#1
Hello everyone.

I've made a cover of Brave New World by Iron Maiden. I wonder, what theory could I have used to make the song more interesting? Such as relative major/minor, changing the key to the 4th of the previous one, harmonizing, etc. What keys sound nice next to the key of the original song? Can you please explain why? (I mean, there are backing tracks that advise you to use multiple keys, and I want to know how to discover those additional keys in the case of a song in E minor, for example.) Do you have any other tips to spice it up?

(I admit I also just want to show my cover to people such as Steven Seagull. This forum reaches them, I doubt they look in Riffs & Recordings very much. But the question is still very much also the point of this thread.)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yWWJUtaOd-s
Last edited by robinlint at Dec 13, 2009,
#2
There's not a lot you'd do to be honest - the song is what it is, it already has a defined structure. Anything you do really has to fit within that structure otherwise it stops being the same song, you can't change the key or anything like that - you can see if the chords suggest anything modal but that's about as far as you can go.

Did you ever watch these videos?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PnbOWi6f_IM&feature=related
Actually called Mark!

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...it's a seagull

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#3
^ Look like you've got yourself a fan

Anyway, to Robin - your playing is a lot better than the last time you posted a vid. You must have really been putting in the work. Good job.

In this case, the best use of theory is to help you understand better what is going on in the song you are learning. Then you can transfer some of the ideas over to your own playing more easily.
#4
yea, with covers you can't really change em too much before it's something different. I mean you can kinda mess with the rhythm, add in some stuff, maybe improv the solo, and possibly transpose the whole thing to a different key, maybe harmonize, but you can't really change it from major to minor or make it modal.

of course if you want to get experimental with an old song and rewrite the riff while keeping the basic progression and lyrics that cool, but not for something like maiden. That works best with older stuff and only if you're cool with completely changing the song.

also, your guitar playing is pretty good, I didn't notice many mistakes at all, and you did a good job of getting your guitar to match.
#5
Thanks everybody for the compliments

@Steven Seagull: No, I haven't watched these videos yet. Will do though, sometime.

@se012101: The last video I posted about a month ago, and i've been playing guitar a lot lately. It's also because of the recording stuff. I also have a version with the sound recorded with my mobile phone, and it sounds much more 'on top of' the mix.

---

I guess this wasn't a good example to ask the question with, then

In that case, i'll use a simple chord progression as an example. Say.. Em, C, D? (constantly repeated)
In the case of Em C D, in what keys would a solo sound good? How did you find out how to fit multiple keys within that chord progression? That is one of the key questions in this thread - how to find out multiple keys to play within, on top of a chord progression. Because i've seen backing tracks that advise you to play in multiple keys. C major/A minor, for example. But next to relative major/minor, what else is there? Delving even deeper.. What modes would sound good? (warning: i haven't learnt modes yet )

Next question: What intervals sound good for creating harmonies? I know the 4th sounds good, but what else?

Any other musictheory-related tips to spice up a lead line? (Not technique-related)

Thanks in advance, MT-people
Last edited by robinlint at Dec 14, 2009,
#6
Quote by robinlint

In that case, i'll use a simple chord progression as an example. Say.. Em, C, D? (constantly repeated)
In the case of Em C D, in what keys would a solo sound good? How did you find out how to fit multiple keys within that chord progression?

I think you mean looking at the different scales that could be used over each chord in the progression?

Don't forget you can always concentrate on Chord tones (the notes that make up the chord.) You don't have to go too much into scales, and a lot of the time if the chord is only there for one bar it's enough. You could also imagine any extensions that might sound good. For example Hendrix accentuated the #9 a lot.

For Em you might experiment with the dorian mode which has a minor feel to it. Although If you carried it to the next chord you would have to be careful about the F# and the C#(especially)

For C you could use a C Major scale, or maybe a mixolydian (which has that major tonality)

For the D just do the same thing as with the C.
Quote by robinlint

But next to relative major/minor, what else is there? Delving even deeper.. What modes would sound good? (warning: i haven't learnt modes yet )

Most common modes used would be a Mixolydian over a major or dominant chord or a dorian over a minor chord

I've used Mixolydian and Dorian a lot in my examples so I'll explain what they mean.

