Lesson 12 - 12 Keys of Music
1. IntroductionIn music, the key identifies the tonal center or home base of a song. This tonal center or home base is a note that the whole song revolves around. Every note in the song wants to gravitate towards the home base note. For example, if a song is in the key of C, then every note in the song gravitates towards C. If a song is in the key of F, then every note would gravitate towards F.
2. 12 Possible Keys in MusicThere are 12 possible keys any particular song can be played in. This is because of the 12 notes on the piano keyboard, A, A#/Bb, B, C, C#/Db, D, D#/Eb, E, F, F#/Gb, G, and G#/Ab. A song can be played so that any one of these twelve notes will be the tonal center or home base.
3. How to Tell What Key a Particular Song is InThere are several ways to tell what key a particular song is in. Let's take a look at three things that can help you determine the key of a song.
Key signatures can provide a clue as to what key a piece of music is written in. Key signatures tell you what sharps or flats will appear in a song. Key signatures appear directly after the clef signs. The number of sharps or flats in the key signature can give you a clue as to what key a song is in. For example, if a song has no sharps or flats in the key signature, the song may be in the key of C. If a song has one sharp in the key signature, it may be in the key of G. If a song has one flat in the key signature, it may be in the key of F. Below is a chart of key signatures and what key it may correspond to.
What Melody Note a Song Ends On
What melody note a song ends on can also be a clue as to what key that song is written in. For example, if a song ends on C, it may be in the key of C. If a song ends on F, it may be in the key of F. If a song ends on G, it may be in the key of G, and so on.
What Chord a Song Ends On
What chord a song ends on can also be used to help you figure out what key a song is in. For example, if a song ends on a C chord, it may be in the key of C. If it ends on a G chord, it may be in the key of G. If it ends on an F chord, then it may be in the key of F, and so on.
4. Examples of Songs Played in Different KeysBelow are examples of "Deck the Halls" being played in three different keys.
("Deck the Halls" in the key of C)
("Deck the Halls" in the key of F)
("Deck the Halls" in the key of B)
5. The 12 Keys of Music
Below is a list of all the possible keys of music. Enharmonic keys are counted as one key.
Key of C
Key of Db / C# (enharmonic keys)
Key of D
Key of Eb
Key of E
Key of F
Key of Gb / Key of F# (enharmonic keys)
Key of G
Key of Ab
Key of A
Key of Bb
Key of B / Key of Cb (enharmonic keys)
6. ConclusionIn this lesson, you learned that in music, the key identifies the tonal center or home base of a song. A song can be in any of the 12 keys. You also learned three things that can help determine what key a song is in.
Use Virtual Piano Keyboard below to practice what you have learned in Lessons 12 thru 16
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Lesson 12 - 12 Keys of Music
Lesson 13 - Major Scale
Lesson 14 - Intervals
Lesson 15 - Chords of the Major Scale
Lesson 16 - Circle of Fifths
Lesson 10 - Three Primary Chords
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Lesson 18-Double Chord Pattern
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Use the virtual piano keyboard below to practice what you've learned in the "Piano Basics" Section - Piano Layout. You can play this Virtual Piano Z-Board in two ways:
1. For playing melodies with the right hand
Use computer mouse to click directly on any key (note highlighted in RED) to play that note, or2. For playing chords with the left hand
Press on any corresponding button (key highlighted in BLUE) on your computer keyboard to play that particular note (this feature is used when playing chords - you have to first click on the virtual piano once to activate this feature)
e.g. Press "Shift" on the computer
keyboard to play "C" note,
Press "S" to play "E" note, and so on.
To play C Major Chord (C-E-G) -
Hold down "Shift"-"S"-"F" keys on
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Play on Z-Board using the mouse to click directly Press these keys on the computer keyboard __________ __________ __________ C chord C - E - G Shift - S - F G chord G - B - D F - B - N F chord F - A - C D - G - Sp Dm chord D - F - A A - D - G
Access the "Piano Basics" section to learn the layout of piano keyboard. Learn how to read music - Music Notations. Next - Use this interactive Z-Board to practice playing easy popular songs.
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