Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by Osama_Spears, Aug 5, 2003.

  1. Can someone explain to me how you can apply a key to music , and how it helps you right your own songs and such...

    also , I would like to find out how to play each scale in each "key"


  2. cassanova


    Sep 4, 2000
    When you learn the scales you are learning them in each key. You obviously havent been doing your homework on the 12 major and minor scales that were posted a while back. Because if you were you'd know that they are all in certain keys

    C D E etc
  3. So,the C major scale is in the C key?'d sound good if I used those 7 notes in the song?:confused:

    I am soo confused.


    -Jon :oops:
  4. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    No - you cannot just take the key of a song and use any note from that key - especially for bass lines. Bass lines need to follow root motion and take account of what chord is being played.

    Even if a song is in C Major - you can still use scales other than C to play over particular chords - depending on their function in the harmony.
  5. Oh God...I mine as well be Fieldy...

  6. jive1

    jive1 Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jan 16, 2003
    Owner/Retailer: Jive Sound
    It's not that big of a thing. A key is a starting point and gives you an idea to what you can play. A key not only gives you an idea of what notes are used, but what chords as well. Ideas, not necessarily rules. Look at it this way. Say you are looking at a map of a mall, the key is the "you are here" symbol. It doesn't tell you what stores you can enter or not, just where the stores are relative to where you are.

    So let's put it to music. Say you are playing a simple groove in the key of E that used the E,A, and B notes. The E is the I, or first interval, the A is the fourth and and B is the fifth. So if you want to play that same groove in the key of A, you would use the notes A(I),D(IV) and E(V). So from here you can see that the I is the starting point and it determines the key of the groove. Based on what key your starting point is you can determine what the IV and V or whatever interval is.

    Hopefully I didn't confuse you more.
  7. kalo


    Jul 29, 2003

    My teacher taught me apreggio of the major and minor and 7th chords. Those are the notes that one would most often play behind chords and stuff. In a 1 4 5 chord progression in the key of C it would be C major, F, G7, if you learn those in appreggio form in the above chords that is probably one of your surest bet of sounding good behind the chord.
  8. rich18rich


    Oct 11, 2008
    saco, ME.
  9. Staccato

    Staccato Low End Advocate

    Aug 14, 2009
    Examples Bruce, examples! The young Jedi needs to take small steps before he leaps into bigger concepts. Break this down into (more) meaningful pieces that culminate with your post, above. You're sounding like the professor that's stopping with the introduction (leaving out the lecture that follows).
  10. This is good advice. Assigning numbers to the scale notes lets you transpose easily and often on the fly.
    C = 1
    D = 2
    E = 3
    F = 4 etc.
    Transpose to say key of G
    G = 1
    A = 2
    B = 3
    C = 4
    D = 5
    E = 6
    F# = 7
    G = 8
    Why does the seventh note become sharp? Because major scales are composed of a pattern. The intervals between notes are whole step, whole step, half step, whole step, whole step, half step. A whole step = two frets, a half step = one fret. Play the G scale listed above and you'll see how the interval setup works. From there, you can apply the intervals to any starting note and find the scale.
    Hope this helps.
  11. elgecko


    Apr 30, 2007
    Anasleim, CA
    I would hope that the OP has figured out the key thing in the 8 years since this was posted.
  12. TC424

    TC424 Supporting Member

    Jun 24, 2010
    Holtwood, PA
    I would hope that the OP has figured out the key thing in the 8 years since this was posted.

    I would hope so since he listing himself as an instructor in his profile
  13. MalcolmAmos

    MalcolmAmos Supporting Member

    Why are keys so important? It's all the vocalist's fault - LOL. They like to sing in a key they can hit all the high notes and also catch all the low notes so -- they request the key they like best. Then some instruments, horns, sax, etc. prefer certain keys. However the main reason is if the melody line and the chord line are using notes from the same key they harmonize and sound good together.

    To understand more about keys perhaps some charts will help. Here are the major and natural minor scales. To find what's in a key we start with the scale and then by stacking the scale's notes in 3rds we end up with the chords made from that scale. A key is made of scale and chord notes. Since they are made from each other they harmonize. Most do not let you in on this secret during your first year and I've never understood why not. It certainly clears up how music thinks. While we are talking charts see how the circle fits into all this.

    Major Scale Chart
    C D E F G A B...............Notice the C scale has no Sharps.................On the circle what is to the left of the C?
    G A B C D E F#.............and the G scale has one, the F#..................The F and to the right of the C you find
    D E F# G A B C#...........and the D scale keeps the F# and................the G the three major chords in the key
    A B C# D E F# G#.........adds the C#. Then the A scale keeps............of C. Look below the C and you find the
    E F# G# A B C# D#.......everything and adds the G#. See how..........minor chords in the key of C, the Am, Dm
    B C# D# E F# G# builds on it's self.....................................and the Em. Find where the diminished is.
    F# G# A# B C# D# E#..................................................................The C is at 12:00 o'clock and has 0 sharps.
    C# D# E# F# G# A# B#................................................................The G is at 1:00 o'clock and has 1 sharp.
    F G A Bb C D E.............Look what happens with the flat scales............The D is at 2:00 o'clock and has 2 sharps.
    Bb C D Eb F G A...........F has one the Bb, then the Bb scale keeps........The B is at 5:00 o'clock how many sharps?
    Eb F G Ab Bb C's self and adds the the Eb. Same thing.......... The C# is at 7:00 o'clock how many sharps?
    Ab Bb C Db Eb F G.......the sharp scales did....................................... Figure out the flats. C has 0, F has 1, etc.
    Db Eb F Gb Ab Bb C
    Gb Ab Bb Cb Db Eb F
    Cb Db Eb Fb Gb Ab Bb

