#1
I've read that movement from any chord to any other chord of the same type sounds palatable.

Which is why non-diatonic progressions of major chords (such as Hey Joe: C-G-D-A-E) work.

But how can you improvise over such a progression?

How do you decide what scale to use?

For the example, I think Hendrix soloed in G over "Hey Joe". Why does that work?
#2
Chord tones are the way forward. Try watching this. It's an hour long, but well worth your time.
Quote by dudetheman
So what? I wasted like 5 minutes watching DaddyTwoFoot's avatar.


Metalheads are the worst thing that ever happened to metal.
#3
Quote by illmatic2594
I've read that movement from any chord to any other chord of the same type sounds palatable.
Incorrect. I'll explain later (probably).

Quote by illmatic2594
Which is why non-diatonic progressions of major chords (such as Hey Joe: C-G-D-A-E) work.
Hey Joe works because it is what we like to call a "circle progression" which means it moves in consistent perfect fourths or fifths (fifths in this case), as if you were moving around the circle of fifths. I can explain this in more detail if you would like.

Quote by illmatic2594
But how can you improvise over such a progression?

How do you decide what scale to use?

For the example, I think Hendrix soloed in G over "Hey Joe". Why does that work?
I'll give you a quick breakdown of Hey Joe.

So, the song is in E. Overlooking the fact that it's a circle progression, all of the chords fall into either E minor or E major. In fact, the quintessence of blues is mixing of major and minor elements like that. C is the bVI, G is the bIII, and D is the bVII, which are all common substitutions in a major key, because they're not only borrowed from the parallel minor (E minor in this case), but they also fall rather close to the tonic on the circle of fifths (useful in situations like this circle progression).

You said you think he soloed in G over it. I'm just guessing here, but it's probably actually the E minor scale (the relative minor of G, so it's not a very far-fetched assumption I believe), or more specifically, the E minor pentatonic scale. Playing the minor pentatonic (or, adding that passing tone between the 4 and 5, the blues scale) over a major progression is also a signature of blues.

So, to put two and two together: We have a blues progression in E (with some chords borrowed from the parallel minor, E minor, as well as a bit of a jazz-changes-type thing going on) and we're playing the E minor pentatonic over it. This seems like a perfect equation for a blues song.

Edit: To explain the first thing I said, that "movement from any chord to any other chord of the same type sounds palatable" is not always true:

As a preface, I must say this: Practically any motion between basic chords is palatable through various techniques, but we'll speak in terms of simple harmonic motion.

So, in a major key, we have three diatonic major chords, the I, IV, and V. These all "work well" together. Then we have the three major chords borrowed from the parallel minor, bIII, bVI and bVII. These are also pretty easily manageable in terms of working them into progressions. We then have chord substitutions such as the tritone substitution (bII7) and other substitutions which use chords that are similar to other chords (you can derive all sorts of crazy combinations with this). These crazier substitutions start to get more complex in how they work in your progressions. You have to know what you're doing (or get lucky, or simply be creative) in order to get these to "work." They won't just work automatically if they're the same type of chord.

This leads me into the point that I was heading towards: Certain chords (as they relate to the key) have certain functions. For example, V and viio work as dominants (they lead into the tonic). ii and IV work as predominants (they lead into dominants, generally the V, not the viio). Other chords can be used in different ways (such as secondary dominants as well as simple tension and release).

If you were to examine a chord progression (in C major) that goes C B, for example, you'd be a bit hard pressed to find out how that B is going to work its way in, without any further context. Sure it's a type of chromatic motion (each chord tone moves a half-step downward, yadda yadda), but that alone doesn't make the movement "work." Were you to use the B as a passing tone (er, passing chord?) to a Bb chord, then it works well in doing that. Were you to use it as a secondary dominant to a type of E chord (V/iii or V/III, however that fits in), the it works well in doing that.

I hope you see my point now that it's not about these chords having similar qualities (major/minor/diminished), it's about how the notes in the chords are used to move the piece from one place to another.
Only play what you hear. If you don’t hear anything, don’t play anything.
-Chick Corea
Last edited by food1010 at Jun 27, 2010,
#4
ok so food 1010 you mentioned perfect fifths.... isn't that what some rock does.. make a big use of fifth chords and then not really solo....
i guess how would you solo over fifths .... the same way.?..
i havent' studied anything about the paralle minors and ummm the circle of fifths i have a copy and i understand the adding of sharps and such but not actually how to make a progression out of it.. help??
#5
Quote by food1010
Incorrect. I'll explain later (probably).

Hey Joe works because it is what we like to call a "circle progression" which means it moves in consistent perfect fourths or fifths (fifths in this case), as if you were moving around the circle of fifths. I can explain this in more detail if you would like.

I'll give you a quick breakdown of Hey Joe.

So, the song is in E. Overlooking the fact that it's a circle progression, all of the chords fall into either E minor or E major. In fact, the quintessence of blues is mixing of major and minor elements like that. C is the bVI, G is the bIII, and D is the bVII, which are all common substitutions in a major key, because they're not only borrowed from the parallel minor (E minor in this case), but they also fall rather close to the tonic on the circle of fifths (useful in situations like this circle progression).

