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#389256 - 05/13/03 01:17 PM Key Bias?  
Joined: Apr 2001
Posts: 18,204
Brian Austin Whitney Offline
Brian Austin Whitney  Offline


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Joined: Apr 2001
Posts: 18,204
Indianapolis, IN USA
Hi Folks,

I noticed this post by Bob:
----------------
but you're not gonna see f sharp very often...or
g flat for that matter..or c sharp or d flat for that matter..if somebody hands me a chart in d flat..I wrap some gum in it and hand it back !

Bob Young
--------------------

And I wondered if people are biased against what key something might be in and why? It never really occured to me that it would matter. I know some keys are easier to play in than others, but I am curious as to what Bob actually meant and if session players like Mike ever roll their eyes if a certain key is requested. Does it really matter?

Brian


Brian Austin Whitney
Founder
Just Plain Folks
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"Don't sit around and wait for success to come to you... it doesn't know the way." -Brian Austin Whitney


#389257 - 05/13/03 02:49 PM Re: Key Bias?  
Joined: Apr 2001
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Mike Dunbar Offline
Mike Dunbar  Offline


JPF Mentor

Joined: Apr 2001
Posts: 8,574
Nashville Tennessee
In a session, nobody ever complains about keys. If a certain fingering works better for the guitarist, they'll either retune or use a capo.

Live, however, is another story. If someone comes up and wants to sing Workingman Blues in Ab, they're likely to get a drink poured on them.

------------------
Mike Dunbar Music


You've got to know your limitations. I don't know what your limitations are. I found out what mine were when I was twelve. I found out that there weren't too many limitations, if I did it my way. -Johnny Cash

It's only music.
-niteshift

Mike Dunbar Music

#389258 - 05/13/03 04:00 PM Re: Key Bias?  
Joined: Mar 2003
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Sngwrtr51 Offline
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Sngwrtr51  Offline
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When I was first dabbling with keyboards in order to give my writing another dimension, I used what I jokingly called the Gershwin method (i.e. the transpose button). Unlike Mr Gershwin whose key was I believe F, I chose the key of C :-). Didn't have to worry about getting those stubby fingers on the black keys for F#m and the like. Also learned to play Whiter Shade of Pale, which at the time was affectionately known as the white key song.

Seriously though, on guitar I either go with the key or use a capo to get around a key I don;t care for. Not as easy for bass though - I only have a four string so I tend not to like Dd

Question: Do you think Pete Townsend has a favorite key?? Or perhaps it was Roger Daltry's best key for vocals.

Mike

#389259 - 05/13/03 04:10 PM Re: Key Bias?  
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Brian Austin Whitney Offline
Brian Austin Whitney  Offline


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Indianapolis, IN USA
Is the bias just because it's harder to play in some keys or it is something else?

Brian


Brian Austin Whitney
Founder
Just Plain Folks
jpfolkspro@aol.com
Skype: Brian Austin Whitney

"Don't sit around and wait for success to come to you... it doesn't know the way." -Brian Austin Whitney


#389260 - 05/13/03 04:15 PM Re: Key Bias?  
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Mike Dunbar Offline
Mike Dunbar  Offline


JPF Mentor

Joined: Apr 2001
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Nashville Tennessee
On the fretted bass, I have no bias to any key. On the upright, F# is a pain, especially when I'm playing with other fretless instruments. Other than a fingering bias, I'm sure some keys are easier to read than others. Anyone else with some ideas on this?

------------------
Mike Dunbar Music


You've got to know your limitations. I don't know what your limitations are. I found out what mine were when I was twelve. I found out that there weren't too many limitations, if I did it my way. -Johnny Cash

It's only music.
-niteshift

Mike Dunbar Music

#389261 - 05/13/03 04:58 PM Re: Key Bias?  
Joined: Apr 2001
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Mike Dunbar Offline
Mike Dunbar  Offline


JPF Mentor

Joined: Apr 2001
Posts: 8,574
Nashville Tennessee
Mike,

I think it was both. Pete "No Next Time, So Get A Good Filter" Townsend seemed to love A among a few others. Roger sang well in it.

