How Do You Use Key Signatures In Songwriting?
Key signatures are one of the most useful tools in Western music theory. This foundational aspect of composition gives a piece of music a tonal center within the 12-note chromatic scale while doing away with a lot of troublesome accidentals. Learning the basic ins and outs of key signatures will make your song easier to read and perform. Figure out what key (or keys) you’re going to use. The best way to do this is to sit down at a piano (or other chromatic chord-playing instrument, like a guitar) and try it out in a few different keys by starting the song on different notes. Observe how the character and tone color of the piece sounds in different keys, and consider how easy it is for you to sing in different ranges (assuming you’ll be singing the song–if someone else is going to be singing, consider whether their singing voice is pitched higher or lower than yours). If you’re having trouble figuring out which pitch in your song is the first scale degree of the key, the last note of t