PDA

View Full Version : Song key - Just Wow!



AndieZ
08-01-2016, 09:40 AM
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9bQouq9a_CA

This is brilliant. Ok, he went a bit fast one writing out the scale but the first part on how to find they key of a song - well it works. And that was the question i asked yesterday. I had no idea it could be this easy.

In both examples he shows here, I got it straight away. So i know i can be confident that I can do this every time.

As to working out the rest of it, i know I will have to work a little more but this is just fantastic for me. And it may be good for others too so I decided to share it.

zztush
08-01-2016, 12:24 PM
Thanks Andie! Very interesting and useful. It works for me too.

AndieZ
08-01-2016, 02:48 PM
He's right that the note you intuitively pick is likely to be the first (tonic), third or fifth of the key, but that still leaves you with four choices and the mode to determine.

Yes ok. He's wrong and i didn't get it how he got from the tonic note to choosing the minor key either but the fact of finding the tonic note and what it means is still pretty amazing to me.

Can you explain in an easy way, how to get from the tonic note to determining the right mode of the key? I would say that 99% of what you write above went right over my head though others here may have fared much better. If you have the answer, could you please try to make it ultra simple for the likes of me and if not, then others may benefit anyway.

I mean, is there a simple answer? At this stage, a complex type of answer such as the above is completely wasted on me. :)

zztush
08-01-2016, 11:46 PM
I hear the Chord progression is Bb Dm F Em Dm.
And the key is Dm to me.

Booli
08-02-2016, 02:07 AM
I dunno - this is hard for me to accept.

such claims of shortcuts seems like snake oil

mikelz777
08-02-2016, 02:31 AM
Just one problem: he has it wrong on the first song. He says D minor, when it actually switches between G Dorian and Bb major (technically, Bb Lydian). His D is the fifth of G minor/Dorian, and the fifth is frequently used as a drone note because it fits with both the I and V chord (the tonic only fits with the I, IV and VI chords)—also, the fifth fits the III chord, which is prominent in this song. He's right that the note you intuitively pick is likely to be the first (tonic), third or fifth of the key, but that still leaves you with four choices and the mode to determine. Why four? Because the third could be either major (four semitones above the tonic) or minor (three semitones above the tonic), depending on the mode of the piece.

The scale as I hear it runs G A Bb C D E F G: G Dorian. (Dorian mode is like minor mode except that the sixth note is a half step higher, as in a major scale.) This same set of notes matches Bb Lydian and D minor (relative modes). So it's not surprising that he fixes on D minor as the key, as it's familiar to his limited way of viewing keys (they're just major or minor—or blues—right? Wrong.)

The piece begins on the tonic chord, G minor, and the chord sequence, repeated over and over and clearly heard in the bass, has the following roots: G Bb D C Bb—I III V IV III in G minor, with the first three tracing the G minor chord. The singer and accompaniment begin with a very clear G minor chord—she starts on the root and drops to the fifth. In fact, throughout, she's basically singing notes in the Gm7 chord—remember, this is trance music, which tends to be minimalistic. And although she does end on a D, the chord underneath her is Bb (major), of which D is the third. Given how protracted this chord is, there's a tonality change here to Bb major (technically Lydian)—songs often do this kind of tonality shift between relative modes, and it can be hard to pinpoint just where the shift occurs because the piece usually sticks with the same set of notes and same set of chords in common. In fact, you could view the entire progression from the standpoint of Bb Lydian: IV I III II I. But I think it's more correct to view this as a modally ambiguous song that flips tonality between the two relative modes. What is pretty clear, however, is that the tonality (key) is not D minor, even if the scale pitches happen to conform to D minor, too.

He's also wrong about 90% of (modern) songs being in minor mode. Major mode (and its close variant, Mixolydian mode) dominate most pop music. Lydian isn't a common mode, but Dorian is used more frequently than people realize. Minor mode may dominate the genres of music he listens to, but that's another story.

For me, this post is a perfect example illustrating the phrase, "ignorance is bliss". My eyes were crossing by the 2nd sentence. If this is what was going through my head every time I listened to or played music, I don't think I could enjoy it anymore. Viva la ignorance! :D

Mivo
08-02-2016, 02:52 AM
For me, this post is a perfect example illustrating the phrase, "ignorance is bliss". My eyes were crossing by the 2nd sentence. If this is what was going through my head every time I listened to or played music, I don't think I could enjoy it anymore. Viva la ignorance! :D

I think you can enjoy music just fine even if you have all the theoretical knowledge like Ubulele does. :) I only speculate here, but I believe it may be similar to what happens when I read short stories and novels, especially translations, where part of my brain analyzes the structure and how the author constructed the individual parts (characters, plots, scenes, etc.), or, if it's a translation, what the original phrases and expressions were, but it doesn't take away from the enjoyment. In a way, it deepens the appreciation because it adds another dimension.

AndieZ
08-02-2016, 02:57 AM
I dunno - this is hard for me to accept.

such claims of shortcuts seems like snake oil

I typically use my official Factaculator PitchTastic Machine and it works fine. got it in a cereal box when I was a wee one, hasn't failed me yet. :)

Did you try it? Open the link and start doing it with him. You have time to hum the note before he does. Then finding that note on the piano is easy. It's the tonic note. That much is very nice and since i did it twice perfectly, I was convinced by it.

After that it seems to get more complicated but i think just finding the tonic note and now understanding what significance that is, for me, is a major advance on my knowledge.

AndieZ
08-02-2016, 03:03 AM
I think you can enjoy music just fine even if you have all the theoretical knowledge like Ubulele does. :) I only speculate here, but I believe it may be similar to what happens when I read short stories and novels, especially translations, where part of my brain analyzes the structure and how the author constructed the individual parts (characters, plots, scenes, etc.), or, if it's a translation, what the original phrases and expressions were, but it doesn't take away from the enjoyment. In a way, it deepens the appreciation because it adds another dimension.

I agree iwth you Mivo. If this is your sort of thing, then its not going to reduce your enjoyment. But for the rest of us who may not yet share such a deep understanding of music theory, it might not be so much fun.