------------------
Mike Dunbar Music


You've got to know your limitations. I don't know what your limitations are. I found out what mine were when I was twelve. I found out that there weren't too many limitations, if I did it my way. -Johnny Cash

It's only music.
-niteshift

Mike Dunbar Music

#389262 - 05/13/03 07:50 PM Re: Key Bias?  
Joined: May 2001
Posts: 13,618
Graham Henderson (D) Offline
Graham Henderson (D)  Offline

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Esperance. West Australia
I think it is pretty logic any player of anything, given the choise will compose in what is known to be the key they have the best range. I nearly always go for E or E minor on both keyboard or guitar. On Banjo I go for G. On balaaike I am back to E.
On lap steel I go for G at the moment simply because i got talked into putting heavy strings on it and it sounded ugly tuned to D, so slack tuned to g and like it good enough to get the full use out of the strings.
I prefer anything destined to have harp on it to be in G as to my ear that is the key harp sounds best in most often.
Closely followeds by E. Just a tonal thing.
Using C and A cross harps respectfully
Graham


------------------
http://www.soundclick.com/bands/2/grahamhendersonmusic.htm

#389263 - 05/14/03 12:30 PM Re: Key Bias?  
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Sngwrtr51 Offline
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Sngwrtr51  Offline
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Hopkinton, MA USA
I have to correct myself. I said I used the Gershwin method, but it was actually used by Irving Berlin (a transpose lever on his piano) as noted in another thread. I guess my mind is getting old as well as my body. :-)

#389264 - 05/14/03 02:47 PM Re: Key Bias?  
Joined: Jul 2001
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Bob Young (D) Offline
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Bob Young (D)  Offline
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chicago il usa
Well Mike....

I've done a few sessions over the years and I'm gonna have to beg to differ...

I've heard lots of grumbling about what key we're in...

Hand a horn section a chart in B natural and it's just a matter of how many seconds before one of them grumbles "couldn't this ---hole sing this in C or B Flat...5 freakin' sharps..what the hell are we guitar players?"

Answering Brian...some keys work better for some instruments in terms of the mechanics of the instrument..guitars like sharp keys..E..A..G...etc..horns prefer flat keys..Bflat...E flat...F...etc...
Honestly..in Chicago you don't see many Capos..not in the downtown sessions anyway...it's changed some over the years but except for the "folk" crowd capos were a no-no..matter of pride.

Ahhhhh music...all different, all the same !

Bob Young

#389265 - 05/14/03 03:44 PM Re: Key Bias?  
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Mike Dunbar Offline
Mike Dunbar  Offline


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Posts: 8,574
Nashville Tennessee
I remember the Chicago ban on capos. In Nashville, however, one of the big guitar techniques is Chicken Pickin' as pioneered by people like Jerry Reed, Albert Lee, Ray Flacke, and currently Brent Mason. This technique utilizes a lot of open string work, so a lot of guys either retune or go for other techniques. I just did a session last week with Byrd Burton, guitarist from the Amazing Rhythm Aces, and he used a capo.

I don't work with many horn sections, but last January, I was blessed to play at Blueberry Hill Studios with Wayne Jackson of the Memphis Horns. We didn't play in B, with five sharps, but we did play in E with four, and none of Wayne's section said a word.

I'm sure someone must have complained about keys at a Nashville session I've been on, but I don't recall it.

All the Best,
Mike

------------------
Mike Dunbar Music


You've got to know your limitations. I don't know what your limitations are. I found out what mine were when I was twelve. I found out that there weren't too many limitations, if I did it my way. -Johnny Cash

It's only music.
-niteshift

Mike Dunbar Music

#389266 - 05/14/03 09:13 PM Re: Key Bias?  
Joined: Aug 2001
Posts: 1,822
Larry Williams Offline
Larry Williams  Offline

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Santa Clarita, CA USA
In several session-player (read: Union) circles in L.A., using a capo on a guitar is akin to entering a bicycle race with training wheels still on - UNLESS it's for a specific effect such as mimicking a lute or mandolin. You sure don't see it on electric guitars here.

You will see capos in all the coffee house/folk/alternative places, though.

Bob seems to have it right. Horn players like the flat keys because they're easier to read and play. Guitarists like the sharp keys because they can use more open strings.

On another note (ha!), there have also been studies done that seem to indicate that certain keys have a tendency to set or conjure up (or something) certain moods or feelings in people. I can't remember any scientific basis for it, but I remember the keys of G and D being "happier" than, for instance, the key of Bb or A. Don't ask me why.

Ah, Brent Mason...I have his "Hot Wired" CD. I think he also plays guitar on about 15 of the 20 tracks on the Brooks & Dunn "Greatest Hits" CD. What a monster player!

...not that Albert Lee is any kind of slouch - it reminds me about a story Vince Gill told about his stint following Albert Lee in Rosanne Cash's band years ago - or you may already know it.



------------------
Larry
www.audibleresponse.com

#389267 - 05/15/03 01:40 PM Re: Key Bias?  
Joined: Apr 2001
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Mike Dunbar Offline
Mike Dunbar  Offline


JPF Mentor

Joined: Apr 2001
Posts: 8,574
Nashville Tennessee
Larry,

Let's hear that story!

