What key is the song in?

Key tracker idea…

Is it possible to have n-track analyse a track and tell you what key it’s in before adding vocals?

I thought I could then set my harmoniser/pitch corrector to that key.

It pays to ask!

No. What’s the track?

Interesting question:
I don’t know of a program that does that, but if you used a program that wrote lead sheets I guess that would do that.

Would it work to open an audio track, load song, open tuner, hit Live button…?
I’ll have a play around with it.

Thanks for the open replies, I think a calculation would have to be done over all notes and then a suggestion as to what key, in an n-track recording. Musicians like me cant read music,write music or even know chords but I have 6 songs composed without keyboards. To know the key if someone asked,wanted to add a harmoniser or tune toms to…however I did ask for a vocoder effect and we ended up with n-volcals!

Here are some suggestions:
If you play a guitar you will find that one chord is central to the song - usually it is the first chord of the main song/lyric not the chord that “leads in” to the song.
If you play no instrument, you are going to have to team up with someone who does or learn to play something - the guitar is really a pretty basic instrument and you don’t have to be a virtuoso to pick out a few chords or discover the melody on a piano or keyboard.
The advantage of the guitar is being able to figure out the key and find what chords will allow the melody - believe me, as a song writer I have had a melody that took a long time to find the correct chords. Giving someone just the key only points them in the direction they need to have to play along and if they can find the other chords they are good enough to tell you the key.
The chord structure to a song can led the melody (make the singer change to match the chords) or follow the melody,.
So, in my book key is secondary to finding the chords unless you want someone else to effect the melodies you have in mind.

My advise - Learn the chords or scale in a key and look for the chord that matches the note you want sung.
Irving Berlin played piano Only in the key of F.
He had a piano that had a device on his piano that changed to pitch to different keys - but he just played chords in the key of F.
Modern keyboards and computers are even more friendly when it comes to changing keys, but you have to know somethings about music or have a partner to lock in the melody for others - unless you want to sing a’coppella.

Thousands of songs have been written and recorded successfully by folks who couldn’t read a note of music.

The next is my “beginners music theory lesson.”
I am not a great musician, so if I made a mistake here someplace and you know better please correct this.
Then maybe we need to move this

Tips section: What you should learn to Transpose/change the key of a song

Here is some “simple” music theory for major keys.
Most songs can be played with three, maybe 4 chords.
More complected melodies or jazz may not sound quite right, but you can play along with most songs.
> There are 12 possible notes (an Octave) and 8 of those notes are in the “standard” musical scale - picture a piano keyboard with the white and black keys.
So there are 12 possible chords with hundreds of variations (voicings) on the basic chord -the basic chord will work - the right chord is where musicianship and genius comes in.
> We are going to explain things using the key of C.
C is our starting note. The Root it is called
The notes on a scale are lettered. in this case C to B.
Or you can number them 1 to 8.
In a “standard musical scale” there is a half step between the 3 and 4 note and the 7 and 8 note - To Explain what that means:
> There are 12 notes between C and B - C, C#, B, B#, E, F, F#, G, G#, A, A#, B, C
> These notes are in what is called half steps - a half step apart in tone.
Notice that E to F is a half step and B to C is a half step (on the piano there are no black keys between E and F or B and C.
> In a “standard” major scale there is always a half step between the 3 and 4 note and the 7 and 8 note. If we play chords instead of notes it works the same - half steps between chords numbered 3 and between 4 and between 7 and 8.
The four most used chords in a song are the 1, 4, and 5 chord and sometimes the 6 minor chord ( the 6 minor is called the relative minor)

So, in the key of C we apply our simple math to the letters and we get

1 chord = C

4 chord - F

5 chord = G

6 minor chord = Am
The 1 chord is the Key of the song.
It tells the player where any half steps will fall to create a “standard” scale.
With these three chords 1.4.5 we can play thousands of songs in the key of C

To see how this works, look at the way a piano keyboard is laid out with the white and black keys
The “standard” scale has a half-step between notes 3 and 4 and between notes 7 and 8.
the key of C is the easiest: it has no sharps or flats, the half steps are “built into” the layout of a keyboard, so you play all the notes on the white keys.
Notice that there is no black key between E and F (the 3 and 4 notes) or between B and C the (7 and 8 notes)(In the key of C the black keys are designated with a # sign for Sharp. So, C# is half a pitch higher than C and so on. There is no key called E#, E# would be F. There is no B# key)

> If we want to play in the key of E we can transpose (change the Key to E) by using the numbers.
1 chord = E chord
4 chord = A chord
5 chord = B chord
and relative minor 6 chord = C# minor
The 8 notes in the scale: three full steps
E,F#,G# a half step to A, full steps B, C#,D# and a half step to E.
The key had 4 sharps,

For beginning Guitar Players:
To add just a little bit of guitar player info:
With the 5 chord,
most players and songs use what is called a “leading note” to the 5 chord in simple songs.
So, the 5 chord is usually played as a 5-7 chord. In C instead of B it is a B7 chord and in C it is a G7 chord, in D it would be A7 and so on.

Simple Minor key:
A bit more complected, but a method I think will often work:
Start with the major scale using numbers - the 1,2,4,5 stay the same.
The 1 chord become a minor chord and the 3, 6 and 7 are lowered a half step.

Thankyou Bax3 for advice to learn the scales, I have printouts of those chords now. Have got a guitar,a book and a mate to help me out. The 1,4,5 chord structure is evident in my music so I realise now.
I will also look at transposing in my music, to see the mood effect. Thankyou!

90% of the time the last note of vocal is the key note. The few that do not are interesting, but most composers like to leave their listener with a “resolved” sound, which is best done by ending in the major note of the key of the tune.

That is very interesting, first time info for me, thank you for taking the time to make that known.