#1
I've noticed that in a lot of music I hear (including classical), there are often chord progressions that use chords completely out of the chord scale.

For example, in the key of C, often used is Ab major - Bb major - C
C - G - Bb major - F is also a lovely progression.

My question is is there a name for this and are there any actual guidelines to going outside the chord scale?
Also, how would one write this using roman numberals? Would it be bVImaj - bVIImaj - I?

And please don't reply with "music theorys dumb it restricts you just rite wutever sounds coooll"
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#2
well, there are TONS of existing scales and modes. If you hear a song and say "why, this is in the key of Bb but I just heard a Gb, which isn't in that scale" its just because the song is derived from some other scale or mode that you aren't familiar with. but I must say, memorizing hundreds of scales is useless... learn some basic scales and then explore around them and play what sounds good.
#3
You don't have to follow all the rules when you are writing a song. Some people like to experiment.

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#4
Quote by the_axis
I've noticed that in a lot of music I hear (including classical), there are often chord progressions that use chords completely out of the chord scale.

For example, in the key of C, often used is Ab major - Bb major - C
C - G - Bb major - F is also a lovely progression.

My question is is there a name for this and are there any actual guidelines to going outside the chord scale?
Also, how would one write this using roman numberals? Would it be bVImaj - bVIImaj - I?

And please don't reply with "music theorys dumb it restricts you just rite wutever sounds coooll"


People who say this annoy the s**t out of me, and most of the time don't write good music (/personal stab at my drummer )

But yeah, I used to think the same way as you, I would get really confused if a song wasn't based on a major or minor scale, until I realised that there are quite a lot more scales out there.
I wouldn't worry too much though, if it sounds good, it is more than likely theoretically
correct so just go with it, I don't know what scales some of my songs are based on, they more than likely came about accidentally, but they sound good so I don't fuss about it
#5
Oh it doesn't bother me when a song does this, actually, I use this chords like that in almost every song I write. I was just asking if there was a name for going outside the chord scale like that.
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#6
Both of your examples are borrowed chords from the parallel minor.
As for the notation, it would just be bVI - bVII - I. You don't have to write major because one already knows it's major because the roman numerals are capitalised.

"why, this is in the key of Bb but I just heard a Gb"

Gb is in the key of Bb.
#7
when just using triads...3 note chords ... it is easier to "change key" even for only a single bar..there is less tension in preparing a chord out of key just using triads..but again this in not a hard and fast rule...just something you will notice the more you play and learn about harmony....triads and 7th chords-four note chords

killah squirrel...sorry no Gb in the key of: Bb C D Eb F G A Bb

play well

wolf
#8
ive found generally that if you can explain something theoretically to some degree it will probably sound good.
#9
Theory isnt really a set of rules, more like a way to describe. And breaking of the few rules there are is completely acceptable as long as it sounds good
#10
2/3 of Bb major is in the key of C. You have Bb D and F. Ab major actually has a C in it.

The reason C G Bb F sounds good is because if you play the first inversion of the G and the F, the bass notes create a chromatic walk-down (C B Bb A).

Some other quick notes: Jazz often uses chord substitution. Read up on that and it'll make a lot more sense.
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#11
Quote by KillahSquirrel
Gb is in the key of Bb.


No, it isn't.
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#12
Quote by KillahSquirrel
Both of your examples are borrowed chords from the parallel minor.
As for the notation, it would just be bVI - bVII - I. You don't have to write major because one already knows it's major because the roman numerals are capitalised.


Gb is in the key of Bb.


no its not. Bb major has two flats, Bb and Eb.
#13
Borrowing chords from another key (commonly the minor/major of the same root) is common. IE, Em - Am- B - Am - G#m. Thats a progression I like, and it borrows the B and G#m from E major, which is called the parallel major or something like that...
#14
Just thought I'd throw in that the roman lettering system is different depending on who/where you learned it from
#15
Quote by rockinrider55
Just thought I'd throw in that the roman lettering system is different depending on who/where you learned it from


How so? I've always seen it the exact same way. A capital numeral is major, lowercase is minor, o is diminished, + is augmented, b's and #'s function like they do with notes.... I don't see anything different?
#16
hmmm it doesn't fit???
easy: lube


anyway... Gb is in the key of Bb minor you might consider xD
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#17
Quote by the_axis
I've noticed that in a lot of music I hear (including classical), there are often chord progressions that use chords completely out of the chord scale.