    Using the major scale and the circle of 4ths and 5ths you can figure out the notes and chords in any major key.

    Memory pegs:
    See God Destroy All Earth By F#irey C#haos. Order of the scales with sharps.
    Fat cats go down alleys eating birds. Order of the sharps.
    Farmer brown eats apple dumplings greasily cooked. Order of the scales with flats.
    The key signature is showing three sharps. What scale has three sharps? C has none, G has one, D has two, A has three. Which sharps? Fat = F#, Cat = C# and Go = G# so the A major scale has three sharps, F#, C# and G#.

    Natural Minor Scale Chart
    A B C D E F G ................Notice how the 6th column of the
    E F# G A B C D................Major scale becomes the 1st column
    B C# D E F# G the minor scale and how the 7th
    F# G# A B C# D E............column of the Major scale is now the
    C# D# E F# G# A B..........2nd column in the minor scale. And
    G# A# B C# D# E F#........yep, the 1st column in the Major scale
    D# E# F# G# A# B now the 3rd column, etc. etc.
    A# B# C# D# E# F# G#....Ask your self why? Hint, think relative minor.
    D E F G A Bb C
    G A Bb C D Eb F
    C D Eb F G Ab Bb
    F G Ab Bb C Db Eb
    Bb C Db Eb F Gb Ab
    Eb F Gb Ab Bb Cb Db
    Ab Bb Cb Db Eb Fb Gb

    OK you can use the circle of 4ths/5ths or you can use a method that stacks the notes of the scale into 3rds and come up with the chords in the key. For example: if you wanted the key of C you will need the notes of the C scale and then use them to get the chord in the key of C. The key of C consists of the notes of the C scale and the chords made from those notes. Or put another way the vocalist wants the song played in the key of C. OK the people that will be playing melody draw their melody notes from the C scale and the people that will be playing harmony draw their chords from the chords make from the C scale notes. Begs the question how do you make chords from the C scale notes - so that they are chords of the Key of C?

    Start with the C scale.
    C, D, E, F, G, A, B, C OK now to get the chords you start with the C note and skip a note - stack 3rds.
    C, E, G and C E G become the 1-3-5 notes of the C major chord. Another chart Chord Formulas

    For the next chord in the key of C start on the D note and stack 3rds:
    D, F, A Stay with me here. The D scale has a F# in it. So your F has been flatted and you have the 1-b3-5 notes of the D major scale. What happens when you have a flatted 3rd interval in a chord? Drum roll ---- that tells you that it's a minor chord, aka Dm.

    Next chord starts with the E now skip a note.....
    E, G, B and here again the E scale has a G# in it so your G has been flatted and gives you another minor chord aka 1-b3-5 or Em.

    The next chord will start with the F. Skip a note....
    F, A, C and the F scale has a F, an A and a C so nothing has been flatted here and you end up with a 1-3-5 chord. Or a major F. WOW. Just like it was supposed to do.
    C, Dm, Em, F with another major chord G then an Am, and a Bdim chord are the three major, three minor and one diminished chord in the key of C. All made from stacking the scale notes into stacks of 3's. Finish out the rest of the chords and see how they all get major or minor notes as needed. I want you to see what makes the diminished chord diminished.

    Now if the vocalist said; "OK, boys play Kiss ole Kate in C". The people playing melody notes would gather them from the C major scale -- C, D, E, F, G, A, B, C and the people responsible for the harmony (chord progression) would gather their chords from the C, Dm, Em, F, G, Am and Bdim chords. I know you are asking which chords are to be used - another story best done on another post. But, the ole I-IV-V chords have made a lot of music. You'd do well to think of them. Why? Well you are using the major C scale notes and the I IV and V are the three major chords.

    Your next assignment, should you care to undertake it is to list the melody notes in the Key of A and the chords that can be made from the A major scale.

    That fish thing. Have fun.
  14. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    You're asking us to answer in three sentences or less what can take a lifetime to learn and perfect for most of us! There are so many options for notes you can play whatever the key signature is that you will never run out of ideas. But you have to start at the beginning and learn everything one step at a time instead of trying to learn it all at once. A teacher who knows jazz can help you sort it out very easily.

    Also, forget scales and modes and concentrate on chord theory. You have to know scales to understand how chords work, but people who try to associate every chord with a scale always sound like they're playing scales, and that's boring.