But my example of this is when looking at art, I like to look how a picture (photo, painting, whatever) to see how it's mounted, framed, and put together and likewise for other aspects of the construction of art. People who never studied art are not likely to look at an art work in the same way. Even though I am not a painter, having learnt a little bit about it, i do love to study the paint up close. Its a lot more than a mere picture to art students. Artists like to know how a work is made, writers, how a book is written, musicians how a composition is ... um, er, well, you know, composed.

mikelz777
08-02-2016, 03:20 AM
I think you can enjoy music just fine even if you have all the theoretical knowledge like Ubulele does. :) I only speculate here, but I believe it may be similar to what happens when I read short stories and novels, especially translations, where part of my brain analyzes the structure and how the author constructed the individual parts (characters, plots, scenes, etc.), or, if it's a translation, what the original phrases and expressions were, but it doesn't take away from the enjoyment. In a way, it deepens the appreciation because it adds another dimension.

I don't know, I experience and enjoy music on a visceral level not an analytical one. It makes me think of a story Prince told of a time he was at a performance of some kind and sitting next to Esperanza Spaulding. After listening to the music for a while one turned to the other and asked if they were rearranging the song in their head and the other admitted that were too. I wouldn't like that. I'd rather accept or reject something musically based on how it moved me in some way. A rudimentary understanding of certain aspects of music theory is handy in figuring some things out but I don't think I'd ever want to go beyond that.

Down Up Dick
08-02-2016, 03:41 AM
You peeps can't even imagine how much you are making ubulele's blood boil. He/she lives and breathes music theory and loves to expound about it.

I'm not sure what you wanna know, AndieZ, but maybe I can help. I'm sure ubulele has the answer though. :old:

Rllink
08-02-2016, 04:05 AM
I don't know, I experience and enjoy music on a visceral level not an analytical one. It makes me think of a story Prince told of a time he was at a performance of some kind and sitting next to Esperanza Spaulding. After listening to the music for a while one turned to the other and asked if they were rearranging the song in their head and the other admitted that were too. I wouldn't like that. I'd rather accept or reject something musically based on how it moved me in some way. A rudimentary understanding of certain aspects of music theory is handy in figuring some things out but I don't think I'd ever want to go beyond that.The problem is that most times there is no easy explanation. I try to get by with just what I need to know to do what I'm doing, but it always seems to me that as soon as I think that I have a rudimentary understanding of some aspect of music, if realize that I have no real understanding of it at all. It is hard to be rudimentary when everything runs so deep, and my understanding runs so shallow. Music is complicated, and a lot of times there isn't an easy answer.

Rllink
08-02-2016, 04:23 AM
I wonder though, when I hear a song and I want to play it, what does it matter to me what key they are doing it in?

AndieZ
08-02-2016, 04:45 AM
Dick, I almost cannot remember what my original question about keys was because of the diversions above. But I am sure the question will come up for me again and again. And eventually I will find the answer. It probably had something to do with figuring out the key of a song by some means or other for some reason or other. But...

Did you ever see the Life of Brian? Please don't ban me but you really must watch this one more time.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2K8_jgiNqUc

AndieZ
08-02-2016, 04:49 AM
I wonder though, when I hear a song and I want to play it, what does it matter to me what key they are doing it in?

There seem to be some advantages. If you know the key, its easier to find out the chords. If you want to change the key of the song so that its easier to play or sing or whatever, then knowing the key its in to begin with will make it easier to find a more suitable key and thus the chords. I'm almost ahead of myself here but I this is what i seem to finding out.

Often enough you look up the chords for a song and they are either wrong or wrong for you so you see to be able to have the flexibility of changing keys easily sounds like a good idea.

Otherwise how do you normally go about figuring out how to play it a song that you hear if you don't have the chords for it?

Rllink
08-02-2016, 05:01 AM
There seem to be some advantages. If you know the key, its easier to find out the chords. If you want to change the key of the song so that its easier to play or sing or whatever, then knowing the key its in to begin with will make it easier to find a more suitable key and thus the chords. I'm almost ahead of myself here but I this is what i seem to finding out.

Often enough you look up the chords for a song and they are either wrong or wrong for you so you see to be able to have the flexibility of changing keys easily sounds like a good idea.

Otherwise how do you normally go about figuring out how to play it a song that you hear if you don't have the chords for it?The first thing that I do is try to recognize a chord progression, keeping in mind that there might be a combination of them in a song. Then, when I think that I have at least some of the progression figured out, I'll play that in a key that I'm familiar with to see if I can pin down some of the twists and turns that don't quite fit into it. Most of the time that works for me. That's sort of a simplified explanation.

Down Up Dick
08-02-2016, 05:48 AM
There are two approaches to this problem. Either simply just play the TAB like many of the other UUers do, or buy a "Theories for Dummies" and learn what you wanna know.

If you pick a TABBED tune with the chords of C, F, Am and G7, it's in the key of C. If it's too low for you to sing, either whistle or find a different tune. Tunes with the chords of F, Bb (Ugh!), Dm and C7 are in the key of F and pitched higher. G has the chords of G, C, Em and D7 and is a bit higher then F. So, learn these and get down with your bad selves . . .

If you really wanna learn theory, figure what ubulele's talking about, or go to the library and check out a Therory book. :old:

Down Up Dick
08-02-2016, 06:37 AM
Many times ubulele slides in, says something, then slides back out. Anybody catch his/her post besides me?

Sorta like a pop-up . . . :old:

Mivo
08-02-2016, 08:09 AM
I appreciate your posts, even if I admittedly only understand a fraction of the theoretical excursions. But it stimulates interest and I pick up bits and pieces. In that sense, yes, I'm a swine who can't fully appreciate the pearls, but I nevertheless do recognize them as pearls and the effort that went into producing them. I'm confident that many others feel the same way, and your effort is not wasted, even if few people here might have the knowledge to fully appreciate the conveyed explanations.

Down Up Dick
08-02-2016, 08:26 AM
Yes, because it's clear that I'm casting pearls before swine, and the swine prefer the sound of their own snorts to articulated reason. The only people who think ignorance is bliss are the ignorant; the rest of us know that informed bliss is richer, more rewarding and more productive. How many aspects of music do people fail to appreciate because they're only able to hear the big picture or most overt features, without catching subtler movements and nuances? In contrast, those who have studied music can see not only the forest but the trees, branches, leaves and soil, and we find appreciation imbued with wonder at every level. Music doesn't have to slap us in the face to make an impression or sense.