I've never played with Brent Mason, but I've worked with one engineer who raves about him. George Clinton (no relation to the PFunk master), engineered and/or owned Fireside Recording and Bayou Sound. He said whenever Brent Mason would come in he'd roll the tape and Brent played all the parts, tone changes, setting changes on his effects, all of it in one take. I'll do a whole album without changing tone once and still redo a track or two as well as some punches.

------------------
Mike Dunbar Music


You've got to know your limitations. I don't know what your limitations are. I found out what mine were when I was twelve. I found out that there weren't too many limitations, if I did it my way. -Johnny Cash

It's only music.
-niteshift

Mike Dunbar Music

#389268 - 05/15/03 01:52 PM Re: Key Bias?  
Joined: Mar 2003
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Sngwrtr51 Offline
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Sngwrtr51  Offline
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Posts: 104
Hopkinton, MA USA
Larry's note that certain keys may evoke certain moods brings to mind something said by Nigel Tufnel of the legendary band Spinal Tap: Dm is "the saddest of all keys" :-)

#389269 - 05/15/03 05:12 PM Re: Key Bias?  
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Graham Henderson (D) Offline
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Esperance. West Australia
That could explain why Summertime always sound nicer to me in Dm rather than Am which I learnt it in.
Know they say any song can be transposed toany key, but od times i find that just does notr wok.
Think it depends on the chords used.
I use a C3m7-5 in cahoots with Em quioite often. Often as an opening chord in Em and find when i transpose, it just does not work for me.
Guess it would gbe pretty boring if it was all cyt and dried and down to filing in the dots. Or even worse. Maths.
Graham

------------------
http://www.soundclick.com/bands/2/grahamhendersonmusic.htm

#389270 - 05/15/03 10:14 PM Re: Key Bias?  
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TrumanCoyote Offline
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TrumanCoyote  Offline
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I think part of this capo controversy simply derives from the type of music that dominates the session work in Nashville. Country music, like folk, calls for capos...it's that simple. It has nothing to do with lack of ability of the players...damn, those guys can play anything! It has to do with the use of open strings, and how open voicing are used in country music, particularly on acoustic guitar.

I played rockand roll and R&B for 25 years and never, EVER used a capo. It was not necessary. But now I am writing country music, on acoustic guitar, and my capo is my pal.

#389271 - 05/16/03 10:51 AM Re: Key Bias?  
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Jean Bullock Offline
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Anaheim, CA, USA
On the guitar, some chords sound better than others because of the way the strings are tuned, especially if there is going to be folkstyle fingerpicking.

When I play in church, my guitar is the only instrument and I like to be able pick out parts of the melody here and there with my thumb and combine it with picking patterns and strumming to help the people sing better. If you try to do that with bar chords, it often sounds choppier and less fluid than with chords with open chords.

People with very small and or very narrow hands can have some problems with bar chords and in some keys the open chords are just exercises in torture for them. So a capo is the best solution for them. It isn't always a case of laziness.

I like the sound of most open chords better than some bar chords too. Probably doesn't make that much of a difference when you are playing in a band with a lot of other instruments, but if you are playing solo it can make difference sometimes. In some rock music for the rhythm player , the bar chords sound better than the open chords. If there is a lot of percussive strumming, bar chords usually sound better to me in those cases.


When I compose on the computer using notation and write parts for piano, I noticed some songs do sound better in different keys.

I tend to think in the key of C because it is easier to see the harmony without having to think of sharps and flats but if I have to transpose the music into a different key to make it more singable I do notice a difference in the sound and sometimes have to rearrange it so it sounds better in the new key.

I think it has something to do with the sound of the chords in first position and how close they are to the middle of the keyboard. Some chords in first position which have to be further away from middle C sound heavy and thumpy to me (for left hand) or thin and brittle in the right hand. I can use different chord inversions of course but it doesn't sound the same. Then again, that probably matters more if the piano is the solo instrument, or the most dominant one. If you are writing parts for a whole orchestra though , the other instruments can compensate.

JeanB


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#389272 - 05/16/03 03:31 PM Re: Key Bias?  
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Bob Young (D) Offline
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Bob Young (D)  Offline
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On the capo bit...

I grew up surrounded by commercial and jazzbo guitar players..

I learned to look at any progression and be able to play it immediately in theree positions on the fingerboard..(including substitutions for the jazz guys)..but....
Age brings wisdom and now I see the capo not as a crutc but a valuable tool !

I use it alot especially when I'm sriting new songs...

I love 'em..

Hey...how about votes for your favorite brand ?

I use Kysers...got 5 of them !

Bob

#389273 - 05/16/03 03:41 PM Re: Key Bias?  
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Jean Bullock Offline
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Anaheim, CA, USA
I've had a shubb, a Kyser, some plastic thingie that looked like a Toucan (My kindergartners loved it and called it Toukie but it died.) Now I have this new one that's pretty cool. I can't remember what the name of it is right now, but it is has this rolling wheel kind of thingie on the bottom. After you wrap it around the guitar, you just roll it up or down the neck to your fret of choice. I like that one the best so far. (But if you get one, don't roll it up past the nut like they say you can do, it stretches out the springs.


