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Ukettante
10-13-2016, 07:50 PM
I'm new to bluessgrass music. I'm transcribing my way through Alison Krauss's compilation CD. To my surprise, the very first song, Now That I Found You, is in D sharp. Then the next song, Oh, Atlanta, is in A sharp! I had thought bluegrass keys were the common guitar keys, particularly G, D, and A.

Haven't gone on to the rest of the CD yet. Maybe the first two songs are anomalies?

maxmax
10-13-2016, 08:07 PM
It's common to play any particular song in the key the singer is most comfortable with. You'll find vocal songs in any key.

Cheers,
Max

Mep
10-14-2016, 05:19 AM
Bluegrassers use a capo to keep the chord shapes that they are playing the same and move the key for the vocalist.

Down Up Dick
10-14-2016, 05:34 AM
I'm new to bluessgrass music. I'm transcribing my way through Alison Krauss's compilation CD. To my surprise, the very first song, Now That I Found You, is in D sharp. Then the next song, Oh, Atlanta, is in A sharp! I had thought bluegrass keys were the common guitar keys, particularly G, D, and A.

Haven't gone on to the rest of the CD yet. Maybe the first two songs are anomalies?

Perhaps her keys are Eb and Bb. Bluegrass is mostly a vocal genre. So one plays it in his/her singing key. :old:

Down Up Dick
10-14-2016, 10:33 AM
I didn't even think about D# and A# -- speed kills --my bad. :old:

jollyboy
10-14-2016, 11:55 AM
I believe that Alison's version of Baby, Now That I've Found You is indeed in Eb. Like others have said, probably because she prefers singing it in that key. It looks like there's a bit of capo action going on in this live performance...


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EvKtxTsVoMo

TheCraftedCow
10-14-2016, 12:20 PM
Yu ain't never played with u banjer picku. If'n it ain't G , they ain playin. An yu kin tell if the stage is level, cause when it is, they'll drool outa both sides uv their mouth

kypfer
10-14-2016, 09:48 PM
Yes, there is no key of D# or A#; these would require 9 and 10 sharps respectively.

You can learn something every day ... I'd never realised that

Thank you :)

Ukettante
10-15-2016, 04:27 AM
Can someone enlighten me about there being no D sharp or A sharp but E flat or B flat? I thought A sharp is B flat? Don't get it. Sorry if this is very elementary.

Down Up Dick
10-15-2016, 05:14 AM
Ya got me. Wait for Ubulele.

If you check the circle of 5ths, there IS a C# / Db, F# / Gb and B / Cb. But I can go no further. I don't use any of those chords and don't even know how to fret them.

I don't see any use in learning stuff that I'll probably never use. :old:

Tim Mullins
10-15-2016, 05:50 AM
Common keys for bluegrass tunes at jams or in our band are G, A, Bb, B, C, D, E and F. Others are extremely rare.

kypfer
10-15-2016, 12:04 PM
Can someone enlighten me about there being no D sharp or A sharp but E flat or B flat? I thought A sharp is B flat? Don't get it. Sorry if this is very elementary.

I'm struggling with this as well. I just wrote out the D major scale, then added a semi-tone to each note and ended up with three sharps, D# G# and A#. Now I see that using this could cause confusion with the other keys using three sharps, A major etc., albeit different sharps, so it makes sense to call D# Eb, but I don't see how one can squeeze nine sharps into an eight-note scale (or have some notes got a double-sharp?)

As with Down Up Dick : I don't see any use in learning stuff that I'll probably never use.

Mep
10-15-2016, 02:29 PM
There technically are the keys of D# and A# but because they require the use of double sharps the common usage is to use the enharmonic keys of Eb and Bb. All sounds the same but much easier to read and think about.

kypfer
10-15-2016, 09:25 PM
Yes, you would use double-sharps. If you didn't you'd end up (as you did) with two notes in the scale sharing the same letter name (one with an accidental, one without) and so how would you notate music on the staff?
Using the simpler "white note" equivalents in your raised D major intervals, you get this:
D major: D E F# G A B C# (D)
D# major: D# F G G# A# C (D#)
The latter has no note mapped to the letter E (the bottom line or top space of the staff) and two notes mapped to the letter G!


THANK YOU

Even having written it out I didn't see the relevance of having two notes with the letter G etc. :o

It really does now make sense :music:

jollyboy
10-15-2016, 09:56 PM
Just to go off at a slight tangent I think that the Alison Krauss song sounds great in Eb. I doodled around with the chords a bit - tried it in both Eb and D and I prefer Eb. However, rather than trying to master some new shapes my first thought was, I must admit, 'I should buy a capo'.

I also find myself curious about Eb as a key choice for a singer. I've been learning a few Simon & Garfunkel songs lately and, through doing so, have become aware that Eb is Art Garfunkel's preferred key. He has an unusual vocal range I believe (I have seen him described as a 'tenor altino' IIRC - meaning, as I understand it, that he sings alto using his chest voice, ie. without resorting to falsetto). I read somewhere that Alison Krauss is a soprano.

KamakOzzie
10-16-2016, 04:52 PM
Indeed! and I stand corrected. I notice she's also playing away from the nut, where the keys are all about equally easy to play. With a song at this speed, there's little need for open strings on fiddle, and in fact they might stand out, having a slightly different tonal quality.

Alison is no slouch of a fiddle player. She won the fiddle contest at the Walnut Valley Festival in Winfield, Kansas while still in her teens. That championship earned her a spot on the Nashville Now TV show. The host, Ralph Emery played up her introduction as a champion fiddler. She came out holding her fiddle and sang a vocal number. Ralph asked her afterwards why she did not play the fiddle and she replied that she wanted people to see that she could sing, too. That was the beginning of her rise to stardom.

Bill

Ukettante
10-18-2016, 12:26 AM
So glad I asked the question! Thanks to everyone who responded!