Mixolydian:
Basically a Major scale with a lowered seventh degree. So C Major would be C, D, E, F, G, A, B. But C Mixolydian is C, D, E, F, G, A, Bb.

Dorian:
Basically a natural minor scale with a raised sixth degree. So E Natural minor is E, F#, G, A, B, C, D. But E Dorian is E, F#, G, A, B, C#, D.

seconds (ninths) and sixths are generally good safe ones to play around with (though be careful with the second, don't do it too close to a resolution or it will sound like you played a dud note)
Quote by robinlint

What intervals sound good for creating harmonies? I know the 4th sounds good, but what else?

Thirds sound good sometimes. The Fourth can sound a little odd sometimes as it is essentially a dissonant interval, but in my opinion it's not too hard to make it sound good. the fifth is pretty popular, but you can never go wrong with octaves
Quote by robinlint

Any other musictheory-related tips to spice up a lead line? (Not technique-related)

Concentrate on chord tones. Play the solo without the chords and see if you can recognise where the chord changes are. It gives the solo more shape and like it's going somewhere.
Last edited by mdwallin at Dec 14, 2009,
#7
Quote by robinlint

In that case, i'll use a simple chord progression as an example. Say.. Em, C, D? (constantly repeated)
In the case of Em C D, in what keys would a solo sound good? How did you find out how to fit multiple keys within that chord progression? That is one of the key questions in this thread - how to find out multiple keys to play within, on top of a chord progression. Because i've seen backing tracks that advise you to play in multiple keys. C major/A minor, for example. But next to relative major/minor, what else is there? Delving even deeper.. What modes would sound good? (warning: i haven't learnt modes yet )

Ignore anyone who suggests that because it means they don't know what they're talking about. You can't "play the relative major/minor", it's complete bollocks. Relative simply means scales that share the same notes, or keys that share the same notes. In your example that's an Em progression, no ambiguity at all. The relative major of Em is G major, but the G major scale doesn't exist in that context, there's not even a G chord floating about to muddy the waters. The progression resolves to Em, so the notes E F# G A B C D will be the E minor scale regardless of how they're used. The only way the G major scale can appear is if the progression itself changes to one that resolves to a G major chord.

Next question: What intervals sound good for creating harmonies? I know the 4th sounds good, but what else?

Any other musictheory-related tips to spice up a lead line? (Not technique-related)

Thanks in advance, MT-people

I always say diatonic thirds because they're what people tend to mean when they talk about harmonies in guitar, they're what you're most likely you have heard. Diatonic thirds seem tricky because the interval switches between a minor third and a major third as you move through the scale but it's really not that complicated. An easy way to get your head round it is to look at it as moving through the middle 2 notes of the chords of the key, so for Em.


e|---------------------------------------------------------
B|---------------------------------------------------------
G|----12s11--11s9-----9s7----7s5----5s4----4s2----2s0-----
D|-14------12------10------9------7------5------4------2---
A|---------------------------------------------------------
E|---------------------------------------------------------


See? It's just the middle section of the barre chords for the key of Em, the third and the octave of the root. Obviously you can play those intervals anywhere and they appear all over the place but it's a good way to get used to the sound and feel of them.
Actually called Mark!

Quote by TNfootballfan62
People with a duck for their avatar always give good advice.

...it's a seagull

Quote by Dave_Mc
i wanna see a clip of a recto buying some groceries.


stuffmycatswatchontv.tumblr.com
#8
Quote by steven seagull
Ignore anyone who suggests that because it means they don't know what they're talking about. You can't "play the relative major/minor", it's complete bollocks. Relative simply means scales that share the same notes, or keys that share the same notes. In your example that's an Em progression, no ambiguity at all. The relative major of Em is G major, but the G major scale doesn't exist in that context, there's not even a G chord floating about to muddy the waters. The progression resolves to Em, so the notes E F# G A B C D will be the E minor scale regardless of how they're used. The only way the G major scale can appear is if the progression itself changes to one that resolves to a G major chord.


