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#585269 - 02/11/08 03:30 AM Re: Key Bias? [Re: Johnny Daubert]  
Joined: Jun 2006
Posts: 5,601
Linda Sings Offline
Linda Sings  Offline

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Joined: Jun 2006
Posts: 5,601
Scorpio
Hey, just saw this.
Graham, if you're around sometime (I know you went offline mostly) pop me that Summertime arrangement and I'll take a stab at it. That is hands-down my FAVORITE song to sing, period. I almost bought me a Harry Fox $18 license the other day to cover it. I still might - deciding on # of copies/downloads I should go for.

Back to keys - I tend to compose in Ab and F most often, but I also like D and A. I sing least well in G. I don't know why. But I can feel it.

Linda

#585879 - 02/12/08 09:08 PM Re: Key Bias? [Re: Linda Sings]  
Joined: Nov 2003
Posts: 6,400
Joe Wrabek Online content
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Joe Wrabek  Online Content
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Garibaldi, OR USA
I forget whether I ever answered this one.

I sing in C almost exclusively--it about encompasses my limited voice range. There are a handful of old Gospel songs I do in G so I can use my Preacher Voice, which is *way* at the bottom of my range. And I have written a couple in D, where I wanted a real whiny sound from singing at the top of my voice range. Both the Ds and Gs are a strain on my voice, and I can't do more'n a couple without giving myself a rest.

Play? Like some others have said, I can play in any key. What configurations I use for the chords ('cause there's between 3 and 5 ways to play just about any chord), and whether I use a capo, depends on the song. If I've developed a particular pattern for a song (I will have done that for a lot of covers I play regularly), then I'll often use a capo to boost that pattern up to whatever key the singer's comfortable singing in, and we're done.

Joe

#649884 - 09/07/08 05:21 PM Re: Key Bias? [Re: Joe Wrabek]  
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Chris Jay Becker Offline
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Chris Jay Becker  Offline
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Cedar Rapids, Iowa, USA
I have favorite keys, especially on guitar, but I think that certain genres gravitate toward certain keys.

Blues works best in E because it's the easiest key for guitar shuffles because you can use the open Low E string and the open A string. D is a good blues key if you want to use either a drop D tuning or an Open D (Vestapol) which can be tuned up to an Open E Vestapol on the electric. Same goes for Open G (Spanish) tuning/open A on electric.

I wrote most of my other songs in D. When I started writing more Country, Bluegrass, and Southern Gospel I started writing them mostly in G.


Chris Jay Becker
Hallelujah Street Music
#651646 - 09/12/08 03:36 PM Re: Key Bias? [Re: Chris Jay Becker]  
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Mike Dunbar Offline
Mike Dunbar  Offline


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Nashville Tennessee
Chris,

I also write some rock shuffles in A, in the bass strings it's similar to using the E.


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

#651867 - 09/13/08 12:03 PM Re: Key Bias? [Re: Mike Dunbar]  
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Jack Swain Offline
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Jack Swain  Offline
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I tend to write in G, D, A, C and E mostly, the guitar-centric keys. I used to find myself writing quite a bit in G, then D became more prominent, Now, as my voice is stronger than it has ever been I want to sing in E quite a bit. My vocal range is nearly identical to Marty Robbins' and he sang many, many songs in the key of E. I think it might have been his favorite key. I have also heard him take those same songs and drop them to Eb sometimes.

Last edited by Jack Swain; 09/13/08 12:05 PM.
#652127 - 09/14/08 05:43 PM Re: Key Bias? [Re: Jack Swain]  
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BIG JIM MERRILEES Offline
BIG JIM MERRILEES  Offline

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Edinburgh, Scotland. UK
I do not believe in favourite keys.
Every song is different. There are reasons why certain songs are played or written in certain keys. It is easier to play or sing seems to be the most reasonable explanation. Certain chords do sound better or richer if played in another key might also be a factor to be taken into consideration. Horns are better suited to flat keys as most are scaled in E flat. Male female is also a factor as very few males can sing a female song in the original key and vice versa. Bagpipes are another ballgame altogether as the one key drone is limiting. So all in all it is important to play in a key taking everything into consideration. Sometimes a compromise is needed.

