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  #1  
Old 09-11-2009, 07:36 PM
retro89 retro89 is offline
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Default What does key of G mean?

I was looking at some chords in a bluegrass book and Don't know what they mean by key of G.
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  #2  
Old 09-11-2009, 08:02 PM
Fran Guidry Fran Guidry is offline
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European based music is organized in keys, sequences of 8 principal notes selected from the 12 tones available in the chromatic scale.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Key_%28music%29

The key of G (major assumed) uses the notes:

G A B C D E F# (F sharp)

The choice of key then implies a set of chords, with the three main chords being G, C, and D.

Fran
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Old 09-11-2009, 08:06 PM
Malcolm Malcolm is offline
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{edit} we both posted at the same time....... Well the key of G means a range of sound with G as the tonal center. That would include the notes of the G scale, i.e. G, A, B, C, D, E, F# for the melody notes or chords made from those scale notes, i.e. G, Am, Bm C, D, Em F#dim for the harmony.

A bluegrass chord progression in the Key of G would probably revolve around the G, C, D7 chords with an Em or Am thrown in for flavor or color.

http://www.jaybuckey.com/PDF/Free%20...gap_guitar.pdf

Last edited by Malcolm; 09-11-2009 at 08:20 PM.
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Old 09-11-2009, 11:01 PM
markIvan markIvan is offline
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I'm no expert but when working out a song by ear you are said to look out for guiding notes/chords to do this ( but no hard and fast rule here ,just common usage ) .
If identifying the root of a song as G as you have ........you would look for its relative majors and minor also .The relative major chords would be the forth and fifth chords of its key ..........but also more often than not the relative minor would be commonly used and that would be Em ( the relative sixth ) .

To become familiar with these keys and their numberings i used the circle of fifths ( a very good and small addition that can be cut out and put on the guitar for reference to look down on while working out songs by ear .

There was once a great thread on here for the circle of fifths but i thought a little in deapth and may put a newbie off using thinking it was too complicated for to use .
When in fact you dont even need to know the workings of it ..........you can just use it and see if it helps working out numberings for shords in a key .


If i'm getting above my station here please clip my wings

by the way you can get a simple graph of the circle of fifths anywhere on google ..........after relating the bones of a song with its root and relatives .....more often than not all you have to work out next is how they have been broken up or added to for getting the flavour of the music .
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Old 09-12-2009, 03:40 AM
Howard Emerson Howard Emerson is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fran Guidry View Post
European based music is organized in keys, sequences of 8 principal notes selected from the 12 tones available in the chromatic scale.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Key_%28music%29

The key of G (major assumed) uses the notes:

G A B C D E F# (F sharp)

The choice of key then implies a set of chords, with the three main chords being G, C, and D.

Fran
Hello Fran,
It's much, much simpler than that: A bluegrass song in the key of 'G' means 'Gomer'.

:-]

HE
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  #6  
Old 09-12-2009, 06:58 AM
Acoustic Rick Acoustic Rick is offline
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Means the first chord is going to be a G. Then if it's a 1,4,5 progression the chords will be G, C, D.
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Rick

Steel and Wood, "Listen closely and she'll tell you her secrets" RG
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Old 09-12-2009, 09:23 AM
Neal Neal is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Acoustic Rick View Post
Means the first chord is going to be a G. Then if it's a 1,4,5 progression the chords will be G, C, D.
This is the answer I think the OP was looking for. Just sayin....
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Old 09-12-2009, 09:31 AM
Howard Emerson Howard Emerson is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Neal View Post
This is the answer I think the OP was looking for. Just sayin....
Neal,
Just because the key is G, or whatever, does NOT mean the first chord will be the root chord.

I can't think of well known examples, but here's my 'Phelp's Flats', played in open G, but it starts on the Vmi, or Dmi chord:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p1YsznT3tlI

Regards,
Howard
http://www.howardemerson.com/
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Old 09-12-2009, 09:53 AM
Neal Neal is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Howard Emerson View Post
Neal,
Just because the key is G, or whatever, does NOT mean the first chord will be the root chord.

I can't think of well known examples, but here's my 'Phelp's Flats', played in open G, but it starts on the Vmi, or Dmi chord:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p1YsznT3tlI

Regards,
Howard
http://www.howardemerson.com/

Context Howard, the OP was looking at pages in a "bluegrass book", and doesn't know what they mean by the "key of G". Occam's Razor, sorta, in a case like this eh?

BTW, Loved Phelp's Flats.
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Old 09-12-2009, 11:22 AM
markIvan markIvan is offline
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I disagree with the developing argument about what was intended by the original poster .
I took it to mean that he was unsure about what it meant to play in any key .The example he used was ,yes,a bluegrass book and he again used the example in that book of the key of G .
But took his post to mean he was unsure about the whole aspect of key 's in general .
Which is why i suggested the use of the circle of 5ths .
He seemed to me to have come accross a term he was unsure of .The fact it was a blue grass book or the key of G didnt seem to be the issue .....and the terminology of keys "did"( or playing in keys ).
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Old 09-12-2009, 11:34 AM
Howard Emerson Howard Emerson is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Neal View Post
Context Howard, the OP was looking at pages in a "bluegrass book", and doesn't know what they mean by the "key of G". Occam's Razor, sorta, in a case like this eh?

