root note - key note - start note ????

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soundcheck
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root note - key note - start note ????

Post by soundcheck » November 6th, 2015, 2:51 pm

Hi
I am learning to play guitar and try to get more into music theory, but I get confused about the meaning of these words.
What is the correct meaning / difference of
1. Root note
2. Key note
3. Start note

Many people uses them in different ways ?!
Hopefully someone get give me an explanation

:?:
thanx
jo

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Re: root note - key note - start note ????

Post by Alan Green » November 7th, 2015, 12:58 am

Root note - The starting point of your chord. It's the "C" in Cm7b5, for example.

Key note - presumably that means the tonic - the starting point (and end point) of your scale. It's the "C" in a scale of C.

Start note - dunno; some old rubbish, I guess. Probably refers to the first note in a sequence, riff or tune.

There shouldn't be any variation in usage Do let us know if you have any more.
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Re: root note - key note - start note ????

Post by soundcheck » November 8th, 2015, 2:18 am

Hi,
Thanx for the answer. but still I am not clear with it.

When I have for example a Dorian diatonic starting with D,
I know it belongs to C-Major or to A-Minor.
But in this case, what is the name for the starting note D?

Is the D called "root note" or "key note" or both?

What is the name for the note C in this example, because the C note is the first note of the Major scale belonging to the Dorian diatonic starting with D. Is this called "root note" here or "key note" of the Dorian scale too or is there an other name for this tone?

I hope my question is clear?
Maybe somebody can help me :D

Thanx
jo

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Re: root note - key note - start note ????

Post by dhodge » November 8th, 2015, 6:34 am

Hi Jo

Most (meaning nearly all) musicians don't use the term "key note" because keys imply tonality and not a single note. That's why "root note" is essentially the only term you need for the examples you're using.

D Dorian is a scale and since D is the first note, D would be the root note. In this specific scale, C would be the seventh because that's its place in the scale:

D E F G A B C

D minor would be the tonal center, what you're currently thinking of as a "key note."

I hope this helps. Do check out any of the numerous articles here at Guitar Noise if you want more help with this. This one might be a good starting place:

http://www.guitarnoise.com/lessons/a-la-modal/

Peace

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Re: root note - key note - start note ????

Post by NoteBoat » November 8th, 2015, 11:52 am

Jo, music theory has a precise technical language - but there's also a commonly used slang which is a lot fuzzier. The two can be confusing sometimes, because the slang can differ from the precise term.

"Root", strictly speaking, is the basis for building a chord. We need a term for that because the lowest note of a chord (the "bass") isn't always the same as the starting note. Many musicians, including myself, will sometimes use the term 'root' to describe the starting point of other things in music, like the starting note of a scale, even though there's a more precise term: tonic. Strictly speaking, scales have tonics, and chords have roots.

As David points out, hardly anyone uses "key note", but when it's used it's a synonym for tonic. Hardly anyone uses the term "start note" either, because you could be talking about a tonic, a root, or something else... for example, if you play "Happy Birthday" in the key of C, your 'start note' would be G, which isn't the tonic or the root of the first chord (both of those would be C).

Confusion can happen when technical terms are used as slang, because the technical term might mean a different thing. A Dm chord has a root of D, but the tonic could be D (in the key of Dm), or something else. It might not even appear in the chord - a Dm chord can be used in the key of C major, where D is the root of the chord and C is the tonic of the scale.

The note C appears in the D Dorian scale (or "mode"). But seven scales each share exactly the same notes - you use the same sounds to create C major as you do D Dorian. These scales are said to be "related" because they share the exact same pitches.

The related scales all sound different, because they have different tonics. The tonic of D Dorian is D, but it can be viewed as being "related" to a C major scale. There's no commonly used name for a C note in a D Dorian scale, but there are two technical terms that could be used in music theory: degree or subtonic. Degree is simply the position number a letter name takes in a scale: D is the second degree of C major, or the fifth degree of F major, or the seventh degree of D Dorian. The term subtonic is a little bit more precise: it's used to describe a seventh degree that's a whole step below a tonic. If it's a half step below the tonic, the term used is "leading tone" - so if you have a tonic of D, C is the subtonic, and C# is the leading tone.
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Re: root note - key note - start note ????

Post by soundcheck » November 10th, 2015, 2:16 am

thanx a lot
your answers brought light to the darkness.

jo

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