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> What Is Officially The Lowest Key In Music
Guitar1969
post Aug 6 2008, 08:16 PM
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Andrew:
I've asked this same question to a few musicians and never have received an answer that sounds right.

what is the proper order of music keys from low to high in a general musical context(Or in vocal context). Now I know that the keys just repeat over and over , so there really is no first or last, but when working with a singer that can't sign a song in the original key it was written in, I have had to transpose the song to a different key.

I know for a 6 string guitar the lowest possible note is E, and in open positions(lowest octave)an E chord is lowest, but I have had singers say to me to change a key to something higher, which doesn't seem higher to me - I had one tell me that the key of D is higher than the key of E overall. I understand that it can be relative to the instrument(Such as a piano has a different lowest note), but what is the general order of keys when it comes to keys and singers.

Thanks,

Michael


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Caelumamittendum
post Aug 6 2008, 09:49 PM
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C C# D D# E F F# G G# A A# B...

Is the line of notes, as far as I know.

That means that D would be lower than E, no?


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Guitar1969
post Aug 7 2008, 12:43 AM
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QUOTE (Caelumamittendum @ Aug 6 2008, 01:49 PM) *
C C# D D# E F F# G G# A A# B...

Is the line of notes, as far as I know.

That means that D would be lower than E, no?



But for a singer - C is not the lowest - C is considered middle of the road, is it not


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Caelumamittendum
post Aug 7 2008, 12:46 AM
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QUOTE (Guitar1969 @ Aug 7 2008, 01:43 AM) *
But for a singer - C is not the lowest - C is considered middle of the road, is it not


Well, that depends, you could always play it 12 semitones lower - that would make it in the key of C but just 1 octave lower than first.

Playing it 2 semitones above C would make it in D. But also playing it 10 octaves below would also make it D.


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Guitar1969
post Aug 8 2008, 07:08 PM
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QUOTE (Caelumamittendum @ Aug 6 2008, 04:46 PM) *
Well, that depends, you could always play it 12 semitones lower - that would make it in the key of C but just 1 octave lower than first.

Playing it 2 semitones above C would make it in D. But also playing it 10 octaves below would also make it D.


Exactly my problem!

Now I know there are considerastions for singers as to the range of notes they can sing - Some songs have a wider range than others, maybe that is what dictates it .

Curious what Andrew knows about this matter


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fatb0t
post Aug 8 2008, 07:14 PM
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Andrew Cockburn
post Aug 9 2008, 02:51 PM
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Hi there - sorry I took a while to get to this, I have been traveling on business ...

So, my answer is that it depends on the singer!

Every singer has a range of notes, and the aim here is to fit the song into the singers useful range. The way this is usually done is to find the highest note in the song and match it to te highest note the singer can comfortably sing, and then figure out the key from that. Some people will then take it up a semitone or even a tone higher on the theory that stretching the singer just a little gives a better performance.

From a guitarists point of view, this can suck badly - you come up with a killer riff with a cool little open chord here that resonates nicely, then you have top move it up 5 frets for the singer - your open chord no longer works and the riff sounds horrible now, even if you use a capo. But, at the end of it all, the singer carries the song so we have to give in to them ...

Now, to answer your question in exact theory terms - as others have said, there is no highest or lowest in absolute terms, the keys go on forever, and if you jump up say a 5th, that is exactly the same as jumping down a 4th, just different octaves. So in fact, you have a choice too - if the singer wants to go up, you can accommodate that by going up OR down, to find a set of chords or riffs that sounds best on the guitar!


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Pizzoaro
post Nov 27 2008, 08:54 AM
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In music theres no such thing as a lowest or highest note. But, there can be notes which i will say is so high or low that its impossible for humans to hear it. For example "dogflutes". U blow in it, but u cant hear a single thing. But the dog can hear it ... tongue.gif tongue.gif tongue.gif

So what im saying is.. U cant really define the lowest or highest note in music.. tongue.gif

QUOTE
I know for a 6 string guitar the lowest possible note is E


Nonononono ! tongue.gif
It aaalll depends on the tuning. My band plays in drop c tuning. There C is the lowest note were playing.
And the thicker the strings, the lower u can tune the guitar without the strings getting all flappy...

smile.gif Tell me if i got ur Q wrong... tongue.gif

This post has been edited by Pizzoaro: Nov 27 2008, 08:57 AM


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MickeM
post Nov 27 2008, 09:11 AM
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On a piano the lowest key is to the far left tongue.gif

Hope that helps rolleyes.gif


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Dejan Farkas
post Nov 27 2008, 09:37 AM
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QUOTE (MickeM @ Nov 27 2008, 09:11 AM) *
On a piano the lowest key is to the far left tongue.gif


That's A0 that has a frequency of 27.5 Hz, slightly above the lowest frequency a human can hear (20 Hz), so we can take it as a reference, and if we take the alphabet order of A B C D E F G, we can take the A as a starting note smile.gif

Another thing, if we speak about guitar, the standard tuning tunes lower strings to E, A and D. The most common chord progression is I, IV, V. If we start with A we have A, D, E.. so all lower open strings. smile.gif


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Jerry Arcidiacon...
post Nov 27 2008, 09:45 AM
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QUOTE (MickeM @ Nov 27 2008, 09:11 AM) *
On a piano the lowest key is to the far left tongue.gif


Good answer... biggrin.gif biggrin.gif


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