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#1
So I'm writing this instrumental song. My backing chords are Em, Dm, Am, and G. The lick I have is:

e|---------------------------------------|
B|-----8--8/10-12-13-12-10-12-13-10-8----|
G|---9-----------------------------------|
D|-9-----------------------------------9-|
A|---------------------------------------|
E|---------------------------------------|


Since I don't use any sharps or flats, it would be the key of C major. Would it be in the key of C, or would it be a mode? Help is appreciated
I'll pretend I can mod your amp but break it instead.
#4
Quote by guitarlord28
...I knew this would happen. How?


The first note in an E.

*edit* not it isn't. my bad.
Last edited by Blckspawn at Jan 6, 2010,
#6
Pretty sure it's not modal. Generally modal music doesn't have chord progressions.

It sounds like it's in A minor to me.

Quote by Macabre_Turtle
The first chord is emin, so I'm assuming it resolves to emin. E-F-G-A-B-C-D-E = E Phrygian.
Oh boy...

Why do people assume the first chord/note is always the tonic? It's a terrible assumption.

Edit to the first thing I said: You could say it's in Em with that F natural in the D minor chord as an accidental. The lead line doesn't actually use and F or an F# so it's a bit ambiguous. It's not modal though.
Only play what you hear. If you don’t hear anything, don’t play anything.
-Chick Corea
Last edited by food1010 at Jan 6, 2010,
#8
Quote by food1010
Oh boy...

Why do people assume the first chord/note is always the tonic? It's a terrible assumption.


Without an instrument in hand, that's my best guess.
#9
Quote by Macabre_Turtle
Without an instrument in hand, that's my best guess.


Then please learn how to determine key by looking at notes, because when you post things like that, you're just misleading people (even if it IS accidental).
#10
Quote by timeconsumer09
Then please learn how to determine key by looking at notes, because when you post things like that, you're just misleading people (even if it IS accidental).


Then would you mind explaining to me how to determine what something resolves to without hearing it?

EDIT: Or at least lead me in the right direction?
#11
Quote by Macabre_Turtle
Then would you mind explaining to me how to determine what something resolves to without hearing it?

EDIT: Or at least lead me in the right direction?
Most of the time you DO have to hear it, unless it's really obvious, like a 12 bar blues or something.

But there are chords that resolve more strongly to the tonic. Case in point: The dominant. The V7 is one of the strongest resolutions to the I (and even the i, if you're in harmonic minor) in music.
Only play what you hear. If you don’t hear anything, don’t play anything.
-Chick Corea
Last edited by food1010 at Jan 6, 2010,
#12
It's E Phrygian, the entire lick revolves around E. Heck, it even starts with an Emin arpeggio.
Quote by tenfold
If you want that lick to better fit E Phrygian, try changing the Dm to Dbm and the Gmaj to Gbmaj.

Why? those chords aren't diatonic at all, and would fit E Phrygian worse than what he wrote.
And on the seventh day, I said "Go to your room!"


check out my jazz tab and ill gladly do a review of any of your stuff


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#13
Quote by CHOCOmoney
it even starts with an Emin arpeggio.
So? If I wanted to, I could write a (diatonic, mind you) riff that starts, and ends with an Em arpeggio and is in the key of Am.
Only play what you hear. If you don’t hear anything, don’t play anything.
-Chick Corea
#14
Quote by food1010
So? If I wanted to, I could write a (diatonic, mind you) riff that starts, and ends with an Em arpeggio and is in the key of Am.

I'm trying to say that E is the focus of the lick. Not A or whatever other note. And the chord progression (assuming it repeats or resolves to Emin) really emphasizes the E. And if not E Phrygian what key is it in? You critisize the ideas of others, but you offer no constructive ideas.
And on the seventh day, I said "Go to your room!"


check out my jazz tab and ill gladly do a review of any of your stuff


I play the bass clarinet! How 'bout you? PM me!
#15
Quote by CHOCOmoney
I'm trying to say that E is the focus of the lick. Not A or whatever other note. And the chord progression (assuming it repeats or resolves to Emin) really emphasizes the E. And if not E Phrygian what key is it in? You critisize the ideas of others, but you offer no constructive ideas.
In that case, I think Em would describe it just fine. There's only one accidental, which the lead line doesn't even use.

