#1
Me and my friend are going to try and write a song. He has played for a year and I have played for 4 months. He came up wtih a chord prgression that goes D Am Em C G. He doesnt know any theory, but it sounds alright. He wants me to write a solo for it (Since im a fair bit better at picking then chords) and I think I can do it, but I dont know what key to write it in.
Does anyone know what key should be used with those chords and why? (Keeping in my mind all that I know about theory is the major scale and how scale formulas work)
And would the major scale and pentatonic scale be good for writing a rock solo?
#2
start with something in G, G major or the pentatonic

all those chords are in the key of G
#3
How did you figure out it was in the key of G? Can you explain it, I really want to learn theory.
#4
Well the notes in the key of G are G-A-B-C-D-E-F#. The corresponding chords would be Gmaj, Amin, Bmin, Cmaj, Dmaj, Emin, and F#dim. As you can see the chords that you played are in that key. What I would do though is start on G and then carry on through your progression.

Edit: The guy below me did a much better job than I, listen to him.
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Last edited by Mr. B. at Jul 9, 2009,
#5
All of the notes in the G major scales contain the same notes as any of the above chords. Pick any key, say, for example, G

This is the first note in the major scale, and the entire scale goes like this:

G A B C D E F#

Now call these notes 1 through 7
The first note, G is major
The second, A, is minor
The third is minor
The fourth is major
The fifth is major
The sixth is minor
and the seventh is diminished

You can do this with any key, start with the first note in the scale, and assign each note as a major minor or diminished, depending on whats its corresponding number is for that key.

So in the case of G... G C and D are major because they are the 1st 4th and 5th notes in the scale, correspondingly. A and E are minor because they are the 2nd and sixth notes

This is an easy way to harmonize any major scale with chords
#6
Quote by GoldfishMoon
And would the major scale and pentatonic scale be good for writing a rock solo?
If its your first solo, I'd use whichever you are most comfortable with. Next time, use whichever you didn't use this time. When you get a bit more confident you'll pick the scale based on the sound you want from the solo.
#7
So the chords you would play in that key are -
G major
A minor
B minor
C major
D major
E minor
F#diminished? (No idea what that means, is it a normal F, moved a half step up, and something changed?)

And I would play in the key of G over it?

Thanks so far, I understand it a bit better now.
#8
Quote by zhilla
If its your first solo, I'd use whichever you are most comfortable with. Next time, use whichever you didn't use this time. When you get a bit more confident you'll pick the scale based on the sound you want from the solo.


Can I use both?
#9
in a major chord of key X, the 1st 3rd and 5th notes of the X major scale are used
ie: 1 - 3 - 5 => G - B - D

for a minor chord you used 1 - b3 - 5, so the third note is flattened by a half step (one fret)
ie: 1 - b3 - 5 => A - C - E

a diminished goes 1 - b3 - b5

ie: 1 - b3 - b5 => F# - A - C
#10
Quote by GoldfishMoon
Can I use both?
Yes, if you want. The major pentatonic is just the major scale with the 4th and 7th degrees omitted, so anywhere you can use the major scale you can also use the major pentatonic (doesn't always work the other way round though)

There's really no rules anyway. There's convention, and there's explanations of why things work, but when it comes down to it if it sounds good it is good. Theory just makes your life easier - it gives you a framework to start from. There's nothing to stop you playing around outside that framework when you get a bit of confidence.
#11
Quote by zhilla
Yes, if you want. The major pentatonic is just the major scale with the 4th and 7th degrees omitted, so anywhere you can use the major scale you can also use the major pentatonic (doesn't always work the other way round though)

There's really no rules anyway. There's convention, and there's explanations of why things work, but when it comes down to it if it sounds good it is good. Theory just makes your life easier - it gives you a framework to start from. There's nothing to stop you playing around outside that framework when you get a bit of confidence.


indeed
#12
to be honest.. i just have my rhythm guitarist play the chords and i find the scale and key by ear..
yes, I'm that lazy.
#13
Thanks for all the help, my solo sounds alright so far. Actually, its quite bad, but not bad for a first attempt, could be mistaken for music by someone, hopefully.....
#14
have your friend play the progression, and try to determine which notes of the scale sound best over each chord. Maybe think of an idea in your head as you listen to the progression and try to translate it to the fretboard. There are a lot of things you can try its all a matter of practice
#15
Another thing for a beginner to throwing alot of chord tones in, or extensions of the basic chord, for example when your friend is playing D, the "safest" notes to play are D, F# and A. The other "safe" notes to play would be extensions to the basic chord, like the 7th (C in this example), or the 9th, which is E in this example.
#16
The real reason why it is in G is because it resolves to G. Do you know about resolution? If not, here are the examples I always give to explain it. Play this progression: C - B7. Notice how incomplete it sounds? The B7 wants to pull somewhere. Can you imagine the sound of the next chord in your head? Okay, now play C - B7 - Em. Notice how it sounds complete? The B7 is creating tension, and when you hit that Em all of that tension is released, or resolved. That examples resolves on Em therefore it is in the key of E minor. Try repeating this progression a few times: G, Em, C, D. Can you hear where that one resolves? If you have a hunch, end on that chord and see if it sounds right.

Resolution is kind of hard to hear at first so I gave you examples of strong chord progressions -- chord progressions that set up and resolve tension really well.
i don't know why i feel so dry
#17
Once again, thankyou. Would I also be safe to arpeggiate (Spelling?) the chord that is being played?
#18
Quote by GoldfishMoon
Once again, thankyou. Would I also be safe to arpeggiate (Spelling?) the chord that is being played?
Yep
.
#19
Quote by GoldfishMoon

Does anyone know what key should be used with those chords and why? (Keeping in my mind all that I know about theory is the major scale and how scale formulas work)


As for the what part of that question, you have been given the answer, the key of G.

As for the why part...

If you want to know why certain chords fit into a key, you will not get your answer from a sentence or two from someone's reply to this thread. And not too often will you come across someone who's willing to explain to you the foundation knowledge of harmonizing a scale just because you asked. If you really want to know the why, go take music theory lessons, or teach yourself some theory.

http://www.ultimate-guitar.com/search.php?s=crusade&w=columns

Once you read and understand all of those up to and including part 5, you will be able to answer questions like the ones your asking for yourself. And you can go further if you wish to understand more.
#20
If theory too long/hard/complicated (which I understand, sometimes lol) play it by ear..
Record yourself playing the chord progression, put in on "non-stop" mode and just improv. on it with some pentatonics G scales. You will get some little licks after some minutes, just "add" them and try mixing them to make a long solo. Don't forget you can do alot of with a scale.. slides,bends,H-O,H-Off,etc.

Have fun

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#21
Quote by GoldfishMoon
Once again, thankyou. Would I also be safe to arpeggiate (Spelling?) the chord that is being played?
Quote by Nietsche
Yep
+1, pretty much always Chord tones are your friend
Last edited by zhilla at Jul 10, 2009,
#22
its diatonic meaning belonging to the key, just a little vocabulary for the musician
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