What Key Was That In?

I’ve often wondered why bands will record songs in a certain key but play them in another.  Many bands will often take a song a half step down when they play it live than the way that they play it when they recorded it.  That is to say that if a song was recorded in the key of A, they might play it in Ab.  Therefore the live version would sound lower.

This can confuse people who do not have perfect pitch at a concert…or perhaps they wouldn’t notice this interesting detail. Sometimes bands write songs in a certain key but by the time they record, the producer might have convinced them into playing the song in a higher key to show off vocal talent.  However, sometimes during live shows, the lead singers cannot reach the notes they’ve recorded on a consistent basis, therefore they sing in a key they are comfortable in to avoid killing their voices.  This is especially important during a long tour.

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