Please visit my facebook EZ3D PopUps for free papercraft templates. Great for beginners of all ages.

Favorite Sites:
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http://ez3dpopups.blogspot.com/
http://harrietschock.com
http://jpfolks.com
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#389274 - 05/16/03 04:55 PM Re: Key Bias?  
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Sngwrtr51 Offline
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I've got 2 Kysers. I had to buy the second one when I got an acoustic 12 string that had a wide neck. The second was made for 12 strings.

#389275 - 05/16/03 05:55 PM Re: Key Bias?  
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Jean Bullock Offline
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I just looked up the name. It's called "The Glider." I had some other capos before including that elastic band one, and one that has a strap that locks into some grooves. I still like the glider the best. [Linked Image]

I cracked up reading about the acoustic piano capo. Course with the new keyboards you can just transpose and always play in your favorite key. I think that is so cool.


JeanB


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#389276 - 05/16/03 08:33 PM Re: Key Bias?  
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TrumanCoyote Offline
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I like the Shubb(spelling?). I have one of the "gliders." I bought it direct form the manufacturer at a NAMM show. It took me about month to decide I hated it (BTW, don't park it behind the nut; park it right on the nut and it won't effect your tuning). I've had several Kysers and they seem to loose their tension after a while. They sure are convenient, though.

#389277 - 05/16/03 10:04 PM Re: Key Bias?  
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Graham Henderson (D) Offline
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I got a Dastro. and a simple little elastic and roller pin thing with no name on it.
Working on making one that doesn't crowd me when i sue a B7th shape close to it as i keep pushing the capo away from the fret to fit my fenceposts all,in where needed and lose clarity in the proccess.
can't make a lot of chord shapes so A capo suits me fine. I don't play guitar in public bar for jamming at the music shop Just use it to write to.
Used to always mark down a guitarist when I saw the capo come out, until I realised they werre doing the best they could with what they had, And they got a sound they were looking for.
I also found out most of them could in fact get by without the capo. But it didn't sound how they wanted it to.
Yep it is a tool. And a good one.
I've used it on the banjo from time to time too.
Graham


------------------
http://www.soundclick.com/bands/2/grahamhendersonmusic.htm

#389278 - 05/17/03 12:13 AM Re: Key Bias?  
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Mike Dunbar Offline
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I've got two Keysers, two Shubbs, several others, including some Hamiltons and an old thumbscrew type. My favorite is called a Victor, it screws down beautifully. I use the Keyser if I'm doing a gig where I've got to move it fast. I use the Shubb at my regular bluegrass gig, and I use the Victor in the studio.

------------------
Mike Dunbar Music


You've got to know your limitations. I don't know what your limitations are. I found out what mine were when I was twelve. I found out that there weren't too many limitations, if I did it my way. -Johnny Cash

It's only music.
-niteshift

Mike Dunbar Music

#389279 - 05/17/03 06:52 AM Re: Key Bias?  
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Graham Henderson (D) Offline
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I've got two Keysers,
two Shubbs,
They're mean mothers.
yeah I got others.
Some Hamiltons
And an old thumbscrew type.

My favorite is called a Victor,
it screws down beautifully.
I use the Keyser.
When I've got to move it fast.

I use the Shubb as my regular
at bluegrass gigs,
and I use the Victor in the studio.
Oh Oh.
Yeah I got capos.
I'm into them real big.

Knew a man who didn't own.
A capo so made one out of bone.
Strapped it in with a bit of rawhide.
And though it was a bit on the roughish side.
It was that man's joy and pride.

People came from miles around.
To listen to his rustic sound.
Couldn't sing much but he could yodeladee Oh.
And he sure could make a guitarmoan.
Oh ya Oh Lay dee dee.


it weren't the devil made me do it Mike.
The words sang a song to me and I sure do hope you like.

Ihad a good time.
Pity about the rhyme.
Graham

------------------
http://www.soundclick.com/bands/2/grahamhendersonmusic.htm

[This message has been edited by Graham (edited 05-23-2003).]

#389280 - 05/17/03 11:37 AM Re: Key Bias?  
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Mike Dunbar Offline
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Graham,

I love it. I hear it with an insistant chorus going; Capos, capos, ...every third or fourth one we could raise the key a half step, using a Keyser, of course.

Chorus:

Capos, Capos, (up 1/2 step) Capos, Capos

I'll mess with it tomorrow.

