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.
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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