Ok, I know my Major Scale and keys and Intervals. What I am curious about however, is when you can subsitute X chord for Y chord. I know when you're playing Diatonic intervals, you use the I ii iii IV V vi vii formula. What about when you have say, a Major 7 chord, or some other random chord that you wanna throw in there. Would you just simply go with the rule "If it sounds good, it is good?" or is there more to it then that? Does it relate to modes?

* In response to the 4 posts below this *

So Facet, would the substitution idea work with say, 6th chords, or other random chords as well, as long as they are the same root note? I guess I'm just interested in alteration of chords in a certain key to alter the flux of the piece a little bit.

Wiegenlied - you pretty much lost me. I've yet to see those terms used in theory before.

I have a few other questions, and instead of making another thread I'll just throw them in here if you don't mind. I've color coded them to make it easier to answer, if anybody wants to

When composing a riff, is that riff usually in key with the rest of the song? Is it common practice to write rhythm around a riff? I'm just curious as to how this works. I'm just thinking of the song Wind Cries Mary by Hendrix, where he goes from an Eb power chord to an E to an F (the intro), I'm just curious if this makes sense theory wise.

Also, I'm interested in chord tones and intervals in scales other then the major scale. I know you play in thirds on the major scale to hit all the chord tones. How would this relate (or does it) to say, the minor pentatonic? If you're in position 1 of the key of A, and you play in thirds, you get A, D, G, then C E A, then DGC. Are these chord tones, or am I looking at it wrong?

Further more, to go with my own playing. I'm interested in theory and have been trying to learn a lot about it, I know all the chord shapes (well a ton anyway) all over the guitar, know my major scale and minor pentatonic. I'm working on technique and rhythm daily, but I'm struggling into putting this altogether and creating music. What's the next step for me?

One more for now. This is position 1 arpeggio shape for a Maj 7. What does this mean exactly? If the Maj 7 chord was being played, would you use this shape to arpeggio over that chord being played in the background? He mentions thus: "Note that the bracketed letter is the CAGED shape that the arpeggio is derived from. Make sure you practice playing the related chord, then the arpeggio and then the chord again - you should try and build a relationship between the two things (the chord and the arpeggio)." Is he saying to play the Maj 7 chord, then play the arpeggio, then the Maj 7 chord again? I guess I'm a little confused because I don't understand how to make a chord out of that picture, so I'm safe in assuming that those are just the notes you'd use whilst playing OVER that chord?

"Originally Posted by campbmic
Also, does it matter which scale I use over my chord progressions? For instance, if I use the chords in the key of D minor to make a chord progressions can I use the D minor pentatonic scale, D minor diatonic, melodic, etc etc? Or would I have to change up the chord progression?

Good question too. Now we consider that a progression is made of chords, which are created in turn by notes of the parent scale. This means that if you play this scale over the chords created by it, it should sound good.

And it does, thankfully. If a song is in the key of x major or y minor, you will always use the x major or y minor scales over the chord progression. Sometimes you will have to accommodate for accidentals if a chord is out of key, but only over that chord. The majority of the time you will keep to just one scale over all the chords, and that's the scale related to the parent key of the song, the same one that all the chords are derived from."

I like the original posters question, but the response wasn't really clear to me. The original poster was basically asking if you could use the D minor pentatonic to solo over chords from the D minor scale. Personally, I don't think you can, maybe I'm wrong? This begs the question, how do you create chords from say, the minor Pentatonic scale, or even the major scale? I guess I have the major scale down, but I'm failing to understand how it all relates to other scales!

And one more, what exactly makes a 7 chord? I play a lot of finger style blues where E7, D7, A7 are used a ton, but I look up the notes being used and it doesn't exactly pertain to the 1,3,5,7b formula. Take for example the blues shuffle pattern people often learn. You're playing what I've seen labeled the E7, open E string, play the 5th string 2nd fret (B) then you play the 4th fret (C#) The chunka chunka pattern, I hope you know what I'm referring too. The notes in an E7 are E - G# - B - D. What am I missing here?