Ignorance is not bliss; ignorance is obtuse, oblivious, superficial. It is no virtue. For example, even after my exposition, zztush's analysis ignored the pivotal bass, and so the chords in that analysis were completely wrong. I also explained why the original process was more likely to fix on the fifth of the scale rather than the tonic; AndieZ and zztush still insisted they were hearing the tonic because they bought into the superficial reasoning in the video. I remove my posts because if you're all so adamant that ignorance is better, you shall have ignorance.

I sorta agree with you, ubulele. I love to learn what I love to learn about music, and I've been doing it for 70 years now. But if I read something that's long and drawn out and that doesn't fit my needs, I just pass it by. Knowing theory doesn't necessarily make one a fun, interesting, satisfied musician. Some of us just wanna know how to play a tune or sing a song.

Some of the UUers are interested in what you're selling, and some are not, as you said. And that's life. Some of us just wanna enjoy our music and share that enjoyment with others.

Being pedantic and confusing and overly thorough is probably not gonna teach anyone anything. We all mostly have to learn the basics before we can delve deeply into theory. When one is trying to find out what key he/she is playing in, or what key they need to play so they can sing, they don't need info on the Dorian mode or any of the other modes or progressions. They just wanna play, and sing and have a good time with music, and they really just wanted to learn enough to do that.

Learning is the best part of my music, and it's probably why I play so many different instruments. A good teacher will teach what his/her students wanna learn, or at least make the other stuff interesting. Maybe doing it the other way is what turns so many musicians off to music theory.

Well, anyhow, ubulele, it's very nice of you to attempt to share your vast music knowledge with us--thanks. :old:

Rllink
08-02-2016, 09:10 AM
There are two approaches to this problem. Either simply just play the TAB like many of the other UUers do, or buy a "Theories for Dummies" and learn what you wanna know.

I like to try to figure out the chords and melodies in songs just by listening to them and trying to hear them, but at the end of the day, even if I think I have it all figured out, I just get on the internet, find the song, change it to a key that I like, then print it out. Then I either find out that I did pretty good, or that I'm just fooling myself.

mikelz777
08-02-2016, 10:43 AM
You peeps can't even imagine how much you are making ubulele's blood boil. He/she lives and breathes music theory and loves to expound about it.

It would appear that you were right.

I learned a lot from ubu's latest post. I learned that I am an ignorant pig and apparently incapable of discerning and/or appreciating the nuances and subtleties of music to any degree approaching that of those who reside in the lofty perches of Mt. Music Theory. (Time to sell the CD collection?) It's apparently not possible to be a discerning listener unless you have a strong working knowledge of and are able to communicate your thoughts in technical music theory terms. I find it a bit ironic that someone who prides themselves on the ability to appreciate the subtleties of music on a level above that of me and my fellow pigs, that they would miss the subtlety and nuance behind the phrase, "ignorance is bliss". But what do I know? I'm just an ignorant, lesser human being. All I know is if a song starts with a C chord, I'm pretty sure it's in the key of C and if it starts with an F chord, I'm pretty sure it's in the key of F and I'm going to see the chords that typically appear with those chords when they start a song. If the chord I get from a chord sheet is wrong or missing then I can probably find the right chord by trying out those other chords. I can also transpose a song to make it more suitable for my voice range. In the end, I'm very happy with those meager skills and I really enjoy singing and playing. I don't need more than that but then again, apparently I'm too stupid to see what I'm missing. Good day y'all! Oink, oink! ;)

ramone
08-02-2016, 10:55 AM
ubulele, I enjoy your posts quite a bit. while some of your posts are above my level of understanding music, I see them as an opportunity to learn. I totally get the appeal of simply playing but knowing what makes the music work can be very rewarding. please don't stop sharing your knowledge! those who can't or don't want to understand should just skip your post instead of responding with insults.

Down Up Dick
08-02-2016, 10:58 AM
And that's a more proper response than posting, "I don't need that" or "Nobody needs that," because subsequent discussions show that, very often, it's just what people do need. I don't insist that anyone learn theory (unless they want me to teach them to play), but I do encourage it, because I know how useful it is for getting people to where they really want to get.



Again, blaming the messenger. The guy in the video is purporting to teach people how to identify the key, but he gets it wrong. He chose the example in Dorian mode, not me. How can I explain his error without talking about Dorian mode?? How can I point out the holes in his system except by explaining why his approach is more likely to pick the fifth instead of the tonic? Am I just supposed to gainsay, rather than support my position with details that others can examine for accuracy? Gainsaying is simple and easily understood, but not really informative. It may be the way of others, but it's not my way.

One doesn't have to grasp every detail as long as one can grasp the essential bits. Consider the rest as supplemental info for those who do have enough musical grounding to follow. When you come back to such explanations later, they may make a lot more sense to you, and you may learn additional, useful things. If my responses strike you as "pedantic", if the only material we're supposed to post has to meet with the lowest common denominator of understanding, this forum is worthless for discussing these kinds of questions. Not everything has a simple answer: music is a complex web of interacting factors; tonality results from a consensus of considerations, there is no one thing that establishes it. You want a cookie-cutter approach to finding the key? Some simple guidelines come close, but there is no such formula that works in all cases. The guy in the video proved that even relatively informed people can still get it wrong.

Is the key important? As long as you can get the right chords somehow, maybe not. If you already have the chords and you're transposing, all you need is a chart that shifts everything by the same interval. There's a lot you can do without knowing the key. But if you're notating stuff or playing melodically or trying to get other people on the same page or trying to understand why the chords work to get that sound, you betcha that knowing the key helps.

Well, teaching is a good, generous and important thing to do, but not if the students are unable to understand or apply the lesson. Teaching them about the modes when they don't even understand how to find the key of a tune is a bit much to say the least. It is a good example of your vast music knowledge though. Baby steps, that's what I'm talking about. One can explain to a two year old how best to use his/her legs, but he/she still probably won't do well in a hundred yard dash.

But, you apparently enjoy teaching which is nice, and those who can understand tour lessons might benefit, I guess. :old:

Booli
08-02-2016, 11:03 AM
It would appear that you were right.

