Choosing A Key, Whats your approch?
Mith
Oct 22 2014, 02:00 AM
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I'm just curious on how some people chose what key they play in. At the moment for me its very random but its something I would like to focus on and choose keys and scales for a reason instead of just falling into them.

I found this little tibbit on diffrent keys
http://www.wmich.edu/mus-theo/courses/keys.html

The approch I'm thinking of taking is chose a key using something like this as a bit of a guideline then fine tuning it by picking a scale thats either dark or bright depending on what I'm going for.

What do people think of this approch?
How do you approch diffrent keys?
Is it you just pick they key thats easiest to play certain parts?
Or do you pick it for creative reasons?

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Cosmin Lupu
Oct 23 2014, 09:57 AM
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Hey bro smile.gif

Well, since you and me are both vocalists as well, I think that one of the reasons why we can think about choosing a certain key, would also relate to our singing abilities. In order to make the best use of my voice in an acoustic context, I keep my guitar tuned in C# standard or D standard and I use the following major keys and their minor relatives as they can be regarded in respect to the instrument geometry in standard tuning:

E major - in C# standard tuning this becomes C# major for instance
G major - in C# standard thunung, this becomes E major
C major - this becomes A major
Eb major - this becomes D major

So the above keys are the ones I like to use, basically because of the limitations imposed by my voice smile.gif That's how I make the choice nowadays.

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Mith
Oct 23 2014, 10:05 AM
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Its a very logical approch. I never really thought too much about writting around that. its was always hit or miss. Just after reading that link it got me thinking of using keys as a creative choice like I would pick a scale which I thought was a very intresting approch

QUOTE (Cosmin Lupu @ Oct 23 2014, 04:57 PM) *
Hey bro smile.gif

Well, since you and me are both vocalists as well, I think that one of the reasons why we can think about choosing a certain key, would also relate to our singing abilities. In order to make the best use of my voice in an acoustic context, I keep my guitar tuned in C# standard or D standard and I use the following major keys and their minor relatives as they can be regarded in respect to the instrument geometry in standard tuning:

E major - in C# standard tuning this becomes C# major for instance
G major - in C# standard thunung, this becomes E major
C major - this becomes A major
Eb major - this becomes D major

So the above keys are the ones I like to use, basically because of the limitations imposed by my voice smile.gif That's how I make the choice nowadays.

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Cosmin Lupu
Oct 23 2014, 10:51 AM
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Well now - how about a little experiment? wink.gif Based on what you have read above - can you tell me what your 'comfort keys' are?

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Gabriel Leopardi
Oct 23 2014, 02:33 PM
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I'm with Cosmin about this. The tonalities that I choose for composing are mostly based on two things:

- Who will sing it and where his/her range works better. For example, the key D is one of the best ones for Cirse's singer, so we have many songs around it, some in D, others in C# others in E (here the advantage is the open string on 6th string). This happens with most of the bands and solo singers, if you analyse their music you will notice that they tend to use some tonalities very often.

- The use of open strings for riffs can also be reason why I usually prefer keys like E, Eb, D, C#, A and Ab, depending on the tuning that I'm using my guitar. Sometimes I change the vocal melodies in order to keep open string riffs.

I've honestly never seen that article with "feeling" descriptions about the tonalities. I obviously decide on going on minor, major, or any mode depending on the vibe that I want to get, but never experimented with the root. We should record, then listen and take conclusions, it's interesting.

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Kristofer Dahl
Oct 23 2014, 08:44 PM
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QUOTE (Mith @ Oct 22 2014, 03:00 AM) *
I found this little tibbit on diffrent keys
http://www.wmich.edu/mus-theo/courses/keys.html


Well that's interesting! Do others agree with this?

I guess I am not that romantic by nature, I see mostly practical reasons for using different keys:

* As mentioned to match a singers vocal range.

* To avoid a singers range and avoid old patterns.

* To use special chord voicings involving open strings, or country lead lines using open strings (usually the key of G major), or simply to use the lowest note that's available to a guitarist in standard tuning - the low E (or E2) - for rock/metal riffing.

