Likes Likes:  0
Results 1 to 9 of 9

Thread: key & mode question in 2 songs

  1. #1
    Member johnfkingmatrix's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2016
    Posts
    75
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default key & mode question in 2 songs

    i just wanna understand whats going on here:

    https://www.e-chords.com/chords/motl...d-just-go-away

    in this 80s rock song the chords go C Dm F which im assuming is just some random 1 2 4 progression they pulled out of the air? the question is: in the chorus it goes Bb F C, whats with the Bb? is that just a key change, or is it some like borrowed chord of F, like a I of V?

    2nd question, i wrote something now cant figure out exactly whats going on. i did a backing track of C AUGment scale/diminished scale, with a chromatic note ( C D# E F G Ab) the tonal center was definitely c, but, the solo i did on top of it was all notes from the key of E minor where i feel like i treated B as the tonal center. So, did i effectively write a piece in C mixolydian??
    what mode is it? or, whats going on, i like it and wanna be able to reproduce it

    my bands first song


    thank you very much for helping me understand music
    Last edited by johnfkingmatrix; Apr-04-2018 at 20:56.

  2. #2
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2016
    Posts
    417
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default

    ok..first question: you tune is in F. C is the dominant, and starts off. Dm is a substitute for F. You can always substitute vi for I

    second question: you can play in e minor over C all day long.

    notes in C chord: CEGB (c major 7)
    notes in E minor: EGBD (e minor 7))

    same principle as Q1. Median and submedian can be freely substituted for tonic

    you were basically playing an e minor over a C. you discovered on your own that iii and vi substitute for tonic

    also, the Bb is just starting that 2nd part on the subdominant. Rock does that all the time when they need to go someplace for a change. Lots of tunes do that, including the basic 12 bar blues form

    hope this helps

  3. #3
    Member johnfkingmatrix's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2016
    Posts
    75
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default

    that helps a lot ! so the motle crue song is in the key of F, and there is no modulation or borrowed chords, it just starts on the V and sometimes uses the relative minor as the tonic, as well as using the IV chord to mix things up ( The Bb)

    as per my song, im still confused. i (thought) i was in C minor, despite hitting notes from C blues scale like flat 5th and both a minor & major third.

    what im assuming now, is, there wasn't anything to establish major or minor tonality/ to clash with the E minor notes? so it can be thought of as basically just playing a C pedal tone with the occasional inconsequential dissonant passing note?

    i mean, i was hitting quite a few notes from the Cmin scale.. idk how i should be able to just throw Em on top of that since Em key signature has 1 sharp and Cm has 3 flats, they seem kind of distant to be superimposed upon eachother. It would make sense if i was doing like Cm & Eb major since theyre just the relative minor/major, but E natural minor? wtf

    that'd be like me taking G minor backing track then just chucking some B minor solo on top of it. Why is what i did any different?

    thanks for your time and patience.
    Last edited by johnfkingmatrix; Apr-05-2018 at 02:02.

  4. #4
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2016
    Posts
    417
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by johnfkingmatrix View Post

    2nd question, i wrote something now cant figure out exactly whats going on. i did a backing track of C AUGment scale/diminished scale, with a chromatic note ( C D# E F G Ab) the tonal center was definitely c, but, the solo i did on top of it was all notes from the key of E minor where i feel like i treated B as the tonal center. So, did i effectively write a piece in C mixolydian??
    what mode is it? or, whats going on, i like it and wanna be able to reproduce it
    I'm at work, so I didn't get a chance to listen to the track, but just based on what you wrote there here is why playing from the Eminor scale "works"

    If you tonal center is definitely C, then the "median substitution" thing I talked about works because C major and E minor share so many notes.

    now, the Eb I think is going to be heard more as a #9 than a minor 3rd. That's what makes the "blue notes" work, they are heard as upper extensions because they are heard against your bass player's note

    also, you said you were using an augmented/diminished scale as the backing track. Anytime you use symmetric scales basically anything will fit against that. Consonance and dissonance are actually relative. A major triad is the most stable, and anything with a tritone in it will be unstable. Then chords without tritons, but with major seconds and minor sevenths will be more dissonant than a major triad, but could resolve an unstable chord.

    Hindemith writes about this in his "Craft of Musical Composition"

    So I would guess it is the B natural from the E minor scale you played against the backing track that was really a crunchy dissonance, but like I said, I can't listen to it at work and I'm pretty busy in the evenings right now

    again, how this helps

  5. #5
    Member johnfkingmatrix's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2016
    Posts
    75
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default

    it does. thanks for taking the time, it sounds like you're busy i hate to keep asking stuff.

    I think what you said about being in a higher register is probably clicking. Basically, my solo is 2-3 octaves above the backing track, so pretty much anything is gonna work at that point. plus, im just playing a symmetrical scale as a backing track, thats why it works? I mean, i guess it answers some questions and creates more. the B definitely isn't dissonant, it actually feels like a tonal center to my ears. The actual backing track is C5 Eb5 E5 F5 G5 Ab5, so pretty chromatic. and the solo is totally diatonic to Eminor.

    so, that being said, is anything that you're desscribing " modal " ?

    also, ill check out the book ! !

