Community Forums Archive

Go Back

Subject:What project key for minor key audio loops?
Posted by: pHuNzOnE
Date:8/30/2006 8:12:18 PM

Ok ... i want to add some audio loops to a song with midi tracks. The song is in a minor key.

My music theory is pretty limited ... but I recall that 'A minor' basically has the same notes as 'C Major.'

(I do get confused about which minor this is - melodic, harmonic or 'natural' minor - so this may not be 100% accurate).

So ... to make 'minor key' audio loops sound 'best' or 'right' in a a project and possibly to mix with audio loops that are in a 'major key' would you, for example, set the project key to 'C' to use 'A Minor' loops? Or, possilby to 'G' to use 'A Minor' loops? Or is this just nonsense in my head and it doesn't make any difference at all?


Subject:RE: What project key for minor key audio loops?
Reply by: Iacobus
Date:8/31/2006 10:16:09 AM

Prepare yourself:

Yes, A minor is the relative minor of C Major. They share the same key signature.

Melodic, harmonic and natural minor scales are a bit different.

Harmonic minor scales have their seventh tone raised a semitone, both ascending and descending.

So A minor harmonic would be:

A B C D E F G# A (ascending)
A G# F E D C B A (descending)

Melodic minor scales have their sixth and seventh tones raised a semitone while ascending, and then return to their natural minor state descending.

So A melodic minor would be:

A B C D E F# G# A (ascending)
A G F E D C B A (descending)

Natural minor scales, of course, share the same key signature of their relative major scales as mentioned before. A minor shares C Major, B minor shares D Major, C# minor shares E Major, and so on and so forth.

Now, in reference to ACID, if you plan on making a minor key project, you should place the project key in that minor key. For example, if you want to create a A minor project, stick the overall project key in A.

Since minor scales tend to sound a bit darker than their Major cousins, you'll have to ensure that any 3rd-party media you add conforms to that characteristic if you want to acheive that mood. Most of the time, authors usually label the media appropriately so you know ahead of time.

Some media might be designed to be univeral. For example, the famous "5" chords (like guitar "power" chords) fit well in both Major or minor.

Also remember: ACID only does what you tell it to do. You could record a C Major scale and ACIDize it as E if you wanted. ACID simply doesn't know the difference as it doesn't analyze what you throw at it.

ACID only uses the root as a basis when it stretches to other keys, which is why it's important to make sure you ACIDize using the right root or you're going to have a potential mess on your hands.


Subject:RE: What project key for minor key audio loop
Reply by: pHuNzOnE
Date:8/31/2006 11:44:05 AM


What a comprehensive and masterful reply. Thank you so much.

One last tangential question.

You said: "Now, in reference to ACID, if you plan on making a minor key project, you should place the project key in that minor key. For example, if you want to create a A minor project, stick the overall project key in A."

What about the case in a Major Key song when you would like to use an audio sample that was recorded in a known minor key.

Assuming the samples aren't or can't be acidized, would the relative minor work best?

Assuming they are acidized, would it make any difference?

I keep wondering where those out of scale minor third intervals are going to end up when the file is acidized ... and I suppose it also depends which minor scale it was to start with. Just your ears, hunh?

Thanks again Iacobus

Subject:RE: What project key for minor key audio loop
Reply by: Iacobus
Date:9/1/2006 10:42:13 AM

That's where it gets a bit complicated.

For example, if you have an ACID project that has an overall project key of C Major, an ACIDized Loop that was originally an A minor chord would—by ear—sound like a C minor chord when added to the project.

(Remember that this is assuming the sample is ACIDized properly, which is why it's important to know what you're dealing with when ACIDizing.)

This more than likely will not sound good, since a C minor chord contains a flattened 3rd: C Eb (that's a flat) G. If it's played alongside a C Major chord, it will definitely sound discordant, since a C Major chord contains a natural E.

If the A minor sample/loop was not ACIDized, then theoretically, it might fit, but it might make it sound dark to the ear. As mentioned before, a relative Major's minor key typically sounds darker/sadder than its Major.

If you're going for a "happy" sound, then hearing that A minor chord being played underneath the C Major chord will definitely bring it down a couple levels mood-wise (not to mention sound a little discordant).

Now, if we're talking straight-up 5ths being used (like the power chords I mentioned before), it can make a difference.

For example, an A5 chord (usually) contains only two notes: A and E. (Sometimes the root may be doubled an octave above.) This chord can fit in both A Major and A minor.

What this means is if the sample is ACIDized properly and used in a C Major project, ACID should stretch it to C5 and will fit properly in C Major (or C minor if that's the mood you're going for).

That's because there's no minor or major 3rd intervals to get in the way. If they existed, there would be problems when ACIDized. As I mentioned at the beginning of this post, an A minor chord (A C E) would be stretched by ACID to a C minor chord (C Eb G).

However, note that if the A5 sample was not ACIDized, the general rule still applies as before; just playing the A in the A5 chord will sound a bit discordant (and darker) underneath a C Major chord. (Technically speaking, it would be a C Major 6 chord, which is merely a C Major chord "colored" by a major 6th.)

ON EDIT: Forgot to say, "You're welcome." :)

ON EDIT the 2ND: I also forgot to mention that if ACID comes across an un-ACIDized sample, it will do its best to guesstimate the tempo of the sample and turn it into a Loop, but it will NOT try to guess the key. (As mentioned before, ACID does not analyze the frequency (key) of the samples you throw at it.) This may sometimes produce undesirable results.

If this is the case, you can easily go into the track's properties and change it to a One-shot, which is the only ACIDized form of audio ACID does not timestretch.


Message last edited on9/1/2006 10:49:51 AM byIacobus.
Subject:RE: What project key for minor key audio loop
Reply by: pHuNzOnE
Date:9/4/2006 10:13:03 AM

Worried about imposing too much on Iacobus I wrote him a short e-mail regarding my final question on this issue:


Iacobus ...

I don't want to belabor this or impose on you. I had a final thought to complete (in my mind anyway) the post. But before doing so I thought I'd simply ask you to confirm the point ... in case you tire of following up on this.

So ... If I want to use a relative minor within a major key song ... then assuming I know the correct relative minor (s) as in C Major using A Minor or D Minor ... I should simply put in a Key Change marker in the point of the song where I want to use the loop.

For example: Key C Major of project. Place Key Marker of A to play A Minor Loop. Then revert to Key Marker of C.


Thanks one more time.


Iacobus kindly e-mailed me the following:

Hi DF,

I never get tired of questions. :)

Sure, you can insert a key change to A (minor) if you want to. It actually would make more sense to do it that way, at least music theory-wise. Classical composers used to make forays into a major key's relative minor for dramatic effect (and vice versa). If you didn't have a key change and let ACID stretch it to C (minor), it might not sound as good.

I believe I forgot to mention something about ACID's stretching ability: Just like music theory, ACID can take a scale and transpose it as long as the file is ACIDized properly.

For example, say you have a Loop that was ACIDized properly with a root of A that plays an A natural minor scale (and assuming the Loop was labeled to note that the Loop indeed is using A minor):


If you change the root note to C (by simply changing the project key to C), ACID would stretch it thus:

C D Eb F G Ab Bb C


Go Back