#1
As far as my knowledge goes, I can sum what I learned up as:

Chords: I II III IV V VI VII

Major Chords: M m m M M m dim
Minor Chords: m dim M m m M M

Now, You can take the III, VI, and VII; and flatten them to: bIII, bVI, and bVII on the Major Chords set

and on the Minor Chords set flatten II to bII

My question is, when I take a set based on Major such as (which as far as I know is "legal"):

I II bIII IV V bVI bVII
G Am A# C D D# F

and pull the scale out, I get a minor scale: 1 2 3b 4 5 6b 7

When I look at the collective notes, some of them don't fit into the gathered scale:
G A A# C D D# F

How is this possible? I have a set of chords that I think fit the rules, but when I look at the overall scale, some notes within the chords don't fit on the scale

example (On a D Standard Tuning):

Am Gm scale
-2- --------------------
-2- --------------------
-3- --------------0-2-4
-4- --------0-2-3------
-4- -0-2-3-------------
-2- --------------------

That 3 on string 4 of the chord does not fit with the Gm scale (looking at the 4th string, 0-2-4)

What gives UG?

[EDIT]:

Sorry, that Am on the example should be G, such as:
G Gm scale
-0- ---------------------------
-2- ---------------------0-1-3
-2- --------------0-2-4-------
-2- --------0-2-3-------------
-0- -0-2-3--------------------
-x- ---------------------------

The 2 on the 5th line doesn't much up with the Scale on the 5th line.

Sorry about that
Last edited by lcphr3ak at Dec 10, 2008,
#3
A couple of mistakes here. Let's go over them.

Scale degrees are usually written as:

I ii iii IV V vi VII

The lower case Roman numerals denote minor chords, while the upper case denote major.

The following is incorrect:

G Am A# C D D# F

Why? Because all notes must be written and none should be skipped. Therefore, having a scale with Am and A# as the ii and iii is wrong. Here is the correct progression:

G Am Bm C D Em F#

The formula for "building" this scale is W W H W W W H

Where a W = Whole Step and H = Half Step.

Does this help for starters? Any other questions, just ask.
Last edited by KG6_Steven at Dec 10, 2008,
#4
"G A A# C D D# F" is really " G A Bb C D Eb F." You can't have two notes with the same letter name in a Western scale. The scale I gave you is just a G natural minor scale.
#5
Quote by KG6_Steven
A couple of mistakes here. Let's go over them.

Scale degrees are usually written as:

I ii iii IV V vi VII

The lower case Roman numerals denote minor chords, while the upper case denote major.

The following is incorrect:

G Am A# C D D# F

Why? Because all notes must be written and none should be skipped. Therefore, having a scale with Am and A# as the ii and iii is wrong. Here is the correct progression:

G Am Bm C D Em F#

The formula for "building" this scale is W W H W W W H

Where a W = Whole Step and H = Half Step.

Does this help for starters? Any other questions, just ask.


Well, I've learned this from a book, which the author states that you can take any iii, vi, and VII, and "flatten" it to make a Major chord on a note below it, such as:

C,Dm,Em,F,G,Am,Bdim and make it C,Dm,Em,F,G,Am,Bb

Bb being a Major B flat, and he states that this could be done with iii and vi as-well.

these being done on: I ii iii IV V vi VII

Only a II can be changed to bII on: i II III iv v VI VII (assuming this represents the set of Minor chords)
#6
^If the book taught you to call the note A# rather than Bb, it has no credibility. Please read the theory lesson in my sig to get from the basics to medium difficulty material.
#7
Quote by lcphr3ak
Well, I've learned this from a book, which the author states that you can take any iii, vi, and VII, and "flatten" it to make a Major chord on a note below it, such as:

C,Dm,Em,F,G,Am,Bdim and make it C,Dm,Em,F,G,Am,Bb

Bb being a Major B flat, and he states that this could be done with iii and vi as-well.

these being done on: I ii iii IV V vi VII

Only a II can be changed to bII on: i II III iv v VI VII (assuming this represents the set of Minor chords)

What is the name of the book? Does the author give any further analysis or explanation as to why you can do this or how it works perhaps from a voice leading perspective? Does the author give situations on when this is appropriate or examples of it being used in practice?

