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A fun song I just heard - what key?

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Noble Member
Joined: 22 years ago
Posts: 1735
Topic starter  

What is the key?

God I love music. I go to the library a couple of times a week to get a dozen CD to peruse. I came across a song called "Back Against The Wall" by Cage The Elephant. I love how it starts mellow, gets heavier in the prechorus then nice punch in the chorus.

Anyway you'll notice they list the progression as

Ab 466544
F# 244322
F#(9) x9,11,11,11,9 (A shape, ninth fret.)
B 799877 (E shape, seventh fret)
B x24442
C# x46664

I dislike they used sharps and flats in the description so I'll rewrite it as either Ab Gb B Db (or G# F# B C#). I'm going to go with flats and guess the key is Gb:
Key number - Note
1 - Gb
2 - Ab (should be Abm but they substitue a major)
3 -
4 - B
5 - Db
6 -
7 -

Anyone want to guess the key and explain why? :?:

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Illustrious Member
Joined: 21 years ago
Posts: 5840

I would suggest F#.

Ab mixed in with sharps is rubbish. So G#

It can't be any of the flat keys, because there is no Bb.

It can't be F or C - F has a flat, C has neither flats nor sharps.There's a G#, so not G or D.

That leaves A, E, B, F# and C#.

C# has a B#, so that's out.

It's not A or E - there's not a single root chord for those keys.

So that leaves B or F#. B would be a I, II, V, VI. F# would be I, II, IV, V.

Neither is harmonised (ii & vi should be minor), but F# just seems a better fit, somehow.

Then, again, I may be totally drunk............................. :oops:

I started with nothing - and I've still got most of it left.
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Famed Member
Joined: 17 years ago
Posts: 2717

If you raised all the notes half a step (and change the key)

The sequence would be A, G, G, C, C, D

What key would that be in?

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Illustrious Member
Joined: 21 years ago
Posts: 4921

Dennis, sometimes you can go nuts trying to force music into a major/minor framework.

If you want a key signature, I'd be with Greybeard - F# is the easiest key to note the chords. If you want the scale that's being used, don't get distracted by the chords - instead, listen to the pitches in the melody. (It sounds like G#m to me)

If you want a logical analysis of the chord progression, you're up a creek - it's not a "progression" (because there is no tension/release), so you can't fit it into the standard models of harmony, which center around cadences. This is more like fixed organum... a very simplistic way to harmonize things used up until around the 9th century.

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