What key would this be in?

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humblefly
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What key would this be in?

Post by humblefly » January 7th, 2010, 12:22 pm

I have been working with a song that has a set of notes that I can't seem to find a "key" for.

The riff goes like this: B, C, Eb, C, B, Ab, B (note these are not chords but just single notes)

To me the song sounded like it has a B minor feel. But due to the C Eb and Ab it throws me off.

Also if it helps the rest of the song has chords of C, Em, Bm, G
With these chords I figured that it must have been in the key of G somehow. But again those notes above are bugging me.

Any ideas?

Blue Jay
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Re: What key would this be in?

Post by Blue Jay » January 7th, 2010, 3:12 pm

Hi, you asked for ideas, not necessarily a fact or right answer. :shock: Hey I tried, on the keyboard. :|

I get a B with the chord arpeggios being B Eb F# B. It's not quite perfect but seemed best.

It's a pretty dark riff, really different. Maybe this will prompt another's attempt. :wink:
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like a drunk in a midnight choir
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NoteBoat
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Re: What key would this be in?

Post by NoteBoat » January 7th, 2010, 5:26 pm

Your single note section looks like C minor to me. Using the harmonic minor scale, that's:

C-d-Eb-F-G-Ab-B-C
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humblefly
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Re: What key would this be in?

Post by humblefly » January 8th, 2010, 10:05 am

Blue Jay: I was actually looking for any ideas on what KEY the song would be in, based on the information I gave.

Note Boat: The C minor is an interesting idea, I didn't think of.

thank you

Crow
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Re: What key would this be in?

Post by Crow » January 11th, 2010, 2:53 pm

I keep hearing this thing in B, owing to the arc of the riff. Those half-step/minor-third relationships... a tasty, modal-flavored B (B C D-sharp E F-sharp G G-sharp). The underlying chords might need some realignment, but BOY I like the potential of the riff in B! (And yes, it's been playing in my mind since the original post.)
"You can't write a chord ugly enough to say what you want to say sometimes, so you have to rely on a giraffe filled with whipped cream." - Frank Zappa

humblefly
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Re: What key would this be in?

Post by humblefly » January 13th, 2010, 2:09 pm

Crow wrote:I keep hearing this thing in B, owing to the arc of the riff. Those half-step/minor-third relationships... a tasty, modal-flavored B (B C D-sharp E F-sharp G G-sharp). The underlying chords might need some realignment, but BOY I like the potential of the riff in B! (And yes, it's been playing in my mind since the original post.)
I agree that it does seem to center around B. The riff is actually a bass line from a song I wrote/recorded called "Wholes & Halfs" (misspelled intentionally) from my first album.

The guitar riff has apreggiated chords:
B|--------------------------------------------------|
B|--------0-----------0-----------0-----------0-----|
G|------0-----0-----0-----0-----0-----0-----0---0---|
D|----4-----------5-----------4-----------4-------4-|
A|--2-------3---6-------3---2-----------2-----------|
E|----------------------------------4---------------|

B|----------------------------------------------------|
B|--------0-----------0-----------0-------------------|
G|------0-----0-----0-----0-----0---0-----------------|
D|----4-----------5-----------4-------4---------------|
A|--2-------3---6-------3---2-----------2-------0-----|
E|----------------------------------------------------|
© 2007 R. Andrew Spicer (SOCAN)
The best I came up with as far as "key" goes is G Major with a lot of accidentals. I say G Major because when transcribing it, and because of the chorus chords, it made sense to force it into that key. And mostly because I couldn't for the life of me figure out which Major or Minor key it COULD fit into.

Chorus chords are just basically power chords of : C5, E5, B5, G5, C5, E5, B5

Crow
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Re: What key would this be in?

Post by Crow » January 13th, 2010, 2:17 pm

humblefly wrote:The best I came up with as far as "key" goes is G Major with a lot of accidentals. I say G Major because when transcribing it, and because of the chorus chords, it made sense to force it into that key.
If it's just a question of how to put it all on staff paper, it's perfectly legit to leave a key signature off entirely and just use accidentals when necessary.
"You can't write a chord ugly enough to say what you want to say sometimes, so you have to rely on a giraffe filled with whipped cream." - Frank Zappa

LOily
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Re: What key would this be in?

Post by LOily » April 11th, 2019, 12:01 am

Crow wrote:
January 11th, 2010, 2:53 pm
I keep hearing this thing in B, owing to the arc of the riff. Those half-step/minor-third relationships... a tasty, modal-flavored B (B C D-sharp E F-sharp G G-sharp). The underlying chords might need some realignment, but BOY I like the potential of the riff in B! (And yes, it's been playing in my mind since the original post.)
check on youtube you get your ans

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Re: What key would this be in?

Post by NoteBoat » April 13th, 2019, 5:24 pm

"Key" can mean several different things. It can mean the key signature, the tonal center of the piece, or the scale being used. And in some pieces of music, each of those three definitions can lead you to a different answer.

So let's start with tonal center - you say it "has a B minor feeling", so that means you've got a tonal center of B.

Now we can move on to the scale... C will be the b2, Eb will be the b4, and Ab will be bb7. All those notes are present in C harmonic minor (C-D-Eb-F-G-Ab-B-C). B is the 7th note of C harmonic minor, so your scale is a B Locrian with a b4 and a bb7 - some people call that the super Locrian scale, but the actual tones of a super Locrian aren't consistent across all theory sources, so let's just say it's the 7th mode of C harmonic minor.

Now we've got key signature to deal with. Your chords are C (CEG), Em (EBG), Bm (BDF#) and G (GBD). Line those all up, starting from B, and you have B-C-D-E-F#-G-C, with no A note. Since your melody includes Ab we can assume that's flatted. So now we have two other puzzles: there's an F# note, and there are two different E notes - Eb in your melody and E in the C and Em chords. It's usual practice to make the key signature match the chord progression, because it's easier for readers of standard notation to handle accidental variations in the melody that it is to suss out variations in the chords. So your key signature should probably be G, and you'll have accidentals on the Bb, Eb, and Ab notes in the melody.
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