Musical Theory Abound!!!
 #108199  by vwjodyme
 Sun Jan 22, 2012 11:09 am
Quick question here; looking at a key chart i am noticing all the VII chords are the V 7th'd so in A it is E7, does that mean the actual 7th note G# is not part of the key of A even though it's in the A major scale?
 #108200  by Rusty the Scoob
 Sun Jan 22, 2012 11:36 am
vwjodyme wrote:Quick question here; looking at a key chart i am noticing all the VII chords are the V 7th'd so in A it is E7, does that mean the actual 7th note G# is not part of the key of A even though it's in the A major scale?
Not sure what exactly you're asking.

Jerry loves the VII chord, with or without the 7 - the G7 in a song in A, for example. It makes perfect sense in Mixolydian harmony.

I A C E
ii B D F#
iiidim C# E G
IV D F# A
V E G B - nearly always altered to E G# B
vi F# A C#
VII G B D
 #108201  by vwjodyme
 Sun Jan 22, 2012 12:20 pm
This was the chart i was looking at

KEY I ii iii IV V vi VII
A A Bm C#m D E F#m E7
C C Dm Em F G Am G7
D D Em F#m G A Bm A7
E E F#m G#m A B C#m B7
F F Gm Am Bb C Dm C7
G G Am Bm C D Em D7
 #108203  by vwjodyme
 Sun Jan 22, 2012 12:53 pm
hmmm, not sure exactly what the chart i found was trying to do, but all the other Key charts i've found show G as the VII in A not E7. All is right in the world again, G is in A, and it's time for some football. Go Pats!
 #108205  by Octal
 Sun Jan 22, 2012 1:19 pm
Any chord can be a 7 chord, i.e. jazz. Those charts that only list the V as the 7 is deceptive. I.e. A Ionian:

A B C# D E F# G#
Amaj7: A C# E G#
Bmin7: B D F# A
C#min7: C# E G# B
Dmaj7: D F# A C#
E7: E G# B D
F#min7: F# A C# E
G#m7b5: G# B D F#

Here's an experiment for keys. Chord progression is
D7 /// | //// | C7 /// | G7 ///
All dominant seven chords (so the D7 has a C note, the C7 has a Bb, the G7 has a F). What key are you in?
 #108284  by tcsned
 Mon Jan 23, 2012 6:33 pm
Octal wrote:Any chord can be a 7 chord, i.e. jazz. Those charts that only list the V as the 7 is deceptive. I.e. A Ionian:

A B C# D E F# G#
Amaj7: A C# E G#
Bmin7: B D F# A
C#min7: C# E G# B
Dmaj7: D F# A C#
E7: E G# B D
F#min7: F# A C# E
G#m7b5: G# B D F#

Here's an experiment for keys. Chord progression is
D7 /// | //// | C7 /// | G7 ///
All dominant seven chords (so the D7 has a C note, the C7 has a Bb, the G7 has a F). What key are you in?
I would say it's not in any key since there are at least two incidentals in the chords. It's closest to G major since they're all major chords. I would play a D blues scale or a D or a combination or even switch over each chord depending on how quick the changes are.
 #108290  by Octal
 Mon Jan 23, 2012 7:28 pm
tcsned wrote:
Octal wrote:Any chord can be a 7 chord, i.e. jazz. Those charts that only list the V as the 7 is deceptive. I.e. A Ionian:

A B C# D E F# G#
Amaj7: A C# E G#
Bmin7: B D F# A
C#min7: C# E G# B
Dmaj7: D F# A C#
E7: E G# B D
F#min7: F# A C# E
G#m7b5: G# B D F#

Here's an experiment for keys. Chord progression is
D7 /// | //// | C7 /// | G7 ///
All dominant seven chords (so the D7 has a C note, the C7 has a Bb, the G7 has a F). What key are you in?
I would say it's not in any key since there are at least two incidentals in the chords. It's closest to G major since they're all major chords. I would play a D blues scale or a D or a combination or even switch over each chord depending on how quick the changes are.
Yep. Working a lot with stuff like this helps one unbox oneself while soloing. I've worked a lot with stuff like this and taught myself how to solo. Consequently, I never think about scale shapes and keys, but only about the notes I am playing in relation to chord harmony and the melody that the notes create, of course. It gives an idiosyncratic style, but I do have to say there are holes in my playing because of it.

It does, however, help one get beyond keys. I find all of that stuff very limiting. But sometimes we do need to teach ourselves how to operate in a limited fashion (I.e. strict grammatical style until you're ready to write "Finnegan's Wake")
 #108291  by tcsned
 Mon Jan 23, 2012 7:57 pm
Octal wrote: Yep. Working a lot with stuff like this helps one unbox oneself while soloing. I've worked a lot with stuff like this and taught myself how to solo. Consequently, I never think about scale shapes and keys, but only about the notes I am playing in relation to chord harmony and the melody that the notes create, of course. It gives an idiosyncratic style, but I do have to say there are holes in my playing because of it.

