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key sig and major/minor question

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(@antny)
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Joined: 21 years ago
Posts: 69
Topic starter  

sorry to ask such a basic question. i'm sure it's been covered but i don't see it so here goes.

i'm trying to break songs down so i know what is going on harmonicaly in ordere to try and break away from playing mindless pentatonic licks. in order to see all the chords and tones available i'm starting obviously with the key and going from there.

take an easy song like "i could have lied" by the red hot chili peppers. there are two keys. the first is denoted by 2 sharps (D ) riff is Bm, A, Gmaj7. the next riff in the same key is B, D, Aadd9, G6

the chorus changes keys to 1sharp (G) and goes Em,G,D,C

this song is a sad song and screams b minor and e minor which are obviously the relative keys but why is notated as d and g?

i'm having trouble asking the question here. in regards to chord construction and scale tonality can you build everything off the minor scales or do i have to use the major relatives and go from there?

i guess i will be able to ask better once i here a response. thanks for any help.


   
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(@noteboat)
Illustrious Member
Joined: 21 years ago
Posts: 4921
 

Key signatures are used to tell you what notes are consistently sharp/flat. They don't actually tell you what "key" the song is in.

More than one key can use the same key signature; both G major and E minor consistently have the F notes sharped. To avoid cluttering up the score with lots of accidentals, we put the F# in the key signature. If the song is in E minor, you may have other sharps (D# fairly often, C# sometimes), but they don't happen as often.

So use the key signature as a guide to narrow things down, but not as a sure sign of "key".

Guitar teacher offering lessons in Plainfield IL


   
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(@antny)
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Joined: 21 years ago
Posts: 69
Topic starter  

ok. so in the case of the example i gave. son is in b minor and modulates to e minor. if i want to build chords do i use the minor or relative major or are they interchangeable?

like i have a very modest understanding of building chords i.e stacking thirds but when a song is in a minor key am i using the natural minor scale and stacking thirds? thank you


   
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