Hey guys

So ive actually decided to try and write my own song rather than trying to play cover after cover. Dont care if it sucks, just think it will be a good experience.

So i was just playing round, ended up creating an arpegiated riff/verse line (depending on the structure of the song). Chords are:

F major7/A min (xx8786)
G major (xx97870)
C Major7 (xx10087)

So i guess the key is in C major, is that right? Ive heard a good way of starting a song in key is the first not being that of the key. So even though im playing an F major7, the root is a C. So thats question 1.

Q2 - My F major 7 can also be an A min chord. Going by scales, playing in a minor key will change the feel of the song. So my question is this. If i were to change that chord and label it an Aminor chord, would they key be A minor? Is that the correct terminology or do you say its in the Key of C, playing A aeolion?

Q3 - Building Choruses and Breaks - So instead of playing around, was wondering what some patterns and chords i could use. I know certain chords sounds better as finsihing chords etc so just would like some hints on what to use. Also order of chords. I know the basic major format for chord structure is 1 4 5 so C F G, but what other options are there for me.

Q4 - Finally what scale would i use? I guess this would depend if its in A minor or C major. Would i use the entire scale over the whole A min/F maj7, G maj, Cmaj7 so eg Amin penta over the whole progression or do i play A min only over the A min chord the play a G major penta over the G etc.

Help is greatly appreciated as this is my first crack at my own stuff, would like some expert advice and hints. Thankyou
C Major contains the notes C D E F G A B - to make triads out of that you stack thirds (which basically means every other note), which gives you

C E G = C Major
D F A = D minor
E G B = E minor
F A C = F Major
G B D = G Major
A C E = A minor
B D F = B dim

To form 7th chords, you just stick another 3rd on top of the triad - so you get CMaj7, Dmin7, Emin7, FMaj7, G7, Amin7, Bmin7b5 (also called B half diminished)

So all your chords are in C Major - so yes its in C Major, IF it resolves to CMaj. All your chords are also in A minor (which is the relative minor to C Major - meaning they share the same notes), so if your song feels wrong ending on a CMaj, but feels completed if you end on an Amin, then its in A minor.

Use whichever scale matches the key - so if its in C Major, use C Major or C Major pentatonic, if its in A minor use A minor or A minor pent.

This is by no means expert advice btw
Thanks Zhilla. Yer im not 100% sure wherethe song is going in terms of mode wise but i wrote it when i was down so dunno if ill keep it in C Major or A min.
Its your first song - don't worry about modes!

Its either C Major or A minor, they both use the same notes and the same chords, so you don't need to worry which it is yet really. See where it goes, and which chord it wants to end on, and pick which scale you use from that
Last edited by zhilla at Sep 23, 2009,
A1 It's in C maj because it resolves to the Cmaj chord. I know it resolves to the C maj chord because of the G maj chord played before. Gmaj is the 5th chord constructed from the C maj scale and a V I progression is a perfect cadence. (put simply the G chord pulls to the C chord and makes the progression feel resolved, and therefore finished.

A2 It would still be in Cmaj as the progression resolves to the Cmaj still.

A3 To be honest, I'd just play around. Work out all of the diatonic chords from the Cmaj scale and play around with them to start with. Find out what sounds good to you. Then you could play around with 7ths and other extended chords. If you research cadence, that will give you some good idea how to finish a progression depending on how you want it to "feel".

A4 for now play Cmaj over the progression, obviously C maj and A min are consist of the same notes, but if you play those notes over this progression you will be playing in Cmaj because the progression resolves to Cmaj. I reiterate, you cannot play A min over this progression.

Now you can change the scales over the separate chords. This is called playing the changes and takes a bit more effort to sound good.

To mimic Zhilla: No need to be thinking about modes just now, and I'm, by no means, an expert
Just a check - i assume you're not in standard tuning. if you are then those chords you posted aren't named right. also check on chord 2 - there are 7 strings written there. finally chord 3 i'm assuming that's x x 10 0 8 7

are you in D standard?
no im playing in standard. With C Major 7 chord when arpegiated i play it (xx10987) but when striking all the notes as one i open the 3rd string and let an open G ring. When that happens theres no E being played so really only playing C G and seveth whihc is B. Why are the others wrong? I know they dont start at the typical root but i still loook at them as those chords
Yeah, on looking at the tabs for those chords you have got the 1st chord and 3rd chord named wrong. Have a look at them again and see if you can work out what they are. When you are playing the arpeggio on the Cmaj7 xx10987 that is a Cmaj7, when you strum the chord though xx10087 you remove the Cmaj7's major 3rd (E) so it loses it's major tonality.

I think the second chord (Gmaj) is correct (based on it's context) but I think it's the 1st inversion as it has the major 3rd in the bass so would be notated Gmaj\B.
Last edited by Myshadow46_2 at Sep 24, 2009,
Yer thats definitly true theye inversions, basically couldnt be bothered naming the inversion. Slack i guess but yer