* Because we're more used to scale positions in certain keys (usually E and A for guitarists)

* Again: in order to avoid old patterns one should actively choose to play/compose in keys that are out of one's comfort zone. I think this might be the most important reason to use different keys

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Gabriel Leopardi
Oct 23 2014, 10:36 PM
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In adition to Kris comment, I can say that a great example of this is the band Sonic Youth that not only uses many different keys to get fresh stuff and melodies, they also use lots of alternative guitar tuning which is a good way to avoid the same riffs, phrases and progressions when we are composing.

Check out this lesson: https://www.guitarmasterclass.net/ls/Indie-...IV-Sonic-Youth/

and don't miss this awesome list with all the guitar tunings used by them:

http://www.sonicyouth.com/mustang/tab/tuning.html

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SirJamsalot
Oct 24 2014, 01:49 AM
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QUOTE (Kristofer Dahl @ Oct 23 2014, 12:44 PM) *
Well that's interesting! Do others agree with this?

I guess I am not that romantic by nature, I see mostly practical reasons for using different keys:

* As mentioned to match a singers vocal range.

* To avoid a singers range and avoid old patterns.

* To use special chord voicings involving open strings, or country lead lines using open strings (usually the key of G major), or simply to use the lowest note that's available to a guitarist in standard tuning - the low E (or E2) - for rock/metal riffing.

* Because we're more used to scale positions in certain keys (usually E and A for guitarists)

* Again: in order to avoid old patterns one should actively choose to play/compose in keys that are out of one's comfort zone. I think this might be the most important reason to use different keys


I've seen a similar chart - I think it applies mainly to people with perfect pitch, which was more common during the era where symphonic music captured these moods. I'm a relative pitch person - I get my mood from the notes in a relative manner.

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Mith
Oct 24 2014, 02:29 AM
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I'm actually working on my pitch and relative training. A good ear is the most important tool for a musician. The way I look at it there are practical reasons to pick a key but looking beyond that why pick a key that is easy. As musicians if we just stuck to what was easy we would of stayed at power chords and pentatonic box one.

Most people pick a minor scale for sad songs and major for happy, more advanced pick modes for tonality but there could be merit in choosing a key to push your creative idea more.

Have you ever transposed a song and even tho it is the same the feel of the song shifts. Like if you play the song in the Key of E and then playing it exactly the same but in Eb people say it sounds heavier. Darker. None of the intervals changed. Nothing changed except for the key. Something to ponder isn't it?

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Cosmin Lupu
Oct 24 2014, 10:17 AM
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QUOTE (Mith @ Oct 24 2014, 01:29 AM) *
I'm actually working on my pitch and relative training. A good ear is the most important tool for a musician. The way I look at it there are practical reasons to pick a key but looking beyond that why pick a key that is easy. As musicians if we just stuck to what was easy we would of stayed at power chords and pentatonic box one.

Most people pick a minor scale for sad songs and major for happy, more advanced pick modes for tonality but there could be merit in choosing a key to push your creative idea more.

Have you ever transposed a song and even tho it is the same the feel of the song shifts. Like if you play the song in the Key of E and then playing it exactly the same but in Eb people say it sounds heavier. Darker. None of the intervals changed. Nothing changed except for the key. Something to ponder isn't it?


Kris has added a lot of valuable info here and I also agree with your statement, mate - each key has its own personality based on its geometrical characteristics smile.gif As I said before, the guitar's geometry and construction is both a blessing and a curse - people are always tempted to look at patterns instead of learning to differentiate sounds and associate the sounds with where they are positioned on the guitar. Imagine that you should treat each key as a different entity which has its own characteristics. In that way, you will not only become able to use the keys in respect to the advantage they provide for your vocal range, but also, in respect to the possibilities they give you in terms of playablity, use of open strings and interval reorientation - altered tunings will also provide a lot of fun to work with:

http://www.musicradar.com/news/guitars/10-...unings-565638/2
http://www.guitarworld.com/acoustic-nation...ternate-tunings

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