For example, in the key of C, often used is Ab major - Bb major - C
C - G - Bb major - F is also a lovely progression.

My question is is there a name for this and are there any actual guidelines to going outside the chord scale?
Also, how would one write this using roman numberals? Would it be bVImaj - bVIImaj - I?

And please don't reply with "music theorys dumb it restricts you just rite wutever sounds coooll"

Ab - Bb - C.

This is in the key of C and borrows the Ab and Bb from the parallel key of Cm.

It is very common.

C - G - Bb - F
You could look at the Bb as a borrowed chord. It's function here is as a lead in to the F chord. It kind of mirrors the first chord change one step lower. C to G and Bb to F. It's a movement down a perfect fourth then another one whole tone lower. This then brings us to F which is a perfect fourth above C setting up another down a fourth movement back to C.

You'll often find repetitive patterns like this in a chord progression that don't make any attempt to be diatonic yet the pattern makes it all make sense. You could take that progression above and extend it on for as long as you want and work your way all the way back to C...

C - G - Bb - F - Ab - Eb - Gb - Db - E(Fb) - B - D - A - C - G.......etc.

It's similar in principle to a chain of fourths progression - just with a slight variation.
Do a search for previous threads on chain of fourths and chain of fifth progressions. I call them circle progressions because you can go all the way around in a circle covering all 12 notes but never sound like you've gone "out of key".

Are there guidelines? Kind of, but no really. There's just things you notice work well and then when you figure out why you can start applying those ideas in lots of different ways.

You're noticing some things that work and are interested in why. Lots of the posts on this page give insight into why specific changes work - with regard to identifying chromatic lines between chords and common tones and the like. Do your best to identify what each person is saying and try to isolate the idea and listen for it in the chord progessions. Try applying those ideas in different ways to come up with your own progressions and see how if you can make it work.

- For example Food1010 points out the chromatic line (C B Bb A) found within the C-G-Bb-F progression. See if you can take that same chromatic line and harmonize it using different chords and see what kind of things you can come up with.

Of course there are other ideas that are also present in that same progression but there will be new ideas in the progression you come up with. It won't sound the "same" but that's the point.

That's what's so great about music theory. It's not a matter of music theory provides guidelines but it gives you the tools to get inside and quickly isolate the many different ideas regarding what makes a particular piece of music effective then allows you to find new ways of putting those same ideas into practice.

Best of Luck
Si
Last edited by 20Tigers at Sep 12, 2009,
#18
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That's what's so great about music theory. It's not a matter of music theory provides guidelines but it gives you the tools to get inside and quickly isolate the many different ideas regarding what makes a particular piece of music effective then allows you to find new ways of putting those same ideas into practice.

Best of Luck

Totally agree with this.
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#19
Quote by timeconsumer09
How so? I've always seen it the exact same way. A capital numeral is major, lowercase is minor, o is diminished, + is augmented, b's and #'s function like they do with notes.... I don't see anything different?
I've seen most modern school harmony books teach it using all caps while more traditional schools use lowercase for minor.

It seems to me like most of the people here aren't big into jazz or classical so often don't look into the more traditional types of music schooling and there's a ton of questions about getting into berklee, who I know that they have their own quirky methods of harmonic analyzing (one part being they capitalize every roman numeral). Knowing it will let you test out of lower harmony classes.
#20
Quote by rockinrider55
I've seen most modern school harmony books teach it using all caps while more traditional schools use lowercase for minor.

It seems to me like most of the people here aren't big into jazz or classical so often don't look into the more traditional types of music schooling and there's a ton of questions about getting into berklee, who I know that they have their own quirky methods of harmonic analyzing (one part being they capitalize every roman numeral). Knowing it will let you test out of lower harmony classes.


Oh. I wasn't aware. The brand new edition of the theory book I got for college this year also uses upper and lowercase. Oh well, it's good to know how to notate all kinds, I suppose.
#21
Quote by rockinrider55
I've seen most modern school harmony books teach it using all caps while more traditional schools use lowercase for minor.

