A Song’s Key (and When it Matters)
If you’re a beginner songwriter or singer, you may wonder when you need to know a song’s key. How does it help you as a musician? Let’s explore a little:
A Song Key: The Basics
The Key of a song is A through G, major or minor. This can be intimidating to those who don’t know theory, but it doesn’t need to be.
If you know some of the notes to the song, you can plug them into this website to get the key.
So when do you need to know the key? As a session singer, it’s certainly helpful. It helps me pick out harmonies and also helps me determine the range of notes I’ll need. Most other studio musicians will need to know also, but if you really don’t know, someone can help you figure it out.
When singers ask for a different key, what they’re essentially saying is that the group of notes in the current key don’t feel right to sing (either too high or low in some areas) and would like to move it up or down. It’s your choice to do it or not, but know that the performance might suffer if the singer isn’t in a comfortable key.
I’m sure many people are reading this and thinking, “How can you even write a song and not know the key??” and I totally get it: you’re a musician and instrumentalist and knowing the key, chords, and notes come as second nature to you. However, there are many songwriters I’ve worked with, either electronic musicians who program everything without knowing the key, or younger start up writers who are just beginning their craft who aren’t great at translating chords into keys yet. It’s totally okay and the songs still sound great!
Regardless of your skill level or experience, we can help you finish your song! If you need advice on the key, chords, melody, lyrics or anything else, drop us a line and let us know.
Key Signature – Mella Music
[…] a key signature tells us what key a song is in (I wrote a post on song keys here). It is shown on the left of the staff, like […]