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Author Topic: What key is this?  (Read 696 times)

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george garside

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Re: What key is this?
« Reply #20 on: November 24, 2017, 12:14:06 AM »

ear ,ear!

george :||: ;)
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Anne Croucher

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Re: What key is this?
« Reply #21 on: November 24, 2017, 01:00:57 AM »

Sometimes - and this is one of them - I am quite glad that Egyptian hieroglyphs make more sense to me than musical theory.
However I do think it is wonderful for those that have the knowing of such things.
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Steve_freereeder

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Re: What key is this?
« Reply #22 on: November 24, 2017, 08:45:36 AM »

I rather anticipated this thread would lead to some sailing on choppy seas. Errgh! Bleurrgh! :Ph

Pete is correct that the tune is in C minor. It is not modal.
And Squeezy makes this point...
It's in the key it's in because it uses the notes it uses ... that's why it sounds like it does!
... which is what I was alluding to in my much earlier response:
... try playing or humming it and you should be able to hear this at once...
Listening/playing the tune demonstrates that it is definitely grounded in C, so that gives you a huge clue about the key which it is in.

Why is the key signature of just 2 flats (Bb, Eb) incorrect? Because for C minor, the scale needs that Ab too. The notes of the scale of C minor (harmonic) are C D Eb F G Ab B-nat C. The penultimate Bb is changed to B-nat in order to give that powerful semitone interval at the top, leading to the key note of the top C. The 7th note of a scale (major or minor) is not called the 'leading note' for nothing. Because the key of C minor is derived (the 'relative minor') from Eb major, which has a key sig of 3 flats, Bb Eb Ab, the minor key retains those flats too and has the 'amending' accidental, in this case B-nat, to preserve that all-important semitone leading note semitone interval.

Tunes in whatever key (major or minor) don't have to use all the notes of the scale all the time. Sometimes a tune will use only a section of a scale. But it is nevertheless still in the tonality of that scale and therefore needs the correct key signature, even if some of the notes are not actually used in the tune.

Using the correct key signature gives an immediate clue to the tonality (i.e. what it's going to sound like) and tells the performer that the music is (in this case) going to be in C minor or Eb major. This is especially important for singers or players of instruments with no buttons, keys or frets (e.g. violin, cello, trombone) where you actually have to 'make' each note, by hearing it in your head. If the key signature left out the Ab just because there were no A's in the tune, the singer/player might well be misled and wrongly conclude that the tune was in Bb major or G minor and set up their musical 'thinking' erroneously.

Having the correct key signature is like putting the correct post-code on a parcel. If the post-code is wrong, it doesn't affect the contents, but it is likely to be delayed initially, or even get delivered to the wrong address.

Finally, a point to all those who say that all this musical theory is of no consequence, it's the music itself which counts. Yes - that's true, but knowing even just a little bit about how music works enhances one's understanding of the art, whether as a player or a listener. You don't have to know about these things but it can help. It only becomes wrong when a false virtue is made out of ignorance: e.g. when traditional musician X (who doesn't read music and has no formal musical training) claims that they are a better musician than Y (because they went to music college and therefore will never understand traditional music). That way lies inverse snobbery and sadly, forum warfare - yes even on here, this lovely place.
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Edward Jennings

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Re: What key is this?
« Reply #23 on: November 24, 2017, 09:08:01 AM »

"knowing even just a little bit about how music works enhances one's understanding of the art, whether as a player or a listener."

Or, as they say; "Ignorance is bliss!". I understand what you're saying here, Steve (although not much else in the thread makes sense to me, haha) but, after having the privilege to spend a couple of very instructive evenings in the company of P&T, is this not a part of his problem which he bemoans in another thread?

Those of us who don't "know" music are perfectly happy (I know, this is an unsubstantiated  generalisation) just to change boxes in order to play in a different key, not caring or being concerned about key/signature/number of flats etc. as log as the fingerings and tune stay the same, to all intents and purposes. We don't have the added baggage of worrying about button/note names etc. After reading the above mentioned thread from the beginning, I (in my ignorance) feel strangely liberated!
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Julian S

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Re: What key is this?
« Reply #24 on: November 24, 2017, 09:19:42 AM »

Whatever key, I like the tune (though I will 'duck' out of the technical discussion !)
In the past, if anyone mentioned a tune in anything other than the easy d/g box keys to me, I would automatically think 'not for me then'. But now I look at the score, or listen, and consider how to play it as is or transposed.
Someone told me that in French schools, children have to learn music theory for a year before being allowed to pick up an instrument. Whether that puts off the majority from learning is open to question, of course...
I don't know if this is true, but recent discussions on the forum have certainly helped fill some gaps in the theory I stopped learning fifty years ago or so. Even though much goes over my head. ::)
Thanks all

J

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george garside

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Re: What key is this?
« Reply #25 on: November 24, 2017, 09:39:36 AM »

this thread just goes to show that there are perfectly valid, but different, ways of enjoying melodeoning the more theoretical  model being enjoyed by those with some degree of classical training  and the 'if it sounds right it is right' model by those  without an academic musical background.

There are also  those with varying degrees of dual nationality  which is probably where I sit, being  a purely by ear and mostly on the row DG player but playing (sometimes from the dots!) in any of the 12 keys on the BCC# or 6 of them on the BC..

A question for those who understand such things.  What key are the Scottish pipes really in.  Most of the proper pipe music has no key signature and  no G#'  . The hohner highlander mouthie specially made to be able to play along with pipes is sort of in A with G nat  instead of a G#.   .On the D row of the DG many pipe tunes can be played as they are G sharpless.  Some say the pipe key is Bb?

