Knowing what Key a tune is in helps me find what notes (and chords) are in an unfamiliar
tune I'm trying to play. I'm sure there are other ways musicians use, and
I have long tried to determine a simple way to know how to correctly name the Key of a
tune for that reason. Most people seem to only recognize Major, Minor, and modal; and
usually would only look at the key signature if written or 'how it feels' for
aural only players. I think the 'classic' explanations of Keys and Modes are why
most don't bother.
Many times tunes would be called "A modal", but written with 3 #s and have every
G naturalized, and sometimes every C naturalized too. "A modal" tunes with F#s,
C#s, and G naturals sound different than those with F#s, C naturals, and G naturals.
I've struggled unsuccessfully for a long time with textbook (and other) confusing
explanations to determine the more 'accurate' / definitive Key names than: "A
modal"; "A with all the Gs naturalized; or "A with all the Gs and Cs
I realized that the textbooks and educators were likely correct, but just not clearly
presenting the information in an easy to understand organization. Finally I laid out Tonic
Notes, number of sharps or flats, and Mode names in a simple chart. I also showed the
Circle of Fifths (without referring to it) so that anyone could see that they are 'in
I'm sure there is usefulness in splitting up scales for further analysis, but I'm
not going there.
I hope my chart helps others; but if happy, mystical, or droopy works for some, that's