Mike

------------------
Mike Dunbar Music


You've got to know your limitations. I don't know what your limitations are. I found out what mine were when I was twelve. I found out that there weren't too many limitations, if I did it my way. -Johnny Cash

It's only music.
-niteshift

Mike Dunbar Music

#389281 - 05/17/03 02:11 PM Re: Key Bias?  
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Brenda Lowry Offline
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I'll cast my vote for the Shubb, but haven't tried the Glider.

As for keys...I can't offer any insight re. session work, but a couple of comments on a live jam setting...

As a vocalist, it's vital for me to know what key(s) I favor for a certain song, and also to know how far I can vary from those keys. If I'm in a jam situation with a sax player or harp player and the key I call isn't good for them, it only takes a few seconds to find out what is better, and what will work for everyone who's playing, and adjust accordingly. Making the music happen is what's important. I've seen some vocalists who won't vary by as much as a half step and then insist the band do what they want--pretty rude, and a NON team player, if you ask me.

BTW I do "Summertime" in D minor, too.

Brenda


Brenda

"Well behaved women seldom make history" -- L. T. Ulrich
"...so make sure you misbehave and have Big Ovaries" -- Blue Merlot

http://www.BlueMerlot.com
http://www.Women-at-the-Well.com
http://www.CDBaby.com/cd/BlueMerlot
http://www.ileauxcannes.com

#389282 - 05/17/03 02:13 PM Re: Key Bias?  
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Graham Henderson (D) Offline
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Glad ya got some fun out of it Mike. ya phrasing just begged me to do that.
You sure music row is ready for this Cobber?
Ya a braver man than me.
I know I could sing this, but doubt I can play it on anything.
I won't hold my breathe.
Graham


------------------
http://www.soundclick.com/bands/2/grahamhendersonmusic.htm

#389283 - 05/17/03 03:50 PM Re: Key Bias?  
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BTW, the whole point of the Glider capo is that you can reposition it almost instantaneously, simply by rolling up or down the neck to the desired position. The guy who demo'd it at the NAMM show could modulate without missing a beat. It was pretty impressive.

#389284 - 05/17/03 03:55 PM Re: Key Bias?  
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Mike Dunbar Offline
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I'll differ slightly on keys for singers. As a producer, my number one concern is making the singer sound as good as possible. If it's a choice between two or three keys that all sound good, I'll go with a key that is easier on the instruments. If, however, one key sounds better than another, I'll go with the singer's better key...even if it's only slightly better.

Mike

------------------
Mike Dunbar Music


You've got to know your limitations. I don't know what your limitations are. I found out what mine were when I was twelve. I found out that there weren't too many limitations, if I did it my way. -Johnny Cash

It's only music.
-niteshift

Mike Dunbar Music

#389285 - 05/17/03 07:49 PM Re: Key Bias?  
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Graham Henderson (D) Offline
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If you have a legal to air version of that anywhere Brenda, I would love to hear it. I have a thing about Summertime, and am working on having the worlds greatest collection of takes on it.
Even have Copyright OK from Warner Chappell for my arrangement of it which I hope to get sung one day.
Graham

------------------
http://www.soundclick.com/bands/2/grahamhendersonmusic.htm

#389286 - 05/17/03 09:29 PM Re: Key Bias?  
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Graham Henderson (D) Offline
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I've got two Keysers,
two Shubbs,
They're mean mothers.
yeah I got others.
Some Hamiltons
And an old thumbscrew type.
My favorite is called a Victor,
it screws down beautifully.
I use the Keyser.
When I've got to move it fast.

I use the Shubb as my regular
at bluegrass gigs,
and I use the Victor in the studio.
Oh Oh.
Yeah I got capos.
I'm into them real big.

Chorus

Cappos capos everywher.
Yeah yaeh I got my share.
i got capos.
For every need.
I will ever need.
Yeah.
capos with levers.
And elastic bands.
They sure do save my hands.
I'm a capoing fool.
Yodeladi di.

Instrumental
Let's see how darn dood that thar Glider thang realy is here now.

Oh Yodeladi di

Hey there.
Don't that glider slide
Done slid all over.
And not one note rattled or died.
Oh Yeah.
I'm a capo man.
And I say that with pride.
yodeladi yiii

And back to the chorus if ya game.


Chorus

Cappos capos everywher.
Yeah yaeh I got my share.
i got capos.
For every need.
I will ever need.
Yeah.
capos with levers.
And elastic bands.
They sure do save my hands.
I'm a capoing fool.
Yodeladi di.

