What's the Key of this Piece? - Music Theory

Music Matters
24 Jan 201911:37
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TLDRThe script provides guidance on determining the key of a melody by analyzing its use of accidentals, intervals, and modulation. It walks through a sample melody starting in G minor with two flats in the key signature. We look for clues like the F-sharp and F-natural indicating the raised 7th in a harmonic minor scale. The melody then modulates to C minor halfway through, evidenced by the appearance of B-naturals and A-naturals, the raised 7th and 6th degrees of C minor. Analyzing the melodyโ€™s accidentals and intervals reveals the tonal centers and modulation from G minor to C minor.

  • ๐Ÿ˜€ The melody contains a mixture of sharps and flats, indicating a minor key
  • ๐Ÿ˜Š F-sharp followed by F-natural likely refers to the raised 7th degree in a minor scale
  • ๐Ÿค” The presence of B-flats and E-flats suggests the key of G minor
  • ๐Ÿ˜ฏ The melody implying a G minor chord reinforces G minor as the starting key
  • ๐Ÿ˜ฎ B-naturals indicate a modulation to a new minor key
  • ๐Ÿ˜ฒ Retained E-flats but lost B-flats suggest C minor as the new key
  • ๐Ÿง A-naturals represent the raised 6th degree of the C minor scale
  • ๐Ÿค“ Ending on a C note confirms C minor as the final key
  • ๐Ÿ˜ƒ Hearing the shift in chord progressions reveals the modulation
  • ๐Ÿฅณ Understanding key signatures and scale degrees helps determine keys
Q & A
  • What are some clues that this melody is in a minor key rather than a major key?

    -The mixture of sharps and flats and the F-sharp followed by an F-natural a couple notes later indicate that this is likely a minor key, as the raised 7th degree in minor keys can create this type of pattern.

  • Why does the F-sharp and F-natural pattern suggest that we are dealing with the 7th degree of the scale?

    -In minor key melodies, it is common to raise the 7th degree when ascending and lower it again when descending as part of the melodic minor scale. So an F-sharp followed by an F-natural points to F as the likely 7th degree.

  • If F is the 7th degree, what would be the tonic or 1st degree of this minor key?

    -If F is the 7th degree, then G would be the 1st or tonic degree, so this suggests the key of G minor.

  • How do the first 2 bars of melody confirm we are likely in G minor?

    -The first 3 notes of the melody spell out a G minor chord (G, Bb, D) which is the i (tonic) chord, harmonically suggesting G as the tonic.

  • What sign posts the modulation or key change halfway through the excerpt?

    -The appearance of B-naturals instead of B-flats signifies the modulation. In the original G minor key, B-flat is part of the key signature but has been raised to B-natural, the likely raised 7th degree of a new minor key.

  • What new minor key does the melody modulate to?

    -With B-natural as the likely raised 7th and A-natural as the likely raised 6th degree, analysis points to C minor as the new key the melody modulates to halfway through.

  • How does the ending of the melody confirm the modulation to C minor?

    -The melody ends on a C, which would be the tonic note of C minor, and then emphasizes C with an arpeggiated i chord (C, Eb, G) helping confirm the new tonal center of C minor.

  • Why is there not an A-flat between the B-naturals?

    -An augmented 2nd interval between B-natural and A-flat sounds awkward, so A is also raised to A-natural as part of the melodic minor scale in the new C minor key.

  • What is the purpose of showing an example that modulates to another key?

    -Highlighting modulation provides practice analyzing more complex examples, as real-life melodies may start in one key but modulate at some point rather than staying in the home key.

  • What are some indicators that modulation or a change of key has occurred?

    -Sudden appearances of accidentals that conflict with the established key signature, like the B-naturals here instead of B-flats, often signify a modulation has happened.

๐ŸŽต Identifying G minor key signature in melody

The paragraph analyzes a melody to identify its key signature. It points out the presence of both sharps and flats, indicating a minor key. The F-sharp and F-natural show the melody uses the melodic minor scale. Further analysis of key signature, accidentals, and harmony confirms the key of G minor.

๐Ÿ˜ฒ Discovery of modulation from G minor to C minor

The paragraph reveals an additional challenge in the melody - the presence of B-naturals, indicating a modulation from G minor. Further analysis of accidentals and scale degrees confirms modulation to C minor by the end, with the raised 7th and 6th degrees characteristic of the melodic minor.

๐ŸŽน Hearing the modulation in melody with chords

The paragraph plays the melody on piano first in G minor, then with chords highlighting the modulation to C minor midway. This demonstrates practically the smooth transition between keys that was analyzed theoretically in the prior paragraphs.

A melody refers to a sequence of musical notes that form an identifiable tune. This video poses the question of identifying the key that a given melody is in. The melody is the central piece that provides clues, through its use of accidentals and tendency tones, about what key it is likely in.
The key refers to the tonal center around which a piece of music revolves. Identifying the key helps determine what scale degrees different notes represent and what chords are implied. The video focuses on analyzing the melody to determine what key it is likely in.
Accidentals refer to notes that are not part of the key signature, indicated by sharps, flats, or naturals in the music. The presence and placement of accidentals provides clues about what key the melody is in by revealing tendency tones.
Modulation refers to a change from one key to another within a piece of music. The video raises the question of whether the melody remains in one key or modulates partway through. The presence of unexpected accidentals suggests a modulation may have occurred.
๐Ÿ’กharmonic minor scale
The harmonic minor scale is a type of minor scale with a raised 7th degree, accounting for the presence of an F# leading to F natural in the melody. This interval implies the melody is in a minor key.
๐Ÿ’กmelodic minor scale
The melodic minor scale raises both the 6th and 7th degrees when ascending and lowers them when descending. This accounts for ACCIDENTALS on those scale degrees that seem to contradict the key signature.
๐Ÿ’กtendency tones
Tendency tones refer to unstable scale degrees that tend to resolve in predictable ways. The presence of an F# leading to F natural suggests the F# is the raised 7th of a minor key that resolves down to the natural 7th.
๐Ÿ’กchord progression
The chord progression, though not explicitly given, is implied through the melody notes outlining a i chord in G minor at first and later a i chord in C minor. This progression supports the modulation to C minor.
The tonic refers to the first scale degree that a key centers on. Emphasis on C at the end of the melody after the presence of many accidentals suggests C as a possible new tonic in C minor, confirming the modulation.
๐Ÿ’กkey signature
The key signature designates the flats or sharps that normally occur in the key, as opposed to accidentals that temporarily alter notes. The presence of B naturals instead of B-flats expected in G minor points to a modulation away from G minor.

The melody starts in G minor but modulates to C minor halfway through

The mixture of sharps and flats indicates a minor key rather than major

The F-sharp followed by F-natural shows the raised 7th degree of the harmonic minor scale

G, B-flat, and D spell out the G minor tonic chord, confirming the key

The B-naturals indicate a modulation has occurred, no longer in G minor

Keeping the E-flat but losing the B-flat means moved to a new minor key

B-natural is likely the raised 7th degree in the new key of C minor

A-natural reinforces C minor as the raised 6th degree

Melody ends on a C, confirming return to the tonic in C minor

The modulation happens smoothly but shifts the key

Hearing the chord changes makes the modulation more apparent

Common for melodies to modulate, usually to related keys

Accidentals like cautionary naturals help avoid misreading notes

Melodic intervals like an augmented 2nd sound odd, so avoided

Practice identifying modulations important for analysis

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