#1
I was bored and I had my iTunes running, so I grabbed my acoustic and started to improvise over a few things when this song came up; and I was wondering if anyone could help me figure out what key its in.

I'm thinking Either Dmaj or Gmaj. Dmaj because the song starts out playing Dmaj, Dsus4, Dsus2. I'm pretty sure I remember reading that suspended chords are neither major nor minor.

Gmaj seems to fit better covering the Dmaj, Bmin, and Emaj; but the song just seems so centralized around Dmaj.

Help would be appreciated.
To be brave is to take action in spite of fear. It is impossible to be brave without first being afraid. To take action without fear is not brave, it is foolish.
#2
Its in the key of G major.
Last edited by Andrew07 at Jan 9, 2009,
#3
But there is an Emaj in the song.
To be brave is to take action in spite of fear. It is impossible to be brave without first being afraid. To take action without fear is not brave, it is foolish.
#5
So why doesn't the accidental cause the song to be in Gmaj?
To be brave is to take action in spite of fear. It is impossible to be brave without first being afraid. To take action without fear is not brave, it is foolish.
#6
i dunno it could be g major, i mean the verse progression is d c g which is like 5 4 1 in g
#8
D major. I'm pretty sure there's no E major in the song. I thought (and I may be wrong) that it is an E minor.

EDIT: Nevermind, I'm thinking of Chris Cornell's version.
Last edited by food1010 at Jan 8, 2009,
#9
Ah, I see. So I don't know which key its in but we've established that the Emaj is an accidental.

Edit: The E sounds major to me, I dunno.
To be brave is to take action in spite of fear. It is impossible to be brave without first being afraid. To take action without fear is not brave, it is foolish.
Last edited by TheGallowsPole at Jan 8, 2009,
#10
Quote by TheGallowsPole
Ah, I see. So I don't know which key its in but we've established that the Emaj is an accidental.

Edit: The E sounds major to me, I dunno.

Yeah it's a major.

I do believe it's in D, with E major being an accidental.
#11
So if I were to improvise over this I should use Dmaj, but avoid using the G note over the Emaj.
To be brave is to take action in spite of fear. It is impossible to be brave without first being afraid. To take action without fear is not brave, it is foolish.
#12
Try playing the chords and then play D.
Then try playing the chords and play G.

One will sound at rest and the other will sound like it wants another chord after it. The one that sounds are rest is your key.
Si
#13
The chords for the main riff of Thank You by Led Zeppelin are in G Major

D - C add9 - G - D
shred is gaudy music
#14
So is the song in two separate keys?
To be brave is to take action in spite of fear. It is impossible to be brave without first being afraid. To take action without fear is not brave, it is foolish.
#15
Quote by TheGallowsPole
So is the song in two separate keys?



The part he solos over is the main riff (in G).

But yeah, there is a section that is not in G. It may be in B minor, but it's been awhile so don't take my word on that.

If you're soloing where Page did...... G Major
shred is gaudy music
Last edited by GuitarMunky at Jan 8, 2009,
#17
Whoa, so now the first half of the thread says that the song is in D.

The rest says in G.
To be brave is to take action in spite of fear. It is impossible to be brave without first being afraid. To take action without fear is not brave, it is foolish.
#18
Your gut (your ear) tells you its in key of D, your head (your theory training, if you've had it) tells you it's in G.

Remember, modality is subjective. One man's G major is another's D mixolydian.

This is where experience helps. First and foremost, remember that the VII (seven) chord in rock and pop music is generally flatted, not a diminished VII like theory tells you it "should" be. (examples: Back in Black = key of E, not A). So that helps here, knowing that having a C chord in key of D is not too out of line.

Second, it always helps to analyze it both ways. Look at the numbers for the chord progression and see which way makes more sense.

The main section is D - C - G - D

In key of G that would be a V IV I V progression. Slightly unusual to have the V be more pronounced then the I chord but not too out of line.

