OldManGuitarNewbie

Another "what key is this and low to lower it?"

25 posts in this topic

I've found links where I can transpose 6 string guitar chords, and I'm pretty good with it for the basic, common A C G keys, etc. But lately I've been playing around with some new sounds, with chords a little more challenging, and I need some help. First of all, I don't use barre chords.....so I hope you can help without that.

The song is "Lady, My Sweet Lady" by John Denver. The version of this song I like the best is in the Easy Guitar John Denver Ahthology songbook. Here's how it goes....

Cmaj7............Dm7...............C..........Cmaj7..Fmaj7-Fm6

Lady, are you crying? Do the tears belong to me?

.............C......................Cmaj7..............Dm7 ......G

Did you think our time together was all gone?

Cmaj7....................Dm7.....................C......Cmaj7....Fmaj7 - Fm6

Lady, you've been dreaming -- I'm as close as I can be,

...........Cmaj7................Dm7..................C...Cmaj7

And I swear to you our time has just begun.

Bridge:

F...............................G ...................... C......C7

Close your eyes and rest your weary mind;

..F.....................G..........................C ...........C-7

I promise I will stay right here beside you.

....F ...........................G.............................C..........C7

Today our lives were joined, became entwined;

..Am..........................Am7....................Fmaj7...G

I wish that you could know how much I love you.

Now my voice isn't all that versatile - I'm like to be able to play this in a lower key.....I think one or maybe 1/2 tone. But I can't figure out what key the song is, so I cannot figure out how to transpose.......

Any help?

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I haven't listened to this song for years but it looks like it's in C maj. Why?

Because it starts and ends on a C chord - the I chord of the key.

Because it also has the IV (Fmaj) and V chord (Gmaj) from the key of C.

Because the chord pattern in Maj chords is always the same and for CMaj, this would be

I...ii...III...IV.....V....vi....Viidim...I

C...Dm....E...Fmaj...Gmaj..Am.....Bdim....C

you will see that the second chord in the tab is (Dm) - a minor chord which also fits the pattern.

If you listen to a song and want to know what key it's in, play the top string, first fret (F) and if the sound clashes with the song you know it is not in C - the only key with a natural F and not a sharp F.

So it includes a sharp F, so it might be G D A E etc.

Next play a C# - if it doesn't sound like it fits to what you hear on the cd you know the key is G which has only one sharp in it - the F# (but not C# or any other sharp)

Etc - keep testing the next sharp in the Circle of Fifths pattern until you nail the key with the required number of sharps in it.

For example,

G includes an F# only

D includes an F# and a C# only

A includes an F# and a C# and a G# only

E includes an F# and a C# and a G# and a D# only.

And that's all you need to do to know the key of songs that you only hear, and can't see the tabs or chords of it.

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The 'Circle of Sharps' (don' t google that term, I just invented it) follows the same pattern as the Circle of Fifths but starting on F as you can see from the pattern above.

If you can't remember the sequence of keys around the Circle of Fifths/Sharps. get a texta and label your thumb and fingers of your left hand with

F(thumb) C(index) G(middle) D(ring) A(pinky) E etc

and think up a mnemonic to remind yourself of how it goes. I'm an Aussie, so I use

Football..Club...G'D.A.E - that works for me. Need a prompt? - talk to the hand: "G'day!".

And.... when you are on stage and need to tell your mates what key the next song is in, you can use sign language: Key of D maj - 2 fingers pointing upright to indicate 2 sharps and major (upright). Dminor - 2 fingers pointing down to indicate 2 sharps but in the minor key (down).

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Also, you can transpose just as easily, even if you can't figure ot what the key is. Just change every chord up or down by the same amount.

So if you want to lower the song by a whole tone, lower each chord by a whole tone. The first chord was C maj7 so it becomes Bb maj7,.Dmin7 becomes C min7.

You can't really avoid barre chords if you drop it by a semitone or whole tone, but you can avoid them if you drop it by one and a half tones. C maj7 becomes A maj7, D min7 becomes B min7 etc.

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If it is from an easy guitar anthology they will put it into the easiest key to play, and that normally means few if any bar-chords

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If you want to play a song one tone, or haff a tone lower, can't you just re-tune all the strings down accordingly? Or, use a capo high on the fretboard depending on how much you want to lower the key, play the guitar an octave higher and sing the octave lower?