It seems to me like most of the people here aren't big into jazz or classical so often don't look into the more traditional types of music schooling and there's a ton of questions about getting into berklee, who I know that they have their own quirky methods of harmonic analyzing (one part being they capitalize every roman numeral). Knowing it will let you test out of lower harmony classes.


Then how do they notate major vs. minor?
#22
Like most of people said here, you don't need to follow music theory perfectly. There's also the ,already mentionned, parallel minor.

And also, it always depends on the composer's knowledge. Some writer, by experimenting stuff, could find that some notes sounds pretty good over a chord, or even find that some scale sounds pretty good over a certain different scale progression. Another common trick is to modulate from a scale to another one depending on the progression. (for example: play in c major for a verse with a random progression like C - B and A and then for the verse, change the progression to F - G and A and over that progression you can play F major.) There are tons of tricks that you can/will find by yourself with time.

A good example, Paul Gilbert OFTEN plays A dorian on a A minor song/prog/jam/ etc. Modes are also a good way of finding some tricky stuff.


Edit:
Quote by the_axis

For example, in the key of C, often used is Ab major - Bb major - C


Like people said, it probably comes from the parallel minor chord, but at first view, that Ab comes from the A minor harmonic scale witch would be perfect to make stuff more dramatic in a song. For the Bb, seems like it's from the phrygian mode colour note (b2) witch is almost as dramatic as the #7 from the harmonic scale.

Just saying another possible theory
Last edited by kevC4 at Sep 12, 2009,
#23
You mean the parallel minor key (not chord).

Also - he's saying that he sees it often. So it's safe to assume it's in the form bVI -bVII - I which is the most common use of that progression. The tonic centre then would be C. How can the Ab major be from the A harmonic minor scale?? That doesn't make sense because it's an Ab in relation to a C tonic. The A harmonic minor has an A tonic. It doesn't make sense then to consider it as coming from an A harmonic minor. What does A have to do with anything? By the same reasoning it seems you could just as easily say the Ab comes from the Ab major scale.

I know you're just trying to offer a different perspective and I really do appreciate that, but I just can't understand your reasoning behind it.

EDIT: Are you going for an explanation using the relative minor key of Am? Why would you do that if the tonic is C? Then you would have a VII - bII - III. But there's nothing there to suggest A as the tonic centre. Also it's pretty complex as an explanation. A harmonic minor (= A B C D E F G#) gives G#dim so Ab doesn't fit even if called it by it's enharmonic name G# since harmonic minor has a viidim not a VII.

The Bb fits in with A Phrygian but why would you consider it something in A when it's in C? So if we change the tonic centre of A Phrygian (A Bb C D E F G) from A to C we get C Mixolydian (C D E F G A Bb) which makes a lot more sense.
Si
Last edited by 20Tigers at Sep 13, 2009,
#24
Quote by 20Tigers
You mean the parallel minor key (not chord).

Also - he's saying that he sees it often. So it's safe to assume it's in the form bVI -bVII - I which is the most common use of that progression. The tonic centre then would be C. How can the Ab major be from the A harmonic minor scale?? That doesn't make sense because it's an Ab in relation to a C tonic. The A harmonic minor has an A tonic. It doesn't make sense then to consider it as coming from an A harmonic minor. What does A have to do with anything? By the same reasoning it seems you could just as easily say the Ab comes from the Ab major scale.

I know you're just trying to offer a different perspective and I really do appreciate that, but I just can't understand your reasoning behind it.

EDIT: Are you going for an explanation using the relative minor key of Am? Why would you do that if the tonic is C? Then you would have a VII - bII - III. But there's nothing there to suggest A as the tonic centre. Also it's pretty complex as an explanation. A harmonic minor (= A B C D E F G#) gives G#dim so Ab doesn't fit even if called it by it's enharmonic name G# since harmonic minor has a viidim not a VII.

The Bb fits in with A Phrygian but why would you consider it something in A when it's in C? So if we change the tonic centre of A Phrygian (A Bb C D E F G) from A to C we get C Mixolydian (C D E F G A Bb) which makes a lot more sense.


Well you don't really get what I'm saying I think, but it's my fault since I didn't use the correct names for the modes because of my lazyness.

