Results 1 to 13 of 13

Thread: How to find out what key a solo is in?

  1. #1
    Forum Member
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    Statesboro, Georgia
    Posts
    1,108

    How to find out what key a solo is in?

    How do you find what key a solo is in? Specifically, if anyone is familiar with the song, I'm working on "Glad" by the Wood Brothers. It sounds like it's something in E but I can't quite figure out exactly what scale.
    "It's just a job. Grass grows, birds fly, waves pound the sand. I beat people up." -Muhammad Ali

  2. #2
    Forum Member chuckocaster's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Location
    spanish for lard.
    Posts
    8,613

    Re: How to find out what key a solo is in?

    There will be four Sharps in E: F#, G#, C#, & D#. That's for E maJor. But, it's easier to tell by what "maJor" chords are in the song. So if it is in E, you'll have E, A, & B major chords. You'll need to analyze the chord structure to get the key. Also, watch for modulations, like a V/V chord. In E you'd sub an F# instead of an f#, then resolve to B.

    I know this may seem difficult, but music theory is pretty easy once you learn the basic rules.
    "don't worry, i'm a professional!"

  3. #3
    Forum Member
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    Statesboro, Georgia
    Posts
    1,108

    Re: How to find out what key a solo is in?

    The main chords in the verses are E7, A7, and G#7....I think.

    The chorus has other weird chords that I haven't tried putting a name too yet (other than what I think are a few 7th chords). It walks some chords up the fretboard and back a couple times with some weird chords.
    "It's just a job. Grass grows, birds fly, waves pound the sand. I beat people up." -Muhammad Ali

  4. #4
    Forum Member Wilko's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2002
    Location
    San Diego, CA
    Posts
    5,104

    Re: How to find out what key a solo is in?

    total E for that one.

  5. #5
    Forum Member Offshore Angler's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Location
    New York Finger Lakes Area
    Posts
    7,462

    Re: How to find out what key a solo is in?

    Tug, not just the key but the mode as well. Or is it a bebop, pentatonic, Hungarian minor scale?

    Just use your ear. Without gettign realy overcomplicated, if a song is in G the solo scale could easily be C since the G sacle has one sharp (F#). So if it's a G7 chord you flat the 7th tone, the F#, and now you have no sharps - the C scale ( all the white keys.)

    So, just use your ear to figure it out. The rest will come with time.

    Chuck
    "No harmonic knowledge, no sense of time, a ghastly tone, unskilled vibrato, and so on. Chuck is one of the worst guitar players I know" -Gravity Jim

  6. #6
    Forum Member
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    Statesboro, Georgia
    Posts
    1,108

    Re: How to find out what key a solo is in?

    So far I'm thinking it might be in whatever mode in E that's the equivalent of the D major scale. I haven't gotten all the way through the solo yet so I could be mistaken. There could be a raised or lowered note in there that's throwing me off.

    I do think it's something in E though.
    "It's just a job. Grass grows, birds fly, waves pound the sand. I beat people up." -Muhammad Ali

  7. #7
    Forum Member Doc W's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Location
    Ontario, Canada
    Posts
    1,250

    Re: How to find out what key a solo is in?

    Unless I am listening to the wrong song, the solo is over and E7/A7 groove and he is playing pretty straightforward minor/major pentatonic blues. I suggest that you learn the solo, note for note, and figure out the technical details later. That can be a good learning experience.
    "The beauty and profundity of God is more real than any mere calculation."

  8. #8
    Forum Member
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    Statesboro, Georgia
    Posts
    1,108

    Re: How to find out what key a solo is in?

    That's probably the right song, and I'll probably be taking your advice. Last time I practiced that song I spent too long trying to figure out the scale and only got through the first part of it. It's not difficult to get note for note.
    "It's just a job. Grass grows, birds fly, waves pound the sand. I beat people up." -Muhammad Ali

  9. #9
    Forum Member Doc W's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Location
    Ontario, Canada
    Posts
    1,250

    Re: How to find out what key a solo is in?

    Quote Originally Posted by tugboat View Post
    That's probably the right song, and I'll probably be taking your advice. Last time I practiced that song I spent too long trying to figure out the scale and only got through the first part of it. It's not difficult to get note for note.
    tug, that's the way to go. Remember this: theory explains practise. That is to say, theory explains what we already do. No one came up with a particular theory of music out of thin air which then dictated how he would write (well, Schoenberg did, but let's not go there.). We play and improvise according to conventions that developed over a long period of time, but most good players violate those rules all the time. Of course, if you know the basic pattern - what is "supposed" to happen - then it is easier to figure out the little excursions a good player takes.

    Knowing the particular scale or mode in which a solo is played can help you figure it out, but don't expect that players always conform exactly to the scale. If a player's style really interests you, then try to learn bits and pieces or full solos, note for note. You may discover that he is playing in a particular mode but breaks the rules in consistent ways, and that knowledge will really add to your own playing. Get some software that allows you to slow down a solo, and pick it out note for note. You will learn a lot.

    If you have any related questions, feel free to send me a PM.
    "The beauty and profundity of God is more real than any mere calculation."

  10. #10
    Forum Member chuckocaster's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Location
    spanish for lard.
    Posts
    8,613

    Re: How to find out what key a solo is in?

    Great advice Dr!!! My second theory instructor in college taught that same tenant of musical understanding. The basic principle of Zen, learn everything you can and then forget it.
    "don't worry, i'm a professional!"

  11. #11
    Forum Member
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    Statesboro, Georgia
    Posts
    1,108

    Re: How to find out what key a solo is in?

    Great advice Doc! Thank you very much! It makes sense too. Sometimes I get caught up in trying to understand things and forget to just play and have fun.
    "It's just a job. Grass grows, birds fly, waves pound the sand. I beat people up." -Muhammad Ali

  12. #12
    Forum Member Rickenjangle's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    Location
    Rochester, NY
    Posts
    6,143

    Re: How to find out what key a solo is in?

    Quote Originally Posted by Doc W View Post
    Get some software that allows you to slow down a solo, and pick it out note for note.
    I used to use a freeware application called "Best Practice." You could slow the song down without changing the pitch. Additionally, you could slow the song down AND change the pitch - useful for hearing - and learning - Robert Johnson in the correct keys. And you could pitch shift a song just slightly without slowing down - useful for songs where you are just a few cents off because the varispeeded the tape when tracking or mixing/mastering.

    "I'm gonna find myself a girl
    that can show me what laughter means
    And we'll fill in the missing colors
    In each other's paint-by-number dreams..."

  13. #13
    Forum Member
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    Statesboro, Georgia
    Posts
    1,108

    Re: How to find out what key a solo is in?

    I use Capo for that. It's been useful for Van Halen so far cause I'm too lazy to tune down.
    "It's just a job. Grass grows, birds fly, waves pound the sand. I beat people up." -Muhammad Ali

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •