Please explain!

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The Dimery
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Please explain!

Post by The Dimery » July 22nd, 2014, 10:58 am

Hi guys, i'm told this is in the key of A

e 5----------------
b 5----------------
g --7-4 -5
d --7-5- 6- 6
a ----------7

This uses the notes A, C, C#, D, D#, E and F#.
Im confused as to why this is the key of A, it doesnt seem to relate to the A major scale.
Thnak you in advance!

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Alan Green
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Re: Please explain!

Post by Alan Green » July 22nd, 2014, 10:07 pm

Some of your notes are incorrect.

From the top:

e 5---------------- - so that's A
b 5---------------- - so that's E
g --7-4 -5 - which are B (4th fret) C (5th) and D
d --7-5- 6- 6 - which are G (5th fret) G# (6th) and A
a ----------7 - and that's E

Put them together - A, E, B, C, D, G, G#, A, E and strip out the duplicates to leave A, E, B, C, D, G, G#.

Put them in order - A, B, C, D, E, G, G#.

There's no F, and the G is out of sync,, but the rest of those notes line up nicely into A minor.
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Re: Please explain!

Post by NoteBoat » July 27th, 2014, 2:26 am

"Key" can mean several different things.

1. It can mean the set of sharps or flats that are used (the "key signature"). There are 12 pitches in an octave, but because some can be written in more than one way, there are 15 different key signatures.

All sharp key signatures have an F# in them. All key signatures with a G# also have a C# in them. Since your example has no F, a C natural, and both a G# and a G natural, your key signature is C (no sharps or flats) and the G# notes are "accidentals" - notes that are only changed for a bit.

2. It can mean the root note of the scale you're using. As Alan pointed out, you're probably in A minor. You could just say you're "in A minor", or you can be more specific, because there's more than one minor scale.

The A harmonic minor scale has G# in it. The A melodic minor scale can have G# or G natural, and it can have F# or F natural. You're probably in one of those scales.

3. It can mean the chord progression of the song. Most tunes use some pretty standard chord progressions - if you're doing a blues tune, you'll use mostly I, IV, and V chords. Those would be chords built on the 1st, 4th, and 5th notes of the major scale - in the key of A the chords would be A, D, and E (or E7).

Musicians use the term "key" pretty loosely, so it's not always clear what they mean. Your example looks like a riff in A minor, which has the key signature of C, and it's probably played over an E or E7 chord (the V chord). An E or E7 has a G# note in the chord, and you end on an E, which would be the root of the chord.

So you probably have a chord progresion in A major, a melody in A minor, and if you transcribed it into standard notation you'd have a key signature of C.
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