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Off topic warning: Hey there Fretsource - how are you going in sunny Thailand? We haven't heard from you in quite a while. Hope all is well with you.

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Oh wow, great responce to my plea for help! Thanks very much. I thought the song (posted above) was in the key of C, but that was more guesswork than anything.

I think the song (as printed in the song book) was in that key, vice D, as another said, easier to play. And I like the way it plays very much (in C), I just cannot sing it in that key. So I will mess around with dropping it a bit....maybe trying the capo and finding a solution with octaves as another suggested.

I'd rather not get into re-tuning my guitar, at least not at my experience level, which is pretty basic.

I really need to study Carol's post, as I think there's a lot of good info there. I also dug out my ol' "Guitar Handbook" and will review the secton that deals which what she <?> and others said.

Now I'm off to ask some questions about a ukulele....anyone here know anything about them?

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Sure - they are like a guitar, but smaller. After that you are on your own as far as I'm concerned. Sorry I can't be more helpful - other members will turn up soon and give you more info.

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If you listen to a song and want to know what key it's in, play the top string, first fret (F) and if the sound clashes with the song you know it is not in C - the only key with a natural F and not a sharp F.

Hi Carol,

I'm probably misunderstanding you here but don't, for example, F Major, C# Major and D Minor also have a natural F?

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Hi Carol,

I'm probably misunderstanding you here but don't, for example, F Major, C# Major and D Minor also have a natural F?

In fact F, Bb, Eb, Ab and Db all contain an F natural.

F# major and C# major will both contain the enharmonic equivalent of an F, but correctly speaking it is probably E double sharp.

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If you wanted to play this song in the key of B, I would recommend a capo on the 4th fret and transpose it to G.

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OK guys, it seems you've spotted my deliberate mistake - hey, I never said I was perfect! Back to the drawing board....:)

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Off topic warning: Hey there Fretsource - how are you going in sunny Thailand? We haven't heard from you in quite a while. Hope all is well with you.

Hi Carol and all - Still enjoying the sunny weather. It's hard not to, if you're from Scotland - ask Simon. I'm more involved in internet stuff than music right now and don't even have a guitar. Recently I had a go on one and was horrified to discover that I could hardly play it. I sounded worse than my worst ever student. That's what going for months without playing does, as I've just learned. Better get one soon before I lose it completely.

Staying on topic, I'll just point out Rob's typo - You meant E sharp, not E double sharp, mate.

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Staying on topic, I'll just point out Rob's typo - You meant E sharp, not E double sharp, mate.

Sigh of relief...I am not alone.

Glad to hear you are doing ok. Don't forget to keep in touch. :grouphug:

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If you wanted to play this song in the key of B, I would recommend a capo on the 4th fret and transpose it to G.

Great idea, and that's on my list to try. I have also been playing around with Band in a Box, which I bought a year or so ago but never got around to using much. It has a place to key in chords, and then indicating to which key you want them transposed. Interesting......but a capo would get me up and going sooner; I will give it a try.

Thanks for the tip.

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OK guys, it seems you've spotted my deliberate mistake - hey, I never said I was perfect! Back to the drawing board.... :)

Just to further embarass you, I spotted that also but figured it was my misunderstaning of "the science of music". :oop:

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If you wanted to play this song in the key of B, I would recommend a capo on the 4th fret and transpose it to G.

Wow, I glanced through your lessons forum; what a terrific contribution! I will have to check those out in more detail. :yes:

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Here's a pretty comprehensive list of Ukelele sites OldManGuiterNewbie and a handy chordfinder, hope these are of use to you. I have one I noodle with, just put it in GCEA and go for it, they are fun to have around :thumbup1:

http://www.boatpaddl...eles.com/top50/

http://www.ukulele.nl/chordfinder.php

Oh man, you have just given me more things to look at than I can handle in 3 months! Thanks. I especially thought the Go Chords thing might be very handy to have. I play the guitar now, and I've been looking for a tool to write songs quickly that include chord diagrams.

Thank you!

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Staying on topic, I'll just point out Rob's typo - You meant E sharp, not E double sharp, mate.

Oops - Now to fix MY typo. Sorry, Scotty, I called you Rob. I've no idea why, I don't even know any Rob.

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