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Musical Theory Abound!!!

 #32879  by Pete B.
 Fri Dec 14, 2007 5:33 pm
ronster wrote: Pete
Can you explain this:
Oye Como Va, which is entirely ii>V7, although the root Key is G
The tunes is an Am/D repeating using a A minor scale (C major) for leads. Where do you get a key of G??
We're back to the Scalar Harmony thing:
I ii iii IV V vi vii°
This is basically the same as playing Do-Re-Mi... with Chords, rather than single notes.
In this case: G>Am>Bm>C>D>Em>F#dim>G
(you can play through this all in open position, or cruise up the neck using barre chords).

For this example we are in the Key of G.
I=G (never gets played).
ii=Amin (The first chord in the song).
V=D (D7 in this case. It's the V chord in the Key of G).

 #32880  by Pete B.
 Fri Dec 14, 2007 5:33 pm
Dupicate post deleted.

 #32882  by XxRouninxX
 Fri Dec 14, 2007 6:08 pm

The tunes is an Am/D repeating using a A minor scale (C major) for leads. Where do you get a key of G??[/quote]

Key of G simply denotes the specific notes available, NOT TONAL ORIENTATION.

"In the Key of" can be interpreted in a couple of ways.

It can mean "We are using the G major scale and/or its relative modes" OR

"The key signature of this song is F# (because the G major scale and all of its modes use the same set of notes G A B C D E and F#)"

The easiest way to make sense of key is to understand it as implying a key signature, or a nonspecific group of notes.

So we have these ideas, seemingly intertwined: Key, scale, mode.

Well we've talked about what key means, what about scale?

Well a scale is a pattern of intervals that repeats every octave. As guiarists I hope we all know ATLEAST the intervals of a half-step (semitone, or one fret) and a full-step(tone, or two frets)

Heres the G major scale with the distance between each note.

G w A w B h C w D w E w F# h G

w=whole step h=half step.

This pattern is the same with every major scale, that is the "structure" of the scale that makes it major.

Now lets look at a scale like this (i saw some confusion on this earlier)

G VIII or I again

all those numbers mean are "this is the first (I) note in the scale, this is the second (II) note in the scale and this is the third (III) note in the scale, etc etc etc.)

so what is a mode? a mode is just a specific application of a scale. We "modulate" the scale, changing the TONAL ORIENTATION to a different degree., while still preserving the KEY or SET OF NOTES to be the same.

comparable to playing a video game in "different modes" so you can play that scale in different modes. Still running on same system or game (Key, or set of notes), but changing the way certain things work to change the experience without changing the game.

Were keeping the same notes, but changing the center of gravity away from the I chord (such as the G in G major, to say the II chord in G major, being Am)

Take the notes I II III IV V VI and VII of the major scale and build a chord of of each one, using only the notes of the scale, we get:

I Major
II minor
III minor
IV Major
V Major
VI minor
VII diminished

in the key of G this is

G major I
A minor II
B minor III
C Major IV
D Major V
E minor VI
F diminished VII

So based on what we talked about, we can use a progression of A minor to D major (Am-D), being a II-V progression, in the key of G.

Now to solo over it, he wants to use the notes in the KEY of G, but oriented around the A note. The A note is the SECOND note in the G major scale, and the MODE for the SECOND note is DORIAN (the minor scale is actually a mode, and its built off of the VIth degree, so Am scale is actually in the key of C, not appropriate for this song). But in actuality there is only a one note difference between the Key of G and the Key of C, so you could use Am over it without ALOT of problems, but try dorian you will like the sound.

So he is not using Am scale, he is using A Dorian.
So to sum up we have a progression Am-D (II-V) in the key of G, being solo'd over with the A dorian scale (which is the second mode of the G major scale).

So that even though the two chords are Am and D, and the scale is a A (dorian) scale, they are all in the key of G, because they all share the same groups of notes, it is merely the ORIENTATION of the HOME BASE (tonality) that make it all sound so confusing :)

so to sum it all up (very basically lol)
key = group of notes
scale = order of notes, and distances between them
mode = preserving a key but changing the orientation

hope i answered your question, but im sure if i did i only gave you 50 more to ask ;)

 #32890  by ronster
 Fri Dec 14, 2007 10:14 pm
hope i answered your question
Wowzer, you answered my question in detail. I understand and have no more questions. Thank you.

