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MikeRobinson
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Re: how to figure out the key of a song - remixing

Fri May 22, 2020 1:32 pm

One way to do it might be to look at the Score display. Notice now where all the "sharps or flats" are showing up (if you've initially set "key of C" which is no sharps/flats).

Those "sharps and flats" form a definite pattern which is what a "key signature" on a printed score is actually showing you. (If there are "three sharps," they are always F-C-G, and so on.) Fiddle around with the key-signature setting until most if not all of the "sharp/flat symbols" go away.

And, as someone in this thread said (many years ago, now ...) "basic music theory" really isn't all that hard. There are plenty of very good videos on the subject: Toby Rush (tobyrush.com) actually did a book of cartoons. There are really only a small handful of things that you need to know to really help you out – you actually don't have to go that deep into it to come away with some really useful nuggets. You'll find yourself actually saying, "gee, that actually makes sense!" :)

With practice, you can actually hear what the key-signature is most likely to be. Because of "physics reasons" that we don't need to dive into, the various keys sound different, and not just at a superficial level. There's a certain discernible "pull" as the lines of melody play through: "it's not just the pitch."
Mike Robinson
"I wanna quit being a computer consultant and become a composer and arranger at age fifty-nevermind."
Logic Pro X, MacBook Pro, 88-key MIDI controller.
Just south of Chattanooga, Tennessee, USA
 
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Eriksimon
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Re: how to figure out the key of a song - remixing

Sun May 24, 2020 7:19 am

To Onyx509:

You can select a chord and that is then named in the PR editor.

pic 2020-05-24 at 16.17.44.png
pic 2020-05-24 at 16.17.44.png (37.74 KiB) Viewed 791 times
Why did the chicken cross the Mobius ring?

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Onyx509
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Re: how to figure out the key of a song - remixing

Sun May 24, 2020 8:15 am

Thanks for your reply! That is actually helpful. This way if I am playing a weird chord I can figure out what it is. It doesn't, however, tell me what key the song is in.
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Eriksimon
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Re: how to figure out the key of a song - remixing

Mon May 25, 2020 10:55 am

No, but "key" is a "chosen" value, not something you can "mathematically" compute. So if a song starts and ends with Gm and inbetween there is (among others) an F and Bb and Eb chord, well, you may choose: is it in Gm, or in Bb, or perhaps in F or even Cm? I would go for Gm, but that is by no means "the law". So I can understand why there is no such feature. The key is a choice, and such a feature would need a (rigid) formula. Because computers can't "feel" the key.
Why did the chicken cross the Mobius ring?

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MikeRobinson
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Re: how to figure out the key of a song - remixing

Tue May 26, 2020 7:45 am

More or less you try to sense what the "1 chord," the "4 chord," and the "5 chord" feel like. Those probably indicate "the key." Songs often begin and end on the tonic – the "1 chord."
Mike Robinson
"I wanna quit being a computer consultant and become a composer and arranger at age fifty-nevermind."
Logic Pro X, MacBook Pro, 88-key MIDI controller.
Just south of Chattanooga, Tennessee, USA
 
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Onyx509
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Re: how to figure out the key of a song - remixing

Fri Jun 05, 2020 8:53 am

Ok, yes this makes sense to me now. Determining what key a composition is in is even more difficult when the key changes within the song. The would indeed be difficult for Logic to determine. Thanks for the replies.
Logic Pro X 10.5
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MikeRobinson
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Re: how to figure out the key of a song - remixing

Fri Jun 05, 2020 6:43 pm

But – "key changes within the song" are usually very easy to recognize.

Easily the best example of this is "Can't Fight the Moonlight," as memorably recorded by LeAnn Rimes.

The entire driving force of this brilliantly-conceived hit song consists of: "harmonically progressive key changes!" Everything depends entirely upon this device.

Kindly observe that LeAnn's [excellent as always] vocals do not change. What changes (continuously) is the harmonic context, which changes not only between verses but (sometimes several times) within them.
Mike Robinson
"I wanna quit being a computer consultant and become a composer and arranger at age fifty-nevermind."
Logic Pro X, MacBook Pro, 88-key MIDI controller.
Just south of Chattanooga, Tennessee, USA
 
MikeRobinson
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Joined: Thu Nov 05, 2015 3:42 pm
Location: Just south of Chattanooga, Tennessee, USA.

Re: how to figure out the key of a song - remixing

Fri Jun 05, 2020 7:16 pm

"What chords do your fingers naturally come to?"

Most likely, they'll quickly settle upon three chords, and those three chords will turn out to have a "1 -5 -4" relationship to one another. For instance, a usual guitar song "in the key of E-flat" will feature "E" then "E+F+G+A+B" (+5) then "E+F+G+A(7)" (+4). Similarly, a song in the key of "C-major" will feature "C" then "C+D+E+F+G" then "C+D+E+F." Even if the song is in "a minor key," the arithemetical relationship between the foundation notes will still be there: "1 - 5 - 4." (1=Tonic, 5=Dominant, 4=Subdominant, leading to 5.)

Yes, the harmonization might turn out to be more complex than that, but here are "Three Chords and the Truth.™"

"More sophisticated" chord progressions always reduce themselves, one way or the other, to "these three anchors."
Mike Robinson
"I wanna quit being a computer consultant and become a composer and arranger at age fifty-nevermind."
Logic Pro X, MacBook Pro, 88-key MIDI controller.
Just south of Chattanooga, Tennessee, USA
 
MikeRobinson
Posts: 1006
Joined: Thu Nov 05, 2015 3:42 pm
Location: Just south of Chattanooga, Tennessee, USA.

Re: how to figure out the key of a song - remixing

Fri Jun 05, 2020 7:41 pm

P.S.: "For those who are truly "musically interested," what is actually going on in Moonlight is very-sophisticated "modal harmony." While LeAnn herself never changes vocal keys throughout the song, the song itself continuously changes around her!

Therefore, the effective musical key changes, while the actual key (determined by her voice) does not. The resulting "obvious pull" is referred to as a mode, and was probably once called by a pig-latin name that you briefly had to remember until you, too, graduated.
Mike Robinson
"I wanna quit being a computer consultant and become a composer and arranger at age fifty-nevermind."
Logic Pro X, MacBook Pro, 88-key MIDI controller.
Just south of Chattanooga, Tennessee, USA
 
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Goergtn
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Re: how to figure out the key of a song - remixing

Sun Jun 07, 2020 3:56 pm

I’m gonna check that out, Mike.
In the 90s and the 00s I played in several country bands and played some really nice stuff. The female vox in one band loved LeAnn and turned me on to some beautiful stuff.
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Ken Nielsen
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Re: how to figure out the key of a song - remixing

Sat Sep 12, 2020 4:35 pm

This has worked pretty well for me: The last note in a song is the key of the song.
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