Thanks for bearing with me, I appreciate the help.
Last edited by pevsfreedom at Aug 21, 2010,
No relation to modes.

You can construct the diatonic seventh chords. Just add another third to the top of the triad. I typed up the 7th chord info in this thread:

As long as the chord is the same quality as the diatonic ones, it will be no problem. If we're in Eb and we want to substitute the Gm for a Gm7, you shouldn't have any problems. I feel that extended chords sound smoother when used in the context of other extended chords however.

for seventh chords it goes:
Maj7, Min7, Min7, Maj7, 7 (aka dominant 7), Min 7, half diminished 7.

If you're substituting a chord that isn't diatonic to the key, it's a different matter however. Depends on the context, function of the chord in the key, and what you're trying to accomplish (Ie: making it more interesting vs modulation. The 'if it sounds good' is always a good thing to follow. Unless you're composing to strict guidelines but that's beside the point.
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Last edited by FacetOfChaos at Aug 21, 2010,
Quote by pevsfreedom
Would you just simply go with the rule "If it sounds good, it is good?"

I would. Theory is only a small part of music enjoyment.

And as far as I know, no relation to modes.
Q: Favourite Pink Floyd song?
A: The one where they get wicked high and play Emin and A for an hour.
well if you do stick to modes (mainly the arpeggio) and change as the chords change then they wil probably sound better

but is not a must
Quote by pevsfreedom
Ok, I know my Major Scale and keys and Intervals. What I am curious about however, is when you can subsitute X chord for Y chord. I know when you're playing Diatonic intervals, you use the I ii iii IV V vi vii formula. What about when you have say, a Major 7 chord, or some other random chord that you wanna throw in there. Would you just simply go with the rule "If it sounds good, it is good?" or is there more to it then that? Does it relate to modes?

1 - Tonic
2 - Supertonic
3 - Mediant
4 - Sub-dominant
5 - Dominant
6 - Sub-mediant

In basic terms you can replace the tonic with the mediant or sub-mediant, the sub-dominant with supertonic, submediant, and the dominant with the mediant, leading tone.

Diatonically the major 7 chord fits on the 1st or 4th degree. If you consider the extension of adding the natural seventh substituting the sub-mediant for the sub-dominant would make sense because that note is already in the chord. For example in the key of C, replace Am [ A C E ] with Fmaj7 [ F A C E ] would work because three notes are the same, while the supertonic Dm [ D F A ] would only have two. Same would go for a Cmaj7 [ C G E B ] and an Em [ E G B ]
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Quote by pevsfreedom
Ok, I know my Major Scale and keys and Intervals. What I am curious about however, is when you can subsitute X chord for Y chord. I know when you're playing Diatonic intervals, you use the I ii iii IV V vi vii formula. What about when you have say, a Major 7 chord, or some other random chord that you wanna throw in there. Would you just simply go with the rule "If it sounds good, it is good?" or is there more to it then that? Does it relate to modes?
Well, a maj7 chord could be diatonic too. If you understand how to harmonize the major scale, you know that a major key contains Imaj7 ii7 iii7 IVmaj7 V7 vi7 viiø. So, you have a major seventh chord over the tonic and the subdominant. Now, when you have non-diatonic chords, such as a Vmaj7 or something like that, you're basically going to want to alter your major scale to compensate for the accidentals. In this case, the natural 7 of the dominant is a #4 in relation to the tonic (compared to the b7 from V7 which is a natural 4 in relation to the tonic). That's pretty much just a basis, but that gives you some options to work with.

No, it does not relate to modes in any way.

Quote by pevsfreedom
* In response to the 4 posts below this *

So Facet, would the substitution idea work with say, 6th chords, or other random chords as well, as long as they are the same root note? I guess I'm just interested in alteration of chords in a certain key to alter the flux of the piece a little bit.
Pretty much. Until you get pretty good with substitutions I'd just stick to diatonic substitutions (if you were to harmonize the major scale with 6th chords you would get I6 ii6 iii(b6) IV6 V6 vi(b6) vii6(b5) (not sure how that last one would be notated)

Quote by pevsfreedom
Wiegenlied - you pretty much lost me. I've yet to see those terms used in theory before.
They're the terms for scale degrees (and the chords built on them).