I asked friend of mine who  had been  a 'picked piper' in the queens own highlanders what key the pipes are in and he  said 'I don't know - we just play from the dots - is it C'

george
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squeezy

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Re: What key is this?
« Reply #26 on: November 24, 2017, 09:45:35 AM »

Finally, a point to all those who say that all this musical theory is of no consequence, it's the music itself which counts. Yes - that's true, but knowing even just a little bit about how music works enhances one's understanding of the art, whether as a player or a listener. You don't have to know about these things but it can help. It only becomes wrong when a false virtue is made out of ignorance: e.g. when traditional musician X (who doesn't read music and has no formal musical training) claims that they are a better musician than Y (because they went to music college and therefore will never understand traditional music). That way lies inverse snobbery and sadly, forum warfare - yes even on here, this lovely place.

I'm sorry - I wasn't trying to be provocative in that way.  I certainly wasn't trying to suggest that people shouldn't learn music theory and indeed it's incredibly helpful both for understanding the music itself and for having a language with which we can convey what we mean musically using words or written music.

Maybe it's the nature of a text-based forum that we end up talking about the theory at great length when a simple humming of a tune or recorded clip could save a great deal of typing!

however ...

Someone told me that in French schools, children have to learn music theory for a year before being allowed to pick up an instrument.

This fills me with dread!  That's like trying to teach school children grammar before they have any vocabulary.
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Steve_freereeder

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Re: What key is this?
« Reply #27 on: November 24, 2017, 09:49:27 AM »

Finally, a point to all those who say that all this musical theory is of no consequence, it's the music itself which counts. Yes - that's true, but knowing even just a little bit about how music works enhances one's understanding of the art, whether as a player or a listener. You don't have to know about these things but it can help. It only becomes wrong when a false virtue is made out of ignorance: e.g. when traditional musician X (who doesn't read music and has no formal musical training) claims that they are a better musician than Y (because they went to music college and therefore will never understand traditional music). That way lies inverse snobbery and sadly, forum warfare - yes even on here, this lovely place.
I'm sorry - I wasn't trying to be provocative in that way.  I certainly wasn't trying to suggest that people shouldn't learn music theory and indeed it's incredibly helpful both for understanding the music itself and for having a language with which we can convey what we mean musically using words or written music.
It's OK  - I know you weren't! I understood perfectly what you meant and I agree with you!  (:)
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Steve
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Re: What key is this?
« Reply #28 on: November 24, 2017, 09:51:17 AM »

A question for those who understand such things.  What key are the Scottish pipes really in. ...
I think this question ought to be asked in a separate thread.
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Steve
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Bob Ellis

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Re: What key is this?
« Reply #29 on: November 24, 2017, 10:53:47 AM »

Thanks for your very clear explanation, Steve, which does just what I wanted: it not only tells me the correct key, but also why it is the correct key. I don't remember my voice coach teaching me much musical theory when I was a boy soprano and what I have learnt since taking up the melodeon has been self-taught, so there are gaps in my knowledge. The lack of any A or A flat notes in Les Trois Canards and the key signature of two flats in my copy combined to point me in the wrong direction. However, as a result, I have learnt something and plugged another gap in my musical knowledge, although there are probably plenty more waiting to surface.
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fc diato

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Re: What key is this?
« Reply #30 on: November 24, 2017, 11:48:59 AM »

Quote
Quote from: Julian S on Today at 09:19:42 AM

Someone told me that in French schools, children have to learn music theory for a year before being allowed to pick up an instrument.

This fills me with dread!  That's like trying to teach school children grammar before they have any vocabulary.

Not really on topic, but just to reassure you: I am 90% (95%?) sure that this is not true (not my experience, nor for the kids I know in France today).  Not saying that some dogmatic fun-killing music teachers somewhere are not doing this, but it's not official pedagogy.
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playandteach

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Re: What key is this?
« Reply #31 on: November 24, 2017, 05:06:27 PM »

after having the privilege to spend a couple of very instructive evenings in the company of P&T, is this not a part of his problem which he bemoans in another thread?
Knowing where the notes are on the instrument isn't this sort of harmonic knowledge, Edward. My problem is in two specific areas, tune memory and trying to be bi-literate.
Sorry Playandteach ... that was by no means directed at you!
It would be fine if it were. My defence wasn't 'defensive' if you see what I mean. I'm happy to be censured - especially by forum managers or better players / musicians / nicer people. The only time I object is when someone is point scoring or showing off.
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Re: What key is this?
« Reply #32 on: November 24, 2017, 05:45:23 PM »

I am intrigued by the difference in definitions in various sectors of the musical world.

P&T and the others who have expanded on his,very helpful, and definitive statements define the key in the context of, what I assume to be, classical music. I think church music was also mentioned.

Those of us without an in depth background in formal music theory, who play British dance music,  are more likely to see music in terms of modes, even if we don't realise that's what we're doing. So we are puzzled when we come across a tune that doesn't quite fit the modal model.

So, now we are all a bit more educated.

I seem to remember some members of this group studying an online musical theory course a few years ago. Is something like that still around?
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Andy Next Tune

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Re: What key is this?
« Reply #33 on: November 24, 2017, 06:34:44 PM »

From my limited knowledge,  I don't think there is a 'conflict' between scales and modes.

The scale defines which notes are "available/permitted", and the mode defines the pattern of intervals between the notes of that scale (whole and half notes).

One potential confusion comes because when musician talks to musician, they want to reference a root note. So D Dorian  is a mode of C Major,  it starts on the second note and uses the notes of that scale.

I did most of an online musical course delivered by Edinburgh Uni a few years ago after reading a Melnet discussion about it. As a self-taught melodeon player, I found it both interesting and helpful. I'm now thinking about repeating it and finishing it. It starts again on Jan 1st
You'll find details at https://www.coursera.org/learn/edinburgh-music-theory



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