how to find key of song

Guide on finding the key of a song

One of the most important aspects of the music-making process is music theory. While there are so many tools available right now to help you combat the lack of music theory knowledge, it still helps a lot to have at least a certain amount of knowledge of theoretical knowledge. If you’re a music producer and trying to figure out the key the vocalist is singing in or the other instruments are being played, this guide will definitely help you in easing the process. Down below you’ll find a step-by-step guide on different ways of finding the key of a song.

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  1. Finding the key of a song can be a hard thing to do if you’re not musically trained. Singing along with the song is the easiest method. Try to sing the melody and look for the most prominent note, as this is probably the root note. Once finding this note, grab a piano and search for that certain note.
  2. If you’ve found the root note of the song, you’ve to make a decision whether it’s major or minor. Major keys are sounding happy while minor keys are sounding sad. It’s easy as that. You don’t have to be classically trained to find out if a song is sounding happy or sad.
  3. After this, you have to check which notes are in these scales. Let’s say your root note is a C and the song is in major. The pattern, 2x2x1x2x2x2x1, will show you the steps you have to take from C. So the notes D,E,F,G,A,B are included within a C major scale. The pattern, 2x1x2x2x1x2x2, will show you a minor scale. So the notes D,D#,F,G,G#,A# are included within a C minor scale.

Try to train your ears as much as possible to tackle these problems yourself. If you are in a creative flow and don’t want to bother about music theory, you can try these steps down below.

  1. There are some great tools within DAW’s like Ableton and Logic that are finding the key for you. Plugins like Tuner, Antares Auto-Key, Mixed in Key, and Melodyne are including a built-in automatic key detection mode. They will show you the key of the played audio.
  2. Google is your best friend in finding information about songs. Type in the title and artist of the song, followed by the word ‘key’. Google will come up with multiple websites showing you the key of the song. Be careful because some sites include the wrong key, so it’s always a good thing to check the key yourself.

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Image Credit: Lorenzo Spoleti on Unsplash

- DJ/Producer from the Netherlands. - Graduated from the Conservatory in Amsterdam. - Currently working as the technical writer at We Rave You

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