Oh yodelaliddi addi.
yodealidiladi idi oh.
who di iddy ladi aidi aidi aidi oh,
I'm a capo man.
Don't you know.
The above work is an ongoing thing twix Mike Dunbar and Graham Henderson, meant to bring a bit of down under ness to music row.
Yes we suport international music.
Remember Music Row.
Esperace is french for Hope.
yes there is hope for you yet.
Graham


------------------
http://www.soundclick.com/bands/2/grahamhendersonmusic.htm

#389287 - 05/17/03 11:15 PM Re: Key Bias?  
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TrumanCoyote Offline
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Quote
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by Graham:
I have a thing about Summertime, and am working on having the worlds greatest collection of takes on it.
</font>



I'll bet you don't have the recording of it by Gerry and the Pacemakers, circa 1964.

#389288 - 05/18/03 01:30 AM Re: Key Bias?  
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Graham Henderson (D) Offline
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Just so happens I was a gerry And The Pacemakers fan back then.
Also so happens you are right. I haven't got that one, and don't think I have heard it. But I will if hope.
Thanks for that.
Something else re the keys thuing.
Is raining and cold here so I have been messing around with key changes and done something I hadn't tried before.
Just a simple little jazz thing, but I think I will throw it up on one of my sites and if anybody wants to figure what I did key and tempo wise,I'd like to see if it comes out ithe listening.
If anybody can pick all the chords, I will be duely impressed.
Graham


------------------
http://www.soundclick.com/bands/2/grahamhendersonmusic.htm

#389289 - 05/19/03 08:41 PM Re: Key Bias?  
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Ah....great thread...even a fresh "capo" song!
Wasn't it Burl Ives who did the "Capo On My Brain" song?

Anyhow... in addition to all said in regards to sound, pitch, etc... capo vs no capo.... I tend to enjoy the various effects a capo has upon the tone of my guitar. As the capo position varies, so does the mood and even playing style as the position of the capo changes many things beyond pitch: ...sustain, punch, clarity, the percussive nature... etc. Chicken-pickin' or ragtime is always more enjoyable (for me) with the capo on the 2nd or 3rd fret. [Linked Image]

#389290 - 05/19/03 09:23 PM Re: Key Bias?  
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Graham Henderson (D) Offline
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Love Burl Ives. Don't recal that one though Cisco. Never the less, your comments did spark where , deep in the archives of my mind the thought for messing with Mike's words came from. Differant tune, and probably be even more differant whan Mike gets it done, but same opener.
I got Pigs. I got cows.
A got sheep.
I got all live stock I got all live stock.
I got allllll live stock.
And where am I going?
The rock island line is a mighty fine line.
Yeah the rock Island road is the road to ride.
The rock Island line is a mighty fine line.
And if ya wanna ride it.
Ya gota ride it as ya find it.
Get ya ticket at the station.
For the Rock Island Line.
A B C D, X Y Zee.
The cats in the cupboard but he can't see me.
Graham



------------------
http://www.soundclick.com/bands/2/grahamhendersonmusic.htm

#389291 - 05/23/03 11:46 PM Re: Key Bias?  
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Graham Henderson (D) Offline
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Why this seemingly worthless bump I hear you ask.
Well. It is 'cos i just added a couple of more bits to the equally, seemingly, worthless Capo song, whoops, lyric is why, and didn't want it to go undetected, 'cos I am that sorta guy.
Graham

------------------
http://www.soundclick.com/bands/2/grahamhendersonmusic.htm

#389292 - 05/24/03 04:19 AM Re: Key Bias?  
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Bob Young (D) Offline
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There's a great little film about Ramblin' Jack Elliot was made by his daughter.
In it he reminisces alot about the old times when he was runnin' with Woody Guthrie and Cisco Pike.

Fols would come up to Woody and say "Play me a song"
Woody would often answer, "Sure...any song for a nickel..."cept a Burl Ives song...that'll cost ya a dime !"

Bob

#389293 - 05/24/03 05:33 AM Re: Key Bias?  
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Graham Henderson (D) Offline
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Hey Cobber. Was that 'cos some of them had more than three chords in them and so a bit harder fopr the avreage folk singer to do?
Graham (singing)
oh. The buzzin' of the bees.
In the cigarette trees.
The soda water fountain.
The lemonade springs.
Where the birdies always sing.
In the Big Rock Candy Mountains


------------------
http://www.soundclick.com/bands/2/grahamhendersonmusic.htm

#389294 - 05/31/03 06:20 AM Re: Key Bias?  
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Tom Tracy Offline
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I use a capo on the keyboard. Sounds funny, but that's basically what the transpose function is.

When sequencing and recording, I really suck as a keyboardist, and I can only play "sort of well" in a few keys. So I play in those keys and transpose. It's no different than using a capo on a guitar.

Vocally, I sing best in the keys of F and Eb. So I play the songs in C or G, and let the tools do the hard work.

In the long run, it's the final song that counts, not the tools you used to create it, so nothing else should matter.

