I need help finding key signatures./merged thread

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by Nickthebassist, Oct 3, 2004.

  1. OK, I was starting to do this in my school bass lessons, but then I got expelled. It's pretty complex for me to take in, so can someone help? I'm doing this as part of my grade 6 work, but it's all very complex. Can someone justl ay out some simple rules?
  2. Aaron Saunders

    Aaron Saunders

    Apr 27, 2002
    Do a search for "Circle of Fifths", or "Cycle of Fifths". Google it, and do it on here. Also try www.cyberfretbass.com and look for the same thing. You should find what you need to know pretty quickly.

    Because we're a community that's supposed to help its members, not a group of vindictive pricks.
  3. Adam Barkley

    Adam Barkley Mayday!

    Aug 26, 2003
    Jackson, MS
    I wish I could help you with this question, but my music theory is pretty weak. I have a vague grasp on it, but to teach somebody else my meager knowledge incorrectly would be more problematic than beneficial.

    I would suggest a few sites to browse.

    Mel Bay's site
    Gary Willis' site.
    and Google searches for "music theory", "musical keys", etc.

    Hope that helps.
  4. Chris A

    Chris A Chemo sucks!

    Feb 25, 2000
    Manchester NH
    Ok kids,

    I've edited the thread. This thread is about Nick's problem with key sigs, not about Nick's behavior at TB. This is GI, not Off Topic. If you can't add anything useful to this thread don't post.

    Chris A. :rolleyes: :bassist:
  5. Aaron Saunders

    Aaron Saunders

    Apr 27, 2002
    Nick -- I found a link and e-mailed it.
  6. SlavaF


    Jul 31, 2002
    Edmonton AB
    When you have knowledge of the basic cycle of fifths theory, what I do is just listen to the song, and play scales in my head. If the notes of the scale in your head sound like they would sound right in the song, then there is a 99% chance you're right. Like for example "By The Way" by RHCP (since you like that song so much), just listen to the main funky riff. I know it's in D, and I know that the next 3 notes in the riff are C, D and F. That is characteristic of the D minor scale. With that knowledge, I play the D Dorian, Phrygian and Aeolian scales in my head, hearing the separate notes of each. By that time, you'll realize that riff is in the Aeolian (natural minor) mode. This process usually takes a couple seconds in a simple song like BTW.
  7. Thanks for the help guys, this is ceertainly pretty hard to take in. I looked on the webpage that Govithoy sent me, and it makes it a little clearer, but I don't understand the bit about the key signature being found by the second from last flat or something or other. What's that about then?
  8. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    Of course you're right - but anybody who asks for help - because they got expelled (!!!) - is certainly going to make you wonder whether it is worth replying...:meh:
  9. Adam Barkley

    Adam Barkley Mayday!

    Aug 26, 2003
    Jackson, MS
    He asked for help, that should be reason enough to help him. What do the circumstances matter. :confused:

    If you had a question that I could answer, I wouldn't hesitate to try and help; regardless.
  10. Why is it that anyone who got expelled is immediately wrong and bad and should be ignored? Don't you veer think the school might have been wrong? By not providing me with necessary support.
  11. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    Why mention it in the first place then...:meh:.. that's what I was saying...

    Also - this isn't HelpBass - this is TalkBass - the idea to me is to talk about bass - nowhere does it say that we sign up to help people, by becoming members.

    Anyway - as they say - you can only really help yourself - no matter how much people write here - if somebody is not willing to put in the practice time, then it is all for nothing....:meh:
  12. Adam Barkley

    Adam Barkley Mayday!

    Aug 26, 2003
    Jackson, MS

    I would agree with you if he posted in Off Topic or Misc, but since it was posted in General Instruction I think he wanted help not a smart remark.

    I look at it this way, if somebody asks a question I know at least a partial answer to, I will help them to the best of my ability. Poking fun at the poster accomplishes nothing, the question isn't adressed because you are to busy being smug.