As it stands it is rather difficult to give a clear answer as it seems you don't quite understand the material presented in the book (hence the question) and so it is kind of difficult for us to understand what the author is trying to say and consequently help you with your confusion.

My best guess is that he is discussing borrowing chords from the parallel minor.

For example chords of the major scale are: I ii iii IV V vi viidim and from the minor scale the diatonic chords are i iidim bIII iv v bVI bVII

Now if we wanted to start on the Major tonic and do a chord progression that had a descending root movement we might borrow the bVII and bVI from the parallel minor scale to achieve the sound we are looking for - especially since the viidim is such an ugly triad. So we would get I bVII bVI progression. We might even continue the descent down to the major scale V chord. In the key of A this would be A G F E then the dominant would naturally lead us back to the A.

These chords are not going to fit into the major diatonic scale since they are "borrowed" from a different scale.

The rule you state is questionable - what was it something like when you have a minor chord you can flatten it and make it major. It is questionable because in the minor scale it is not likely you will flatten the v cord to make it major. In the minor scale if you aren't happy with the iv and v you will most likely borrow from the parallel major scale and just use straight IV and V chords and not flatten them first.

Though I have seen the bIV chord used in a minor setting it is more often referred to as a III chord as opposed to a bIV. For example i-III could be used in the key of Em -> Em - G# instead of Em - G which would be a straight forward play on relative major minor oscillation.

The iidim in the minor scale and it's viidim major scale equivalent are individual cases. The principle here is that you can flatten the root of the chord while maintaining the other notes and create a major chord. This is because of it's diminished quality. As there is a min3rd and diminished 5th if you flatten the root and keep the other two chord tones as they are then the new distance will be a major third and perfect fifth.

All of these are just different ideas on using chords that are non diatonic. You don't have to devise a scale from the chords. You can simply use the same scale and alter certain notes over certain chords or treat each chord as an individual set of notes and intervals.

Anyway I hope this has helped somewhat as without reading the chapter in the book you are reading it is difficult to understand exactly what it is you are reading that you are having trouble with.

Good Luck.

EDIT: oh and when you say "legal" don't worry too much about it. Theory is simply a collection of observations of what has been done in the past not what must be done in the future. You are free to rewrite the rules in anyway you can if it sounds good.
Si
Last edited by 20Tigers at Dec 11, 2008,
#8
20Tigers,

I apologize for not citing the book. I thought about it last night, but I didn't think anyone else would respond. The book is "The Song Writing Sourcebook: How to turn chords into great songs", by Rikky Rooksby.

"There is a way to alter chord VII that makes it much more handy for songwriting. Follow this formula: take the seventh degree of a major scale, lower (flatten) it by a semitone (half-step), and treat that note as the root of a major chord. This chord is numbered bVII, the "b" (flat sign) indicating that it is built on a lowered degree of the scale." (page 76, Technique #39).

"There are two other chords that can be made by lowering degrees of the scale and treating the flattened note as the root of a major chord: bIII and bVI. In G major, these chords are Bb and Eb." (page 82, Technique #41)

"[In relation to Am-Bdim-C-Dm-Em-F-G] If a root chord is needed on B, the best bet would be to flatten it and turn it into a major chord (Bb) - like the bVII chord, except here it is a bII, a semitone (half-step) above the root." (page 104, 'That old diminished Problem')

"There is a well-established formula for writing hard-rock songs with a Stones/Bad Company/Black Crows feels which involves using the bIII and bVI chords.

Step 1. Choose a key - let's take A major. Here are the seven chords:


I-II-III-IV-V-VI--VII
A-Bm-C#m-D--E-F#m-G#dim


Step 2. Use the bVII to replace the diminished VII:


I-II-III-IV-V-VI--bVII
A-Bm-C#m-D--E-F#m-G


Step 3. Replace the three minor chords - II, III and VI - with bIII and bVI.


I-bIII-IV-V-bVI--bVII
A-C----D--E-F----G

" (page 91, Technique #45)

I think I understand what you're saying, hopefully citing the book should give more clarity to my confusion. I don't think he follows traditional teachings for music theory.
If you (or anyone) has any other recommendations for books, that would be great. Also with the "legal" thing, I understand what you're saying, I'm just picky and like to make stuff I write play by the rules.

Hopefully you'll have time to read all of this and give me an understanding of what he is saying (if he is actually right in any shape or form).

Thanks!