• Sounds like D flat minor, though it's straying quite far into various places so it's hard to tell.

  • I would say it is not in any key

  • Yes, I agree with HST. It sounds like Db minor, but only really the first couple bars, ‘cause you modulate at the 3rd bar, by introducing a C natural which is not diatonic to Db minor.


    How do you know what key you're in?  Well, in music that’s more diatonic or “tonal,” you identify which notes have accidentals (sharps or flats), count them and look at your key signature chart to see what key that number of accidental contains.  If your piece sounds major, it’s in that major key.  If it sounds minor, it’s in the relative minor of that major key.  So, if there are 3 flats and I look at my key signature chart, it says I’m in Eb major.  If it sounds minor, then it’s in C minor, which is the relative minor to Eb major, or down a major 3rd - same # of accidentals in your key signature, just a different orientation.  Dig?  


    In the case of Db minor, which is relative to **cough** F flat major, in the number of flats you have: Db, Eb, Fb, Gb, Ab, Bbb, Cb.


    Now, I would totally stay away from that key, because first off, I personally don’t want to read something with 7 flats, including a Cb an Fb and a Bbb.  What can I say?  I’m getting old ;) Although technically it’s a “key”, the fact that there’s a Bbb, renders it somewhat illegitimate, and it’s not common practice to have a key signature with either a double flat or double sharp.  However I don’t get out much, and can imagine at this point, that there are ways to deal with it, and if there are any more sophisticated folks around, I’m interested in hearing all about it.


    However, you could try thinking in terms of C# minor (relative to E major), which sounds the same but looks different, and much friendlier:  C#, D#, E, F#, G#, A, B (4 sharps and no doubles).  By the 3rd measure though, you have a B# (not C natural), which is awkward and to be avoided unless absolutely necessary.


    What I think I know about notating atonal music is that your ascending lines are notated with sharps, and your descending lines are notated with flats, and if you have both ascending and descending figures in a phrase, the last note of your ascending line, ought to be thought of a the first note of your descending line and should receive a flat – preparing for the descent. 


    Another thing to consider, is how the intervals sound from a diatonic standpoint.  If it sounds like a third, it’s a third.  If your notation program spits out something with an F# , then a Bb – which will sounds like and is a 3rd, it shouldn’t be notated as a 4th.


    Your first measure: you’ve got Ab, A nat, F#.  If your were in Db minor, it would read Ab, Bbb, Gb. Assuming that you could indicate Bbb in your key signature, the notes would have no accidentals, as they’d be diatonic to that key.  If you were in C# minor, it would read G#, A natural, F# - also diatonic to that key. 

    I gotta suddenly run.  Hopefully this is a good start for you.

  • As my old grandad used to say "don't be flat, be sharp, but above all, be natural". He played the spoons BTW. On TV no less!

    Notating in c# minor is preferable because of the Bbb.

    Our conductor who also composes doesn't write a key signature and just writes in all the accidentals. Works for him.
  • A C natural fits perfectly into Db minor, if understood as the sharpened leading tone of the Db minor scale (where it would have been a Cb). Or, correspondingly, it fits perfectly into C# minor if understood as B#, the sharpened leading tone of the C# minor scale. Bobby was writing aurally, so these enharmonic interpretations are entirely within the realm of possibility.

    The diminished 7th chords implied here are also perfectly natural in the key of C# minor, since they correspond with the modification of the dominant chord G# major, by sharpening the chord root. This is a common device found in Beethoven, for example, often used by him to effect modulations to distant keys by reinterpreting a different note of the diminished 7th chord as the sharpened chord root, the flattening of which thereby smoothly introduces the dominant chord of the target key.

This reply was deleted.