Quote by pevsfreedom
I have a few other questions, and instead of making another thread I'll just throw them in here if you don't mind. I've color coded them to make it easier to answer, if anybody wants to

When composing a riff, is that riff usually in key with the rest of the song? Is it common practice to write rhythm around a riff? I'm just curious as to how this works. I'm just thinking of the song Wind Cries Mary by Hendrix, where he goes from an Eb power chord to an E to an F (the intro), I'm just curious if this makes sense theory wise.
Generally you write based on a specific scale, but it's also common practice to use notes that are out of key.

In the case of The Wind Cries Mary, the theory behind it is basically just half-steps walking up, pretty simple.

Quote by pevsfreedom
Also, I'm interested in chord tones and intervals in scales other then the major scale. I know you play in thirds on the major scale to hit all the chord tones. How would this relate (or does it) to say, the minor pentatonic? If you're in position 1 of the key of A, and you play in thirds, you get A, D, G, then C E A, then DGC. Are these chord tones, or am I looking at it wrong?
You don't harmonize pentatonic scales. I guess you can, but it's all related to the major or minor scale. It doesn't work for pentatonics because if you take every other note, they aren't necessarily thirds. For example, if you take A D G those are fourths. That's a Dsus4 chord.

Quote by pevsfreedom
Further more, to go with my own playing. I'm interested in theory and have been trying to learn a lot about it, I know all the chord shapes (well a ton anyway) all over the guitar, know my major scale and minor pentatonic. I'm working on technique and rhythm daily, but I'm struggling into putting this altogether and creating music. What's the next step for me?
Well you can always look at how other music already uses theory. That should help you apply the theory you know.

Quote by pevsfreedom
One more for now. This is position 1 arpeggio shape for a Maj 7. What does this mean exactly?
It's the notes that the chord contains.

Quote by pevsfreedom
If the Maj 7 chord was being played, would you use this shape to arpeggio over that chord being played in the background?
You could. It's more just to show you what notes it contains.

Quote by pevsfreedom
He mentions thus: "Note that the bracketed letter is the CAGED shape that the arpeggio is derived from. Make sure you practice playing the related chord, then the arpeggio and then the chord again - you should try and build a relationship between the two things (the chord and the arpeggio)." Is he saying to play the Maj 7 chord, then play the arpeggio, then the Maj 7 chord again? I guess I'm a little confused because I don't understand how to make a chord out of that picture, so I'm safe in assuming that those are just the notes you'd use whilst playing OVER that chord?
They are the notes of the chords. You can use them to make a voicing of the chord, and you can also use them to make a fingering for an arpeggio of the chord.

Quote by pevsfreedom
I like the original posters question, but the response wasn't really clear to me. The original poster was basically asking if you could use the D minor pentatonic to solo over chords from the D minor scale. Personally, I don't think you can, maybe I'm wrong? This begs the question, how do you create chords from say, the minor Pentatonic scale, or even the major scale? I guess I have the major scale down, but I'm failing to understand how it all relates to other scales!
I think you're misunderstanding what the pentatonic scales are. I'll give you a quick rundown.

Basically the two scales that most tonal music is based off of are the major scale (1 2 3 4 5 6 7) and the natural minor scale (1 2 b3 4 5 b6 b7). Although the pentatonics existed before the heptatonic scales I mentioned, you can look at the pentatonics as derived from the heptatonic scales, as that's how they function in modern music. As you may know, diatonic scales contain two pairs of notes a half-step apart, which can be a little harder to make sound good in a melodic context than whole-steps. What pentatonic scales do is they eliminate two notes from the heptatonic scales in order to get rid of those half-steps. In the major scale, it eliminates the 4 and the 7, and in the natural minor scale it eliminates the 2 and the b6 (which are actually the same pair of notes when you compare the relative scales).