Posted: Thu Jun 25, 2009 1:44 pm Post subject: a key is....
In Music theory, the key is the tonal center of a piece. It is designated by a note name (the tonic), such as C, and is the base of a musical scale from which most of the notes of the piece are drawn.
In other words, If a song is played in the key of C, then you could play a C scale over it (like improvising a solo) and it would fit. A song could be in a minor key as well (C minor).Its especialy important for singers as the key the piece is in will determine the lowest and highest range of notes they will have to hit. Guitarists often use a capo to quicky change the key of a piece without having to re write the chords to a higher or lower key.
A song can change key in places. Thats called modulation.
Laura Anne gave a nice concept on keys, but i think what you really want to know is why change keys or modulate in a song.
there could be different reasons, ranging from simply showing off your technical ability, to changing the mood or emotion of a song.
a singer might want to go to a higher key later on in the song just to show that she can hit those elusive notes. that actually happens,unlikely as it sounds.
the main function however of changing keys, is probably to increase the intensity of the song, particularly when you are going to a higher key.
overall it adds creativity to the song, which afterall is the point of any work of art.
in summary, there is no hard and fast rule about changing keys, you either do it or you dont.
hope this helps. _________________ Keep Fretting!