## Determining Key?

### Determining Key?

How do you determine what key a song is in? I googled and found:

http://www.guitarists.net/lessons/view. ... music.html

But looking at the 12 keys, I'm confused. What about a song like 'Monkey & The Engineer' which has 2 chords from the key of A, D and G. So how do you determine which key Monkey is in?

Thanks.

jck_strw
Senior Member

Posts: 950
Joined: Wed May 12, 2004 5:23 pm

### song key

I have had problems with that too,, but most of the time the chord that starts or ends the song is a good place to start
mandodave

Yeah, I usually just assume it's the first chord of the song, but that seems like cheating. There must be a rule or guideline to follow. Alas, I shall remain unenlightened...

jck_strw
Senior Member

Posts: 950
Joined: Wed May 12, 2004 5:23 pm

unless a song remains in a certain key throughout the entire song....the key its in changes. monkey and the engineer is in the key of a but im sure u know it switches to c at certain points in the song. so, if u were playing a lead over it you would need to change your lead to match the key (chord) changes in the song....i think. isnt there a guitar teacher in the house?
freindlyfred

unless a song remains in a certain key throughout the entire song....the key its in changes. monkey and the engineer is in the key of a but im sure u know it switches to c at certain points in the song. so, if u were playing a lead over it you would need to change your lead to match the key (chord) changes in the song....i think. isnt there a guitar teacher in the house?
freindlyfred

### This is how to work out the key

There are 12 notes in music: A, A#, B, C, C#, D, D# E, F, F#, G, G#

#-Sharpe. Or instead of putting # there you could put a b so for example it would be Ab, b means flat.

A, B, C, D, E, F, G- Are all natural notes, they are the white keys on a piano.

You will need to get a diagram of the notes of the fretboard. You can find them on the internet, the diagram of what the notes are and where they are.

So to work out the key you need to take all those notes from each chord in the song, a chord is useally made up of 3 notes, so take all those notes and write them down, don't write the same ones out twice, just all the different ones. When I say notes I mean when you form a chord the notes are what you are playing on the fretboard so again look at your fretboard chart and see what the notes are. So for example for the chord of A played its in normal open posistion the notes are: E, A and C#.

Once you have them all written out you need to find what scale they match up to, now what it fits it what key it will be in...the starting note or root note.

Now the pattern of gaps for the Major Scale is TTSTTTS and for the Minor Scale it is TSTTSTT, now if you look at both of those the all the Mior scale is doing different is starting on the 6th notes of the Major scale.

Right now T- means Tone and S- means Semitone. T= 1 Fret on the board and S= 2 Frets on the board.

So now you know all that you can take your notes and try to match them up the notes by looking at the 12 notes and trying all different starting places till you find the correct place which has the right pattern of gaps, once you have the correct sequence that compares correctly with either the Major pattern of gaps or Minor. Always look for Major first.

Once they match up, the starting note will be the scale and the key.

When you have all the notes you can also work out what the chords can be. So for example we have notes that make up the key of C major (a very commen key) You can work out what the available chords are.

This you must remember:

The first chord is always MAJOR
2nd is always MINOR
3rd is always MINOR
4th is always MAJOR
5th is always MAJOR
6th is always MINOR
7th is always DIMINSHED

So for the Key of C Major our chords are C, Dm, Em, F, G, Am, Bdim

I hope that is a help to anyone. If not say so and il see if I can explain any better.

Guest

### Is this a help to anyone?

Is what I explained above a help in any way to anyone?? Let me know.

Guest

### Re: This is how to work out the key

Guest wrote:

This you must remember:

The first chord is always MAJOR
2nd is always MINOR
3rd is always MINOR
4th is always MAJOR
5th is always MAJOR
6th is always MINOR
7th is always DIMINSHED

So for the Key of C Major our chords are C, Dm, Em, F, G, Am, Bdim

cool so this works with any major key? is E major's chords(wow grammar police) E, Fm, Gm, A, B, Cm, Ddim?

also if you could easily describe the slight of hand way to make any A shape chord diminished and E shaped (barre chords) that would be helpful as well, thanks a lot no name. good stuff.
"wonder who will water all the children of the garden when they sigh about the barren lack of rain and droop so hungry 'neath the sky, ahhhh -ayyyy"
the11
Wall of Sound

Posts: 10
Joined: Thu May 13, 2004 11:40 am

Yes that works with any major key. I mean those are just the rules, if something sounds good that you create or write it dosen't matter at all if it dosen't comply with those rules. But those are something that it helps to know and remember. And it's handy to have knowlage of these things when then playing with other people.

