How To Find The Key Of A Piece Of Music Beginner Guitar Lessons – How to Find the Key of a Song

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Beginner Guitar Lessons – How to Find the Key of a Song

All guitar players need to know what key they are playing a song in! However, finding it seems to be a mysterious process known only to a handful of chosen people.

Don’t despair, once you know these few simple steps you will be able to accurately find the key of any song.

Whether you play lead or rhythm guitar finding the ‘key’ of a song is like having the key to your car … if you can’t find your key it’s all downhill from there!

Here’s five tips to help you unlock the fretboard:

Tip# 1 : Listen to the last chord of a song … that’s your key. Obviously this won’t work for songs that fade out however, it’s a good way to work out songs that have a definite ending.

Tip # 2 : If you have the sheet music check to see if the first and last chord are the same. if they are that’s an excellent way to confirm the key.

Tip #3 : Slide up and down the 6th string listening to each note to see which note blends the best with the song. You will find a few notes that sound OK with the song, the trick is to find the note that sounds like ‘home’.

Tip #4 : The best way to find the key is to check out the number of sharps or flats at the beginning of the song (if you are working from sheet music).

How key signatures work.

No shapes or flats = C

One sharp = G

Two sharps = D

Three sharps = A

Four sharps = E

Five sharps = B

Six sharps = F#

Seven sharps = C#

One flat = F

Two flats = Bb

Three flats = Eb

Four flats = Ab

Five flats = Db

Six flats = Gb

Seven flats = Cb

Tip #5 : Check out the chords in the song, most songs use three chords get to know the three primary chords used in each key.

Primary chords are the 1st, 4th and 5th chords of each key.

In the key of C the primary chords are C, F and G.

In the key of G the primary chords are G, C and D.

In the key of D the primary chords are D, G and A.

In the key of A the primary chords are A, D and E.

In the key of E the primary chords are E, A and B.

Bonus tip: Sometimes the songwriter substitutes the first chord with the sixth chord, the sixth chord is known as the relative minor.

Some examples would be …

Am, F and G … in this example the Am (chord six key of C) replaces the C chord, this would indicate that the parent key of this chord progression is C.

Em, C and D … in this example the Em (chord six key of G) replaces the G chord, this would indicate that the parent key of this chord progression is G.

Knowing how to spot the key of a song is essential basic information that guitar players need to know, use these tips to help you understand music and how it applies to the guitar.

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