I learned a lot from ubu's latest post. I learned that I am an ignorant pig and apparently incapable of discerning and/or appreciating the nuances and subtleties of music to any degree approaching that of those who reside in the lofty perches of Mt. Music Theory. (Time to sell the CD collection?) It's apparently not possible to be a discerning listener unless you have a strong working knowledge of and are able to communicate your thoughts in technical music theory terms. I find it a bit ironic that someone who prides themselves on the ability to appreciate the subtleties of music on a level above that of me and my fellow pigs, that they would miss the subtlety and nuance behind the phrase, "ignorance is bliss". But what do I know? I'm just an ignorant, lesser human being. All I know is if a song starts with a C chord, I'm pretty sure it's in the key of C and if it starts with an F chord, I'm pretty sure it's in the key of F and I'm going to see the chords that typically appear with those chords when they start a song. If the chord I get from a chord sheet is wrong or missing then I can probably find the right chord by trying out those other chords. I can also transpose a song to make it more suitable for my voice range. In the end, I'm very happy with those meager skills and I really enjoy singing and playing. I don't need more than that but then again, apparently I'm too stupid to see what I'm missing. Good day y'all! Oink, oink! http://forum.ukuleleunderground.com/images/smilies/wink.png



what seems to be lost here is that ubulele tried to explain that the guy in the video is INCORRECT

some folks are just willfully ignorant, yea - that's a real thing - see here (http://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Willful_ignorance) and here (https://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=willful%20ignorance)

Some folks who want to remain that way ALSO want to shoot the messenger who is maybe just one in a handful of folks here on UU that not only has the education and knowledge to explain WHY the video is wrong, but is ALSO willing to put forth the time and effort to SHARE this knowledge with everyone

Then his reward is either being ignored, told he's a music snob, or told that nobody cares

So to all of you folks criticizing ubulele, I think you all need to take a deep breath and THEN take a good look in the mirror and ask yourself why you are all so hell-bent on shooting the messenger, and one motivated by goodwill?

I mean really folks - WTF is wrong with all of you that are being so intolerant?

and now if you want to attack me, I just wont engage and will then petition the mods to close this thread if you all cannot behave like adults - I cannot stop you from walking away mad, but stop being MEAN for no reason...

Down Up Dick
08-02-2016, 11:50 AM
The trouble with playing ukuleles is the four strings. If they only had one string each, playing them would be easy peasy. Chords would be a little tricky, but, if there were four players with each having a different tuned string, chords might work too. Tuning for fingerpicking would be a snap too.

Look at a trumpet for instance--three valves, seven positions--easy as mud. Four stringed axes are just too complicated. Take three of the strings off of one of your Ukes and see if I'm not correct.

You see . . . there's good answers to most problems that come up. :old:

mikelz777
08-02-2016, 12:06 PM
what seems to be lost here is that ubulele tried to explain that the guy in the video is INCORRECT

Some folks who want to remain that way ALSO want to shoot the messenger who is maybe just one in a handful of folks here on UU that not only has the education and knowledge to explain WHY the video is wrong, but is ALSO willing to put forth the time and effort to SHARE this knowledge with everyone

Then his reward is either being ignored, told he's a music snob, or told that nobody cares

So to all of you folks criticizing ubulele, I think you all need to take a deep breath and THEN take a good look in the mirror and ask yourself why you are all so hell-bent on shooting the messenger, and one motivated by goodwill?

I mean really folks - WTF is wrong with all of you that are being so intolerant?

I might ask why anyone would be so intolerant of those who might express the thought that a $10 question might not ask for or require a $1000 answer? The approach in the video apparently lead to a false conclusion and that rightfully should be brought to the readers attention but of what use is it if few or no one can understand the explanation? At the risk of being criticized for another saying, it's always good advice to "play to your audience". In response to those who expressed the aforementioned opinion among other things, those of that opinion are dismissed as ignorant pigs. Furthermore, their opinions are ignored, dismissed and they are portrayed as little more than musical cretins incapable of meaningful music appreciation approaching anything like that of those who know music theory. Music theory is very useful and to some, the response was appreciated but damnation for those who might express otherwise is hardly cool. I know very little music theory and I'm very happy singing, playing and making new songs work for me. It's my bliss and knowing myself, knowledge of the intricate mechanics behind the music is more likely to take the fun out of it than anything. People don't have to agree with me but I'd hope that they'd at least be tolerant of that opinion whether they agreed with it or not.

Down Up Dick
08-02-2016, 12:15 PM
C'mon peeps, Uke playing for most us is fun (unless we're having a fumble finger day). Did anyone try the one finger Uke yet? Get three of your friends and give it a try. Actually, you'll only need two for a regular chord.

You might even try it, locking arms. You'd become just one instrument--far out! :old:

Booli
08-02-2016, 12:22 PM
Nah, I'm done here.

I'm not mad, just tired of the endless churn.

Cya l8r.

PM if you want since I wont be subbed after posting this.

acmespaceship
08-02-2016, 12:32 PM
Wow, I get here late and things are hopping. Let's see if I can summarize:

1) If you want to know what key a song is in, listen to it and take a guess. If this works, great. If not, try again.

2) There's more to music theory than one video. You could learn about it if you want to, but last I checked nobody is required to pass a theory exam to play ukulele.

3) Wow, some people sure do get defensive and angry about music theory. Seems awfully childish to me, but perhaps people have deep psychological traumas I am unaware of so who am I to judge?

That's all I got from this thread. Did I miss anything?

Down Up Dick
08-02-2016, 12:35 PM
Well, mikelz777, I like to sing too, but I find that strumming and changing chords and trying to read the words is sometimes a little much. Do you have that problem? Whadaya like to play/sing? I like most folk songs in English.

I like to play in C, but most of my music is in G and D. F is good except for the Bb. Uke music uses a lot of F. :old:

Down Up Dick
08-02-2016, 12:37 PM
Wow, I get here late and things are hopping. Let's see if I can summarize:

1) If you want to know what key a song is in, listen to it and take a guess. If this works, great. If not, try again.

2) There's more to music theory than one video. You could learn about it if you want to, but last I checked nobody is required to pass a theory exam to play ukulele.

3) Wow, some people sure do get defensive and angry about music theory. Seems awfully childish to me, but perhaps people have deep psychological traumas I am unaware of so who am I to judge?