Since like you said the tonic is C, the Ab doesn't come exactly from the A harmonic minor scale but from the mode that C is in it a.k.a. the Ionian Augmented mode wich is C in A harmonic minor. Like I said, I just used A minor harmonic because of my lazyness or to be more simple in explaining what I was thinking about. I understand that viewing it from a theorical point, Ab =/= G# in these 2 different scales, but if you think in a modal progression/modulation (well, by taking in the fact that he sees it often, it would be more of a modal progression but you know, at the end, I just explained what I was thinking about to give TS more possibilities of thinking about how things could be done, not to directy answer his question in all the present details) way, it's possible.

Therefor, the same thing applies for the A phrygian, though in this case would be C mixylodian.

Also, my bad for the parallel minor thingy, I was just thinking/typing too fast and a bit recklessly at the moment.
#25
Well if you think in a modal way the Ab (G# whatever) still doesn't work, even if you use the relative C mode of A harmonic minor, you still come out with G#dim. At best you get G#(b5), or G#aug. There's no G# major (or Ab major) chord in A harmonic minor or any of it's relative modes. C D E F G# A B C - There's no D#/Eb required for a G#/Ab chord??

It just seems a pretty complicated way of understanding what is really pretty simple. Its using a pretty standard minor chord progression with a major tonic. - There's really no need for modes.

I do understand (I think) what you're trying to say though. Another alternative to bring in non diatonic chords is to borrow from/ introduce modal sounds and principles to the mix. For example you could identify C major as the tonic chord but be confused by the apparently non diatonic Bb which might indicate that it is actually C mixolydian.

The Bb being C Mixolydian is a good example.
The A harmonic minor though just doesn't fit anyway I look at it.

Theory is a way of describing and understanding. You can describe the same thing in heaps of different ways by looking at it from different angles and this is good to do. They each have to work and make sense though. The A harmonic minor though just doesn't fit anyway I look at it.

And though it might be good to look at something from many angles when it comes down to it the simplest explanation/description of what is happening is the best.
Si
Last edited by 20Tigers at Sep 13, 2009,
#26
Quote by isaac_bandits
Then how do they notate major vs. minor?

I vs II-
Last edited by rockinrider55 at Sep 13, 2009,
#27
Quote by rockinrider55
I vs II-


So they use a - for minor, o for diminished, + for augmented, and nothing for major, all after a capital numeral?
#28
Quote by 20Tigers
Well if you think in a modal way the Ab (G# whatever) still doesn't work, even if you use the relative C mode of A harmonic minor, you still come out with G#dim. At best you get G#(b5), or G#aug. There's no G# major (or Ab major) chord in A harmonic minor or any of it's relative modes. C D E F G# A B C - There's no D#/Eb required for a G#/Ab chord??

It just seems a pretty complicated way of understanding what is really pretty simple. Its using a pretty standard minor chord progression with a major tonic. - There's really no need for modes.

I do understand (I think) what you're trying to say though. Another alternative to bring in non diatonic chords is to borrow from/ introduce modal sounds and principles to the mix. For example you could identify C major as the tonic chord but be confused by the apparently non diatonic Bb which might indicate that it is actually C mixolydian.

The Bb being C Mixolydian is a good example.
The A harmonic minor though just doesn't fit anyway I look at it.

Theory is a way of describing and understanding. You can describe the same thing in heaps of different ways by looking at it from different angles and this is good to do. They each have to work and make sense though. The A harmonic minor though just doesn't fit anyway I look at it.

And though it might be good to look at something from many angles when it comes down to it the simplest explanation/description of what is happening is the best.


Well I never really though about the Ab being major ,my bad, but since like I said, I just explained this to say that it always depends on someone's knowledge and personal tricks, but if you still use that note (G#) in C major it gives a similar effect than turning into the A harmonic minor scale, even though it's major this time, the G# there still has a bit of major in A harmonic minor though because of the C wich is at a maj 3rd interval.

And at the end it isn't that complicated, basicly it's just the pitch axis(pedal note) and/or modal progression kinda. All depending on the tonic, you bring in new colours.

It sure is more simple explaining it in the other way you said kinda, but eh, I just said that to show TS how someone's knowledge can affect his writing (I'm repeating myself ).