#1
A major scale = B minor pentatonic.... Right?

Im listening to Under the bridge by RHCP.. The song starts off in D major and the verse is in E major. The outro chords are A major, A minor, G6, Fm7. So the outro is in A major since its the first chord thats being played.. I was messing around and wanted to improvise over the outro. Using the B minor pentatonic sounded terrible.. By ear I came to the conclusion that A minor pentatonic was the right scale to improvise with..

Can someone explain why A minor pents worked over these chords? I dont even know if Im right, maybe my mind is playing tricks on me.. Im self taught so my knowledge about music theory is limited. So bare with me.

I have the same "issue" with Californication. The two first chords are A minor and F major.. And A minor pents sounds right over those chords as well.
#2
the song isn't necessarily in the key of A major just because it's the first chord. you have to look at all the chords in order to figure out the key

Edit: those chords fit C major better than A major
Last edited by mashizz at Aug 17, 2009,
#3
A major is not the same as B minor pent.
A B C# D E F# G# A
B D F# G# B

yes they contain the same notes - no they do not resolve the same. If you put a B minor pent solo over an A major it will not sound very wrong, but it'll not sound right either. For a start you are missing the root note!

The more natural relative minor to take from A major would be F# minor, however this still won't become 'right' just because you are playing the same notes - to be in A you must resolve to A to be in F# you must resolve to F#. saying you are playing in F# minor is misleading - you are playing in A you are just playing in a different place on the neck.

As for the songs in question - it's not always the case that the opening chord is the key, it could also be the final chord - or indeed a different chord from the progression. To find the root note - pick a string and move chromatically (fret-by-fret) up it while the song is playing until you can find a note that sounds "right" this is normally you're root note - you can then work out if it's major or minor from there.

Californication starts on an A minor - so logically wouldn't be in A major... haven't looked in detail at the song - but the progression appears to be Am F, which both fit into the A minor scale - explaining why A minor pents fit. As for Under the bridge the main part is in E major, there is then a key change to the outro to C major. A minor is the relative minor of C major which explains why that fits too. Again though - i've not looked in detail at these songs just flicked through the tab and progressions so i may have missed something/misinterpretted it
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#4
Quote by doive
A major is not the same as B minor pent.
A B C# D E F# G# A
B D F# G# B

yes they contain the same notes - no they do not resolve the same. If you put a B minor pent solo over an A major it will not sound very wrong, but it'll not sound right either. For a start you are missing the root note!

The more natural relative minor to take from A major would be F# minor, however this still won't become 'right' just because you are playing the same notes - to be in A you must resolve to A to be in F# you must resolve to F#. saying you are playing in F# minor is misleading - you are playing in A you are just playing in a different place on the neck.

As for the songs in question - it's not always the case that the opening chord is the key, it could also be the final chord - or indeed a different chord from the progression. To find the root note - pick a string and move chromatically (fret-by-fret) up it while the song is playing until you can find a note that sounds "right" this is normally you're root note - you can then work out if it's major or minor from there.

Californication starts on an A minor - so logically wouldn't be in A major... haven't looked in detail at the song - but the progression appears to be Am F, which both fit into the A minor scale - explaining why A minor pents fit. As for Under the bridge the main part is in E major, there is then a key change to the outro to C major. A minor is the relative minor of C major which explains why that fits too. Again though - i've not looked in detail at these songs just flicked through the tab and progressions so i may have missed something/misinterpretted it


i think what you said about Under the Bridge is right, cause it would make sense to use an A minor chord to transition the key change from E major to C major
#5
I understand now doive and thank you for your help.

I guess I just didnt bother looking into the pent major scale and tried to draw parallels between the major scale and the pentatonic minor scale. I made things harder than they have to be :P..
#6
Quote by mashizz
the song isn't necessarily in the key of A major just because it's the first chord. you have to look at all the chords in order to figure out the key

Edit: those chords fit C major better than A major


There isn't even a C Major in the progression. It's in A Major, no question. However, A Minor pentatonic would be a better choice to solo over that progression with for two reasons. 1st, the progression borrows from A minor a lot. 2nd, it's common to play the parallel minor pentatonic scale over a major progression in Blues and Grunge.

Also, the progression at the end of Under The Bridge goes A - C, nor A - Am.