 #32899  by mlynn2600
 Sat Dec 15, 2007 8:21 am
ok i'm gonna throw my 2 cents in here...all of the replies to this question although different are all technically correct. thats why its very confusing.

imho what you should do is learn the 6 two octave major scale patterns...3 off of the 6th string and 3 off of the 5th string. each one starts on a different finger...your first, second and fourth finger. the patterns should be available on the net for free do a google search. then play them backwards and forwards around the "circle of fifths" (once again a google search)...this gets you to know the keys. for chops building use a metronome and build up your speed but make sure you can hear all the notes the slurs.

while you are doing this you should also learn all of the pentatonic patterns, major and minor, the minor pentatonic is also known as the blues scale (minus the flat 5) now here is where your modes come in...

say you're playing knockin on heavens door...

4/4 G D /Aminor /G D /C ://

this song is in the key of G major so playing the G major scale will sound great over this song. the G major can be played off the 6th string 3rd fret or the 5th string 10th fret. the major scales have 7 notes and can be alittle tough to improvise with for the beginner...the pentatonics have 5 notes and are easier to play...the best way to start soloing over a song like this is to find its relative minor or 6th mode...the aolean. in this case its the e aolean can substitute the e minor pentatonic (or e blues scale) for this mode and start jamming away. once you get comfortable you can start to incorporate the other 2 notes into your solo and it will fill it nicely.

the first things you should know as a soloist is what key the song you're playing over is in and then what the relative minor is and then go from there. this is just the beginning...keep practicing :smile:

edit: woops i seem to have missed 5 pages of discussion on this...i apologize if i'm just rehashing info that was already put out.

 #32917  by old man down
 Sat Dec 15, 2007 1:42 pm
ronster wrote:To play a mixo lead I sharpen the 7th note of the major scale
ronster, I need a little help here with what you're saying. The reason I ask is because I've seen this whole idea discussed quite a bit all over the place and it is illusive to me. How do you apply this approach? Or better, why would you apply this approach?

I'm thinking it goes like this from your point of view:

You show up to jam with someone on FOTM, and you know nothing about the song except that it is B and A chords over and over, so someone else says it is B mixolydian to jam over. You then think of the B Ionian mode of the B major scale, same thing actually, and then you sharpen the 7th note of the B major scale to get you to the B mixolydian scale, and you're locked and loaded for how to proceed with hitting "correct" notes.

What is the advantage of thinking this way when for me, I would accomplish the same thing by associating the B and A chords as denoting the key of E major, and thereby dial in the same notes as you? Then, generally for me, my leads would start in slowly on the E major scale, testing what notes sound good to me as I played riffs against the chords, and very quickly I would dial in positions on the fingerboard for playing at, still the E major scale, but where I'm comfortable at getting the best notes punctuated for the B and A chords I'm playing against.

With my method there is mystery, for good or bad, in that I'm not conscious of what scale degree is where, yet I can get it to sound good, but it is always different everytime I go about it. With your method, it may be that you more quickly zero in on a fingerboard location that allows you to punctuate the best notes because you already know what mixolydian means to you in terms of the sound of your riffs, where you can generate that sound most effectively.

Any comments are welcome.

 #32921  by Pete B.
 Sat Dec 15, 2007 1:54 pm
Here's One...

How do we handle this case?

Lay Lady Lay. - Key of...

Basic repeating progression:
A > C#m > G > Bm

Is it:
I iii bVII ii (in the Key of A)?



V vii IV vi (in the Key of D)?


I think it is Key of A because it contains the E, F#m, and C#m that also occur in the bridges.

 #32936  by old man down
 Sat Dec 15, 2007 3:06 pm
Took out my nylon string for this, which really allows for great "cut through" melody lines, and I'm coming up with the key of D.

But there seems to be a pentatonic center between the two keys that ties it together, but that is just a feeling I get.

The reason the key of D seems to work better is the
A and C#m chords hold the song as chords for the first 2 measures, but when you hit the G chord the key of D provides really nice melody lines to get you down to the Bm. For example you could throw out the C#m chord and just stay on the A twice as long to test the key of D major notes fit, and it fits perfectly then.

Choosing the key of A and then you need to be able to think in terms of chords E, D, and A, which doesn't work, as opposed to the key of D which would be the chords A, G, and D, a very good fit.

You know what they say, "If it sounds good, it is good."

 #32942  by XxRouninxX
 Sat Dec 15, 2007 5:38 pm
I would say its a V-VIIm-IV-VI with VIIdim being substituted with a minor chord.