The chords for see E major would be E, F#, G#, A, B, C#m and D#dim. You were correct but you forgot the #. That means sharpe. Another way of making sharpe means take the normal shape of the chord in question and move it up a couple of frets and barre it. That won't be possible for chords like G which cannot be barred in it's original posistion so you need to work out the notes and where they would fit. But thats going off the track a little bit!

Another great way to work out the chords for a certain key is like this, write out the 12 notes:

A, A#, B, C, C#, D, D#, E, F, F#, G, G# - Those are the 12 notes, now if we keep in mind that the pattern of gaps in the Major scale is TTSTTTS and TSTTSTT for the Minor. T= One fret of the Guitar and S= Two frets on the Guitar.

So you have those 12 notes written down, take a pencil and put a tick under the starting note for example C, then using the TTSTTTS or TSTTSTT write a tick under each note they fall on till you get all the way back round and you then have the 7 notes within that key and scale so then make them into chords.

Is is that any help to you?? Sorry if its a bit complicated!

I've called myself Guest by mistake, becasue I hadn't registered I thought I had to use the name Guest when posting a message.!! So il just keep it at that for now so people know its me!!

This is a great site by the way, Ive learned so much off here. I hope I can help some others too in these forums.

Guest

Sorry the11 I forgot your other question.

An E chord which is barred can be played up on the 7th fret, if you barre the 7th fret and play 2,3 and 4th strings on the 9th fret that would be another way of playing E but barred. It would give a nice full sound.

I'm not too sure about the other chord, the A#dim. I don't know how to play that. Id have to work it out. Sorry.
Guest

Guest

Thanks for taking the time to explain this. This is a lot of really good information and it will take me awhile to digest it. But from a couple of quick readings, it makes sense.

It's like trying to understand arithmetic according to the "rules". After awhile, the rules become innate and you just _do_ arithmetic.

Thanks again for the explanation.

jck_strw
Senior Member

Posts: 950
Joined: Wed May 12, 2004 5:23 pm

### Diminished chords

Guest wrote:I'm not too sure about the other chord, the A#dim. I don't know how to play that. Id have to work it out. Sorry.

Not to add to the confusion, but the coolest thing about diminished chords, is that there's only three of them(!).

To start, the basic pattern is

E--3--
B--2--
G--3--
D--2--
A--x--
E--x--

This is C#/E/G/Bb diminished. Half a step down (2121) is C/Eb/F#/A dim, half a step up (4343) is D/F/Ab/B dim. The reason there's only 3 is mathematical; there's 3 half steps between all the notes in the chord - another 3 steps up and you're back where you started - 4 equally spaced notes times 3 chords = 12 tones.

The same follows with moving the whole chord block 3 steps up; 6565 is the same as chord as 3232.

Diminished chords are often used off the #IV, before returning to the I. The change
I IV7 #IVdim I

simply involves moving the root (bass) of the IV chord up a half step to get to the diminished chord.

All set?
Ken Boswell

The trouble usually is, however, that most rock musicians are devoid of any theory. I get into trouble when playing with some guys. I assume the key of the song follows the theory as outlined by guest above. Most rock players will call it the first chord.
It is further complicated when playing Grateful Dead music. They hardly ever follow the rules.
For example, what key is I know you rider in? D, C, G tells me that it is in G. but the chorus is C, F, em, (or G) D That tells me that it is in C. Except for the D.
So I suppose it is in both keys. But ask a rock player and he will say D.
Information is not knowledge. Knowledge is not wisdom. Wisdom is not beauty. Beauty is not love. Love is not music. Music is the best.- the girl from the bus
jahozer
Bobby

Posts: 359
Joined: Tue Sep 14, 2004 2:09 pm

Ah, D, but there in lies the rub. If in I Know You Rider, the beginning chords are D, C, and G, I would call it the key of G, not D, d.
Perhaps you meant to say G and not D... d. But many players would say it is in D. I would argue with them, however.
You are absolutely correct about the use and sometimes overuse of the whole step key modulation. A great example of it done well is the dramatic climb from G to A at the end of Bobby's version of Masterpiece.
There is a hilarious (well hilarious to us music geeks) website called The Truck Drivers Hall of Shame. It lists all the songs they can think of in which a song should be, by all rights, over but then changes keys like a semi downshifting its load.
Check it out.

http://www.gearchange.org/index.asp
Guest

^^^^^^^
Wooops, that was me.
Information is not knowledge. Knowledge is not wisdom. Wisdom is not beauty. Beauty is not love. Love is not music. Music is the best.- the girl from the bus
jahozer
Bobby

Posts: 359
Joined: Tue Sep 14, 2004 2:09 pm

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