Question: Determining key of recordings

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    Does anyone have a tip on how to figure out what key a song is being 
    played in. For instance; I have a tape which was sent to me by a friend in 
    Japan. It is a concert by several groups / individuals. There is one guy 
    playing two nice numbers on diatonic. "Summertime" and "The House of the 
    Rising Sun" -- No, that's not a Japanese song. ;-) -- Anyway, we are 
    trying to learn them in our Short Harp SIG. I can almost play along with 
    the tape but eventually come to a note that sounds on tape like it is a 
    natural - yet I have to bend to get it or visa versa. This leads me to 
    believe the tape or the tape deck is off pitch. (Which is usually the 
    case). This has always bugged me about learning from tape or records 
    because it could be a half tone (or worse) sharp or flat and we are trying 
    to learn it in the wrong key -- or struggling in a key which is more 
    difficult to play in because we've got the wrong harp.
    I've seen $500.00 decks be off pitch and $19.00 decks be on pitch - go 
    figure. So my advice there is to check it out before you buy or get a deck 
    with pitch control (see BTW). Then we are at the mercy of our source - we 
    don't know if a tape was produced on pitch or not -- even commercial ones.
    Maybe the answer is to record live stuff on video tape - Have you noticed 
    VCR's are very accurate. (Not to mention the great sound quality on a 
    Hi-fi stereo VCR -- rivaling CD).
    BTW - our club just bought a dubbing deck with pitch (speed) control. JVC 
    has two models the TD-W309 $219.00 and the TD-W709 $279.00 (only 
    difference is the TD-W707 records on both the A and B deck). I mention 
    this because I have looked for years for a reasonably priced dubbing deck 
    with pitch control - very hard to find under $500.00. These prices are 
    from a Crutchfield catalog. We actually got the TD-W309 a little cheaper 
    at a local discount house for $197.00. If you want one; better jump on it 
    because this is last year's model and I'm told (by a questionable source) 
    that the new JVC's won't have pitch control. The local stores here are 
    running out of stock - I had to go to three stores to find one.
    Disclaimer: I do not advocate the use of dubbing decks to pirate 
    commercial recordings. In fact I have written articles in Harmonica 
    Dispatch to discourage this practice and have refused loaning out my 
    recordings (other than those that are out of print) if I thought they were 
    being borrowed for the purpose of copying.
    Huh, now what got him off on that tangent? Wasn't he just asking a 
                      Jack Ely      ely.j@xxxxxxxxxxxxx@pmdf

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