Advanced Search  
Latest News
Some cool text will be here.

» This sentance is not true.


What are the 12 keys? So you can understand how to build keys I'm going over some basics on notes. There are 12 notes in our system of music and each note has a whole "Key" along with it. Each key has only 7 notes. First here are ALL the notes starting from C.

"#" = Sharp, "b" = Flat

C - C# - D - D# - E - F - F# - G - G# - A - A# - B - C

Instead of calling the 2nd note C# it could be called Db. Same with the other sharps. The notes could also be called:

C - Db - D - Eb - E - F - Gb - G - Ab - A - Bb - B - C

Usually the sharps/flats are both listed. Just remember they are the same note/pitch.

C - C#/Db - D - D#/Eb - E - F - F#/Gb - G - G#/Ab - A - A#/Bb - B - C

After that last B it starts over at C again, 1 octave higher. So the low C to the high C is an Octave.The space between each note is called a Salf Step. That is one fret on the guitar. All these notes together are called the Chromatic Scale.
Natural notes are the notes with no sharp/flat on them. They are C, D, E, F, G, A, B.
So if we take a note that is natural - C, D, E, F, G, A, B and raise it up 1 fret or 1 half step it becomes Sharp (#). Lower it 1 half step it is Flat (b).
Except if you raise B or E 1/2 step it becomes C or F. Or if C/F are flattened you get B/E. If C# is raised 1/2 step it becomes D.
So, a Half Step is the distance between 2 notes sitting right next to each other. C to C#.
A WHOLE STEP is 2 notes apart or 2 frets apart. C to D or C# to D#.

The notes in every key are also known as the Major Scale. So the C major scale contains the notes from the key of C. The "Key" of C is not just the notes but all the chords in the key, the chord progressions and the whole mindset of everything "C". We'll deal with chords in the diatonic section.

Now we can create the Keys/Major Scales with this magic formula of Whole and Half steps: W - W - H - W - W - W - H this formula gives us the way to find the notes in every key.

Let's make every key. 12 Keys, 12 Major Scales.

Again here is the formula along with the chromatic scale so you can see how we get each key: C - C#/Db - D - D#/Eb - E - F - F#/Gb - G - G#/Ab - A - A#/Bb - B - C W - W - H - W - W - W - H

If I start on C and go up a whole step I land on D

C - C#/Db - D - D#/Eb - E - F - F#/Gb - G - G#/Ab - A - A#/Bb - B - C
W - W - H - W - W - W - H

another whole step to E

C - C#/Db - D - D#/Eb - E - F - F#/Gb - G - G#/Ab - A - A#/Bb - B - C
W - W - H - W - W - W - H

Next in the formula is a half step. Takes us to F

C - C#/Db - D - D#/Eb - E - F - F#/Gb - G - G#/Ab - A - A#/Bb - B - C
W - W - H - W - W - W - H

Next - whole step. Lands on G

C - C#/Db - D - D#/Eb - E - F - F#/Gb - G - G#/Ab - A - A#/Bb - B - C
W - W - H - W - W - W - H

Whole step - A

C - C#/Db - D - D#/Eb - E - F - F#/Gb - G - G#/Ab - A - A#/Bb - B - C
W - W - H - W - W - W - H

Whole step to B

C - C#/Db - D - D#/Eb - E - F - F#/Gb - G - G#/Ab - A - A#/Bb - B - C
W - W - H - W - W - W - H

Final half step brings it back to C.

C, D, E, F, G, A, B, C

Now let's do that whole process starting on the 2nd note in the Chromatic scale - Db - to make the key of Db.

Then make the key of D, then Eb etc... Here is what we get. Notice the formula still applies to every key.

Db, Eb, F, Gb, Ab, Bb, C, Db - Key of Db

D, E, F#, G, A, B, C#, D - Key of D

Eb, F, G, Ab, Bb, C, D, Eb - Key of Eb

E, F#, G#, A, B, C#, D#, E - Key of E

F, G, A, Bb, C, D, E, F - Key of F

Gb, Ab, Bb, Cb, Db, Eb, F, Gb - Key of Gb

G, A, B, C, D, E, F#, G - Key of G

Ab, Bb, C, Db, Eb, F, G, Ab - Key of Ab

A, B, C#, D, E, F#, G#, A - Key of A

Bb, C, D, Eb, F, G, A, Bb - Key of Bb

B, C#, D#, E#, F#, G#, A#, B - Key of B

Including the key of C, that's all 12 keys. So some keys have sharps some have flats and 1 key - C - has only natural notes.
So when playing in a key, it means generally using just those specific notes. The chords will be only chords that use those notes and the melody, solo, bass, chord progression, will just use notes in that key. That give the typical "staying in key" sound and our ears hear it as a totality of notes that work well together. Why? That involves a discussion of sound wave wavelengths and cultural influence.
There are also rules for going out of key to get certain sounds. Modes and the Jazz section will explain.

Any notes played not in a key will sound dissonant or "out of key" if played while in a particular key.

How Keys Relate

Now we can look at keys from a different angle. This chart will show all the notes in each key and it will help to show how keys are built off each other. This way you will understand another reason why keys have sharps/flats on some notes.
It's all the keys laid out, if you move down the chart the keys move in 5ths. Up the chart they move in 4ths.
A 5th is 5 notes in the major scale. C to G is a 5th (C, D, E, F, G). A 4th is 4 notes (C, D, E, F). Those are called Intervals. The interval chart below explains what the distance between each note is called.

Notice if starting on the key of C and moving up, the next key - F - has ONE FLAT. Next key up has TWO FLATS and so on.
If moving down the chart the key after C is G which has ONE SHARP then D which has TWO SHARPS and so on.

Next the interval chart explains what the distances between all 12 notes are called. C will be the root. First the names of the intervals of the notes IN the key then the notes that are not in the key.

So the the note "C". One place it lies is on the 8th fret, 1st string. By itself it's just a plain old note. when we look at it in relation to the key of C it's the "Root". Now you can see how it's part of 6 other keys also.

Major 2nd of Bb.

Major 3rd of Ab.

4th of G.

5th in F.

6th in Eb.

Major 7th in Db.

And in the other keys it's:

#4 in Gb

Minor 2nd in Cb

b7 of D

Minor 3rd of A

Sharp 5/Flat 6 of E

b2 of B

#4 of F#

Major 7 of C# (would be called B#)

So EVERY note has a relationship to EVERY key!

Next - Chord Theory

Or Back To Lessons Index





The Major Scale
Diatonic Chord Theory

Make Money Online

Setting Up A E-Business

The Top Money Making Products

The Rich Jerk

Metaphysics, Science, Spirituality

© Copyright 2009-2012 Rivard Music. All Rights Reserved. Website Template by Interspire