  6. #6
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2016
    Posts
    417
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default

    not really modal, no

    you know when you play something on guitar in A minor and instead of an E chord (the dominant in Am ) they use a G major chord (bVII) ?

    that is a real hallmark of a modal tune...the modal cadence on bVII instead of V

    so one thing you discovered that I want to point out to you: the more 2 notes are separated in register, the less dissonant the interval sounds. AND...If only 2 notes are sounding at once, it is nearly impossible to have a train wreck. the worst thing that will happen is that you have a really tense note. If you are playing guitar, and you play a note that is really tense and needs to resolve here is what you do: if you are on the "dots", get off the "dots" and if you are off the "dots" get on the "dots"

    the reverse of that is also true if you want to create more tension

    really, any dissonant note is a half step away from a resolution, which is why the "on the dots/off the dots" stuff actually works. I teach that to rock players when I'm at a session and I want to stretch things out. Its easy enough to explain and I don't have to go into theory, so its practical

  7. #7
    Member johnfkingmatrix's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2016
    Posts
    75
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default

    OOOOOH, since its only dyads theres no train wreck. so, what i should do for experments sake is turn all of the root+5ths in the backing track into their respective tritones/quadtones or whatever its called, like instead of c5 play a cmaj7#9 or whatever the full diatonic chord is for that key, then try to solo over it and ill figure out where the " train wrecks " occur, but since its just a root & a 5th im not running into that. i guess its 3 notes sounding at once, solo note + chord root+5th

    and, i guess, theoretically the dot thing works since im either going to be resolving up a half step or down a half step, so its just like a leading tone and kind of blindly experimenting with which one it resolves to with a 50/50 shot?

    also, i know sometimes in a minor key its described as a " minor i dim ii majIII etc" but, i always think of it in terms of the relative major, so for simplicities sake im calling the minor 1 the minor vi here, hope that doesnt make it too convoluted.

    so to sum up everything i did, so i can do it again, how would you describe it? like, what exactly is it i did? its just a .... iii substituting for a vi or something? i feel like it should be a little more complex than that, since the iii of my vi (C) is an Eb, and im playing an Enatural, so its like a #iii of the vi lol. complicating it further, im not even using the Enatural as the root there, im using the B (or so i think). so its like im using the V of the iii of the vi WTF

    also, is a trainwreck/clashing note simply several minor seconds stacked on top of eachother, is that the easiest way to think of dissonance other than simply " it sounds bad " like, theoretically, what is a "trainwreck" its a bunch of random minor 2nds, right?

    also, how did you get to be a senior member. we joined at the EXACT same time, why am i a junior member? did you have to do something unspeakable
    Last edited by johnfkingmatrix; Apr-05-2018 at 19:56.

  8. #8
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2016
    Posts
    417
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default

    when we talk about "chords" we generally mean that we are stacking up the diatonic (that just means "in the key") thirds above the note in the scale

    CEG, DFA, EGB, FAC, GBD,...etc

    7th chords, 9th chords and all are just stacking up more thirds

    Cmaj9 = C E G B D

    you are presently using 5ths, so do something similar with 5ths. There will be one place in the scale where the 5th will be a flat 5 or tritone. When the intervals are all symmetric, you don't get a sense of key. When there are those places where the 3rds are major and some minor, you start to get a sense of key.

    if you really want to break away from chords, try stacking up 4ths. that is what the jazz guys did in the modal jazz era of the 1960s and early 70s. Stacks of 4ths placed on the notes of a "blues" pentatonic scale will give you some good material to experiment with. The jazz piano player McCoy Tyner, who played with John Coltrane, is a good player to check out to see how this can work

    its just a .... iii substituting for a vi or something? i feel like it should be a little more complex than that, since the iii of my vi (C) is an Eb, and im playing an Enatural, so its like a #iii of the vi lol. complicating it further, im not even using the Enatural as the root there, im using the B (or so i think). so its like im using the V of the iii of the vi
    I think at the heart of it, it really is that simple. but the way to investigate why something works is to look at the notes you are playing and what is actually in the harmony at that time.

    think of theory as a tool to help find where the cool notes might be. When given a chance to make the theory simple, always take that route. There's nothing to gain by making something more complicated than it is. You need to simplify the theory so that you have the time to think while you are playing. That is why I'll talk about theory and make it sound simple. It is simple, and there's no need to complicate it because sometimes the tempo is going by pretty fast, right?

    so some of what you were talking about with the backing track being augmented and diminished (symmetrical) scales is very close to that stacking of 4ths. That is called "quartal harmony" after the 4th. "Tertian" harmony is chords built in 3rds. So you were breaking down tertian harmony with your symmetrical scales, and you found that notes that really shouldn't work still sounded alright.

    when I first ran into that idea as a teenager, I think I ran screaming into the night

    so keep experimenting, you are trying some interesting things

  9. #9
    Banned
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    USA
    Posts
    15,970
    Post Thanks / Like
    Blog Entries
    139

    Default

    In the Motley Crue song, it appears to be in C, like the d minor is ii, with F as IV. When the Bb comes in, it sounds normal. It could be explained as a 'borrowed' chord from c minor. That way, your tonic is still C.

    A lot of this rock and roll stuff doesn't really fit into normal tonal analysis, because it it not in that tradition. It's kind of ridiculous to try to analyze it. It's better to just write the chords down and accept it for what it is.

    Like, lots of 'metal' music is not really based on harmony, so it can't be analyzed that way. Some metal songs are based on a pentatonic scale, in fifths, which simply states a melodic-type riff which is not really a chord 'progression.'

    You can analyze many "pop" songs by The Beatles, The Beach Boys, and The Kinks, harmonically, because it's that kind of music.

    Lots of The Rolling Stones songs are blues-based, so that gets more resistant to analysis. Songs like "Angie," "Ruby Tuesday," and "As Tears Go By" are harmonic, so those can be analyzed tonally, but songs like "Brown Sugar," "Jumpin' Jack Flash" and "Satisfaction" are best seen as blues songs, and blues is not Western-tonal music. You can transcribe them, and write the chords down, but don't try to "analyze" blues songs in terms of "harmonic function" like I-ii-iii-IV-V-vi-viiø, because it just won't make much sense.

Tags for this Thread

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •