#1
I was listening to unchained by van halen, with it's signature riff, and I was trying to figure out what key it is in. I was leaning towards D major, but the chord progression doesn't seem to support this. It goes from D -> Bb -> C ( suspended chords too) if I am not mistaken. Bb and C aren't in the key of D major. Can anyone help shed any light on this? Thanks in advance.
#2
its tuning its drop C# if that helps.
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#3
It's kind of a blues thing to mix the minor third and minor seventh in with notes in a major scale, while still considering the song to still be in a major key. This is an extension of that, using the minor sixth in addition to the minor sixth. Additionally, the standard scale to use is the minor pentatonic and blues scales (D in this case) rather than a major scale. Despite this, it is considered a major key because there is the major third and generally, the major third trumps the minor third when deciding on tonality.

The theory behind this is called modal interchange, which gets more complex than it is in the VH song, but that's the gist.
#4
Do you know if Van Halen wrote the song with "modal interchange" in mind or was he just using the blues "trick" that you spoke of to make it sound cool?
#5
It would be quite unusual for a rock musician to say or think, "Hmm, I want to use modal interchange now." I don't think he's even thought about the blues trick, either; I think he just played something cool.

That said, learn your theory (not directed so much to you as it is to others).
Last edited by bangoodcharlote at Mar 28, 2009,
#6
Quote by rockadoodle
Do you know if Van Halen wrote the song with "modal interchange" in mind or was he just using the blues "trick" that you spoke of to make it sound cool?


I doubt very much he was thinking modal interchange. More likely he was just using his ear and playing chords he was familiar with that sounded good. It's not really a trick.

Quote by bangoodcharlote
I don't think he's even thought about the blues trick, either; I think he just played something cool.


+ 1

good insight there.
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#7
I guessing you used trick because it was the best word you could think of, but to me, trick implies that it is not legitimate or in some way cheating.

I also want to say that, even though it is considered acceptable to refer to "drop C# tuning," it is theoretically incorrect to descend to a sharp note without the context of a key. It should be drop-Db, though C# has become okay to use.
#8
I used "trick" with the best intentions. I guess I could have taken the time to think of something more appropriate but I didn't intend for it to be the focal point of the post. I didn't mean to sound like I think Van Halen "cheated" or faked his way through unchained. Sorry if I gave that impression. I'm not ranting, I just want to make sure I'm clear so no one gets the wrong idea here. Thanks for the input.
#9
Quote by WSR66
its tuning its drop C# if that helps.

wat.
My last.fm
Quote by OMMad
i've always found pop to be harder to play than metal... especially shred metal... it's just really fast tremolo picking and the occasional palm mute... and the only chords you have to worry about are power chords...