It does, however, help one get beyond keys. I find all of that stuff very limiting. But sometimes we do need to teach ourselves how to operate in a limited fashion (I.e. strict grammatical style until you're ready to write "Finnegan's Wake")
Exactly, if anything, I learned the neck of the guitar through the modes. I find that if I'm thinking in modes and scales, I'm not in a great creative space, a functional space in lieu of better ideas yet to come (hopefully). They're one of those things that you have to learn so you don't have to think about them.

I would also add that learning the modes vertically (up and down a single string) is as important as learning them horizontally (across multiple strings) maybe even more important.
 #109462  by Mick
 Tue Feb 14, 2012 1:50 pm
austinhumphrey wrote:i was reading some music theory stuff and it for some reason utterly confused me. this might be a noob thing to ask but can somebody explain what a songs key is. i tried to do some more research on the subject and haven't found much that helped. basically i'm asking for a simplified version of what it means when says "this song is in the key of..." i thought i knew what it meant before but now i am just lost. thanks
-Austin
Wow, just, wow. This sounds like a simple question, which you got responses on the level of asking the guys on "The Big Bang Theory" a physics question!

Let me bring it down a notch or two for you. A "major key" is a collection of 7 notes having the following pattern w w h w w w h, the "w"s being "whole steps" and the "h"s being half steps. To build the D major key, you start on the root note of D, and follow the pattern. A whole step up from D is E, another whole step is F#, a half step up is G, a whole step up is A, a whole step up is B, another whole step up is C#, and a half step brings us back to D. So, the KEY of D major contains the following notes:

D E F# G A B C#

That is all that a key really is. I was probably 42 years old before I figured that out, so if it takes you a while, it's OK with me.

However, nothing is ever as simple as we would like. A given song may predominantly use notes that are part of the key, called "inside" notes, with some notes thrown in that are not part of the key, called "outside" notes, or sometimes "accidentals". Really good Jazz jams can use so many outside notes that the "sound" or "feel" of the jam seems to lose its key, and no longer be a part of any identifiable key. Good players can do that, and effortlessly resolve all of the dissonance back to the original key without having notes sound "wrong", or like something went "squonk" in the middle of their jam. This is best left for the most experienced of players, of which I am not one.
 #109463  by Rusty the Scoob
 Tue Feb 14, 2012 2:01 pm
Playing outside the key is a great skill (Essential if you want to play Phish jams!)but not really all that complicated.

As an excercise, find a piano or keyboard, and play a C major triad. Play it four times in a row, then play any other cluster of notes, and then back to the C major triad. You'll get that "ahhhhhh" feeling of resolution no matter what other cluster of notes you use in second to last spot. A G7 is the classic choice of course, but anything works because your ear is still stuck on that C major triad. The weirder and more dissonant of a cluster that you can come up with, the more satisfying the resolution will be.
 #109466  by Mick
 Tue Feb 14, 2012 2:10 pm
Octal wrote:Any chord can be a 7 chord, i.e. jazz. Those charts that only list the V as the 7 is deceptive. I.e. A Ionian:

A B C# D E F# G#
Amaj7: A C# E G#
Bmin7: B D F# A
C#min7: C# E G# B
Dmaj7: D F# A C#
E7: E G# B D
F#min7: F# A C# E
G#m7b5: G# B D F#

Here's an experiment for keys. Chord progression is
D7 /// | //// | C7 /// | G7 ///
All dominant seven chords (so the D7 has a C note, the C7 has a Bb, the G7 has a F). What key are you in?
Most times, the VII chord is written as G#dim, for diminished, because both steps are minor thirds. This is the same as a G#mb5.

If I saw that chord progression, I would think we might be in the key of G major. Forgetting the "7"s for a minute, all the notes are inside to G major. People are very inconsistent IMO when they write "D7" as to whether they mean "dominant 7th" or "added 7th". The added 7ths would be C#, B, and F#, with only C# being outside. The dominant 7ths would be C Bb and F, so two outside notes there. However, if this is a rock song, I'd bet we aren't. I'd bet we are in D, with the C7 used as an outside chord. C natural IS the dominant 7th to D, using the C7 (like added 7th) would be adding an inside note B, and since E and G are also inside notes, the ONLY outside note would then be the root of the C7, which is dominant to D. This is the same structure used in "Fire on the Mountain", which is a song written in the key of B, but using rhythm chords of B major and A major, causing non-stop arguments by some Deadheads who will swear the song is written in E.
 #109468  by Rusty the Scoob
 Tue Feb 14, 2012 2:17 pm
Mick wrote: This is the same structure used in "Fire on the Mountain", which is a song written in the key of B, but using rhythm chords of B major and A major, causing non-stop arguments by some Deadheads who will swear the song is written in E.
Those are people who can't see past the limited world of Bach and Mozart that they were taught in beginning theory classes, and believe a key signature can only be a major or minor scale.
 #109469  by ebick
 Tue Feb 14, 2012 2:38 pm
vwjodyme wrote:This was the chart i was looking at

