Music is written in key. The ‘key’ is a technical term that defines the pitch and scale of sound in music or in song. If you only ever listen to music, this may not matter to you much but if you record music, or work with it in any other form, it’s basic knowledge you should have.
The key of a music helps determine its mood i.e., is the music soft, is it uplifting, it is active, is it morose, etc. If you’ve trained your ear to recognize the key of a song or piece of music, you can identify it by playing it but for a large library of music clips, it’s better to automate the process using a key finder.
Best software to find song keys
Music is mathematical in many ways and that’s part of what makes it easy to find the key of a song with software. There are different types of song key finders; some are online tools that you can use to upload and find the key for a song, one at a time. They tend to be slow but they’re useful if you don’t have a trained ear. There are also desktop tools that you can use to scan an entire library of music files to find their key. Here are the best tools to find song keys.
KeyFinder is a portable desktop app that can analyze multiple songs at once and accurately identify the key they’re in.
- Batch analysis
- Portable desktop tool
- IDE tag identification
- Mac app available
- Assign custom names/codes to keys
- Scan iTunes library
- No longer in active development (but still works great).
- Is somewhat slow.
Rekordbox is an exceptionally complex DJ tool that can, among other things, analyze the key of a track. You can use it to change the key of a track, and mix tracks.
- A complex app that comes packed with tools for professional or aspiring DJs.
- Requires creating a free account before the app can be used.
- The app analyzes one song at a time (drag and drop it on to the app’s UI).
- Has free and paid versions
3. Song Key Finder by Vocal Remover
Song Key Finder is a web app but unlike many other web apps that can analyze the key for a song, this one allows users to select multiple files from their desktop. It analyzes them one-by-one so you’re only saving time uploading files.
- Supports multiple file selection.
- The app/tab may crash if you select too many files at once.
- Can analyze the BPM.
4. Virtual DJ
Virtual DJ can automatically find music folders/libraries on your disk. You can add other folders that have your music collection or sorted files.
- Complex DJ software for manipulating and processing music
- Scan and find the key for multiple files.
- Right-click a file and select Analyze for BPM etc.
- Provides additional track information.
- Available for macOS.
Get Song Key
Get Song Key is another online tool for finding the key of a music file.
- Simple interface.
- Analyzes multiple songs at once.
- Drag & drop a file to analyze it.
Song Key Finder: Conclusion
If you’re learning to produce music, it is normally a good idea to be able to recognize keys by ear. It helps when you learn to play sheet music or when you compose something. That said, for managing large libraries, tools like this can save time.