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saneman 2009-01-22 13:49

What scale/key am I playing in?
So I'm writing my first song(I've wrote hundreds of riffs, but for some reason never really tried to write songs) and I've got the rhythm parts pretty much down and want to add a lead part, but I'm not really sure what scale to use. I know the basics of theory, but not much more. The progression is:

Intro - F-G-E
Verse - E-D
CH - E-F

It's really simple, and just kind of a slower, sludgy, heavy thing, but I want to put some interesting lead on it(more of noise/FX track than shredding solo). My problem is the only key that includes all these notes is C, and I'm certain thats not the case. I figure it's some mode of E, since it all revolves around that chord, but I'm not really familiar with modes beyond the basic concept of them. Oh, and it's all just power chords.

The Doctor 2009-01-22 13:52

Since you begin and start on F, that would be the main key. But I dont know over which riffs you want to solo. The verse riff would require a solo in E, the rest probably in F. Or make the solo switch keys together with the cords -> difficult but cool!

saneman 2009-01-22 15:39

Wow, what a simple but brilliant concept. I just tried playing the pentatonic scale appropriate to whatever chord is being played and it's awesome. It is kinda hard, but I'll get it down after I play around with it for awhile. I don't think the pentatonic's really the right scale either, but I don't really know much else and I'm pretty sure I can make this work. Thanks a lot Doc, I think this simple revelation just changed my life

The Doctor 2009-01-22 15:49

try to implement some simple melodic scales aswell, you'll notice the extreme cooltitude immediately!

davie_gravy 2009-01-23 15:57

It actually is a mode of E. E Phrygian (key of C) to be exact. None of those chords are minor chords? If not, then you'll feel some tension or dissonance as you play over Emaj (not in E Phrygian). The rest of the chords are fine. Your best sound will come from following the chord. So if your first chord is Emaj, then play a mode of Emaj like... E Ionian or E Lydian over it, then when you move to Fmaj, play F Ionian, or F Mixolydian. Obviously, this will not strictly adhere to C maj, because in Cmaj, E and D are minor chords built on those degrees. So if your chord progression doesn't follow the the key's scale degree, then follow the chord. maj -> Ionian, Lydian, Mixolydian; min -> Dorian, Phrygian, Aeolian (Locrian works well too because it has a b3rd).

Theoretically, if this was the key of C, your progression would look something like this...

Em - F
Em - Dm
Em - F

Then naturally you could wank all through the notes of C major and it will sound good, but since your chords don't strictly follow the properties of each scale degree, follow the chord for the best leads.

abducted94 2009-04-06 00:24

Hi. This is my first post here. There seem to be a lot of helpful and knowledgable people here so I'd like to ask a question similar to the one that started this topic:

I have a melody and I would like to know what key it is in and which chords should be played against it. I'd like to add more to the song and use full chords (ie avoid power chords) according to the key/progression of this melody, so I'm trying to understand what makes this melody tick. These are the notes:

A D D D A# D D D G C C C F A# D# G#

For simplicity, I summarized the notation... but each note is a 16th and the pattern written represents the pattern that is repeated four times in the bar.

I'm just beginning to learn about music theory, so I'd also like to know which modes are used in this melody. Based on some reading I've done on the internet, it seems that this melody could be a i | VI | iv | VI ?? progression in Dm (with a mixolydian mode over every chord except the first VI.) But, that doesn't make much sense (or sound good) because the last chord (maybe a G#?) doesn't fit the key and mixolydian doesn't sound good over the minor chords.

The progression seems to also fit an A Phrygian modal harmony (i | bII | bIII | bII ??) but the last chord still doesn't belong there and the repeating D in the first bar doesn't sound so great with an Am. I like the melody, so I'd rather find a key/chords that fit it instead of changing the melody. Can anyone help me to understand this?

davie_gravy 2009-04-06 19:07

Your progression doesn't strictly follow any particular diatonic key. Every note but your G# adhere to Dm or Fmaj scale which sound good over every chord except your G# power chord, but G# is also the b5th of Dm and works as a great passing tone in Dm pentatonic (or natural minor). So just doodle Dm but make sure to anticipate the b5th and emphasis that note in some form of passing up to A or passing back down to the 3rd or root D. You could also use A Phrygian Dominant or D Harmonic Minor, but you're still left with a b5th so you have to anticipate that tone in order to make it work else it will sound sour.

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