#1
Yesterday I was messing around on my guitar with a Buckethead riff that goes like this

E - 0 2 6~~~~ 2 0
a - 2 4 8~~~~ 4 2
d - 2 4 8~~~~ 4 2
g
b
e

My first question is... what key is that riff in? E minor?

Second question. Last night, I was thinking the riff was some mix between E natural minor and E pentatonic minor with the 'blues' note. I was playing the riff, and then jamming in E minor pentatonic and repeat. It was sounding pretty sweet. Then I decided to play the same riff, but then jam in A minor pentatonic. In A minor, it sounded totally different. I was shocked. I would play the exact same thing in A minor as in E minor, but it would sound so powerful.

Why does it sound so different and so epic in A minor although the riff seems to be in E minor?

Please explain.
#2
1. it looks like its the key of Em, because of the Bb5 chord inbetween there.
2. the difference is because Am is revolving around a complete different set of notes than Em, so when you play the same thing in a different key, you get a completely different sound. this is a good example of using modes (A Aeolian in Em).
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#3
If I understand correctly you've discovered modes?
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#4
Thanks for your responses. You really spelled it out simply as to why it is E minor. I get that now.

I discovered modes a while back but it didn't occur to me that this is simply playing in a different mode.

Thank you!

Any more input is appreciated although I don't really know that any more can be given.
#5
Remember that the low E goes on the bottom when notating it.

You actually are soloing out of key. There are no modes involved. In Em, if you were so start the scale on A, you would get A Dorian. But you are not soloing in A Dorian (even though you wouldn't be anyway), you're soloing in Am, which has nothing to do with Em.

I think the reason it sounds good is because you're using Am pentatonic, which is a much safer scale to solo in, because there are less notes that are all at least two half-steps away from each other.
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Last edited by rockingamer2 at Jun 5, 2010,
#6
Quote by rockingamer2
Remember that the low E goes on the bottom when notating it.

You actually are soloing out of key. There are no modes involved. In Em, if you were so start the scale on A, you would get A Dorian. But you are not soloing in A Dorian (even though you wouldn't be anyway), you're soloing in Am, which has nothing to do with Em.

I think the reason it sounds good is because you're using Am pentatonic, which is a much safer scale to solo in, because there are less notes that are all at least two half-steps away from each other.


Interesting and correct in my opinion. The A minor and E minor scales have only one note difference between them, and the A minor pentatonic actually shares all it's notes with the E minor.
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#7
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If I understand correctly you've discovered modes?
Uh, no? If you were using modes, then it would be A dorian, not A natural minor. A natural minor is not a mode of E natural minor (well, G major).

Unless of course you're talking about, instead of A natural minor, E phrygian. If so, I can see how there would be that phrygian color to it with the F natural instead of the F#. I would hardly call it modal though, so it wouldn't be a modulation, it would just incorporate accidentals.
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#8
Quote by rockingamer2
Remember that the low E goes on the bottom when notating it.

You actually are soloing out of key. There are no modes involved. In Em, if you were so start the scale on A, you would get A Dorian. But you are not soloing in A Dorian (even though you wouldn't be anyway), you're soloing in Am, which has nothing to do with Em.

I think the reason it sounds good is because you're using Am pentatonic, which is a much safer scale to solo in, because there are less notes that are all at least two half-steps away from each other.


Okay, I read this a few times and understand what you're saying.

I can understand why the Am pentatonic sounds good but why, in my opinion anyway, does it sound even better than the Em pentatonic?

I've never experienced a solo sounding better when playing out of key than in the 'correct' key.
Last edited by Ion.ModeSix at Jun 5, 2010,
#9
Quote by Ion.ModeSix
Okay, I read this a few times and understand what you're saying.

I can understand why the Am pentatonic sounds good but why, in my opinion anyway, does it sound even better than the Em pentatonic?

I've never experienced a solo sounding better when playing out of key than in the 'correct' key.
It probably sounds better than the Em pentatonic to you because it uses some more colorful notes compared to the chord progression. Instead of using E G A B D, you use A C D E G. In relation to E, instead of 1 b3 4 5 b7, you have 4 b6 b7 1 b3. Rearranged that's 1 b3 4 b6 b7. Basically the same as the E minor pentatonic except instead of a 5, you have a b6. This actually makes a lot of sense in context of the chord progression, because the 5 will clash with the b5 in the third chord (Bb5), but the b6 won't really, particularly if you only use it as a passing tone.

You know what else would sound good, is if you would add that Bb note in there over that Bb5 chord. It'll put a bit more harmonic stability to it. You could even add the F to it, but I wouldn't worry so much about that since 5ths don't really have that much inherent harmonic color to them.

Quote by Ion.ModeSix
I've never experienced a solo sounding better when playing out of key than in the 'correct' key.
See the thing is, it's not really out of key. All of the notes occur in the E natural minor scale (so no accidentals), and it even includes the 1 and b3 in E minor (E and G), the two notes that single-handedly define the key's minor color.

Just think of it as an altered E minor pentatonic, or better yet just an alternate pentatonic derived from the E natural minor scale, which utilizes the b6 instead of the 5.
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Last edited by food1010 at Jun 5, 2010,
#10
Quote by AlanHB
Interesting and correct in my opinion. The A minor and E minor scales have only one note difference between them, and the A minor pentatonic actually shares all it's notes with the E minor.


bingo. no modes involved here.
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#11
I really appreciate all your help and I believe I understand what you're telling me. It's actually quite simple.

Thanks a lot, folks
#12
Well, something that no one said yet, and that I think is important, is that the progression isn't strictly in E minor. The power chords used are E5, F#5 and Bb5. So let's break them down into their individual notes:

E5: E - belongs to the scale; B - belongs to the scale
Obvious and totally expectable so far.

F#5: F# - belongs; C# - doesn't belong
So, the root of the chord belongs to the scale, but its perfect fifth does not. If you've looked at chord/scale relationships, you'll know that the chord corresponding to the 2nd is diminished, thus containing a diminished fifth (it would be C in this case). But as a diminished chord will sound good only very occasionally, the power chord is sometimes used instead (for instance, in grunge or thrash metal). So it's still likely on E minor.

But then...
Bb5: Bb - doesn't belong; F - doesn't belong
Besides, E-Bb is a diminished fifth, and E-F is a minor second. Two of the most dissonant intervals of all (if not actually the most dissonant). The "creepiness" of this chord makes it usable in a minor context sometimes, especially in a heavy/fast song -- it's a widely used (and sometimes abused) resource in metal.

So, while it's not strictly in E minor, you can solo to it using a scale based on E minor, but with the necessary adjustments. Like someone already said, when that Bb5 comes up, you should stay away from the B natural on the scale and play a Bb or an F. You'll be going beyond the scale but conforming to the chord tones.
Last edited by sickman411 at Jun 7, 2010,
#13
if we treat them as chords in harmonic progression. Em: i Am:iv

in minor iv chord uses change quite a bit.. (im listening to Lamb of God right now) im my experience with Piano music and harmonic analysis the iv chord usually tends to be inverted
voiced :C E A 1st and more commonly E A C 2nd.. bass note stays the same and look at the voices in comparison
E G B
E A C ... makes it alot easier to move eh?
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