You said you think he soloed in G over it. I'm just guessing here, but it's probably actually the E minor scale (the relative minor of G, so it's not a very far-fetched assumption I believe), or more specifically, the E minor pentatonic scale. Playing the minor pentatonic (or, adding that passing tone between the 4 and 5, the blues scale) over a major progression is also a signature of blues.

So, to put two and two together: We have a blues progression in E (with some chords borrowed from the parallel minor, E minor, as well as a bit of a jazz-changes-type thing going on) and we're playing the E minor pentatonic over it. This seems like a perfect equation for a blues song.

Edit: To explain the first thing I said, that "movement from any chord to any other chord of the same type sounds palatable" is not always true:

As a preface, I must say this: Practically any motion between basic chords is palatable through various techniques, but we'll speak in terms of simple harmonic motion.

So, in a major key, we have three diatonic major chords, the I, IV, and V. These all "work well" together. Then we have the three major chords borrowed from the parallel minor, bIII, bVI and bVII. These are also pretty easily manageable in terms of working them into progressions. We then have chord substitutions such as the tritone substitution (bII7) and other substitutions which use chords that are similar to other chords (you can derive all sorts of crazy combinations with this). These crazier substitutions start to get more complex in how they work in your progressions. You have to know what you're doing (or get lucky, or simply be creative) in order to get these to "work." They won't just work automatically if they're the same type of chord.

This leads me into the point that I was heading towards: Certain chords (as they relate to the key) have certain functions. For example, V and viio work as dominants (they lead into the tonic). ii and IV work as predominants (they lead into dominants, generally the V, not the viio). Other chords can be used in different ways (such as secondary dominants as well as simple tension and release).

If you were to examine a chord progression (in C major) that goes C B, for example, you'd be a bit hard pressed to find out how that B is going to work its way in, without any further context. Sure it's a type of chromatic motion (each chord tone moves a half-step downward, yadda yadda), but that alone doesn't make the movement "work." Were you to use the B as a passing tone (er, passing chord?) to a Bb chord, then it works well in doing that. Were you to use it as a secondary dominant to a type of E chord (V/iii or V/III, however that fits in), the it works well in doing that.

I hope you see my point now that it's not about these chords having similar qualities (major/minor/diminished), it's about how the notes in the chords are used to move the piece from one place to another.


I have a question based on what you wrote which is an excelent explanation with awsome fundaments

if hendrix soloed over hey joe with the A minor pentatonic or the C major pentatonic would it sound good?
#6
if hendrix soloed over hey joe with the A minor pentatonic or the C major pentatonic would it sound good?


Why don't you see if you sound good with the C major or A minor Pentatonics over that progression? A much more educational and entertaining experience.
#8
Quote by elihu4321
ok so food 1010 you mentioned perfect fifths.... isn't that what some rock does.. make a big use of fifth chords and then not really solo....
i guess how would you solo over fifths .... the same way.?..
i havent' studied anything about the paralle minors and ummm the circle of fifths i have a copy and i understand the adding of sharps and such but not actually how to make a progression out of it.. help??
I think you're a bit confused. I didn't say anything about "power chords" (5 chords, perfect fifth dyads).

So here's a quick rundown of what a "circle progression" is. Say we're in the key of C (the top of the circle of fifths) and we want to make a progression that moves by perfect fifths (basically what this means is you have one chord and then it moves to the chord built a fifth apart). Start to move clockwise on the circle and that gives you C G D A E, etc. You can choose to go however far you want (although it is advised you don't go too far out of key, as it will likely mess up the tonality of the song, although you could theoretically go all the way around and land back on C). So we'll stop at E since that's not awfully far out of key.

You can also start somewhere on the other side (we'll pick Eb since that might sound kind of cool up against the E) and work your way keep going to get an approach back to the tonic. This will look like Eb Bb F C. This is what "Hey Joe" does, only it's in E, so it starts at C.

Jazz changes use this idea a lot, particularly in the ii V I progression, only this is more like key changes. An example might look a bit like this:

Dm7 G7 Cmaj7 Cmaj7 Cm7 F7 Bbmaj7 Bbmaj7 Bbm7 Eb7 Abmaj7 Abmaj7 and so on. See how it uses the idea of ii V I pivoting on the I chord to switch keys, but also follows the circle of fifths?

That's pretty much it. Nothing to do with "5 chords."

Quote by actaderock
I have a question based on what you wrote which is an excelent explanation with awsome fundaments

if hendrix soloed over hey joe with the A minor pentatonic or the C major pentatonic would it sound good?
Possibly. Although it would have to be altered to fit either the key of A / A minor or C. If you cut the E chord off of the end, the A minor would be perfect since the progression ends up on the A. If you wanted it to be in the key of C, however, you would have to do some modifications (for example, adding a G7 at the end to set the tonality at C). The problem with using these chords in the key of C is they retrogress away from C and progress towards E. If you were to reverse the progression, it would then retrogress away from E and progress towards C.
Only play what you hear. If you don’t hear anything, don’t play anything.
-Chick Corea
Last edited by food1010 at Jun 28, 2010,
#9
ok yea got it food1010 thanks for clearing up the circle problem up.