#389295 - 05/31/03 07:08 AM Re: Key Bias?  
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Graham Henderson (D) Offline
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Not quite the same Tom. By doing a digital transpose, you are getting the same sound as you would if you played those chords and notes. With a capo on a guitar you get a differant sound, than youwould playing in the open position, or using barre chords.
I think.
Know my open A and capo on 5 sure sound differant.
I do the same as you al the time. Even composing on the puter, I still tend to compose in the keys, I can remembr all the chords to so I can just type them in without digging up a chord chart.
Once done, I then transpose the lot until I find the key i think suits me best.
I love technology.
Makes it almost as if I am capo-able of anything.
Graham

------------------
http://www.soundclick.com/bands/2/grahamhendersonmusic.htm

#389296 - 05/31/03 09:13 AM Re: Key Bias?  
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Actually.. to the trained ear you can tell the difference between someone playing the keyboard in a key live and someone playing a different key with it transposed. It is extremely subtle, but the minute timing differences when forming various chords with your hands in different ways versus other keys which have been transposed would be audible to someone, for example, who can critically judge a master classical pianists performance from one show to the next.

But for us regular humans.. when mixed in a song.. as long as the inversions are the same, I think a chord sounds like a chord, on guitar or keyboard, capo or transposed.

Brian


Brian Austin Whitney
Founder
Just Plain Folks
jpfolkspro@aol.com
Skype: Brian Austin Whitney

"Don't sit around and wait for success to come to you... it doesn't know the way." -Brian Austin Whitney


#389297 - 05/31/03 10:30 AM Re: Key Bias?  
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I agree. Because of the gestalt effect on perception, we don't notice, but there is a difference, in vibration, in relation to other enironmental vibrations. Different keys sound better to you at different times. It depends on how you, and the room, are tuned.

I imagine, like you say, this could have a subtle effect, but maybe not noticeable. I do, however, notice when someone is out of their singing range, or an instrument is out of it's useful range. That's why I like bass solos that are on the low notes.

------------------
Mike Dunbar Music


You've got to know your limitations. I don't know what your limitations are. I found out what mine were when I was twelve. I found out that there weren't too many limitations, if I did it my way. -Johnny Cash

It's only music.
-niteshift

Mike Dunbar Music

#389298 - 05/31/03 11:12 AM Re: Key Bias?  
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Yes, seriously, a lot of this has to do with our accepted equi-tempered pitchtable. Without getting too technical, this pitchtable adjusts and lowers each note by minute amounts (microtones) until it "sounds right" to our ears. The intervals between each pitched note varies - which is why some keys sound different than others, and really what the original posting was all about.

Graham, you are right - Transposing on the keyboard IS different because it adjusts all of these intervals equally, and you don't get the subtle differences that Brian mentions. I also play mainly string instruments and often use the capo on them for exactly the reasons you speak of.

Key bias can become a major problem when you use ethnic instruments that are not based on the equi-tempered pitch table. In some cases, these instruments really only sound good to our ears in one key.

#389299 - 05/31/03 12:09 PM Re: Key Bias?  
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I would have thought on on a keyboard the chords are in fact formed with the hands in the inversion they are wanted and the transposing is mearly the programing teling the puter the keyboard is being played X semitones up or down.
Surprised to learn there would be a differance in the actual sound because of it Guys.
I would have thought if you upped the tone say 4 semitones and hit a C3, the outgoing tone would be the same tone as if you hit an undoctored E3. And the C chord stating there would play an exact Straight E.
Sure glad my ear isn't that well tuned I tell ya.
Graham



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http://www.soundclick.com/bands/2/grahamhendersonmusic.htm

#389300 - 06/05/03 08:00 PM Re: Key Bias?  
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SimpleSimon Offline
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The thing about keys is that it's not just the chords themselves that make the difference - it's also the voicings of them. I have often found, when playing in covers bands in the past, that if I transpose a song I have often needed to make changes to the actual arrangement (chord inversions etc) in order to get it sounding "right".

Incidentally, I just found this website which some of you might find interesting. It discusses the moods supposedly inherent in the various keys.

http://www.library.yale.edu/~mkoth/keychar.htm


Life is exactly what we decide it is in any given moment
#389301 - 06/06/03 01:01 AM Re: Key Bias?  
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Graham Henderson (D) Offline
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I would say that is because the notes being used in the melody demand they be the accentuated notes in a chord for it to sound right.
Like a E7 on sixth fret gives you a B on the first sting, and can slide the shape down to get a run of B A G F# E sort of thing.
Graham

------------------
http://www.soundclick.com/bands/2/grahamhendersonmusic.htm

#389302 - 07/13/03 10:57 AM Re: Key Bias?  
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Capo-ing, I use a Shubb because it's very "positive" and [if applied correctly] doesn't tend to pull the strings sideways and screw up your tuning. (On the 12 [my giggin' beast], I usually have to flatten the lower octave E and A a bit to get 'er "right" but that's done quickly because you tend to expect it.)
One other tip about that brand; don't adjust the screw so you have a vise-like tension on the neck. It works best if you have just enough tension to cancel them buzzes; no more.