I did in fact say that earlier.
Only play what you hear. If you don’t hear anything, don’t play anything.
-Chick Corea
Last edited by food1010 at Jan 6, 2010,
#17
The D minor sounds really out of place. I would guess its in E minor with information given, since resolution to A is not implicated anywhere that I can see. It would help though if you had more to the song.
Quote by UtBDan
this man hits the nail on the head.
#18
I'm working on more. The chords sound good the way I play them with that lead underneath.
I'll pretend I can mod your amp but break it instead.
#19
Just wondering, how are you playing the chords?
Quote by UtBDan
this man hits the nail on the head.
#20
Quote by CHOCOmoney
Why? those chords aren't diatonic at all, and would fit E Phrygian worse than what he wrote.

What am I thinking lol? Sorry I meant to write something like this...

If you want it to sound more like E Phrygian, throw in an FMaj7 and maybe a G7. But like someone else said, modes don't really have progressions, just vamps like Em-FMaj7 repeated, so probably best just to not use modes.
#21
Quote by blueriver
since resolution to A is not implicated anywhere that I can see.
G leads to Am quite well, and it leads to C even better. I say the song is in C major. After your G chord, play C and listen to that nice resolution.

The lead line is not so important when trying to determine the key/scale/mode. In general, that depends on the chords. The lead can fill in anything ambiguous, but there's nothing ambiguous about your progression. It clearly fits into the C major scale.
#22
Quote by bangoodcharlote
G leads to Am quite well, and it leads to C even better. I say the song is in C major. After your G chord, play C and listen to that nice resolution.


That doesn't seem very helpful to me. What if that's not the sound he's going for? What if he doesn't want a nice resolution?
#24
Quote by The4thHorsemen
That doesn't seem very helpful to me. What if that's not the sound he's going for? What if he doesn't want a nice resolution?


Then there's nothing more to tell him. His chords fit into C major and A minor, and it really depends on where he wants to take it, with a resolution. Its not modal, and it could be either of those depending on where the rest of the song goes. We can't account for every sound he wants. What if those just happen to be a couple of outside chords in any other random key? What if he wants modulations?
#25
Quote by isaac_bandits
Then there's nothing more to tell him. His chords fit into C major and A minor, and it really depends on where he wants to take it, with a resolution. Its not modal, and it could be either of those depending on where the rest of the song goes. We can't account for every sound he wants. What if those just happen to be a couple of outside chords in any other random key? What if he wants modulations?



My point is that he asked about the key of that selection of chords, not for suggestions. Since this is the case I thought it was kinda foolish to suggest a key whose tonic isn't even in the progression.
#26
Quote by The4thHorsemen
My point is that he asked about the key of that selection of chords, not for suggestions.
In that case my response is: C major. Am works, too, but it isn't as strong.
#29
Quote by food1010
In that case, I think Em would describe it just fine. There's only one accidental, which the lead line doesn't even use.

I did in fact say that earlier.

But why say the F is an accidental, when it is only used in the chord progression and there isn't and F# anywhere to say its in E minor? With lick and the chords given to us, there's no reason to believe it's E minor as opposed to E Phrygian.
And on the seventh day, I said "Go to your room!"


check out my jazz tab and ill gladly do a review of any of your stuff


I play the bass clarinet! How 'bout you? PM me!
#30
Quote by CHOCOmoney
But why say the F is an accidental, when it is only used in the chord progression and there isn't and F# anywhere to say its in E minor? With lick and the chords given to us, there's no reason to believe it's E minor as opposed to E Phrygian.