So, next section: look at the other part of the song: the interlude (or bridge, or whatever you want to call it): the part of the song where the chords are:

Bm E Bm E A

Key of G that part would be a iii VI iii VI II progression. That seems a bit odd. The three (iii) chord is minor as it normally is in a major key, that's OK. But the six chord (VI) is major not minor as it normally is in a major key. Generaly the only time you see a major six chord in a major key in pop music is when it's functionaing as a secondary dominant, i.e. it would be the V chord for the following ii chord. So in this case, you'd expect that E major chord to be followed by an Am chord. Which it is not.

Also, look at the A chord. In key of G this would be the II chord. Now, major II chords are very common in major keys, but again, they generally function as secondary dominants. IOW, you'd expect that A major chord to lead into the V chord for key of G, which would be D. It would be very unusual for that II chord to just end there, hanging, waiting for resolution. This interlude (or whatever you want to call it) section appears twice in the song. The first time that A major chord hangs there for at least a bar. The second time is even longer, (I forget how long, I'm doing this from memory) but it's a LONG time where it sits there waiting, there's a long pause in the song -- I think you'd almost call it a fermata?

Now analyze those same chords (Bm E Bm A D) in key of D. You have a
vi II vi II V progression. Nothing really unusual here. Sure the two chord (E) is major instead of minor - but it's a secondary dominant, leading into the V (A) chord. And having that V chord as the end chord, especially for that long pause, would be very normal. (and satisfying, when it finally resolves

So these are all clues that maybe not quite right to pigeonhole this song into key of G. Also you have the fact that somewhere in one of Page's leads there's a C#, he plays a D major type of lick. Again, from memory, I seem to recall it that lick as starting something like this:

---------------------
--3-2-3-2-0---0------
------------2--2-----
---------------------
---------------------
---------------------



If song was key of G, that lick would be G lydian. Again, that would be a little unusual.

Moral of the story: don't get too hung up on theory. Don't be afraid to go with your gut.

But: secondary (conflicting) moral: again, modality is subjective. So if you hear this as key of G major instead of D mixolydian, go for it! After all, you have the most famous example of all to follow : Sweet Home Ala. That's a classic case of how a I - bVII - IV progression could also be heard as a V - IV - I progression. Most people might hear this in key of D. (As one of their guitarists did) (Rossington, I read in an interview). However the other guitarist (Ed King? Gaines?) heard it in key of G, and snuck back in middle of night to re-record his solo in key of G, despite producer's objections.
#19
p.s. another really good way to try to get inside a guitarist's head, to figure out what they were thinking, is to look at it from a shapes-based perspective. Look at the licks they play (yeah, that means first having to learn them, including exact position on neck, not just matching the notes, but matching the position). That can give important clues about what guitarist was thinking.
#20
Quote by TheGallowsPole
Whoa, so now the first half of the thread says that the song is in D.

The rest says in G.


Well its not in D Major. It's in G, but the riff is based around D. So you could think D mixolydian if you want.

Play D Major over the main riff

now play G Major/D mixo over it


What do your ears tell you?


also take a look at Pages solo to see what scale he is using. (probably the best place to start actually)
shred is gaudy music
#21
Quote by GuitarMunky
also take a look at Pages solo to see what scale he is using. (probably the best place to start actually)


I just listened to that solo ( from approx. 1:55 to 2:18 ). There are no natural C notes in there, but quite a few C# notes. (if you listen carefully, he even plays one over the C chord)

So depending on your viewpoint (G or D) he's either soloing in G lydian or D major.

My guess would be the latter.
#22
Quote by guitarviz
I just listened to that solo ( from approx. 1:55 to 2:18 ). There are no natural C notes in there, but quite a few C# notes. (if you listen carefully, he even plays one over the C chord)

So depending on your viewpoint (G or D) he's either soloing in G lydian or D major.

My guess would be the latter.