I always say diatonic thirds because they're what people tend to mean when they talk about harmonies in guitar, they're what you're most likely you have heard. Diatonic thirds seem tricky because the interval switches between a minor third and a major third as you move through the scale but it's really not that complicated. An easy way to get your head round it is to look at it as moving through the middle 2 notes of the chords of the key, so for Em.


e|---------------------------------------------------------
B|---------------------------------------------------------
G|----12s11--11s9-----9s7----7s5----5s4----4s2----2s0-----
D|-14------12------10------9------7------5------4------2---
A|---------------------------------------------------------
E|---------------------------------------------------------


See? It's just the middle section of the barre chords for the key of Em, the third and the octave of the root. Obviously you can play those intervals anywhere and they appear all over the place but it's a good way to get used to the sound and feel of them.


All good advice.

I'd like to add that diatonic sixths also typically sound good for harmonies. If you want to do anything other than thirds or sixths though, you'll actually have to learn more theory about chords progressions and keys, and write harmonies where the shapes of the melody aren't the same. But that's way too much stuff to explain in one post.
#9
Quote by mdwallin
I think you mean looking at the different scales that could be used over each chord in the progression?

No, I meant using different scales in different keys for one song or backing track. For example, one backing track allowed me to play in C major and A minor, and one in D dorian and some other key/scale. So now I want to know how to discover those 'additional' keys/scales for chord progressions. I didn't realise, though, that using different scales over each chord also works. You mean when someone plays an A minor, the A natural/harmonic minor scale would work, and when someone then plays C major, the C major scale would work? Thereby grabbing a new scale for every chord? Please explain this further, but also answer the question at the beginning of this piece of text.



Don't forget you can always concentrate on Chord tones (the notes that make up the chord.) You don't have to go too much into scales, and a lot of the time if the chord is only there for one bar it's enough. You could also imagine any extensions that might sound good. For example Hendrix accentuated the #9 a lot.

Do you mean playing only the notes of a chord that is currently played? Sort of like arpeggio's? As in, you grab a chord, and play the notes of that chord like you would a scale? (Not specifically arpeggiated)


For Em you might experiment with the dorian mode which has a minor feel to it. Although If you carried it to the next chord you would have to be careful about the F# and the C#(especially)

Dorian mode? Interesting, i'll look it up, thanks



For C you could use a C Major scale, or maybe a mixolydian (which has that major tonality)

For the D just do the same thing as with the C.

Major and Mixolydian fit? Thanks for the information


Most common modes used would be a Mixolydian over a major or dominant chord or a dorian over a minor chord

Mixolydian, and Dorian. Got it.


I've used Mixolydian and Dorian a lot in my examples so I'll explain what they mean.

Mixolydian:
Basically a Major scale with a lowered seventh degree. So C Major would be C, D, E, F, G, A, B. But C Mixolydian is C, D, E, F, G, A, Bb.

This doesn't connect to what is explained elsewhere on the forum, which is that modes are essentially scales that are started in different positions of the major or minor scale. Nevertheless, thank you for the information


Dorian:
Basically a natural minor scale with a raised sixth degree. So E Natural minor is E, F#, G, A, B, C, D. But E Dorian is E, F#, G, A, B, C#, D.

Ditto, thanks for the information


seconds (ninths) and sixths are generally good safe ones to play around with (though be careful with the second, don't do it too close to a resolution or it will sound like you played a dud note)

Thanks, i'll play around with that somewhat


Thirds sound good sometimes. The Fourth can sound a little odd sometimes as it is essentially a dissonant interval, but in my opinion it's not too hard to make it sound good. the fifth is pretty popular, but you can never go wrong with octaves

Then i'll mostly use the thirds, fifths and octaves, and sometimes the fourth.


