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Dumb Question...

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by bassist 4 life, Jan 13, 2006.

  1. Hey, excuse my stupidness but, how do I know which key I'm in?
  2. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    ...by analysing the chord sequence and how it resolves.
  3. Howard K

    Howard K

    Feb 14, 2002
    you just do :eyebrow:

    sorry, only joking. this question has been asked and answered in great depth numerous times on TB, if you search you should find a lot of helpful information.

    In short, and to summarise, the key your're in is the root note and quality of the chord the music naturally wants to end on. If your song moves towards and 'feels like home' when it hits a G minor chord, then you are very probably in the key of G minor.
  4. So if the lick im playing goes like this AbAbAbCCAA
    I'm in the key of Ab?
  5. Howard K

    Howard K

    Feb 14, 2002
    I have no idea. Like I said, it depends where it feels like it's going? If Ab feels like where it should rest, chances are it's in Ab.
  6. Mmhmm... For example, if I throw in any lick that starts with Ab and it will go along smoothly with AbAbAbCCAA does this mean im in Ab :p?
  7. BassChuck


    Nov 15, 2005
    Or..... if you think of the Ab as G#, then you are in A minor
  8. huh ?:eyebrow: :crying:
  9. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    You don't have to be in any particular key - many rock/pop things are ambiguous about key and it's really impossible to say.

    If you don't intend to play in any key - then it's pretty easy to play random notes that give no indication of any key.
  10. thekyle


    Dec 25, 2005
    Breckenridge, CO

    Nope. Ab (or G#) is the major 7th of A.
  11. Correct, G# is the major seveth, but you can have a major seventh in minor keys too. G# is the major 7th for A harmonic or melodic minor. That's how you can have a V7 in a minor key. E7 is used quite frequently as the dom. chord in Am. G# is a better leading tone to A than G(nat) is.

    A harmonic minor scale
    A B C D E F G# A G# F E D C B A

    melodic minor scale
    A B C D E F# G# A G F E D C B A

    But it still doesn't let us know what key he's playing in unless we know what everyone else is playing. Could be lots of keys...or none at all...

    Sorry, all those years of Therory are comming back.
  12. leanne


    May 29, 2002
    Rochester, NY
    Look at the key signature.
  13. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    Major or Minor.....? :eyebrow:
  14. ryco


    Apr 24, 2005
    Listen for the leading tone
  15. If it's written out for you, then the key signature of the piece will tell you what major or relative minor key you are in. For instance:
    - no sharps or flats = C major or A minor
    - one sharp = G major or E minor
    - one flat = F Major or D minor


    Once you know that, you can work out if you are in a major or minor mode by the feel of the notes or chord progressions in the piece. Very often the very first chord or note will give it away - it will be the root chord or note of the key. Other times the first chord/note of some key part of the song will help - first verse, chorus, coming out of a bridge, etc.

    Sometimes, it is the predominance of major vs. minor mode chords in the song - if you know the chords that make up a key it helps.

    You get the hang of it after a short while.
  16. Oh yeah Bruce, buddy their is no dumb questions. Only questions thats dumb are the ones that do not get asked.
  17. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    Eh? Are you talking to me...? :meh:
  18. Opps, sorry Bruce I ment to say it to Bassist 4 life.
  19. dougjwray


    Jul 20, 2005
    Just use your ears.
  20. d8g3jdh

    d8g3jdh Guest

    Aug 9, 2005
    someone else said this in a similar thread, but...

    ask the keyboard player!

    Thank you and goodnight!