This follows the V-IV-I pattern of Dominant, Subdominant, Tonic, ending in a plagal-like cadence.

Considering the VII can act as a dominant, and the VI as a tonic, its actually Dom-Dom-Sub-Tonic.

This works, and key of d scales work good over it, but heres another way to look at it (i dont know what tune your referencing, so if i butcher it im sorry, but heres how my brain works)

look at it as two progressions line up side by side.

A-C#m could either be I-IIIm in the key of A, or a IV-VIm in the key of E.

now notice how G-Bm is the same motion as A-C#m in a different key? parallel motion. G-Bm can be I-IIIm in key of G, or IV-VIm in the key of D.

I we take our options and call it I-IIIm in the key of A, followed by IV-VI in the key o D, we produce modulation, and still end in a cadence.

Not to mention that the keys of A and D are only one note off, so switching between Amaj and Bm would help color the progression, give it a feeling of harmonic movement (which it tends to lack on its own), by using specific scales to give the chords contextual meaning, by making A-C#m a I-IIIm, we are keeping it as a kind of bland motion in thirds, but by changing it to a modulation in th emiddle helps keep with the odd sounding progression, and brings more of a cadence-like feeling to the last phrase as a IV-VI which is much stronger than a 1-3. You could also just treat them as both IV-VI, and move between C#minor and Bminor. Depending on how you want to color the movement of the song but them you are moving from the key of E(C#minor) to the key of D, which has a two note difference, so you are moving from a minor scale, to a minor scale with a two note difference. Personally i'd go with the major scale, to the minor scale with a one note difference. *shrug*

of course you could just use pentatonics lol

 #32951  by ronster
 Sat Dec 15, 2007 9:13 pm
In response to Old Man's reply:

I do both your way (play the E maj scale) and my way (sharpen the 7th on the B maj scale). I just explained one to simplify it. I tend to use both depending where I am on the neck then I look for the chord shapes for the A and B chords within the scale and alternate between them. Sounds like we both do it pretty much the same way which for me is a lot simpler then memorizing six 2 octave scales. I can not for the life of me memorize more than one scale pattern but I sure can see chord shapes all over the neck without any trouble.

 #32978  by XxRouninxX
 Sun Dec 16, 2007 3:23 pm
mixolydian is b7 not #7, in a major scale #7 is the tonic ;)

 #33014  by Mick
 Mon Dec 17, 2007 6:50 am
old man down wrote:Having a little trouble following you here, but it appears that you are correct.

For the sake of convention, though, moving up the neck is to play higher pitch notes, meaning you are moving toward the bridge. You would have to move "down" the neck, from the "mixolydian pattern" to get to the "lydian pattern," rather than up.
Hmmmm, OK, if that is the convention here, I can conform. I have heard people say "up the neck" meaning to higher and lower notes, which is why I added the move from fret 7 to fret 5 because I have never encountered any ambiguity in that.

Point of order on the Fire on the Mountain thing, it is my understanding that the song is written in B major. I checked over the weekend as I have that song in two different books with slightly different arrangements, and they are both written in B, so played the way they are written it would be an ionian sound. I took a quick look at the voice arrangment, and in the first several lines there weren't any A notes, so I think that if your band wanted to play it in E (effectively just making the A#s into A naturals), as long as everyone is on the same page, I don't think it matters musically. Of course, that would change the sound of the lead guitar from ionian to mixolydian, but I would guess that would be the point in the first place, preferring that feel for that song.

 #33021  by shakedown_04092
 Mon Dec 17, 2007 8:01 am
Mick -

FOTM is in the key of E. The B chord is the V and the A chord is the IV, so using B Ionian, although a major scale, is technically incorrect. Playing over the V & IV (mixolydian & lydian) would technically give you that "Jerry" sound for this song, though you can even simplify this and just poke around in B mixo while keeping in mind the change to the A chord and adjusting to this in your solo.

Whenever you see 2 major chords back to back like this (in this case an A major & a B major chord) you can instantly tell which key it is in because you'll know right away that they are the IV & V chords in a given key. In this case, it's the key of E.

Say you had these 2 major chords back to back in a song:

F & G

Which key would you be in?

Do little tests like this to get used to recognizing certain ways to determine the keys of songs, and once you do that, you can apply the proper scale/mode to play over it. This "recognition" thing also applies to when you see 2 minor chords back to back in a song, for instance if you were playing a song that went Bm > Am, you'd instantly know that they were the iii & ii, making the key of this made up song G. Does that make sense? :smile:
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