It's not modal so its not phrygian.
#31
It is in C Major (A Minor, as was mentioned above, doesn't sound nearly as compelling). Do you guys even know your diatonic major key chords? Just because it doesn't start on "C" doesn't mean it isn't in C...the first chord of a progression can be whatever the composer wants.
Quote by Junior#1
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Last edited by plainsight at Jan 7, 2010,
#32
Quote by plainsight
It is in C Major (A Minor, as was mentioned above, doesn't sound nearly as compelling). Do you guys even know your diatonic major key chords? Just because it doesn't start on "C" doesn't mean it isn't in C...the first chord of a progression can be whatever the composer wants.


But if what TS posted is the whole musical piece. Then how does it resolve to C major? Yes, with that G chord it really wants you to resolve to a C chord, but it doesn't. The chords posted resolve best to Amin.
#33
It's almost certainly A minor. You could resolve it to C, of course, but since TS didn't say anything about a C chord, I don't see why you would do that.

It definitely isn't E phrygian.
Last edited by werty22 at Jan 7, 2010,
#34
Quote by isaac_bandits
It's not modal so its not phrygian.


I don't know what makes a song qualify as "modal," and I also haven't picked up a guitar to listen to these chords, but I see no reason you couldn't refer to you're scale as being phrygian. If I write a song with the notes Ab-Bb-C-Db-Eb-F-G that revolves around C, I refer to that as C phrygian whether it is technically modal or not. If I know that my root is C, and I only use Db and never D, then why would I call it minor with an accidental? I'm not arguing, just asking if anyone can explain why this is wrong.

EDIT: According to the thread that the modes sticky links to, you can USE A MODE AS A SCALE. So, if he wanted it to be, there is no reason it couldn't be E phrygian.
Last edited by Macabre_Turtle at Jan 7, 2010,
#35
Just looking at the melody line I'd say E minor, basically since everybody and their dog tends to write in it :shrugs:

Including the chord progression.. I'd have to take a look at what chords first


EDIT: well **** me, it can only be emin with an accidental if you include those chords (Dmin doesn't carry the F#, thats DMaj)
Quote by Demonikk
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Last edited by Slicer666 at Jan 7, 2010,
#36
Quote by Macabre_Turtle
EDIT: According to the thread that the modes sticky links to, you can USE A MODE AS A SCALE. So, if he wanted it to be, there is no reason it couldn't be E phrygian.
True. But scales are not keys. It could be Em with E phrygian scale in the lead line (if it used the F).
Only play what you hear. If you don’t hear anything, don’t play anything.
-Chick Corea
#37
Quote by Macabre_Turtle
I don't know what makes a song qualify as "modal," and I also haven't picked up a guitar to listen to these chords, but I see no reason you couldn't refer to you're scale as being phrygian. If I write a song with the notes Ab-Bb-C-Db-Eb-F-G that revolves around C, I refer to that as C phrygian whether it is technically modal or not. If I know that my root is C, and I only use Db and never D, then why would I call it minor with an accidental? I'm not arguing, just asking if anyone can explain why this is wrong.

EDIT: According to the thread that the modes sticky links to, you can USE A MODE AS A SCALE. So, if he wanted it to be, there is no reason it couldn't be E phrygian.


Maybe you should read the whole modes sticky. It clearly explains what a modal progression is, and this progression is not modal. You can't make a diatonic progression modal with your melody line. You could say he's using an E phrygian scale over the E minor progression, but as the song is not modal (the chords show this), its not modal.
#38
When I play the chords I play Em to Dm, then Am to G. I dunno about the G though...I added some other licks to it, and I use an F# note, so if I use the notes

C D E F# G A B C

it would be C Lydian wouldn't it? I can also change the chords to fit the mode if I have to.

Actual, I would have to change the Dm wouldn't I?
I'll pretend I can mod your amp but break it instead.
Last edited by guitarlord28 at Jan 7, 2010,
#39
Quote by guitarlord28
When I play the chords I play Em to Dm, then Am to G. I dunno about the G though...I added some other licks to it, and I use an F# note, so if I use the notes

C D E F# G A B C

it would be C Lydian wouldn't it? I can also change the chords to fit the mode if I have to
It's not modal.
Only play what you hear. If you don’t hear anything, don’t play anything.
-Chick Corea
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