    I agree with helping yourself, but some people learn best through instruction. I find music fun and enjoy teaching my knowledge as much as I enjoy learning new things. It sucks that somebody asks a question and instead of just helping him you go out of your way to belittle him.

    I'm done, that is all I have to say in response to your posts. I have read some of your page-long pissing contests with people and I am not about to get caught up in one.
  13. Marlat


    Sep 17, 2002
    London UK
    Here is some basic info regarding key signatures and their construction:


    Bruce, what value have you added to this thread at all with your rant? If you don't care or don't want to help, why waste the time posting?
  14. Oysterman


    Mar 30, 2000
    You have to admit that this particular sentence does raise a question or two...

    But whatever.
  15. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

  16. Bryan R. Tyler

    Bryan R. Tyler TalkBass: Usurping My Practice Time Since 2002 Staff Member Administrator Gold Supporting Member

    May 3, 2002
    Nick: all of the info out there is great and you should get into studying it as soon as you can, but the quickest way to get started at it (at least it was for me) is either playing along with records or playing with musicians who are much better than you (it really ups your learning curve).

    I'm going to tailor this answer specifically to you, since you've made it pretty clear what type of music you play.
    I imagine most of what you play will be rock/rock-related material. The majority of the rock stuff out there on the radio is in one key. This makes it pretty simple to start. So how do you find the one key? Listen to how the song sounds-most popular music is played in major or minor keys. Simple way to know the difference between them is that major tends to sound "happy" (the major scale played backward is the first phrase of "Joy To The World") and minor keys sound "darker," or more like rock or metal tunes, which I've found are usually played in minor keys. So to begin with, you have to learn a simple major fingering pattern (like Ionian) and a minor fingering pattern (like Aeolian). Most rock songs use a natural minor patern like the Aeolian which pentatonics can be easily played over. So learn this pattern to start with:
    There are many ways to finger a natural minor, but this is a simple one to begin with. If you look at how the notes are picked, they follow a pattern. This is a pattern of whole step/half step/whole step/whole step/half step/whole step/whole step (a half step is going from one fret to the next like from the 5th fret of the E string to the 6th fret of the E string, and a whole step is going from one fret to two up, like from the 5th fret of the E string to the 7th fret of the E string). This pattern repeats itself across the fretboard-try to play it all on one string. This natural minor is also part of the major scale (it's the sixth mode if that means anything to you), so you can keep following this pattern into all the derivations of a key if you like.

    Now to get to the point of finding the key, listen for the root note. If you think the song is minor and you think you know the root note, play the pattern I showed you. Do all the notes seem to 'fit in'? Do the notes fit with all the chords? If so, then chances are you're in the right key. Do some of the notes sound off? Then you might have the wrong root note. Find one note that you KNOW is in that song, then place that note somewhere in that fingering pattern I showed you. Try it in one spot and play all the other notes in the pattern, and keep trying it until all the other notes sound like they fit in. Your best bet is to listen for the root note though, and play off of that.

    Keep in mind that this is an extremely simplified answer, but I believe the idea behind your question was so that you can listen to a song for a moment and then be able to figure out which key it's in. If that's not the case, say so and I'll help more if I can.
  17. Ok, can we try summit i know off by heart, How You Remind Me by Nickelback? The notes are, C, F, Bb, Eb. What key would that be in? 2 flats, so erm, erm erm, I can't remember, typical.
  18. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    Well I think it's worth pointing out that, if I had been expelled, then I wouldn't be very proud of that fact and I certainly wouldn't be publicising it all over the internet and then expecting people to help me? :meh:
  19. Lyle Caldwell

    Lyle Caldwell

    Sep 7, 2004
    Not C, F, Bb, Eb, but:

    Cm (played as Csus2, but the scale is C minor)

    So the key is Cm. Notice how the b7 of Bm is Bb, which is the V of the relative major, Eb.