D all single notes.

    Key of D = D, Em, F#m, G, A, Bm, C#m7b5, D all chords.

    Let's suppose they say....... It's in D.

    The rhythm guys know to use the above chords
    and the lead guitar knows to grab his solo riffs from the D scale (single note).

  5. #5
    TheConeZone Terrafirma's Avatar
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    Thanks that helps

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    Resident Curmudgeon szulc's Avatar
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    This is not the whole story as you can be in D without it being D major or D minor. In the case of modes D Dorian or D Locrian, D Blues etc...
    "Listen to the Spaces Between the sounds."
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