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Written by Ramsey Brown.
The emergence of music production software revolutionized an outdated and closed-off industry that greatly limited the entry of new talents in the music scene. With so many new sophisticated editing programs and tools appearing in recent years, these limitations have diminished and now anyone with the determination and a computer has the capability to make their own music and break into the industry.
However, one must have some amount of music knowledge in order to create or play good music. Factors like understanding and recognizing song keys and tonality could be the difference between a great musician and a not so great musician.
A key is the harmonic centerpiece of a song and is an extremely important part of playing and making music. However, determining the exact key in which a piece of music is composed is really difficult. In fact, even the most experienced musicians struggle with this concept and it can take years to develop the ability to recognize keys by ear.
Thanks again to advancing technology, music tonality software has come on the scene to alleviate this problem and improve the quality of music editing. These programs are sophisticated, accessible, and convenient tools that millions of composers, producers, and musicians use to take their talent to its maximum potential. Finding a song’s key was once a process that could take hours to do — now with the help of smart computer applications, this can be done in the matter of seconds.
By understanding keys and practicing them, your compositions will be much more fluent, harmonic, and better overall. If you are a musician, your solos, riffs and improvs will have more depth and your playing technique will come easier. If you are a DJ, it will be way easier to create the perfect playlist just by knowing the keys and how to properly match up the songs BPM, which is called harmonic mixing.
There are many different song key and BPM finder tools on the internet that anyone can Google and download. Although, some of these can be inaccurate, expensive, and difficult to use. That is why we have made this list explaining the ten best song key and BPM finder tools of the moment, explaining in detail their main features so you can decide which one is right for you.
We could not make a list of music key detection programs without mentioning this great application. Mixed in Key is a highly popular tool used by the world’s top musicians, producers, and DJs to create perfect sets, mashups, remixes, and music productions in the right key.
Mixed in Key is continuously updating and perfecting their software and is available for download on MacOS and Windows computers. They even have a Mixed in Key Studio Edition where you can instantly analyze your sounds and samples inside your DAW and perfectly match them to your production or DJ mix.
Though this application isn’t free like some of the others mentioned on this list, you can try it out with a 30-day money back guarantee. The most basic version can be purchased at $58 with additional add-on features you can choose to include. This software is a complete game changer in the world of music production and it can easily take your music to the next level.
Tunebat is a free online tool with a database of over 40 million songs. Apart from providing information for BPM and key detection, it provides recommendations for harmonic mixing. It is a fantastic tool for music producers looking to remix songs and music lovers who want to understand music a bit better by recording and tuning it.
You can also upload your own audio files to find out the key & BPM estimates, and additional data depending on your plan. You can use Tunebat’s free version to access key and BPM information but you will have to deal with ads and pop-ups on the screen. For $7.99 billed monthly or $35.88 for the year, you can get the pro version with so many more amazing features and without the annoying ads.
For those who prefer not to download more applications on their computers because they are short on memory space, Audio Key Chain is a great go-to option. We strongly recommend this amazing tool because you can easily upload your tracks (MP3 or WAV) from your computer to determine the song key.
It also has features such as a BPM counter, online metronome, games for testing your rhythm, along with a database of songs where you can go to search and find the key and BPM of many familiar tracks. You can quickly find out the pitch of all the songs on your computer and get the necessary data about the tempo, so that you know which songs are more compatible to mix with them.
KeyFinder is an open source key detection tool, for DJs interested in harmonic and tonal mixing. It's intended to be very focused with no library management, no track suggestions, no media player. Just a fast, efficient workflow tool. For all those beginners who are taking their first steps in computer composition, this program is perfect.
This software is free to download and best used on Mac or Apple computers. There is an older version of the application that can be used on Windows, but the company is only moving forward with updates to the Mac versions. The main drawback of this program is its minimalist appearance and the lack of automatic management of local libraries on each device.
This program was developed by Algorridim, a popular and widely used DJ app and software. The great thing about Djay Pro is it can be downloaded on both iOS and Android phones as well as both Mac and Windows computers. This application is DJ software offering the most advanced features to detect Keys, BPM, and beats with total precision. In addition, the software features a frequency-based color waveform to help find keys easily and making the interface more attractive
Djay offers a free version that works great for casual and less-experienced DJs who don’t need as many tools and features. They then have a Pro version that they recommend for more advanced and professional DJs. No matter what type of DJ you are — Djay is a complete one-stop-shop for those who are looking to truly upgrade their live performances and music production.
Mixxx is a powerful open source DJ software for Mac and Windows computers. This application integrates the tools DJs need to perform creative live mixes with digital music files. Whether you are a new DJ with just a laptop or an experienced turntablist, Mixxx can support your style and techniques of mixing.
It is equipped with BPM, key detection, and sync tools to help you find the perfect next track from your library and create a seamless mix by matching the tempo and beats. Among its BPM and key finding capabilities, it is jam packed with many other features and provides DJs with anything and everything they would need to create the perfect mix. Best of all it is completely free to download and use!
Traktor is a DJ software built by Native Instruments and is preferred by DJs all across the world. If you are looking to perfect your mixes and want to detect the tonality of your music or compositions quickly on the fly, opting to download DJ Traktor will be a great decision on your behalf.
It is also important to mention that this program has different but equally complete versions (some free and some paid) that will help both the most experienced and or non experienced musicians perfect their pieces and quickly learn how to solve common problems such as the tonality of the songs.
GetSongKey is a useful website for DJs, songwriters, and musicians. This platform offers more than six million databases of keys and other information for music fans. Every track is stored in four categories to make finding the key of the samples easy – Positiveness, Danceability, Energy, and Acuteness.
Among its key finding tools, it also provides users a key transposer, ket notation converter, chord progression key finder, among many other amazing features. It is a perfect go-to for musicians of all types, it even shows the top charts and trending songs by genres with the key information included. If you are a DJ wanting to play the hottest new hits and find the BPM of the tracks quickly, GetSongKey will be great for you.
VirtualDJ claims to be the most used DJ software on the planet, with over 100,000,000 downloads. It is a great beginners tool for DJs who are just starting out. Among that, it is free to use and already comes pre downloaded on most Mac computers. There’s a reason why everybody starts with VirtualDJ and that is because it’s easy to use interface and jam-packed features.
Unlike many DJ softwares on the market that are only compatible with a specific type of program, Virtual DJ works with the most popular controllers and mixers on the market with plug & play auto detection and setup. It’s smart folders and filters will automatically show you which songs in your library are compatible based on their key and BPM, that way you won’t have to waste time or go to any other program to find out.
Song Key Finder is a great free app available for Android devices that will help you find your keys quickly and easily when you are on the go. You can play the song through your device’s microphone to the app for analysis, you can upload the song to the app, or you can manually enter the chords you have been playing.
All in all, this is a great and versatile app that is handy and quick yet performs just as well as sophisticated paid programs you may have downloaded on your computer. If you are a musician, there’s really no reason not to have it on your phone.
No matter what type of musician you are or how experienced you've become, understanding and recognizing key detection is an extremely crucial part of making great music. Out of these 10 different apps and softwares mentioned, we feel certain that you can find the perfect one to take your music production or performance to the next level!
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