KEY I ii iii IV V vi VII
A A Bm C#m D E F#m E7
C C Dm Em F G Am G7
D D Em F#m G A Bm A7
E E F#m G#m A B C#m B7
F F Gm Am Bb C Dm C7
G G Am Bm C D Em D7
Just jumping in here and perhaps I am missing something but I believe your vii to be incorrect across the board.

i - Maj 7 (Ionian) A
ii - min 7 (Dorian) Bm
iii - min 7 (Phrygian) C#m
iv - Maj 7 (Lydian) D
v - Dom 7 (Mixolydian) E
vi - min 7 (Aeolian) F#m
vii - half-diminished (Locrian) G#

This works like this.

For the i chord, if you take the 1st, 3rd, and 5th tones (using the wwhwwwh pattern of the major scale)*, you get A-C#-E, which is an A Major chord
Following this, for the ii chord, take the 2nd, 4th, 6th, B-D-F#, you have a Bm
iii - 3rd, 5th, 7th, C#-E-G#, C#m
iv - 4th, 6th, 8th/1st, D-F#-A, D
v - 5th, 7th, 2nd, E-G#-B, E
vi - 6th,8th/1st,3rd, F#-A-C#, F#m
vii - 7th, 2nd, 4th, G#-B-D, G# half dim

A Major Scale

1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8/1
A-B-C#-D-E-F#-G#-A
 #109482  by Octal
 Tue Feb 14, 2012 4:11 pm
Mick wrote:Most times, the VII chord is written as G#dim, for diminished, because both steps are minor thirds. This is the same as a G#mb5.

If I saw that chord progression, I would think we might be in the key of G major. Forgetting the "7"s for a minute, all the notes are inside to G major. People are very inconsistent IMO when they write "D7" as to whether they mean "dominant 7th" or "added 7th". The added 7ths would be C#, B, and F#, with only C# being outside. The dominant 7ths would be C Bb and F, so two outside notes there. However, if this is a rock song, I'd bet we aren't. I'd bet we are in D, with the C7 used as an outside chord. C natural IS the dominant 7th to D, using the C7 (like added 7th) would be adding an inside note B, and since E and G are also inside notes, the ONLY outside note would then be the root of the C7, which is dominant to D. This is the same structure used in "Fire on the Mountain", which is a song written in the key of B, but using rhythm chords of B major and A major, causing non-stop arguments by some Deadheads who will swear the song is written in E.
First off: a diminished chord has a double flatted seventh. G#dim: G# B D F. A G#m7b5 (or a half-diminished) is G# B D F#.

Second: If someone doesn't want a dominant 7, then they write maj7. Minor(Major 7) chords come to mind. D F A C# is a Dm(maj7). If a chord just says "7" then it is a dominant 7--regardless of the key.

For what it's worth, think about how the V does not resolve itself back to the I in the chord progression.
Rusty the Scoob wrote:Those are people who can't see past the limited world of Bach and Mozart that they were taught in beginning theory classes, and believe a key signature can only be a major or minor scale.
For a period of time I got into generating scales from random notes (some with more or less than 7 notes) and then constructing keys out of them. This is a good exercise. Then try writing chord progressions in these new keys. I.e. First try a 12 bar blues and then try to write your own.

A nice way to break the ice is with a Phrygian Dominant scale. A Phrygian Dominant: A Bb C# D E F G. Chords:
A7
Bbmaj7
C#dim7
Dm(maj7)
Em7b5
Faug(maj7)
Gm7
 #109506  by Rusty the Scoob
 Wed Feb 15, 2012 4:29 am
Octal wrote: Second: If someone doesn't want a dominant 7, then they write maj7. Minor(Major 7) chords come to mind. D F A C# is a Dm(maj7). If a chord just says "7" then it is a dominant 7--regardless of the key.
Yes!!!! In Jazz we indicated a full diminished 7th with a little superscript circle, just like you'd write a temperature in Degrees Farenheit, and a for a half-diminished you'd use that same circle but with a slash through it. For Maj7 we used a triangle between the chord name and the 7th. It's a nice, efficient bit of shorthand that seems to have fallen by the wayside now that computers are taking over handwritten music.