That's all I got from this thread. Did I miss anything?

By God, acmespaceship, I think you've got it! :old:

bunnyf
08-02-2016, 02:41 PM
Granted, much of what is discussed is beyond my early intermediate music knowledge but in general I always enjoy all post by the more knowledgeable folks here on UU. Whether it's ubulele on music theory or Booli on tech stuff, I glean what knowledge I can from their posts and I certainly appreciate them. I actually make a mental note to go back and re-read some posts when i have a better understanding. I hope these folks will keep sharing their knowledge in their posts, even if the original poster or others feel that their explanations are complex. I know that I always get valuable nuggets, even with my limited understanding.

Down Up Dick
08-02-2016, 02:45 PM
Ridiculous exaggeration. Talk of tonic, thirds and fifths is a $1000 answer? Talking about chords by scale degrees (the I IV V stuff) is a $1000 answer? If so, I'm waiting for the check. At worst, I gave a $20 answer—these are very basic ways to talk about chord construction and scales. Modes? Well, the piece is modal, so how else would I describe it (and I even tried to describe Dorian mode in the most accessible way). If you can put what I was saying more simply, give it a shot; we're all waiting with bated breath.

You wrote:

Why don't you just ponder on why that was badly put. Who lobbed the first bricks here? Who first called you ignorant? If you actually wanted a simpler explanation, why didn't you just write "I didn't quite follow that; can you put it a simpler way?" But no, you and the others chose to be confrontational, and now you're feigning offense. Go figure.

I'm sorry this thread has devolved in this manner. I had thought to address AndieZ's question (once you have the presumed tonic, how do you find the scale/mode?)—and indeed, I partly answered that in my first post—but now you can search for the answer yourselves. Maybe by reminding you of that question, I can get this thread back on track and we can see the simple explanations pour forth. {snork}

@DownUpDick: Why do you always have to stir the pot with your deliberate and uncharitable mischaracterizations?

Sorry, ubulele, but I was very, very careful to be especially charitable with your posts. I don't think anyone could find anything mean spirited with mine. I even gave you a few complements. You seem to feel free to be the educator of the UU, but, I was trying to guide you a bit about your, confusing (to some of us) and almost always "over the top" approach to teaching, but you, as usual, were far too superior to acknowledge or answer me.

I've tried for a long, long time to get along with you, but I guess we just have a personality conflict. :old:

Freeda
08-02-2016, 03:05 PM
Yes, because it's clear that I'm casting pearls before swine, and the swine prefer the sound of their own snorts to articulated reason. The only people who think ignorance is bliss are the ignorant; the rest of us know that informed bliss is richer, more rewarding and more productive. How many aspects of music do people fail to appreciate because they're only able to hear the big picture or most overt features, without catching subtler movements and nuances? In contrast, those who have studied music can see not only the forest but the trees, branches, leaves and soil, and we find appreciation imbued with wonder at every level. Music doesn't have to slap us in the face to make an impression or sense.

Ignorance is not bliss; ignorance is obtuse, oblivious, superficial. It is no virtue. For example, even after my exposition, zztush's analysis ignored the pivotal bass, and so the chords in that analysis were completely wrong. I also explained why the original process was more likely to fix on the fifth of the scale rather than the tonic; AndieZ and zztush still insisted they were hearing the tonic because they bought into the superficial reasoning in the video. mikelz777 said "if that's what went through my head every time I listened to music…"—it's not what goes through my head then, it's what goes through my head when I try to reproduce it or understand it at a deeper level or, as here, articulate it so someone else can break things down. This kind of knee-jerk anti-intellectualism I've grown tired of. I remove my posts because if you're all so adamant that ignorance is better, you shall have ignorance.

Poetry right there.

AndieZ
08-02-2016, 04:56 PM
But what do I know? I'm just an ignorant, lesser human being. All I know is if a song starts with a C chord, I'm pretty sure it's in the key of C and if it starts with an F chord, I'm pretty sure it's in the key of F and I'm going to see the chords that typically appear with those chords when they start a song.

If this is correct, its helpful to me at this point in time. Would this only apply to major chords?

AndieZ
08-02-2016, 05:03 PM
Did I miss anything?

Yes you didn't follow my link in response to Dick after his first post. And i suspect Dick missed it too. :-) I'm very hurt.

I agree with you all. You're all great just because you're here.

robinboyd
08-02-2016, 05:07 PM
If this is correct, its helpful to me at this point in time. Would this only apply to major chords?

I'm far from an expert, but I can categorically say that it is not correct. However, if you go by this method, you'll probably guess right more than half the time.

I know what Ubulele says is hard to understand. A lot of it goes over my head, too. However, I know that he is a whole lot more knowledgeable than I am, and when he talks about music theory, I try to pay attention.

Down Up Dick
08-02-2016, 05:13 PM
AndieZ, what kind of tunes are you trying to play? Is it easy three chorders, folk, pop or what? I pretty much explained how to tell keys in post #17. If the tune starts with C, F or G7 it's in C, etc, etc. I really don't understand what you're looking for. What chords do you know?

Give me more info. :old:

AndieZ
08-02-2016, 05:23 PM
Well I couldn't. Robin, you are already much more advanced than me, much more. I'm still in kindergarten. Dick is correct.

If Dick undertands all that Ubu explains, and then rewrites it in his precise and clear English so that lesser beings can understand, we'd have the perfect solution, in my opinion. But if anyone else is capable of it, then that would be as good.

I see Ubu has deleted his original post so its too late for this one.

But thanks for putting me straight on the notion above. I'll find a book. I see no other option.

AndieZ
08-02-2016, 05:57 PM
Hi again Dick,

I'm not interested in the easy folk songs that appeal to a lot of ukers. Yes i got your post above and thanks for that. Usually I'm trying to find a lower key rather than a higher key.

