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Thread: What key??

  1. #1
    Forum Member Sérgio's Avatar
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    What key??

    So, Offshore Angler and others who dig music theory in depth.

    I wrote a song out of a jam. I was just strumming away all alone and this riff came to life, it was pleasant to the ears, and so it went.

    Well, it's kind of a simple song. The verse is E, D. The chorus is B, D.

    I'm trying to figure the exact key it's in. I'm guessing E major and I'm soloing over E, mostly, but that D chord in the verse just sounds just off that key.

    Ideas?

  2. #2
    Forum Member DanTheBluesMan's Avatar
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    Re: What key??

    does it still work with Dm? Maybe it is E major without a 4th? I-ii-I-V?
    "Live and learn and flip the burns"

  3. #3
    Forum Member Offshore Angler's Avatar
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    Re: What key??

    Without the melody I can't be sure, but my first guesses would be you're either in the key of A or F#minor.

    I'd write down all the melody notes and then see what scale and mode the intervals line up with. Do this enough times and your ears will start doing it automatically for you.

    Throw an A chord down at the end of the chorus and see if it resolves.
    Last edited by Offshore Angler; 05-29-2021 at 01:45 PM.
    "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

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    Forum Member Offshore Angler's Avatar
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    Re: What key??

    Quote Originally Posted by DanTheBluesMan View Post
    does it still work with Dm? Maybe it is E major without a 4th? I-ii-I-V?
    E would have D#dim in it though, right?
    "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

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    Forum Member DanTheBluesMan's Avatar
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    Re: What key??

    Quote Originally Posted by Offshore Angler View Post
    E would have D#dim in it though, right?
    you're right, my dyslexia kicks in again. I-vi-I-V but that might sound too different for Sergio's composition.

    might just have to declare it rock and roll and say 'screw it'

    Who knows, maybe it will be another "What key is Sweet Home Alabama" or "Hey Joe" controversy
    "Live and learn and flip the burns"

  6. #6
    Forum Member Offshore Angler's Avatar
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    Re: What key??

    Quote Originally Posted by DanTheBluesMan View Post
    you're right, my dyslexia kicks in again. I-vi-I-V but that might sound too different for Sergio's composition.

    might just have to declare it rock and roll and say 'screw it'

    Who knows, maybe it will be another "What key is Sweet Home Alabama" or "Hey Joe" controversy
    Anyone who can't figure out what key Sweet Home Alabama is in needs to burn their guitar and take up knitting.
    "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

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    Forum Member DanTheBluesMan's Avatar
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    Re: What key??

    Quote Originally Posted by Offshore Angler View Post
    Anyone who can't figure out what key Sweet Home Alabama is in needs to burn their guitar and take up knitting.
    that always generates pages and pages on TGP
    "Live and learn and flip the burns"

  8. #8
    Forum Member Tele-Bob's Avatar
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    Re: What key??

    A lot of this depends on how long you dwell on each chord.

    When someone fires up "Sweet Home Alabama" many players will call "D" and start play it implying D as the key.
    But try it again us the G major pentatonic scale and resolve it with the G instead of D. A whole new vibe opens up, and it suddenly makes sense in a way might not have before.

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    Forum Member OldStrummer's Avatar
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    Re: What key??

    Tele-Bob??? Are my eyes deceiving me? Welcome back, dude!
    Striving to be ordinary

    Proud to be a TFF Dumbass!

  10. #10
    Forum Member Tele-Bob's Avatar
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    Re: What key??

    Quote Originally Posted by OldStrummer View Post
    Tele-Bob??? Are my eyes deceiving me? Welcome back, dude!
    Hi, yes, I took a stroll back in time. Some friends made me aware TFF was open for business and some good friends remained there.
    Nice to see some familiar folks.

  11. #11
    Forum Member Offshore Angler's Avatar
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    Re: What key??

    Quote Originally Posted by Tele-Bob View Post
    A lot of this depends on how long you dwell on each chord.

    When someone fires up "Sweet Home Alabama" many players will call "D" and start play it implying D as the key.
    But try it again us the G major pentatonic scale and resolve it with the G instead of D. A whole new vibe opens up, and it suddenly makes sense in a way might not have before.
    What throws a lot of people is the mode. They're soloing around the D major scale, the song starts on a D chord, so they assume it's in D. The D major scale is the same as the G mixolydian, and guess what southern rock lives on? Flatted 7ths - so the mixolydian of the G makes perfect sense. For the melodic parts use G mixo, and if during a lead break you want to lead the changes and resolve the GMP will bring it home nicely on the turn.

    If you're playing with sharp players have them stack fifths on the G during the solo and you can take it anywhere.

    Melody resolves to G, song just starts on the IV chord and that throws folks.

    Funniest to watch is when a song starts on the II chord (makes a melody melancholy) and people try to solo off of that.
    "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

  12. #12
    Forum Member Tele-Bob's Avatar
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    Re: What key??

    Quote Originally Posted by Offshore Angler View Post
    Funniest to watch is when a song starts on the II chord (makes a melody melancholy) and people try to solo off of that.
    What's really funny, is watching someone approach this tune with a D rock / Blues pentatonic minor scale. After a while, some folks just get used to hearing the b3 over everything and accept it as normal. Makes me cringe!

    The b3 is cool in passing when it's time to add a little stress, or add a blues flavor, but it's not a note you want to dwell on in this case.
    If you're bored, you're not groovin'.

  13. #13
    Forum Member Offshore Angler's Avatar
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    Re: What key??

    Quote Originally Posted by Tele-Bob View Post
    What's really funny, is watching someone approach this tune with a D rock / Blues pentatonic minor scale. After a while, some folks just get used to hearing the b3 over everything and accept it as normal. Makes me cringe!

    The b3 is cool in passing when it's time to add a little stress, or add a blues flavor, but it's not a note you want to dwell on in this case.
    The b3 is awesome when you use it as a leading tone to the 3, gives any song that chooglin', driving ahead feel. From Funk 49 to Cumberland Blues, it's about as funky as a guitar player can get.
    "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

  14. #14
    Forum Member Tele-Bob's Avatar
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    Re: What key??

    Quote Originally Posted by Offshore Angler View Post
    The b3 is awesome when you use it as a leading tone to the 3, gives any song that chooglin', driving ahead feel. From Funk 49 to Cumberland Blues, it's about as funky as a guitar player can get.
    You know what I mean.
    If you're bored, you're not groovin'.

  15. #15
    Forum Member thewonders's Avatar
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    Re: What key??

    As others have said, hard to say without listening to it. If the song seems to resolve to the E then that could be the key, with the D being an accidental.

    For best results, post it and folks will have a better idea.

  16. #16
    Forum Member ch willie's Avatar
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    Re: What key??

    Quote Originally Posted by Offshore Angler View Post
    Anyone who can't figure out what key Sweet Home Alabama is in needs to burn their guitar and take up knitting.
    A few years before he died, Ed King told one of my best friends that when he played the solo to "Sweet Home Alabama," he thought it was in Dmaj. He only learned after he recorded that iconic solo. King probably stated this in the music press, but he told my friend when they were playing poker at a mutual friend's house.
    If we'd known we were going to be the Beatles, we'd have tried harder.--George Harrison

  17. #17
    Forum Member Sérgio's Avatar
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    Re: What key??

    Thanks guys. I’ll post it as soon as I finish and record it.

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