BTW, Loved Phelp's Flats.
Hi Neal,
By the way: Thank you for the nice comment on my Crossing Crystal Lake video ..........

I wish I owned an ukulele (yes, it is pronounced oo-ku-lay-ly.......I was personally reprimanded by Arthur Godfrey for calling it a Yuke-a-lay-ly).........but I digress.............You're a hell of a dancing flea player:-) (That's an ukulele for those who aren't familar with the translation)

You've got Great phrasing and dynamics!

So are you slyly implying that bluegrass is simple music;-)

I use a BIC razor myself............

Best regards,
Howard
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Old 09-12-2009, 12:40 PM
wcap wcap is offline
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I'm no whiz at music theory, but I'll add something that I think has not been said already.

A typical major scale (as opposed to a minor scale, for example) has the following intervals :

whole step, whole step, half step, whole step, whole step, whole step, half step

A half step is like going from one fret to the the next on guitar, or from one key to an immediately adjacent key on piano (in this context key refers to the physical object you press on a piano keyboard to get a sound, NOT a key signature such as the key of G, for example).

A whole step is two half steps.

I think a lot of this music theory stuff is easier to visualize if you look at a piano. If you start, say, at middle C (the white key just below the place where there are two black keys clustered near the middle of a piano keyboard) and you work up the piano keyboard playing just the white keys in order until you reach the next C (thus playing C, D, E, F, G, A, B, and then C in order), you have played a major scale. Look at the intervals you have played and you will see that you have done a whole step, a whole step, a half step, a whole step, a whole step, a whole step, and a half step.

Now, play a major scale on a piano (in other words, with the same sequence of intervals), but this time start on a G (the white key just above the lowest of the cluster of three black keys). You will notice that to get the intervals right you needed to play a black key (F sharp, the black key just above the white F key) toward the end of this scale. You have just played a G major scale (or another way of saying this would be that you have played a major scale in the key of G) - and if you built a song out of pretty much just those notes, you'd be playing it in the key of G (I'm oversimplifying somewhat here).

Start on some other white key on the piano and keep the same intervals and you will end up playing more black keys (that is more sharps or flats, depending on how you want to look at the black keys).

Minor scales (and other sorts of scales) have slightly different sequences of intervals.

This sounds more complicated than it is. But sit down at a piano sometime and see what I'm talking about. It is just so much easier to see what is going on with the scales and such on a piano than on a guitar.


(Again....when I'm referring to the white and black keys on a piano I'm referring to the white and black physical objects that you push down to get the notes, but when we talk about, say, the key of G, we are talking about building your music out of the collection of notes that you have in a major scale starting with a G note - sorry for the confusing double use of the word "key" here).


I'm not sure if what I wrote helps your understanding at all. If not, and if the simpler answer that a simple piece in the key of G will mostly use G, C, and D chords (and often E minor in bluegrass), then don't fret over my explanation (no pun intended!).

Last edited by wcap; 09-12-2009 at 01:42 PM.
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  #13  
Old 09-12-2009, 01:59 PM
wcap wcap is offline
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By the way, I've only been hanging out on this forum for a few days, and I'm impressed by the helpfulness of people.

In some situations, really experienced, skilled, musicians might not take a really basic musical question seriously - they might say something like "go take a music theory course", or something. But here even the most basic of questions gets respected and answered thoughtfully.

I think I will like hanging out here!


I previously have spent a fair bit of time at TDPRI.com, which I have loved because the people there are also very nice, polite, and helpful. But I don't play my Telecaster or Strat all that much these days, and most of those folks play different sorts of music than me. The acoustic guitar forum seems like a better fit with many aspects of my musical interests.

I do still like the recording and music theory subforums over at TDPRI.com. I've gotten a lot of good information there (and I won't be abandoning TDPRI altogether!).
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Old 09-12-2009, 03:06 PM
markIvan markIvan is offline
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We have at least one thing in common then because i came here also for a bit of fun ( me likeing a bit of fire and brimstone an all ) .
It didnt work out that way and i quickly recognized the community here as one who did not demand respect but definatly deserve and gets my respect .

I been here ever since and to be quite honest i dont bother going anywhere else becuase if it doesnt get an answere on here then i realized i am asking wrong questions .
I just wish i could realy hang out with some of the guys here and be a sponge to what they have to offer and give freely .
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  #15  
Old 09-12-2009, 03:40 PM
Neal Neal is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Howard Emerson View Post
Hi Neal,
By the way: Thank you for the nice comment on my Crossing Crystal Lake video ..........

I wish I owned an ukulele (yes, it is pronounced oo-ku-lay-ly.......I was personally reprimanded by Arthur Godfrey for calling it a Yuke-a-lay-ly).........but I digress.............You're a hell of a dancing flea player:-) (That's an ukulele for those who aren't familar with the translation)

You've got Great phrasing and dynamics!

So are you slyly implying that bluegrass is simple music;-)

I use a BIC razor myself............

Best regards,
Howard

Ha! Yeah, I suppose I was, bluegrass in general is pretty simple, it's the breaks that are tough! Good night ..I listen to some of those flatpickers and mandolin players, now that's not simple! But the meat of the song usually is pretty straightforward.

Thanks for the listen uke-wise too. Really, I do play guitar, honest injun.

To those that thought there was an argument brewing -
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