Key of C: What Does That Mean?

(Music Keys)
When a song is written in the key of C, it means that the composer used the scale of C as his basic material. He can use any other notes also, but if he does, he has to announce them by placing a flat or sharp in front of the note he modifies. Watch the short video and you'll quickly understand.
What does it mean "to be in the key of C" (or any key)
Every major scale has a "kissin' cousin" - a related minor scale. They are related because they use the same notes -- they just start on a different scale degree. Every relative minor scale starts on the 6th degree of its related major scale.
Key of C - Key of A minor
Key of F - Key of D minor
Key of G - Key of E minor
Key of D - Key of B minor
Key of E - Key of C# minor
Key of A - Key of F# minor
Key of Db - Key of Bb minor
Key of Eb - Key of C minor
Key of Gb - Key of Eb minor
Key of Ab - Key of F minor
Key of Bb - Key of G minor
On the keyboard we have 12 different keys to work with, and these 12 different notes are repeated in seven different octaves:
Melodies are constructed from these 12 notes, and are almost always derived from a scale of some kind. A scale is simply a row of notes in some consistent pattern. The word "scale" comes from a Latin word meaning "ladder" – notes ascend or descend the ladder rung by rung. There are many types of scales – major, minor (3 varieties of minor), chromatic, whole tone, etc. We will take a look at some of these other types of scales, but the most-used scale is the major scale, which is a row of notes in alphabetical rotation in the following pattern:
Notice that the distance between the 1st and 2nd notes of the major scale is a whole step; between the 2nd and 3rd notes is a whole step; between the 3rd and 4th notes is a half step, and so on.

For example, if we began our major scale on F sharp, it would look like this:
If we started on B, it would look like this:
Notice that the only half steps are between the 3rd and 4th notes and the 7th and 8th notes – all the other notes are separated by whole steps.
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Copyright © 2014 | Author: Duane Shinn