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What's the Key?

Discussion in 'Music Theory [DB]' started by bassboysam, Mar 29, 2020.


  1. bassboysam

    bassboysam Supporting Member

    Apr 26, 2001
    Ottawa, Ontario


    Trying to understand this piece, especially the piano at the start. how would you think approach it?
    i think the chords are:
    Fm A#m C D# C# A# G# Cm E Gm D#m F
     
  2. bassboysam

    bassboysam Supporting Member

    Apr 26, 2001
    Ottawa, Ontario
    1. There's no D# in the key signature of F Minor.
    2. Eb is the 7th scale degree of F Minor. We can label the Eb chord as Roman numeral VII. It's a commonly-used chord in minor key songs. For example "All Along the Watchtower" or "Stairway to Heaven."
     
    Last edited: Mar 29, 2020
    MonetBass likes this.
  3. yodedude2

    yodedude2 Supporting Member

    Nov 19, 2005
    san antonio, texas
    so then:

    Fm Bbm C Eb Db Bb Ab Cm E Gm Ebm F
     
  4. bassboysam

    bassboysam Supporting Member

    Apr 26, 2001
    Ottawa, Ontario
    sorry I meant the Bb. Bbm would be the diatonic 4 chord but i hear a major chord.
     
  5. If you need to write a D natural then use an "accidental" natural symbol (since D flat is in the key signature).

    But it sounds like D flat to me, making the chord Bbmin or Roman numeral iv.
     
    Last edited: Mar 30, 2020
    bassboysam likes this.
  6. bassboysam

    bassboysam Supporting Member

    Apr 26, 2001
    Ottawa, Ontario

    ok thank you
     
  7. SteveCS

    SteveCS

    Nov 19, 2014
    Hampshire, UK
    Yes, but Db, D, Eb and E are all diatonic in the F minor key, hence...

    Both Bb and Bbm are diatonic chords in the key of Fm.
     
    bassboysam and Mushroo like this.
  8. Silevesq

    Silevesq

    Oct 2, 2010
    Quebec
    I wouldn't call them diatonic, yes they can be used interchangeably. But they can not happen at the same time. Yet they can happen one after the other.
    But they are not always available. The basics scale is not F, G, Ab, Bb, C, Db, D, Eb and E.
    There is Minor natural, Minor melodic, Minor Harmonic and so on... This is where modal interchange become interesting, if you are willing to do the next step.

    Yes, it is possible to think that they are available, but for a beginner it would be better to make sure these are distinct and to figure out by themself in which mode, which note or chord is available.
     
    Tom Lane likes this.
  9. yodedude2

    yodedude2 Supporting Member

    Nov 19, 2005
    san antonio, texas
    what should it be then? curious. it makes sense to me (looking at it) up until the 'E'.
     
  10. Silevesq

    Silevesq

    Oct 2, 2010
    Quebec
    There are things that can't be perfectly answers and this is one of them. In minor all the minor options are available if you can make them happen.

    In other words, if your tonal center is Ab major, then you "modulate" to F minor. Are you really modulating? This is where it gets tricky. First, is it the same key? But if it is temporary you wouldn't call it modulating, because it doesn't become the new tonal center. Yet if chord start to revolve around it and it is like that for a longer period of time. Then it becomes the new tonal center. Does that make sense to you?

    All of this is very tricky to perfectly answer because there is no official law that states it. Speeding above the speed limit will get you trouble, but if you are speeding but the cop don't arrest you, are you really speeding?

    Let me ask you a few questions. In this case, the question we are looking for is "Which minor is it?" How do you find it? Can you feel any attraction to a chord in particular? Is there a chord progression that can help you say that there is a target chord? If you can find one, find the root and the melody each time the chord happens. If you feel like it transcribes the melody and see where/how they make happen certain modulation.

    But in the end, you are in a minor tonality and composer have been playing with all the modal interchange for so long that it is part of the language.

    Fm7 happens in natural minor. This is where the "Eb" happen.
    Fm6 happens in Dorian, minor melodic. This is where the "D" happens.
    Fm(maj7) happen in minor melodic and harmonic. This is where the "E" happens
    ***Fm(b6) (or Dbmaj7 on its first inversion) happen in natural and harmonious minor.*** I don't like to say that chord but just for the exercise. This is where the "Db".

    Then you can find where this one and this one happen and so on...

    All of these minor variations will yield different chords that can be retraced to your piece. After working out all of them, you would be able to say that at this point in the piece the composer is thinking in that mode or that mode or was just hearing it. But this is where it started in a way.

    I won't give you the answer. I believe that finding it, is part of the beauty of music.
     
