Guitar - General/Keys of Songs


Hi Dave,

I want to understand the keys of a song. I know there are different keys and certain notes and chords go into a key to play nice sounding music. But what I want to know is more in terms of the theory behind the pitch of a key. For example, I play a song on guitar in the key of C and it's pretty high for my vocal range, then I play a song in the key of B and it's less high...but I thought that the key of B was higher (in general) than the key of C...because it B comes before C in the alphabet. How does it A the highest key because its' the first letter of the alphabet...I know there are different octaves of A...but I want to know which keys are higher and which are there a chart or something I can get an overall idea of the theory behind the pitch of the key...


Ho Robbie,
Thanks for your question.  A key is more about note names than about specific pitches.  For example, the key of C major contains C D E F G A and B, the key of A major contains A B C# D E F# and G#.  Each of those notes could be played in any octave.  For example, a concert pitch A is 440Hz, but a note sounding at 220Hz or 880Hz is still an A, just an octave below or an octave above concert pitch A.
This is kind of long-winded and tricky to answer in a text-only forum like AllExperts.  If you don't mind, I might use this as the topic for a tutorial video sometime soon on my YouTube channel, where I can go into this in a bit more detail.
Keep an eye on and I'll see if I can get something recorded/uploaded soon.

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Dave Dixon


Guitar player since 1987. Studied at Musicians` Institute. Worked as guitar/music teacher since 1991.


Since joining AllExperts I have been getting rated with 9's and 10's from most of the people I've answered questions from, so I guess that I must be doing something right. Not all that many people can be wrong. Questions about theory, technique, equipment, players, history, etc. welcome - just about anything in fact. The only things I prefer not to answer are requests for transcriptions, or equipment assessments/valuations.

Studied at Musicians` Institute.

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