Over 95 % of the time, a song
will start and end on the same chord and that is usually the key.
There are exceptions but they are rare. For songs that fade out, check out the first chord in the song and the last chord at the end of the chorus. They will usually match up, and give you the key.
Where the first chord and last chord are different, you can usually rely on the last chord as the key.
This is hardly academic but it works way more often than it doesn't.
What it doesn't tell you is anything about the key you find yourself in.
Donated by Tom Rasely
Also see my Tip 194 on the subject.
Gman ( o )==#
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