    Last edited: Mar 29, 2020
  11. Don Kasper

    Don Kasper Supporting Member

    It is the same "Key SIGNATURE" of 4 flats - not the same "Key".
    The Key of Abmajor is not "the same key" as the Key of Fminor. One is a Major Key, the other is the Relative Minor Key of that Major Key. They DO share the same Key Signature.
    Just clarifying.
    IMO/IME.
    Thank You.
     
  12. Silevesq

    Silevesq

    Oct 2, 2010
    Quebec
    My bad should have been "is it" thanks for pointing it out!
     
    Don Kasper likes this.
  13. SteveCS

    SteveCS

    Nov 19, 2014
    Hampshire, UK
    What would you call them if not diatonic? All 'diatonic' means is 'of the key'.

    With respect to a given tonic, all of the minor and major 6ths and 7ths are diatonic in the minor key. Consequently, with respect to the same tonic, all natural, harmonic and melodic (in all its ascending, descending and 'jazz melodic' guises) minor scales are diatonic. There is no such thing as "the key of x melodic minor" or "this is in y harmonic minor". The minor key is not defined by any one of these scales, rather it is defined by all of them together. Therefore, since the chords Bb and Bbm can both be constructed from notes 'of the key', they too must be considered as being diatonic. That is a fact, and 'modal interchange', 'modal mixture', 'borrowing' or whatever you want to call it is not necessary to justify their co-existence within a piece.

    For a beginner, I think bringing up ideas like modal interchange when it's just minor proves nothing and adds to the confusion. On the other hand, that F major chord at the end, if correct, is far more interesting from that perspective...

    Using A minor for the purposes of illustration, harmonising the minor key using the various combinations of minor and major 6ths and 7ths there are 9 possible root notes (A, B, C, D, E, F, F#, G and G#), 13 diatonic triads and 16 diatonic 7th chords in the minor key, compared to 7 of each in the major key:

    upload_2020-3-30_10-40-34.png

    YMMV
     
    Last edited: Mar 30, 2020
    bassboysam likes this.
  14. Silevesq

    Silevesq

    Oct 2, 2010
    Quebec
    What do you mean by a key? Key signature or key as in tonality?
    If diatonic means "of the key" why do you need so many alterations?

    Tell me what is the name of this scale A, B, C, D, E, F, F#, G, G#?
    Tell me how many scale you know as 10 notes?
    Why do you say" 'jazz melodic' guises "?
    Why do you say there is no such thing as being in minor melodic or minor harmonic?
    Why do you say it's only minor?

    If I apply what you are saying to major, then this scale is diatonic C, D, E, F, F#, G, G#, A, B?
    Then all of the 13 diatonic triads and 16 diatonic 7th chords are also available.
    Why would you say it's different in major and that it can't be applied to minor?

    I think that a beginner should know that there is a difference and it's not just all "in the same key". Because some will start to use any note on a Bb and say, "well I can play F#, G, G#, A and B, it's diatonic."
     
  15. SteveCS

    SteveCS

    Nov 19, 2014
    Hampshire, UK
    Read my post carefully - the answers to your questions are all in there.

    You can't apply the same thinking to major because in major there is only 1 submediant and no subtonic. Minor has two submediants a subtonic and a leading tone, hence the plethora of possible harmonisations. In major there are only 7 diatonic notes, hence 7 diatonic triads, 7 diatonic 7th chords, etc...
     
    Last edited: Mar 30, 2020
  16. Silevesq

    Silevesq

    Oct 2, 2010
    Quebec
    If I take the time to ask you it's because I think your answer are not clear...
     
  17. You need an E natural to spell the V chord, C Major.
    Respectfully: Did you listen to the musical example "Grails - Deep Politics"?

    This discussion will make so much more sense if you study the musical example.
     
    Last edited: Mar 30, 2020
    SteveCS likes this.
  18. SteveCS

    SteveCS

    Nov 19, 2014
    Hampshire, UK
    Fair enough. Let's see...

    Tonality. The key signature is of no consequence. The use of accidentals for the major 6th and leading tone does not mean those notes are chromatic, nor does it change the tonality - they are still diatonic and it's still just 'minor'.

    What alterations?

    It isn't a scale, those are the notes of the A natural minor, A melodic minor and/or A harmonic minor scales that make up the key of A minor.

    See above

    To distinguish from the classical Melodic minor. The classical 'Melodic Minor' has major 6th and leading tone ascending then subtonic and minor 6th descending, whereas jazz melodic minor is the same in both directions.

    Because we talk of music being in a key (or mode). Melodic and harmonic minor are scales, not keys, and certainly not modes.

    Because of all of the above.

    Already answered in previous post.
     

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