Well now the can of worms is open - here's a list of some songs i'm keen to learn and am learning

Dream a little dream of me - no problem with this one. Its in C. Love it!
Be My Baby - this one is good. But i've forgotten the chords now all of a sudden.
Don't Know Why by Norah Jones
At Last - yes i've seen the chord chart and this is mucho advanced so won't be learning this for a while i guess. Although there's a woman on youtbue is doing a great job of it and maybe she's found easier chords.
La Vie en Rose - Cynthia lin does a lesson on it but her key is too high for me. Starts in G. Cynthia picks good songs to do tuts on but her voice is higher than mine.
Feelin Alright - by Lulu
Minnie the Moocher
Walk on the wild side
The Rhythm of Life
I'd Rather Go Blind
All I can do is cry
Happy
Don't Worry Be Happy
Fly me to the Moon
Night and Day
Valerie
Cry me A River
Mad World
Nothing Really Matters
Strange Fruit
Skylark - Renee Olstead
Hallelujah
Aint No Sunshine
BAby I'm a fool - Melody Gardot
What a Differnece a Day Makes
Stand by Me
Over the rainbow of course.
Big yellow taxi - Joni Mitchell

Do ya get it? These are songs that are going to be lovely to sing (they suit my voice too) and the uke legitimises me. I'm going busking when i can do a few of these without embarassment. I'm not doing it for the money. I'm doing it so that i can perform because late in life I've discovered I can sing well enough to do that and I like it. But I do have a good use for the money. It will help finance another project.

I'd also like to try some classical songs like ave maria, summertime. - I don't know how I'm going to manage that on uke. Maybe not at all. I just want to sing beautiful songs beautifully and play along with myself well enough to make it all sound lovely. There's some excellent young women on youtube and I aspire to play as well as them while they sing so gorgeously.

I think the song i dislike the most is Brown Eyed Girl. I went along to uke club jam a couple of times. It was fun but its not my thing. You can't even hear yourself play so it dones't matter what you play.

I'm going travelling for a year. So then I'll be more focused than i am just at the moment. I was going well for a bit, start to learn a new song every week but just of late, I'm focussing on some other critical stuff, including an opera I'm in the chorus for and will be on soon. So you see this is probably all a bit more info than you asked for but now you've got the big picture and may understand where i'm coming from. I know all the answers aren't going to be simple or easy. I know i have a lot of work to do. But people are always talking about keys and they make it sound easy and essential and of course i need my songs in the right key to sing.

I have one pretty good little uke songbook from JustinGuitar except that I don't know most of the songs and so its even more work. I think what i'll do with those is learn to play the ones i don't know how to sing in order to get the lessons but not bother about learning how to sing them till later on. There's a skill development in his book with more and more complex strumming patterns and chords.

In short, maybe i like the jazzy songs but I will be looking at learning more contemporary songs too. Ah sigh, there's so much to learn. So much to learn. Which is also a good thing.

robinboyd
08-02-2016, 06:11 PM
Have you looked at these videos?

Hallelujah
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uz2uFpAuqiw

Mad world
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-jblSJihIE4

These both use really really easy chords, and I used these tutorials when I first started playing.

Down Up Dick
08-02-2016, 06:15 PM
I think a book on theory and one on learning the uke would be a good idea. You could maybe find them at the library.

Since you don't have any uke music or sheet music for the tunes that you wanna play, it would be a good idea to work on the chord families that fit your voice and strumming too. You could also work on your singing.

Well, that's all I got for now. Good luck on your trip. What opera are you doing? I like opera. :old:

lelouden
08-02-2016, 06:15 PM
AndieZ, I haven't read all of this thread but I did go and take a short listen to the video. Here is just one more hopefully helpful post.
I took a free online coarse that helped me a lot. Here is the link.
https://www.coursera.org/learn/develop-your-musicianship
You will see that it will teach you a lot of what you are trying to figure out in an easy, fun and interactive way. It was well worth it!

But-

Having said that, here is what I do. Find the chords online, cut and paste the song into this site http://www.logue.net/xp/ and let it change the key for you.

There will be times when you simply can not find the chords. That is when I apply finding the tonic. Using that tonic note as the key note I go to the chord family charts and am pretty successful figuring it out.

But-

More often then not I copy the URL of the song from youtube and paste it into this site and then use it as a guide for finding the patterns of chords within the song. https://chordify.net

Not sure if this will help you or if someone else has already directed you in this direction. If so disregard everything Ive said.

geetee
08-02-2016, 06:19 PM
If you read ubulele's original post (quoted in post #6 of this thread) which explains why the YT video is wrong, you'll realize that the question "How do you determine the key of a song?" doesn't necessarily have an easy answer. But, this quote from Aaron Keims excellent thread on music theory suggests a starting point.

http://forum.ukuleleunderground.com/showthread.php?60805-Music-Theory-Questions-Ask-Away




...Most songs (but not all) begin and end on the same chord, which is the key of the song. So, if the song begins and ends on a D chord, the key is likely D. Also, melodies usually begin and end on notes that are in the I chord of the key. So if the song begins and ends on a D F# or A, it is likely in the key of D.

Or, if the chords seem to be different, but all the melody notes are in a certain key, it is likely in the key that all those melody notes belong to.

It is more common for a song to begin on another chord but end on a I chord. Such as midnight special, which is IV I V I or rag mama rag, which is VI II V I.


BUT!!!!

There are many exceptions!

The only good answer is, the more "puzzles" of this sort you solve, the more likely you can solve more. Is there a specific song/piece/tune/etude that you are trying to figure out?

Also, if it is written music, don't forget that the key signature is usually a dead giveaway...


...I know this all sounds like a lot of work, but music notation and theory is a language just like any other. I spent years in college learning all the scales, modes, chords, intervals, forms, chord progressions etc...which are like the letters, words, phrases, sentences, grammar, syntax, cultural meaning, slang, etc...of music.

Also, keep in mind that many great musicians are ignorant of all of this stuff and it doesn't hurt them at all. But, lots of great musicians are greater because of the use of some of this knowledge.

Down Up Dick
08-02-2016, 06:36 PM
Wow, that's some good help for you, AndieZ. I don't use those internet programs much. I'm just barely internet literate on my handy dandy iPad.

I'm definitely a book person, but I guess I'm pretty much out of step with the age. Good Luck again. :old:

mikelz777
08-02-2016, 07:11 PM
Well, mikelz777, I like to sing too, but I find that strumming and changing chords and trying to read the words is sometimes a little much. Do you have that problem? Whadaya like to play/sing? I like most folk songs in English.

