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king without a crown


(@antny)
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Joined: 19 years ago
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Topic starter  

this song has two riffs

Fm Eb Bb Cm

and Ab Cm Bb Ab Cm Fm

also there is a g chord thrown in but i believe that is just used as a passing chord in a half step lead up to Ab every other measure

i get the key of Eb when i look at the notes but is this correct and is it common for the featured key's chord to be so minimaly present in a song.

i understand that I chord of a key doesnt have to present like in janes says where the riff G to A is the IV and V of D major. but is this correct.

also how does the presence of 7th chords and the 7th degree affect figuring a progressions key?


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(@antny)
Trusted Member
Joined: 19 years ago
Posts: 69
Topic starter  

anyone? i know this is basic to some but im trying to learn theory in an interesting way by understanding the theory behind the song. sny info would be appreciated


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(@fretsource)
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Joined: 16 years ago
Posts: 974
 

The key chord is whichever of those chords sounds and feels most 'resolved'. In theory, any one of those chords could be the key chord. Without hearing it, the most likely contender is Eb, as all of those chords fit nicely within the scale and key of Eb major. However, the others could also be considered as the key chord, although the mode wouldn't be a straightforward major mode in that case.
If C m is the key then the G major chord that you mentioned as being thrown in would be more important than you gave it credit for as its note, B, would be the leading note of that key (from C harmonic minor scale). If its followed by C minor then its even more likey that that could be the key. The absence of 7th chords make the idea of key a bit vague and possibly the need to know what the key is was the last thing on the writer's mind - they just liked the way the chords flowed well together.
But the bottom line is that the key chord of any song or section of a song is the one that SOUNDS like the key chord. If none of them sounds like the key chord, then the key isn't well established and is probably unimportant in that context.


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(@antny)
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Joined: 19 years ago
Posts: 69
Topic starter  

thanks for the reply.

so progressions are stronger when they involves 7ths? i thought clear cut major and minor chords in a riff like this spoke to a specific scale or key while 5th chords and sus chords were often considered the "songs without strong key centers".


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(@fretsource)
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Joined: 16 years ago
Posts: 974
 

It depends on how they are used. Progressions are stronger when they involve clear cut cadences, such as the V7 - I (Dominant 7th - Tonic) progression at the end of a phrase. When you hear the V7 chord (i.e., the 7th chord built on the 5th scale degree) in such a cadence, it contains a dissonant interval which requires resolution. When it's followed by the I chord it makes the I chord sound resolved and gives it a strong feeling of having arrived 'home'. This, traditionally, is the strongest indicator of the key. Without the 7th it can still work, although a bit less decisively. When you have the (b)7th on any other scale degree chord its natural resolution will be to some chord other than the I chord, which weakens the I chord's position as the key centre.
This isn't a bad thing. It's common for songs to add tonal variety by changing the key focus through the use of so called secondary dominant 7ths or other dissonant chords - what Kingpatzer refers to as 'the key of the moment'.

Sus chords and 5th chords don't necessarily weaken the key centre. Sus chords usually resolve to the major or minor chord built on the same root, so there's no misleading harmonic movement there, and 5th chords are usually heard as implied majors or minors, depending on which scale degree they occur.


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(@antny)
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Joined: 19 years ago
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i really appreciate your input. forgive me for all the questions. im sure i'll have more as i play with this some more


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