Gruss dich, Karl -
>now to my question. it's about playing in different keys. what exactly
>does it mean.
This kinda sounds like a baiting post, but I'll bite :-)
Key = one of 12 chromatic tones in western music -- A, A#, B, C, C#, D, D#,
E, F, G, G#. It defines the tonal center or root note of the song or
piece you are playing. The notes other than the root note you may play
usually imply a scale (eg. 8 of those notes are a diatonic scale -- the
do-re-mi you may be familiar with is the major scale, 5 notes can be a
pentatonic scale, etc) or chord (more than one note at the same time). An
appregiated chord is kind of in between, single notes like a scale, but
seperated enough to sound like a broken up chord if played in order.
Sometimes people think of the key also defining a modality of a scale, like
major or minor, so the number of keys conceibably goes up by a factor or 12
(here 24, but if you extend it to all the church modes, then you get a
number like 84 different keys, ie one of the letters above and the
associated modality, eg C major, C minor, C Lydian -- I think this is where
the confusion starts :-). Also, if you describe the 12 keys with some of
their enharmonic equivalents (same note, except now a flat instead of a
sharp, eg A# = Bb, etc.) and consider them as different, the number goes up
from 12 to, say 16 or more (this can get complicated if you are trying to
'spell' certain chords correctly since double-flats come into play for
diminished chords, amoung others).
>ok, i can believe that if two musicians are playing in
>different keys, it will sound yucky.
Not necessarily. Many keys are related via the scales and chords, eg. much
of blues blurs major and minor sounds. Modal scales with the same notes are
derivative to one another and hence related, but each have different key
centers and hence sound different, but then similar depending on which
notes you dwell on or resolve to rhythmically, which licks and patterns you
use. Many yucky dissonant sounds are good lead-ins to nice consonant
sounds. The possiblities are endless, as I'm sure you know.
>(i have got a weak feeling for
>what a key is, VERY weak). but if one musician, playing one instrument,
>plays a song, written for one key, in a different key, what will the
>result be? different tone-level? how does scales fit in.
This is where I hand it over to the music pros (Winslow where have you
been?) The way you described it, it is called 'transposing' and is done
constructively all the time. Usually they are trying to match the range of
a singer or the easiest voicing or tonality of a particular instrument.
>why do i bring this up? well, i play to myself. i DONT WANT TO play
>with others, this is something i do by myself (kind of mastur.. forget
>it by the way ~8-)). maybe i will change my mind, but thats another
>story. if i do, i do.
As you gain confidence, you *will* want to play with others. Solo is great
too, but if you want to learn new things off records/CDs/Tapes/radio/TV
then you'll have to learn to decipher some of the keys, scales, chords,
>so maybe, if i only play to myself, i can give the f..k about keys. for
>instance, i play 'when the saints' on my A-harp just as if it was a
>C-harp, i cant hear the differense. it sounds good to me.
You probably have a fine sense of relative pitch. Most people do. The
relative spacing of the notes in one key pretty much can be
matched/transposed to all of the other 12 keys. Many subtle things change
(timbre, absolute pitch 'color'), but most people only worry about the
relative interactions of the notes. Peace.
Harv haandruss@xxxxxxx - opinions my own
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