Choosing other possible key sigs that'd transpose easily

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Choosing other possible key sigs that'd transpose easily

Post Thu Jun 22, 2017 9:57 am

Hi Guys, sorry if this info is known, but is there a way to choose 'the next best keys' to go looking at for mashups when you've exhausted your idk say D pellas without finding one???

Is this where I should be reading about the circle of 5ths? It'd be good to know where to start looking next when I cannot find a direct 'match' of keys but still really want to mash a particular track with another?

Thx & sorry if a dumb question! (it is a dumb question isn't it...u r gonna tell me pick the next letter up or down...oh dear...shhh is it one note up or down in the same major/minor/sharp/flat???)
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Re: Choosing other possible key sigs that'd transpose easily

Post Fri Jun 23, 2017 12:05 am

SgtMash wrote:Thx & sorry if a dumb question! (it is a dumb question isn't it...u r gonna tell me pick the next letter up or down...oh dear...shhh is it one note up or down in the same major/minor/sharp/flat???)
It’s a legitimate question--our system of scales and notes isn’t the most intuitive, and can be tricky to understand unless it’s been ingrained in your brain for years. Sharp (♯) means up a semitone and Flat (♭) means down a semitone, and there are no sharps or flats between E and F, nor between B and C.

Check out this "Wheel O’ Keys" (not the sexiest visual, I know.) Each point on the clock represents a semitone. Notice that the “in-between notes”, such as C♯ and D♭, are just two ways to name the same thing:
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You can easily mash left or right 1 semitone. It is possible to mash 2-3 semitones away with good formant preservation on the vocals (you are on Ableton, right?) and possibly a change in the pitch of the instrumental through non-destructive means (varispeeding or transposing stems and re-mixing.) You just have to find a way to get the two sources in the same key. I recommend meeting in the middle as much as possible.

You can also mash Relative Keys. Relative majors and minors are 3 keys apart on the above wheel, with major being on the clockwise end. If your instrumental is in D major, its relative minor is 3 keys counter-clockwise, or B minor. Likewise if your instrumental is in D minor, its relative major is 3 keys clockwise, or F major. A major acapella over its relative minor instrumental will tend to work more reliably than a minor acapella over its relative major instrumental, but the latter is always worth a try.

There are even cases where a D minor acapella will work over a D major instrumental, and I wouldn’t be afraid to try it as long as feel like you can trust your ears...

Lastly, while I don’t recommend the Circle Of Fifths for mashups, nothing is totally cut and dried in music. I’d say that 997 out of 1000 times a vocal in A major will not sound good over a D major instrumental, but great surprises can come out of challenging the rules…And honestly, a lot of the key info online, and key detection software can be wrong, so you may find something that works despite breaking the rules...

Best of luck!

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Re: Choosing other possible key sigs that'd transpose easily

Post Fri Jun 23, 2017 5:29 am

Ty, a picture speaks a thousand words and all :) - The relative major / minor bit especially!

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Re: Choosing other possible key sigs that'd transpose easily

Post Sat Jun 24, 2017 12:32 pm

Here's another one.
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Re: Choosing other possible key sigs that'd transpose easily

Post Sat Jun 24, 2017 12:43 pm

And if you want to go even simpler in my opinion (as I use Mixed In Key software) the camelot wheel is a handy tool!

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Re: Choosing other possible key sigs that'd transpose easily

Post Sat Jun 24, 2017 11:50 pm

HCD and JB, those visuals definitely make the it easier to see relative majors/minors than what I posted. I was trying to keep things simple for finding nearby keys to transpose to, though, which is why I posted the sequence of the Chromatic Scale. The Circle Of Fifths would seem to convolute things, unless you guys have a way to use those for transposition that I’m not aware of. I suppose to find an adjacent key you could go directly across the wheel and then one “spoke" clockwise or counter-clockwise, but again, that doesn’t seem as simple as just using the chromatic sequence of notes.

Maybe I’ll make a more useful wheel that includes the Mixed-In-Key notation too...

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Re: Choosing other possible key sigs that'd transpose easily

Post Sun Jun 25, 2017 12:20 am

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Re: Choosing other possible key sigs that'd transpose easily

Post Sun Jun 25, 2017 7:27 am

Although I have some classical music training (I took piano lessons for 5 years, music/band in high school) I've been learning to keep things as simple as possible when it comes to keys. The charts above from the guys really tell it all, but maybe you'll find my "rule of thumb" helpful without having to look up a wheel.

There's more to mashing than just matching keys. In every pairing (and even multi-mashes are just complicated overlapping pairings) either the instrumental or the acapella is more important. I almost always start a mashup thinking that I want to make a pairing with "this song." Whether it's an instrumental or an acapella, that song is the dominant one. For me, the instrumental is dominant about 80% of the time.

If I have a dominant instrumental, I am going to do everything I can to keep the instrumental pristine (no tempo or key changes.) Cutting and rearranging is fine since that doesn't structurally damage the mix. Then, unless I have a song in my head that matches already, I:
1 look for an acapella that is in the same key,
2 then I look down 1 semitone for something about 5-6 bpm slower so I can varispeed it up
3 then up 1 semitone about 5-6 bpm faster that I can varispeed down
4 up or down 1 semitone within 15 bpm and hope for the best
5 look at the relative minor/major key without pitching.
6 go to 2 semitones away up or down. (This rarely sounds good, but you can "get away with it")

after those steps anything else puts you on the wing of a prayer. If you're interested in my rule of thumb starting with an acapella, just let me know. I don't want to bore anybody.
self-proclaimed Mashstix judge of artistic expression / satis5d at sowndhaus.com

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Re: Choosing other possible key sigs that'd transpose easily

Post Sun Jun 25, 2017 12:35 pm

satis5d wrote:1 look for an acapella that is in the same key,
2 then I look down 1 semitone for something about 5-6 bpm slower so I can varispeed it up
3 then up 1 semitone about 5-6 bpm faster that I can varispeed down
4 up or down 1 semitone within 15 bpm and hope for the best
5 look at the relative minor/major key without pitching.
6 go to 2 semitones away up or down. (This rarely sounds good, but you can "get away with it")

TY cleared up basics on varispeed candidates for me too xx

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Re: Choosing other possible key sigs that'd transpose easily

Post Sun Jun 25, 2017 1:19 pm

satis5d wrote:after those steps anything else puts you on the wing of a prayer. If you're interested in my rule of thumb starting with an acapella, just let me know. I don't want to bore anybody.

I would be keen to hear this!

It's interesting to hear how we each go about pairing combinations :1cheesy:

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