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What keys do you play in?
Do you play in all keys or are their certain, more common keys that most piano players learn and play in? (G, C, Am, D for example).
I've been teaching myself keyboard by learning the chords for various keys and how to efficiently move between then. Right now I'm memorizing chord patterns for the diatonic chords in the keys of G, Am and Bm. Once I have those down, I'll start learning other keys.
But I'm wondering if I should learn the chords in every single key or if there are a handful of specific keys I need to learn?
The core is knowing how to create a major scale and identify the diatonic chords in general. Then you'll be able to use which ever key you want, if you just spend some time. After all, it's the same formula for all keys. It's just about which note you establish as the tonal center. The structure is still the same.
I, for some reason, tend to use C minor a lot. That's the relative minor of Eb major. That probably happened because I wanted to contrast the C major which I have used a lot, with C minor, which is the parallell minor. Same root, different tonality. Great way to demonstrate the difference.
I also use A minor a lot, the relative minor of C major.
In addition, I'm very familiar with G major/E minor, and I've used D major and F major to a certain extent.Other than that? Well, A major, but not too much. To me, it seems to be a little random which key you use, because the structure is the same. Well, maybe not random if you have a certain instrument which provides for a better experience in a given key, or the fact that you want to avoid accidentals (sharp or flat notes), but as mentioned, the formula is the same for any major scale; that's why I say it's a little random.
What key to use? The one the vocalist wants. They will be saying things like; "The next one is Just Because in G". So as a backup rhythm guy you need to be able to lay down a chord progression in the key that is called out. That normally will be a Major key like:
C will use these chords: C F G7 Am
G will use these chords: G C D7 Em
D will use these chords: D G A7 Bm
A will use these chords: A D E7 F#m
E will use these chords: E A B7 C#m
You can forget about F and B as most vocalist will not call for those keys. If they do, drag out the capo.
Click here for the chord forms
Notice there are three pages -- small print upper middle of the screen.
Edit : Sorry just realized your piano and not guitar.
Last edited by Malcolm; 10-04-2006 at 10:05 PM.
I would suggest taking a simple tune and learning the chord progression as how the chords are functioning, rather then what the chords specifically are.
So if you have C, F, G, C in the key of C, think of it as I, IV, V, I.
Now when you are learning a new key, take that tune you know and play the chords to the tune in the new key. It's real slow going at first, but it helps to be playing tunes and learning theory at the same time, rather then just plunking out chords for the sake of learning chords. Once you do this for a few songs through all the keys you start to be able to know the keys inside out and can do simple tunes on the fly.
Another angle can be taking some tunes you already know and learning them in one specific key. So take all your tunes you know in a major key and learn them in C and then learn them in G etc etc.
Did I say that out loud ?
Ted Nugent... 30 years in the key of A
Did I say that out loud ?
It was not until I took up Piano that the concept of playing in every key made sense. With movable chord forms on guitar it just was not something I did.
Now I practice little runs and riffs, or even chores in the cycle of falling fifths. I think playing songs in every key is good but rather than taking one song and playing it in all keys, try to be diverse and learn songs from jazz books but deliberately pick songs in different keys.
You have to get to know a key and spend time with it.
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Did I say that out loud ?
WTF does this have to do with music? Jeez, these spammers are everywhere like a cancer...
Originally Posted by collin2
I can't say that I have a "favorite" key. Since often I'm more inclined to deal with harmony, I listen for the key within the chord.
A song in D is good, but transpose it to Eb - depending on the chord - let's say an altered-extended V (since it has the strongest pull) - depending on how the chord's voice, it may seem to high or too low.
I realized it's a "takes gettng used to kind of things," but not everything works. It could yes, but if it takes manipulating what's around it too much, then it doesn't work.
This is different from modulating within a song; however, it's okay in that case.
If backing a vocalist, play in a key that is comfortable for him or her. (provided you learned the song in every key) Having said this, hopefully, the singer isn't opposed to compromise. (Still learn song in every key though - even if they don't sound pleasing)
And note how to handle modulations.
OT a little:
I watched a video about walking up and down using tri-tones. He said that there's only so far you can go before the sound gets muddy (going down) or to pristine (going up).
Modulations work in the same manner. Stay within the boundaries, so the sound is pleasing.
Anyway, if I did have keys, I would say: Bb, Db, D, Eb (maybe F) as far as major keys. Minor keys would be D, E, F, G (maybe C, Eb + Ab)
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