I like to play in C, but most of my music is in G and D. F is good except for the Bb. Uke music uses a lot of F. :old:

Strumming, changing chords and trying to read the words isn't as challenging as it used to be but I'm pretty familiar with the chords in the songs I'm currently playing. What's more challenging to me is getting the feel of the song right and picking the right strum pattern(s). There are some songs I don't even play any kind of set pattern(s), I just strum whatever works with the cadence of words/phrases if that makes any sense. I like playing a little bit of everything. Stuff from the 20s and 30s, rock and its many permutations, pop, folk, country (traditional/neo traditional, not what passes for country today), etc.

To be honest with you, I couldn't really tell you what key I like to sing and play in. I must sing/play a fair amount in the key of F because a lot of the songs I play to suit my voice range contain the F and Bb chords. I had to force myself to learn that Bb chord because I use it pretty often. (Now if I could only do the same thing with the E chord. That one's still more miss than hit for me but I don't really encounter it that often.) If you want to get better at the Bb chord, practice the Herman's Hermits song, "I'm Into Something Good" where you're jumping back and forth between the F and Bb throughout the whole song.

When I'm working on a song to put in my song book, I can usually find it on Ultimate Guitar. What's nice about the site is that you can change the key of a song up or down by simply pressing the up or down arrow button. I just keep trying out the song adjusting up or down accordingly until it's in the range I can sing comfortably. I'm pretty certain that the songs in my book are in several different keys. All I know is that once a song makes it in my song book that it has been road tested and that I'll be able to sing it. What key it's in or being able to identify the key isn't really a concern of mine. I just follow the chords I've written down.

Down Up Dick
08-02-2016, 07:40 PM
Strumming, changing chords and trying to read the words isn't as challenging as it used to be but I'm pretty familiar with the chords in the songs I'm currently playing. What's more challenging to me is getting the feel of the song right and picking the right strum pattern(s). There are some songs I don't even play any kind of set pattern(s), I just strum whatever works with the cadence of words/phrases if that makes any sense. I like playing a little bit of everything. Stuff from the 20s and 30s, rock and its many permutations, pop, folk, country (traditional/neo traditional, not what passes for country today), etc.

To be honest with you, I couldn't really tell you what key I like to sing and play in. I must sing/play a fair amount in the key of F because a lot of the songs I play to suit my voice range contain the F and Bb chords. I had to force myself to learn that Bb chord because I use it pretty often. (Now if I could only do the same thing with the E chord. That one's still more miss than hit for me but I don't really encounter it that often.) If you want to get better at the Bb chord, practice the Herman's Hermits song, "I'm Into Something Good" where you're jumping back and forth between the F and Bb throughout the whole song.

When I'm working on a song to put in my song book, I can usually find it on Ultimate Guitar. What's nice about the site is that you can change the key of a song up or down by simply pressing the up or down arrow button. I just keep trying out the song adjusting up or down accordingly until it's in the range I can sing comfortably. I'm pretty certain that the songs in my book are in several different keys. All I know is that once a song makes it in my song book that it has been road tested and that I'll be able to sing it. What key it's in or being able to identify the key isn't really a concern of mine. I just follow the chords I've written down.

The key of the song doesn't always mean that one can or can't sing it it. It's the pitch that counts. A song in G can either be pitched high or low. I like to sing in C, but I also sing in G. It just depends on where the song is written on the scale.

If you tune your Uke to an open tuning (such as Hi G, C, E, G), your D and E chords may be easier for you to play. You'll need a new chord sheet though, but you can fix up whatever one you already have. Just lower the first string 2 full frets.

I wish that I could play my Ukes (and banjos) as well as I play my other instruments. It's playing different stuff with different hands that I think bothers me. But I'm gradually gittin' better.

Well, that's all for now--nice talkin' with ya. :old:

AndieZ
08-02-2016, 10:49 PM
Hi Robin, yes i like the Ukulele teacher. I haven't started on these songs yet though for playing but done a little with the singing. I've got one of them in my uke book and one in my guitar book though. The song i was working on last was La Vie en Rose.

AndieZ
08-02-2016, 10:59 PM
I think a book on theory and one on learning the uke would be a good idea. You could maybe find them at the library.

Since you don't have any uke music or sheet music for the tunes that you wanna play, it would be a good idea to work on the chord families that fit your voice and strumming too. You could also work on your singing.

Well, that's all I got for now. Good luck on your trip. What opera are you doing? I like opera. :old:

Yes book theory or internet similar may be good idea. Although i like books too, the internet weighs less in bags so if it works for me, I'll probably go there first.

Thanks for the advice. I'll shall try it.

We are doing The Barber of Seville. Our part as the chorus is quite easy and really quite nice. They are telling us that this production is very good (its already opened in Brisbane) with stunning sets and costumes and brilliant everything else. I'm actually feeling envious of the audience. I'm not really an opera buff but we have an opera singer as our choir leader and she's brought it to us all in our tiny town of 3000 (she's currently in Germany doing Porgy and Bess and out tiny town is staging an abridged version with white people in September) Meanwhile the opera i'm in is being toured by the state and using locals for the chorus. Its not showing in my tiny town but the big city just up the road in case you were wondering.

LE LOUDEN

Sounds good, I'll try it out. Thank you.

GEETEE

Thanks that looks like it could be great too.

AndieZ
08-02-2016, 11:08 PM
When I'm working on a song to put in my song book, I can usually find it on Ultimate Guitar. What's nice about the site is that you can change the key of a song up or down by simply pressing the up or down arrow button. I just keep trying out the song adjusting up or down accordingly until it's in the range I can sing comfortably. I'm pretty certain that the songs in my book are in several different keys. All I know is that once a song makes it in my song book that it has been road tested and that I'll be able to sing it. What key it's in or being able to identify the key isn't really a concern of mine. I just follow the chords I've written down.

I'm going to look at that site again. I can't remember if you have to pay to get that option. A lot of the chord and music sites have fees for the best features. Natural of course but my funds are fairly limited so that might be why i haven't discovered it before now.

zztush
08-03-2016, 12:36 AM
Hi, Andie! Thanks for the nice thread about key. We study a lot in this thread.

The song is just repeat two measures like this.
93106

The key is Dm to me.

