First of all, hello everyone!
This is my first post, but I intend to hang out here

Now then, on to my "problem". I am attempting to figure out the mode and key of a progression of sweeps that I got from a tutorial, but I'm running into trouble. Here's the progression:

``````
E||--------12-17-----------10-15-----|--------8-13-----------10-15-----|
B||-----13--------------12-----------|-----10-------------12-----------|
G||--14--------------12--------------|--10-------------12--------------|
D||----------------------------------|---------------------------------|
A||----------------------------------|---------------------------------|
E||----------------------------------|---------------------------------|``````

I figured out these shapes are:
- A major
- G minor
- F major

So I looked up which notes where used and these appeared to be in the C Major scale. For the mode, I tried to use the clue of the major and minor chords. According to my theory resources the modes always have a certain chord type associated with them:

• Ionian(maj)
• Dorian (min)
• Phrygian (min)
• Lydian (maj)
• Mixo-lydian (maj)
• Aeolian (min)
• Locrian (dim)

Does anyone know how to fit the chord progression into this list?
Because I couldn't.

Now I wanted to add another shape, so I came up with
``````
E||--------12-17-----------10-15-----|--------8-13-----------7--12-----|
B||-----13--------------12-----------|-----10-------------9------------|
G||--14--------------12--------------|--10-------------9---------------|
D||----------------------------------|---------------------------------|
A||----------------------------------|---------------------------------|
E||----------------------------------|---------------------------------|``````

Which adds an E major chord. This sounds pretty good to my ears. However, this E major chord contains a A flat, which is not in the key of C major. This got me really confused.

So, which scale is this progression in, and why does this sound 'good'?

Thanks!
-Sav
Neutrality means that you don’t really care
Cause the struggle goes on even when you’re not there
Last edited by Savagefarmer at Dec 9, 2008,
It may not fit into any of the typical scales. It is not uncommon for a riff to have notes outside of a normal scale. Sometimes "wrong notes" work
I think you could look at this as a progression in C major, with with an arpegio from A harmonic minor (the E major), but I cold be completely wrong here.
Thank you for your reply. Yes I realize that notes can fall outside of the scale. I'm just somehow trying to fit this into my head. The theory resources I use boil down to this: http://www.accessrock.com/Songwriting/chord-progression.asp

So which notes (chords) in my current progression are the "wrong" ones?
Neutrality means that you don’t really care
Cause the struggle goes on even when you’re not there
Quote by newhybr1d
I think you could look at this as a progression in C major, with with an arpegio from A harmonic minor (the E major), but I cold be completely wrong here.

But in a C major scale the A chord is minor, and the G chord is major. These are the other way around in this progression...
Neutrality means that you don’t really care
Cause the struggle goes on even when you’re not there
First of all:

A-Gm-F is NOT in the key of C.
And you got the chords wrong as well; It should be Am-G-F (which IS in the key of C).

And for determining the mode;

I always check the key signature first; That way I will always know what the 1st degree mode/scale is. Secondly, I check the tonal centre. In 98% percent of the cases, that will be the root note of the LAST chord of a piece (does not work for chord inversions or extended notes functioning as the root). To confirm that, check if the last chord seems like it "finishes" the chord progression.

Now that's only a guide, there can be times when a composer modulates or substitutes chords to make it more difficult to determine the tonal centre at sight. Therefore you should analyse all the chords and melody, and determine what tonal centre is being emphasized.

In your case; Am-G-F is a progression in Aminor. So the corresponding mode would be A Aeolian. A is the tonal centre, and Am-G-F only fits the chords of A Aeolian. Even though A dorian and phrygian are also minor modes, they don't contain those chords.

The last progression; Amin-G-F-E is a vi-V-IV-III progression. It's a common progression and is seen in Sultans of Swing by Dire Straits (Dmin-C-Bb-A). A harmonic minor will work fine over that progression as it's the same as the natural minor, but the 7th is a semitone higher than the natural minor, giving it a G#(which would work over the E chord).

I hope that helps.
Those arps are Am, G, F, and E. That forms a very common progression described above. It is typical for a minor-key song to use a major V chord. For the i VII VI V progression, it would be typical to play natural minor over i VII VI and harmonic minor over V.

What I meant by the C major scale was the notes used. I found that all notes were without accidentals, thus indicating the key of C Major (or any of its modes). That assumption was correct, go me :p

I messed up big time figuring out the chords, in retrospect I'm not really sure how that happened.

With this new knowledge I tried to figure out the chords once again:

* C Ionian(maj)
* D Dorian (min)
* E Phrygian (min)
* F Lydian (maj)
* G Mixo-lydian (maj)
* A Aeolian (min)
* B Locrian (dim)

If the progression is in A minor, does this mean that any B chord will be diminished, and any G chord major?

This assumption holds for the first progression, since it has Am, G, F. The second progression is expected to have Em, but has E. Is this one of those cases where a "wrong" note can sound good?

Thanks!
-Sav
Neutrality means that you don’t really care
Cause the struggle goes on even when you’re not there
Quote by Savagefarmer
Is this one of those cases where a "wrong" note can sound good?
Minor keys are more complex than major keys. In the key of Am, the E chord is implied to be major and it would be unusual to play Em.

This has nothing to do modes. Modal music is rare and much more complex than it appears to be.

What I meant by the C major scale was the notes used. I found that all notes were without accidentals, thus indicating the key of C Major (or any of its modes). That assumption was correct, go me :p

I messed up big time figuring out the chords, in retrospect I'm not really sure how that happened.

With this new knowledge I tried to figure out the chords once again:

* C Ionian(maj)
* D Dorian (min)
* E Phrygian (min)
* F Lydian (maj)
* G Mixo-lydian (maj)
* A Aeolian (min)
* B Locrian (dim)

If the progression is in A minor, does this mean that any B chord will be diminished, and any G chord major?

This assumption holds for the first progression, since it has Am, G, F. The second progression is expected to have Em, but has E. Is this one of those cases where a "wrong" note can sound good?

Thanks!
-Sav

No. You can use any B or G chord in that progression, just make sure it fits in the context! You could for example use the B7 and then shortly after that an Em7, that would still perfectly fit.

For your second progression, there's nothing "wrong" about the G# in the E chord. You're playing A harmonic minor which contains the notes: A B C D E F G#A. You will notice that you can often mix the natural minor with the harmonic minor. Just like you did in your progression, It's Am with A harmonic minor.

In the key of Am, the E chord is implied to be major and it would be unusual to play Em.

How so? I understand that you'd generally want to change Em into E7b9 before returning to Am (since the V-i pull is stronger than v-i). But that doesn't necessarily mean the E in an Am progression is always implied to be major. It just depends what chords lead to the E and where the E is supposed to lead to.
I don't understand how the E chord is "implied" to be major. Do you have a resource on these things?
Neutrality means that you don’t really care
Cause the struggle goes on even when you’re not there
Quote by Aetius

For your second progression, there's nothing "wrong" about the G# in the E chord. You're playing A harmonic minor which contains the notes: A B C D E F G#A.

Ahh, so my modal theory is useless here? Since the aeolian is the natural minor scale, right?

Also, if my scale has G# instead of G, why do I have a G chord instead of a G# chord?
Neutrality means that you don’t really care
Cause the struggle goes on even when you’re not there
Last edited by Savagefarmer at Dec 10, 2008,
It's normal to mix harmonic minor scale (E in this case) and natural minor scale (Am, G and F in this case). You don't have to be in ONE scale for whole thing...
Quote by Johnljones7443
my neew year reslosutions are not too drikn as much lol.

happy new yeeae guyas.