#652747 - 09/17/08 03:08 AM Re: Key Bias? [Re: BIG JIM MERRILEES]  
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mattbanx Offline
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mattbanx  Offline
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Northern Minnesota
Liking much psychedelic and alternative type of music, plus some early new wave and jazz, I like a lot of the minor keyed type music.
But I originally got more into vocal and musical styles more than form and song structure, outside of plodding 4 beats. I have looked at the different keys to have more zest and retain my musical interests.
Trad music has quite a bit of that.
I did not try much more then post eighties type music before I came on the internet. So I have been pretty much winging it and then trying to prose up for all but a few of my recordings of what I originally did.
And rewriting a few of my older recordings in a classicist vein.

The key can really change the dynamic in an old song.

I notice that taut pop songs with bright keys seem to be a whole lot better for me in learning song structure, as far as practicing.
Something like Bread catches the synapses more directly then Pink Floyd.
Although I am more into the dark type stuff like Floyd.
I like to try and marry both elements together.
Besides, I'm not all negative or rebellious at all times.

There seems to be more of a dramatic quality applying certain measures of both the bright and dark though.

#652827 - 09/17/08 11:48 AM Re: Key Bias? [Re: mattbanx]  
Joined: Apr 2001
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Mike Dunbar Offline
Mike Dunbar  Offline


JPF Mentor

Joined: Apr 2001
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Nashville Tennessee
Matt,

I think a lot of the "darkness" of a bit of music depends on where you place the melody. You can take the same key, C for example, and sing the first line of "You've Lost that Loving Feeling" which starts on the fifth below the root, and it sounds dark. You could sing the first line of "Rocky Top" which starts on the fifth above the root, and it sounds bright.

I do think key does make a difference, especially depending on the ambient resonance of the instrument or room. It also makes a difference with the fingering and tuning of the instrument. However, I believe chord voicing and melody placement has equal or greater effect.


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

#653061 - 09/17/08 09:39 PM Re: Key Bias? [Re: Mike Dunbar]  
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mattbanx Offline
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mattbanx  Offline
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Northern Minnesota
That's odd how that can work.
I know on the ones I redid the melody had to be altered and the chords had to be aligned differently to my voice after I started with bringing the key up.

Sometimes when I do a new song it sounds like it is in a lower key in my memory.
If I do something in an E for example, it comes out like a D in my memory.
Never higher though.
Does that happen to anyone here?

Must be all that dark music.

#653064 - 09/17/08 09:47 PM Re: Key Bias? [Re: mattbanx]  
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Mark Kaufman Offline
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Minneapolis
I make an effort to change up the keys...they have different flavors, and sometimes a half-step change of key makes your voice sound better--not because it's more comfortably in range, but because the vocal vibrations just resonate better. Now that I mainly record and don't worry about playing live, I experiment even more. I really like Eb and Bb and F#...keys not usually explored on a guitar.

#653207 - 09/18/08 09:56 AM Re: Key Bias? [Re: Mark Kaufman]  
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Mike Dunbar Offline
Mike Dunbar  Offline


JPF Mentor

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

Just for fun, check out the keys of your favorite songs. I am guessing here that there will be more of what I call the reed keys (the flat keys, F Bb Eb Ab Db Gb ) than you thought. In the studios here, the key is almost always determined by the singer's "sweet spot." A half step one way or another can make a remarkable difference in the singing voice...one more half step and it can be lost. A lot of studio guitar players will retune a half step to accomodate both the voice and the cool fingerings.


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

#655555 - 09/26/08 08:18 PM Re: Key Bias? [Re: Johnny Daubert]  
Joined: May 2008
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Jim Offerman Offline
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Utrecht, The Netherlands
On transposing keyboards: I do hear the difference between a C played on a keyboard that has been transposed up two semi-tones and a D played on the same keyboard when it is not transposed. I couldn't tell which is which in a blindfolded test, but I could tell them apart.

I don't have an overall bias for certain keys, but I do have specific biases for specific songs because my voice changes with the key I'm singing in. So a song that sounds great when I sing it in C, might sound wrong when sung in C#.

Of course, being a singer, I feel that the vocals should always dictate which key the song is played in. I really hate it when a perfectly good cover band screws up a perfectly good cover, because the song is played in a pitch that doesn't suit the singer.


Jim Offerman ~ inspirational pop music
blog - follow me twitter - buy 'Start Here' on bandcamp!
#655643 - 09/27/08 12:12 PM John Daubert, what do you think? [Re: Jim Offerman]  
Joined: Apr 2001
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Mike Dunbar Offline
Mike Dunbar  Offline


JPF Mentor

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

That's an interesting observation. I'll try it. I use transposing for keyboard a lot, but don't play enough to notice. I wonder what our JPF resident piano tuner, John Daubert, would think? I'll put him in the subject box and see if he answers. You out there John?


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

#656156 - 09/29/08 08:06 PM Re: John Daubert, what do you think? [Re: Mike Dunbar]  
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Johnny Daubert Offline
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Johnny Daubert  Offline
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New Jersey, USA
Hey Mike, coming over from the shout box. Thanks for asking my thoughts on this. Since I replied on page one back in Feb, I'll copy and paste that, then add anything I can think of now!:

From my reply:
Could be comfort zone syndrome. (covers being in certain keys, or 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. (As to your current asking of my thoughts: Each note and of course chord has their own tone color. So Jim's ear is right. Although he'll play a C, if the keyboard is pitched up or dowm, the tone colar of the chord will be that of the actual chord, not the position of playing a C.

F# for example, is a bright, or eveb harsh note. Used for dramatic effects when I scored a Russian style film. I went form a F# to a C chord, to first knock you over the head, to a thoughtful sounding chord in the C chord. "Lennon;s Imagine in C is the perfect chord for that song, (and probably either easy to play for Lennon, or he instinctively knew that was the chord to start such a song on, and hammer it home all the way. (The reason his subconscious music mind would rock back and forth to the F, another pleasant sounding chord, and returning to the C. That song in another key would get the point across, but not the human conditioning of how sound waves affects our brains.

OK, back to the copied reply:

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 riffs 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?) (Added words from Mike's asking about pitch: This is one reason my blues doesn't sound like a suffering blues. When I was asked to play some blues parts for a recording by a friend of mine nearby, he said I was paying too cheery for the song. I tried to feel depressed, then play. Didn't matter. So, knowing the real reason, I said if you get another singer to sing it in Eb, I can sound more lke the song's meaning, with then having tones of Gm in there. Gm is a down, moody tone colar chord. (Used in the film I mentioned above in spots Buddy and I needed to be drony sounding. Dm, on the other hand, is a bright minor chord. Good for an honest, positive sound, although a minor, (the Dm).

OK, again, back to the copied reply:
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. (Added: I found out as above that my blues playing won't be real blues if not pitched away from the C). Even going to B or Bb would be a better sounding blues key.

Back to the copied reply:
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.

Added words from Mike's request: Thanks Mike!
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





#656162 - 09/29/08 08:42 PM For John Daubert again [Re: Jim Offerman]  
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Mike Dunbar Offline
Mike Dunbar  Offline


JPF Mentor

Joined: Apr 2001
Posts: 8,574
Nashville Tennessee
Originally Posted by Jim Offerman
On transposing keyboards: I do hear the difference between a C played on a keyboard that has been transposed up two semi-tones and a D played on the same keyboard when it is not transposed. I couldn't tell which is which in a blindfolded test, but I could tell them apart.


John, this is the part I'd like you to comment on. If you get a chance, please let us know your thoughts.

Thanks for the update on your previous post. Your ideas are always more than welcome.

Mike


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

#656234 - 09/30/08 02:53 AM Re: For John Daubert again [Re: Mike Dunbar]  
Joined: Jan 2001
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Johnny Daubert Offline
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Johnny Daubert  Offline
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Joined: Jan 2001
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New Jersey, USA
OH!

Ok, as far as I can tell, and I listened carefully to that example, (A synthesized note is the same, no matter the keyboard note used to make the sound) BUT, I noticed before and now with detail, what Jim is hearing is also correct, as it's in the position of the fingers that will create the different attacks, thus different tones of the same note that has been pitched. The reason for that is a D position chord must play the F# with the middle or index finger. Even if trying to play both chord positions at the exact same attack, by having to play an F#, (position wise only I'm talking about), the D position C chord, (pitched up), will have the attack be a little heavier due to the reach to strike the F#, with the 1st and 5th notes going along for the ride and striking them a little harder in that process of playing a D position chord. One can make the two chords in the pitch up example Jim gave the same, (NOT easy), by making an effort to either play the natural C chord a little harder, or to play the D position C chord sound a little lighter. BUT, even at that, it may not be exact, due to the reach of the D chord position. That can throw off the attack of the 1st and 5th notes of the chord, which will have both examples sound slightly different, BUT not in tone color. It would take practice at first knowing how to strike notes at any given attack.

I tuned for the world renown teacher Caramuto, (when in Medford, NJ), and he made a machine that would measure attack pressure for each note. He would train world class players before their tours, to get them to express exactly the feel of the music through specific dynamics. (20%. strikes, 37% strikes, 95% and so on). That is one factor that make world class players what they are. They just don't play something soft, or medium, or loud. The best of the best could sometimes get all 100 strikes after years of training for that. If having that much control, they could get the same attack for each note of a chord, no matter the position. In other words, they would be able to do Jim's example, and not even a soundwave examination would be able to tell. And that is because tone color will not change just in pitching and position changes, as long as the said notes are the notes. (a C is a C, no matter what key is needed to set off that signal for that C due to pitching. (Keyboards of course).

It's all the attack of each note in those positions.

You can demonstrate this by using just one note and first knowing the attack will be the same. THAT is very hard to do, even for playing just one note though. So, if hitting a note over and over, and playing up or down after pitching, most will not play the note the same, thus making the sound either softer or brighter for that tone color of that note's sound.

Hope that makes sense. It does to me, but I've been around that kind of technique and trying to play with wanted attacks for years now. Over 30 since learning piano tuning and having met Caramuto.


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





#656255 - 09/30/08 09:42 AM Re: For John Daubert again [Re: Johnny Daubert]  
Joined: Apr 2001
Posts: 8,574
Mike Dunbar Offline
Mike Dunbar  Offline


JPF Mentor

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

Yes, that makes perfect sense. I used to work on making any key on the bass sound the same, regardless of the fingering. I found a good way was to wear sound reducing ear plugs smile

Thanks for the cogent explanation. Please feel free to comment here whenever you find the urge.

All the Best,
Mike


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

#656318 - 09/30/08 02:29 PM Re: For John Daubert again [Re: Mike Dunbar]  
Joined: Jan 2001
Posts: 7,925
Johnny Daubert Offline
Top 25 Poster
Johnny Daubert  Offline
Top 25 Poster

Joined: Jan 2001
Posts: 7,925
New Jersey, USA
Ha! Ironic! Sound reducing earplugs, to better hear sound! That actually is what worked for our band, (our on stage volume), as now, we mic everything, thus not needing to push our amps out to the people. The PA of course does that, (as most bands use that system).

Less sound heard,,,,,,,to hear more music! Hmmmm!
It's all in the details, for sure! And they are usually hidden within. Once found, look out! Works for those world class pianists I talked about, and in every musical situation for all of us, if we allow it, that is.

The tough part is to control exactly, the three finger chords and more on the keys, for those reaching of the black keys, however so slightly that is for any given chord with sharps. Even a C chord, or a Dm, or Am has to be played carefully if wanting one or two of the notes to be brought across more than the others. Or for when the same.

Unless it's ROCK! Ha! But Rock by great bands will still find careful dynamics, if we listen for them, that is!

Thanks again for asking my thoughts on the keys.

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





#941904 - 01/23/12 02:40 AM Re: Key Bias? [Re: Sngwrtr51]  
Joined: Sep 2011
Posts: 580
Pat Hardy Offline
Top 500 Poster
Pat Hardy  Offline
Top 500 Poster

Joined: Sep 2011
Posts: 580
Wasn't it Irving Berlin, not Gershwin, who played everything in F#? --And he had a special piano made where a lever which shift the hammers to play different keys while he could still use the F# fingerings.

#941908 - 01/23/12 03:06 AM Re: Key Bias? [Re: Johnny Daubert]  
Joined: Jul 2010
Posts: 3,710
Dan Sullivan Offline
Top 100 Poster
Dan Sullivan  Offline
Top 100 Poster

Joined: Jul 2010
Posts: 3,710
MI
This is fascinating stuff to read. I'd like to see more of these discussions among professional musicians. I don't know if it's just curiosity on my part or an appreciation of talented artists discussing the tools of their trade that makes this so intriguing to me. But let's have more of it.


Write from your heart, not what you think others want to hear.

https://dansullivan2.bandcamp.com

http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/dansullivan2
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