I believe you. I've never learned the solo and wasn't able to listen to it when I wrote that. (which is why I suggested listening to it to see what Page did).

I just knew the solo was over that progression, which regardless of what Page did.... is in G Major.

I just listened to it, and you're correct, he played the D Major scale.

So to sound like Jimmy Page, play the D Major scale over the G Major Progression.
shred is gaudy music
Last edited by GuitarMunky at Jan 9, 2009,
#23
GuitarMunky: BTW, I've always liked your posts - you seem to have a good balance between the hardcore theory addicts and the "play by feel" (a.k.a. shapes-based) guys.

Now, not to get in a big 'ol debate or anything just to discuss: you say the progression is in G major. Might it be D mixolydian instead?
#24
Quote by guitarviz
GuitarMunky: BTW, I've always liked your posts - you seem to have a good balance between the hardcore theory addicts and the "play by feel" (a.k.a. shapes-based) guys.

Now, not to get in a big 'ol debate or anything just to discuss: you say the progression is in G major. Might it be D mixolydian instead?



Thanks. I guess I'm a play be feel player that has studied theory.

I agree that you could look at it as D mixolydian. Its definitely based around D, and it's definitely using the key signature for G Major. it's just that Mixolydian isn't a "key", so I couldn't really say that it's in the key of "D mixolydian". especially here at UG. make the smallest error, or say something in a way that somebody else can say is "wrong".... and you get jumped all over.


It's interesting that Jimmy Page chose to use the D Major scale over it. It makes me wonder if he would have chose that scale if he had an extensive background in theory. I'm not sure how much theory he knew, but I have a feeling that his knowledge theoretically was not very deep. I believe he was more an ear/feel player, but with some general knowledge. ( correct me if I'm wrong)

This is actually a great solo, and sounds perfectly fine that way. It says a lot for using your ear to choose your notes rather than theory.
shred is gaudy music
Last edited by GuitarMunky at Jan 9, 2009,
#25
Yeah, I've always been a bit puzzled about how you would notate music in a mode other then straight major (ionian) or minor (aeolian). My understanding is you would choose the key signature to fit the mode. So IOW D mixo would have one sharp, like G major. But how would the composer get across the idea that it's D mixolydian not G major? Same notes between the two scales of course, but knowing that the tonal center is D instead of G might make a difference in how players interpret it?

Well since I hardly ever use written music I don't lose too much sleep over it.

About Page: I think you are right, he was more of an ear/feel player. Some people say well he was a session player before Zep so he must know what he's doing. My understanding is he got those session gigs in London in the mid 60's mainly because he had the guitar tone everyone (the Kinks for example) was looking for, not to mention a great set of ears of course.

A couple quotes from him:

"I don’t just sit down and play scales and things. I should have done but I never did. I can’t play a scale. You think I’m kidding but I’m not. I can’t. Well I can, I can play the notes but it’s true though."

Modern Guitars magazine
1986 interview

"I've always enjoyed living by my wits with regard to my guitar playing, that goes back to even my session musician days, where I had to come up with parts on the spot."

Gtr World interview
1/08
#26
^ great quotes. I can appreciate where he is coming from. he said he " should have done those things", but in all honesty I'm glad he didn't. I don't think his music would have turned out the way it did had he been more educated in music theory. While I find theory to be fascinating and quite enjoy studying it, I think there is a lot to be said for Jimmy page's approach and honestly I like his music quite a bit better then many of the more technically proficient and educated players.

regarding key signatures for modal pieces........

I've always seen them written with the key signature of the "home key" or "parent scale". so for instance a key signature with one sharp, could be G Major, E minor, or any of the related modes. An experienced player can easily tell which key or mode it's actually in. so in other words the composer gets the idea across simply by the notes/ chords he chooses, and it's up to the player/reader to recognize this. just like they can tell the difference between G major and e minor even though they share the same key signature.
shred is gaudy music
Last edited by GuitarMunky at Jan 10, 2009,