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Topic: How Do You Know What Key You Are In?
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AuthorTopic:   How Do You Know What Key You Are In?
Anonymous
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posted: 5/25/2005 at 11:30:13 PM ET
I need to figure it out and i am very confused. Please, someone explain it to me

wonderflute
Registered User

From:
Mississippi

Registered:
7/2/2004
posted: 5/26/2005 at 1:57:13 AM ET
Well, first you have to memorize your scales, and memorize their key signatures. Such as the eb scale has eb,Bb, and Ab. Once you have memorized your scales, you have to get use to things like when a song looks like it's in the key of c(all natural), but it's really in the key of A minor. You can't really just look at the key signature written at the beginning all the time because there might be accidentals in there that make it minor or diminished or something. Sorry if I bored you , and I hope that answers your question.

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TheHornSupremacy
Registered User

Registered:
11/17/2004
posted: 5/26/2005 at 9:55:29 AM ET
The first step to knowing what key you're in is knowing how to read the key signatures. Wonderflute's explanation of Eb is an example of the trick used in determining key signatures. But, as he/she mentioned, it only works with major keys.

The progression of flats in key signatures is always: B E A D G C F. So, if a song's key signature has five flats, that means that B, E, A, D, and G will always be flat in that song (barring accidentals). To determine the key when there are flats in the key signature, you always look at the next to last flat. In this case, it is D, so we know we are in the key of Db.

The progression of sharps in key signatures is always: F C G D A E B. So, if a song's key signature has five sharps, that means that F, C, G, D, and A will always be sharp in that song (barring accidentals). To determine the key when there are sharps in the key signature, you always look at the last sharp. In this case, it is A. From here you go up one whole step, so we know we are in the key of B.

The only exception to these rules are the keys of C and F. You just have to memorize that C has no sharps or flats, and that F has one flat.

Fo minor keys, the first thing you should notice is that the song itself sounds different - it sounds much more sad or somber. As far as figuring out the key, it's a little harder, and I don't know that there is a trick like with the major keys to figure it out easily without memorizing all of them. Every major key has a relative minor key, and that's probably the easiest way to memorize it. As Wonderflute said, the relative minor key of Cmaj is Amin. So, the major key of C has the same number of sharps and flats as the minor key of A. If you do a google on "minor keys" or "relative minor", you should be able to find a few websites that will list out all the major and minor keys and their relations.

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