I capo a lot when playing ensemble to create that "a little different" sound from the other plethora of acoustic bangers. [Linked Image] (You know; if they're banging in C, I'll capo on the thrid fret and play in A formation, so when they go for the F, my higher D formation has a lot more possibilities of running lines and "tinklier" trebles. Oops, now I gotta pee... [Linked Image]
***Edit: I must add here (as Bob knows), I'm a fairly "limited" player, so the capo is a very valuable tool to me as a solo whacker for the open string possibilities that I actually "need". No excuses, just personal reality. "...a man's gotta know his limitations." -Dirty Harry

Graham, ol' son,
I do Summertime in Em; very effective.
(Well, I AM tuned down a whole step, so tonally, I'm in actual Dm, but we were talking about chord-forms, were we not?) [Linked Image]

------------------
Ozone
http://www.soundclick.com/bands/1/ozonepetemusic.htm

[This message has been edited by Ozone Pete (edited 07-13-2003).]

[This message has been edited by Ozone Pete (edited 07-13-2003).]

#576913 - 01/19/08 03:32 AM Re: Key Bias? [Re: Ozone Pete]  
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Brian Austin Whitney Offline
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I thought I'd bring back some golden oldies! = )

Brian


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"Don't sit around and wait for success to come to you... it doesn't know the way." -Brian Austin Whitney


#585221 - 02/11/08 01:31 AM Re: Key Bias? [Re: Brian Austin Whitney]  
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Thanks for bringing this one back, Brian!

As far as capos...use them when I need to. have no problems with it. However, tis my opinion that the strings on the guitar do not resonate quite as fully when capoed. or, maybe it's just my tired old ears. Thirty years in front of a Peavey Session 400 and 23 years playing bang-bang-shoot-em-up in the Army may have something to do with that. Those grenades, rockets and bazookas in Vietnam probably didn't help a lot, either.

As far as keys, I think most singers have certain keys that suit their voices better than other keys. I have an extremely limited vocal range, so keys are VERY important to me for vocal purposes. Almost all of my slow songs are in D, E-Flat or F, and most fast songs are either in E or A.

As far as keys on the guitar, with rare exceptions, keys just don't make a rip to me. I can play it in any key you can sing it in. The songs "Honky Tonk" and "Foggy Mountain Breakdown", I always play in E and G, respectively because of the open strings and the resonance I get from the uncapoed strings.

Like Bob Not-So-Young, I learned to play every song from three different positions: (1) F, on the first fret...that'll make ya work! (2) A on the 5th fret (3) G, on the 8th fret. So, with the very rarest of exceptions, keys just don't matter to me.

A good example of how that really helps: The lead singer in the band I played with for many years in Germany sang "Behind Close Doors" in B-Flat. A guy who used to sit in with us at times sang it in the key of F. I thanked myself for all those hours of sitting aroubnd learning to play from those three different positions!

Interesting topic.

Al

#585234 - 02/11/08 02:15 AM Re: Key Bias? [Re: Two Singers]  
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Could be comfort zone syndrome. (covers just liking certain songs and those keys,,,,or for not learning all the a to z's of scales and chords)

Could be tone color addiction.

Could be Vocal reasons, and the habit of starting off in certain keys to which to find a melody, or once having a melody, to go to chords of usual and make it fit,,,,or even change the melody, (which might be a mistake if not as good as the one there, just because of not being able to hit the previous high note, and not wanting to move the key down).

Sometimes, blues riffs, (for piano, as I know better about them), can be honed over the years by staying in one key, as it then becomes so natural to play whatever the heart desires. I started to play Jazz and blues riff in C, and since can play them in my sleep. If on keys, and the song calls for some heavy duty riffs, I'll pitch the key to have it be as if it's in C. (is that wrong?)

I can adapt for other keys, of course like G, for that kind of playing, but it's not as natural. I'd rather not think when expressing a feeling or mood.

I have songs of various genres in all keys. It's the tone color that attracts me most for the mood of the song that either comes to me, or I somehow choose to compose. (maybe it's the same thing). But I noticed on the two films scored, I just found a note or chord that seemed to fit the scene's mood,,,or sometimes. even the opposite of the obvious mood. (Contrasts work too, and finding the key for them is,,,,dare I say, key>,, oh man.

John


Actually a Member Since 1996 or 97 (Number One Hundred Something).
Songnado I and II:
http://www.soundclick.com/bands/page_music.cfm?bandID=322686





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