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Choosing a key

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Reputable Member
Joined: 21 years ago
Posts: 280
Topic starter  

Any advice on how to decide what key to write a song in?

Prominent Member
Joined: 18 years ago
Posts: 973

If you're going to be singing it yourself, choose a key in which the highest and lowest notes won't exceed your vocal range. If it's guitar based, depending on your level of ability, choose a key that won't have you struggling with difficult barre chords - or else use a capo.

Famed Member
Joined: 17 years ago
Posts: 2241

if its a sad song, use Dminor, its the saddest of all keys. If you want to be pretentious, try Eb major, it worked for Beethoven.

Ra Er Ga.

Ninjazz have SuperChops.

Illustrious Member
Joined: 20 years ago
Posts: 10264

if you've got a melody in your head, put chords to the melody - they don't have to be anything special, just a couple or three chords. Then try singing along to it - if it's in the wrong key, move ALL the chords up a semitone at a time until you find a key you're comfortable in. THEN try adding different chords in that key....

Say you're thinking G C and D. Too low for your voice. forget Ab - all barres. try A D and E....then keep moving through the scales till you find something that fits.

I find, when I'm writing music to fit lyrics, I always start for some reason in A - A, D, E and F# seem pretty easy to me. I can play a bluesshuffle - A, A5, A6, A, D, D5, D6, D, E, E5, E6, E - pretty easily using open chords. Then I'll try and do the same shuffle in D - I have to move way up the neck to get it right. so I'll compromise - maybe do the song in E, lower vocal register, easier E - A - B shuffle......

It's all about compromise - if you find the right key for your voice, but you can't play the I IV V on guitar, try starting with the IV or the V as the root, or the base chord....

:D :D :D


"Sometimes the beauty of music can help us all find strength to deal with all the curves life can throw us." (D. Hodge.)