• # The “What Key Am I In” Game 8

After reviewing older posts on the blog, I’ve decided to bring back the “What Key Am I In” lessons.

If you understand major scales, the number system, and which chords fall on each tone of the scale (aka – “diatonic chords”), you have what it takes to crack the “What Key Am I In” code (at least analytically in these blog posts… for details on how to do it solely by ear, click here).

But just in case, let’s review.

1) Take all your major scales and number each tone from 1 to 7.

2) Next, simply apply these chords to the appropriate tones:

1st tone = major
2nd tone = minor
3rd tone = minor
4th tone = major
5th tone = major
6th tone = minor
7th tone = diminished

Let’s try one:

Bb major scale = Bb C D Eb F G A Bb

Number the scale from 1 to 7:

Bb is 1, C is 2, D is 3, Eb is 4, F is 5, G is 6, A is 7

Now apply the chords to each tone:

1 – Bb major
2 – C minor
3 – D minor
4 – Eb major
5 – F major
6 – G minor
7 – A diminished

That’s basically the name of the game.

The only difference below is that I’m giving you a few chords and you’re trying to figure out which major key contains those chords.

Every key is unique. For example, if you see the chords D minor, C minor, and G minor together, there’s only ONE key that has this unique combination – Bb.

There are no other keys that will have this unique combination of diatonic chords.

Eb major comes close because it has C minor as its 6th tone and G minor as its 3rd tone.

F also comes close with D minor as its 6th tone and G minor as its 2nd tone.

But only Bb major has C minor, D minor, and G minor… all in one key.

So that’s what you’re looking for below.

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QUESTION
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What Major Key Am I In If I Have These Chords?

B minor
C# minor
E major

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.
.
.
.
.
.

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“A major”

Why?

Look at the diatonic chords of A major:

1 – A major
2 – B minor
3 – C# minor

4 – D major
5 – E major
6 – F# minor
7 – G# diminished

They match up.

You’ll be hard-pressed to find another key that has all 3 chords. Maybe 2 of the 3 but only A major has all 3 diatonic chords in its key.

(Of course that doesn’t mean other keys can’t substitute and use chords outside of the key. This happens all the time. Of course you can use chords from anywhere you want or else music would sound boring with only 7 “diatonic” chords to choose from in every key. All we’re doing with this game is finding the chords that NATURALLY occur in each key. The foundation. What happens before any alterations, substitutions, or additions. The chords naturally created by only using tones of the scale.)

I hope this helps.

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#### Jermaine Griggs

Founder at HearandPlay.com
Hi, I'm Jermaine Griggs, founder of this site. We teach people how to express themselves through the language of music. Just as you talk and listen freely, music can be enjoyed and played in the same way... if you know the rules of the "language!" I started this site at 17 years old in August 2000 and more than a decade later, we've helped literally millions of musicians along the way. Enjoy!

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