AndieZ
08-03-2016, 01:52 AM
Alas I didn't study anything but now i'm going to sign up to that course and try to learn something. I did laugh a lot though when I watched the monty python clip i posted which I am still upset that you all neglected to watch. I think only Booli watched it but it was especially for Dick's benefit since I felt he must have a sense of humour when i saw him post here for the very first time with a name like Up down Dick. Alas, the thread sped on and he missed it.

mikelz777
08-03-2016, 02:28 AM
I'm going to look at that site again. I can't remember if you have to pay to get that option. A lot of the chord and music sites have fees for the best features. Natural of course but my funds are fairly limited so that might be why i haven't discovered it before now.

The transpose feature on the Ultimate Guitar site is currently free. https://www.ultimate-guitar.com/ I know there are other sites I've used that don't offer it for free and some don't offer the feature at all. (I use Cowboylyrics.com fairly often, it's great if you like country music.) When I want to use a song from one of those sites I just have to transpose it manually which is a little more work but it's kind of fun.

AndieZ
08-03-2016, 03:35 AM
Thanks Mike.

I've already enrolled in the music course! Yay!!! Soon i'll be able to showoff too. I hope :-)

Down Up Dick
08-03-2016, 04:01 AM
Yes book theory or internet similar may be good idea. Although i like books too, the internet weighs less in bags so if it works for me, I'll probably go there first.

Thanks for the advice. I'll shall try it.

We are doing The Barber of Seville. Our part as the chorus is quite easy and really quite nice. They are telling us that this production is very good (its already opened in Brisbane) with stunning sets and costumes and brilliant everything else. I'm actually feeling envious of the audience. I'm not really an opera buff but we have an opera singer as our choir leader and she's brought it to us all in our tiny town of 3000 (she's currently in Germany doing Porgy and Bess and out tiny town is staging an abridged version with white people in September) Meanwhile the opera i'm in is being toured by the state and using locals for the chorus. Its not showing in my tiny town but the big city just up the road in case you were wondering.

LE LOUDEN

Sounds good, I'll try it out. Thank you.

GEETEE

Thanks that looks like it could be great too.

Oh! "Barber of Seville" we played the overture to it in high school (long ago), and I usta have some of it on records. It's one of my favorites. I really like "Porgy and Bess" too. I also had it on records, but it's long gone now. I still like to play "Summertime" on my flute and sing "It Ain't Necessarily So" when the words come to me.

I hope you have a good time singing in the chorus. I sorta envy you. :old:

Sharpshin
08-03-2016, 04:44 AM
Goodness! Interesting thread. I am late to it, unfortunately. I think posts are out of order or have been deleted so I don't know for sure.
It seems: a zealous beginner (yay!) posts a "find" on the internet regarding a method to determine the key of a song and several people buy into the video at first...but then the video is rightfully pointed out as "snake oil" by a experienced UU'er, but with out delineating specifically why it is wrong, perhaps because he knew to keep it simple in a beginner thread? Who knows? Then a articulate master of music theory points out the specific flaws in the video and throws in some more theory and folks throw up their hands and pitch some "ya don't need that right now" pebbles in the posters general direction, causing him to once again..delete his thread of knowledge. Or did he change his mind? I am wondering what I missed and wished it was here, so I could learn from it.
I really don't want the people who take the time to truly explain the "keys to the castle" to feel punished, even humorously. In my busy, often stressed, middle aged years, this forum has been a respite and inspiration to learn something new, to keep my brain alive. To have someone who has acquired this much knowledge of music theory to a great fluency still be passionate enough to willingly hold forth about it, is a gift as far as I am concerned. If it is too much or not interesting, then the option to skim past is always there, no? I don't want this kind of information squashed on this forum. People with passion pontificate sometimes, and it is ok with me. I am doing it now...tee-hee.
Several legitimate shortcuts and work arounds were then suggested and suggestions taken by the OP.
Then, in the end, several people were inspired to increase their knowledge of music theory at whatever pace works for them. I am one of them. But maybe we turned off the person who inspired it all? I would just like to thank Ubulele for his contribution and also all the suggestions and links made for beginners and intermediate players by other members to get the info they need to keep enjoying their musical adventure.
If I have this correct, I would say that it is a successful thread albeit a bit of a roller coaster. Thanks to the OP and all the participants.

AndieZ
08-03-2016, 05:34 AM
Dick, i want to include it aint necessarily so in my repertoire also. I forgot to add it above. Love it lots. I want to develop my opera and classical knowledge and appreciation because what i have gained from even just learning the Messiah for our annual concerts has been incredible on all levels.

Sharp, Only one post was deleted. Ubulele's post near the beginning with a detailed exposition of the matter in question. Your attempt to follow the story is not far off.

Yes rollercoaster is what it has been. It's all my fault. With a little help from my new friends.

Your post is very nice. I'll be happy to read your pontifications any time. Its a pity you weren't here earlier and I too am sorry Ubu took his post away. I guess we'll have to learn to be more appreciative/polite in the first instance. Since I'm so new here, i wrote to him in pm rather than fan the flames by accident.

What you missed is that Ubu tried to explain why the video is wrong but in such a way that I was unable to even read it and may not have even realised he was saying it was wrong, such is the depth of my ignorance. And everything else has followed from there. I think my post is still there. I think for my part, I just had better not read Ubu's posts until I know more because I get easily frustrated.

Down Up Dick
08-03-2016, 05:40 AM
AndieZ, I usta have "IANS" on record (black thing with grooves running around it) by Cab Callaway (?)--terrific! :old:

mikelz777
08-03-2016, 05:59 AM
FYI for those of you referring to ubu's deleted post. I quoted it in post #6 so it's still there for those of you who want to read it.

AndieZ
08-03-2016, 08:43 AM
Dick, I was composing a lovely post with links and things then the power went out before I'd saved it. And now i'm exhausted.

Thanks Mike. Good to know.

zztush
08-05-2016, 09:44 PM
I think for my part, I just had better not read Ubu's posts until I know more because I get easily frustrated.

It is not difficult to read. Ubulele just does not know that G drian is the key of F. And he think G dorian is the key.

Relative key of F is Dm. Hence the notes are same.

zztush
08-05-2016, 11:26 PM
You don't know the difference between tonal centre of the key and tonal centre of the mode.

G dorian's tonal centre of the key is F
G dorian's tonal centre of the mode is G