Concentrate on chord tones. Play the solo without the chords and see if you can recognise where the chord changes are. It gives the solo more shape and like it's going somewhere.

You mean when playing a solo, accentuating the changes to a different chord by getting close to/on the note when the chord change happens?
#10
Quote by steven seagull
Ignore anyone who suggests that because it means they don't know what they're talking about. You can't "play the relative major/minor", it's complete bollocks. Relative simply means scales that share the same notes, or keys that share the same notes.

I suppose you're right, but this is where it gets kind of confusing. If they are the same scales, why do they sound different? And then, there's this:
What about the advice in Marty Friedman's video? You link to that video too, and it contains something along the lines of:
"To get to the relative minor from a major root, go 3 frets down from the root, and to get to the relative major from a minor root, go 3 frets up from the root"
... Or maybe it was 6. Anyway, it was something like that.


In your example that's an Em progression, no ambiguity at all. The relative major of Em is G major,

"The relative major is Em is G major"??? After you had just explained there is no such thing as playing a relative major? This is getting confusing.


but the G major scale doesn't exist in that context, there's not even a G chord floating about to muddy the waters. The progression resolves to Em, so the notes E F# G A B C D will be the E minor scale regardless of how they're used. The only way the G major scale can appear is if the progression itself changes to one that resolves to a G major chord.

In other words, the relative major only works if the chord that has the same root as the relative major is played in the chord progression? Is it the same way for minor?


I always say diatonic thirds because they're what people tend to mean when they talk about harmonies in guitar, they're what you're most likely you have heard. Diatonic thirds seem tricky because the interval switches between a minor third and a major third as you move through the scale but it's really not that complicated. An easy way to get your head round it is to look at it as moving through the middle 2 notes of the chords of the key, so for Em.



e|---------------------------------------------------------
B|---------------------------------------------------------
G|----12s11--11s9-----9s7----7s5----5s4----4s2----2s0-----
D|-14------12------10------9------7------5------4------2---
A|---------------------------------------------------------
E|---------------------------------------------------------


See? It's just the middle section of the barre chords for the key of Em, the third and the octave of the root. Obviously you can play those intervals anywhere and they appear all over the place but it's a good way to get used to the sound and feel of them.

I tried it out, and it sounds nice. But which one is the third? The one on the D string or on the G string? (I suspect it's the G string) By the way, i have never learnt where the thirds are in all the chords I play. How do I find the third of a chord?
#11
You couldn't use A minor over a C Major progression because it reolves to a different place - even if you are using what you think of as an A minor 'shape' you'd be playing it as C Major over a C Major progression. If you played it as A minor you'd be resolving to A, and it would sound unfinished and a bit uncomfortable.

Quote by robinlint
This doesn't connect to what is explained elsewhere on the forum, which is that modes are essentially scales that are started in different positions of the major or minor scale. Nevertheless, thank you for the information
Its not that they start on different notes of the major scale - the resolve to different notes of the major scale.

If you take C Major as an example, the dorian and mixolydian modes relative (ie sharing the same notes, but with different tonics) to that scale would be D Dorian and G Mixolydian. They use the same notes, but they use them in different functions - like C major and A minor.

If you look at the parallel scales though - that is scales that share the same tonic but have a different intervallic structure - you can see the structure that mdwallin is talking about. It can be easier to understand the differences between modes by looking at it that way too.

C Major is C D E F G A B - or R 2 3 4 5 6 7 in intervals

C minor (relative to Eb Maj) is C D Eb F G Ab Bb - or R 2 b3 4 5 b6 b7

C Dorian (relative to Bb Maj) is C D Eb F G A Bb - or R 2 b3 4 5 6 b7

C Mixolydian (relative to F Maj) is C D E F G A Bb - or R 2 3 4 5 6 b7