• Do You Know The Relationship Between Relative Keys And Related Keys?

    in Experienced players,General Music,Piano,Theory

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    This lesson is dedicated to those who want to know about the relationship between relative keys and related keys.

    I’d have love to jump straight into showing you the relationship; assuming that you know about relative keys and related keys.

    However, because a vast majority of those who’ll read this lesson may be coming across either or both of the terms for the first time, we’ll get started by learning about relative keys, then we proceed to learning about related keys before anything else.

    “What Are Relative Keys?”

    There are two key types in tonal music; the major key and the minor key.

    There are 24 keys in tonal music (12 major keys and 12 minor keys) and for every major key there’s a corresponding minor key it’s sharing the same key-signature with.

    “What Does It Mean To Share Key-Signature?”

    If you take a closer look at these keys:

    The key of C major:

    The key of A minor:

    …you’ll notice that although they are two different keys:

    1. One is major and the other is minor
    2. One is on C and the other is on A

    …they have exactly the same notes. Both keys consist of all the white notes on the keyboard either from C to C (the key of C major):

    …or A to A (the key of A minor):

    So, when two keys (a major and a minor key) are sharing the same key-signature, it means that they have the same notes (just like C major and A minor.)

    Using the music clock:

    …you can see the corresponding minor key of every major key on the keyboard.

    The Concept Of Related Keys —¬† Explained

    The concept of related keys is concerned with the relationship between any given major key and other major and minor keys.

    If we go deeper into exploring related keys, we’ll learn about keys of first relationship and keys of second relationship.

    Let me provide you with some insights on keys of first relationship.

    Keys Of First Relationship

    The keys of first relationship are the keys of the fourth and fifth tones of the major scale (in the key you’re in) and their relative minor keys.

    For example, in the key of C major:

    …the fourth and fifth tones of the C major scale are F and G respectively:

    F (is the fourth tone):

    G (is the fifth tone):

    So, the key of F major and G major are the keys of first relationship:

    Key of F major:

    Key of G major:

    …with their relative minor keys — which are D minor and E minor respectively:

    D minor:

    E minor:

    Attention: The relative minor key of the prevalent major key is not left out in the keys of first relationship. So, we’re adding the key of A minor to the list.

    So, C major has the following related keys (keys of first relationship:

    D minor:

    E minor

    F major:

    G major:

    A minor:

    Attention: Due to time constraint we’ll not be able to take a look at keys of second relationship. However, I promise you that we’ll do so in a subsequent lesson.

    The Relationship Between Relative Keys And Related Keys

    The goal of this lesson is to show you the relationship between relative keys and related keys.

    How are we going to do that? We’ll do that by exploring the similarities and differences between relative and related keys.

    Let’s start off with the similarities.

    The Similarities Between Relative Keys And Related Keys

    The reason why there are relative and related keys in tonal music is generally because of relationship that exists between keys. One of the top reasons why every serious musician should learn about key relationships is modulation.

    Keep in mind that modulation is the change of key.

    Although there are occasions when a song can modulate to a foreign key, songs  usually modulate to keys that are related or are relative to the prevalent key. There are tons of songs out there with modulations to keys of first relationship, second relationship or the relative key.

    In a nutshell, going by the principles of tonal music, the relative and related keys are keys that are connected with the any key you’re in and there are several occasions where songs modulate to these keys.

    The Differences Between Relative Keys And Related Keys

    Here’s one of the differences between relative keys and related keys:

    There’s just one relative key but there are several related keys

    The key of C major:

    …has just one relative key and that’s the key of A minor:

    But when we’re talking about related keys to the key of C major, we’re running into several major and minor keys: we’re talking about keys of first relationship and second relationship.

    “Here’s The Second Difference…”

    Another difference between relative keys and related keys is that the relative key has exactly the same notes with the prevalent key, while related keys are different keys entirely that are closely related to the prevalent key.

    In the case of the key of C major:

    …the relative key (which is A minor):

    …shares the same key-signature with the prevalent key. While related keys (like E minor):

    …are entirely different.

    Final Words

    We’ve covered relative and related keys extensively in this lesson.

    In a subsequent lesson, I’ll be sharing deeper insights on relative keys and parallel keys. You will do well not to miss it.

    Thanks for investing your time into reading through this lesson.

    See you next time.

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    Onyemachi "Onye" Chuku is a Nigerian musicologist, pianist, and author. Inspired by his role model (Jermaine Griggs) who has become his mentor, what he started off as teaching musicians in his Aba-Nigeria neighborhood in April 2005 eventually morphed into an international career that has helped hundreds of thousands of musicians all around the world. Onye lives in Dubai and is currently the Head of Education at HearandPlay Music Group and the music consultant of the Gospel Music Training Center, all in California, USA.

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