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Fig.1. The Key of a piece usually refers to the tonic note and chord, which gives a sense of arrival and rest.
It sets the tone of a song and also produces a sense of 
completeness or finality to a song or passage.

-The Key indicates the tone or note the song tends towards or resolves to.  This note is known as the Tonic.  The tonic is the element which tends to assert its dominance and attraction over all others, and it functions as the ultimate point of attraction, rest and resolution for the scale.

-Any of the 12 notes can be the songs Tonic Note OR “Key”.  For Example:

  1.  The Key of A
  2.  The Key of A#
  3.  The Key of B
  4.  The Key of C
  5.  The Key of C#
  6.  The Key of D
  7.  The Key of D#
  8.  The Key of E
  9.  The Key of F
  10. The Key of F#
  11. The Key of G
  12. The Key of G#

-The first chord of a song usually indicates the Key. If the song starts with a E Chord then it is usually in the Key of E (there is the occasional creative exception).

-The Key also identifies the Chord  that the song resolves to (finishing point of the song).

-The Key does not indicate one specific pitch but all pitches of the 4 octaves with the same letter name.

-The Key is further defined by the use of Major or Minor after the Note designation.
For example: The Key of “A Major” or the Key of “A Minor”.
This indicates weather a Major or Minor scale is used for lead playing.  And also the Chord the song resolves to.

-If you play the note (or chord) of the key over the entire song it will sound like it fits melodically.


Video 1. The “E note” played over a I-IV-V Chord progression played in the Key of “E”.

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