#1
As a bassist, one thing that has never been explained to me is how chords can belong to a certain scale.

For example, A guitarist is playing a I-IV-VI-V progression in Em. I know that the sub dominant of the Em scale is A, the dominant B and the minor 6th C, but how is it determined whether these chords are minor or major? I've been doing this by trial and error up to now and it would be cool to get it explained to me clearly.

Secondly, following on from that, how do you know what scale or mode to play over a certain chord? I'd assume it comes from certain qualities within the chord, but what qualities? I'm bored of playing triads and notes within chords and want to expand my playing to include greater usage of counter-melodies using scales. I know my scales and my modes, I just never know which one to use.
#2
How can say you "know scales and modes" and throw around terms liks subdominant and dominant, yet not know one of the fundamentals of western music which is how a chord progression is derived from the major scale?

Learn how to harmonise the major scale by stacking thirds.
Actually called Mark!

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#3
Quote by steven seagull
How can say you "know scales and modes" and throw around terms liks subdominant and dominant, yet not know one of the fundamentals of western music which is how a chord progression is derived from the major scale?

Learn how to harmonise the major scale by stacking thirds.


Because i've taught myself by ear and not by reading books. Thanks for the tip.
#4
^^^Then you don't know anything.^^^

Honestly, you need to go back to the basics. Go Google Harmonized major scales, (and trust me, you don't know scales and modes) and that's the first most important place to start. Don't shortchange your learning - I would start by learning everything I could about diatonic harmony and the harmonized major scale, and the formula/order that each chord type occurs, as they are the same for every Major Scale.

Best,

Sean
#5
Quote by Sean0913
^^^Then you don't know anything.^^^

Honestly, you need to go back to the basics. Go Google Harmonized major scales, (and trust me, you don't know scales and modes) and that's the first most important place to start. Don't shortchange your learning - I would start by learning everything I could about diatonic harmony and the harmonized major scale, and the formula/order that each chord type occurs, as they are the same for every Major Scale.

Best,

Sean


Once again, cheers for your help. Having read about this now i'm already slapping myself and wondering why I didn't know this.
#6
It's all good man, at least you can start out on the right foot. In the past I saw a site called, zentao...or something that did a good job for expressing this idea for those I've been mentoring. So if you see that site in your Google's I'd give it a good look.

Good luck man...if we can help, feel free to come back and post - you are a class act. Respect.

Best,

Sean
#7
Quote by Sean0913
It's all good man, at least you can start out on the right foot. In the past I saw a site called, zentao...or something that did a good job for expressing this idea for those I've been mentoring. So if you see that site in your Google's I'd give it a good look.

Good luck man...if we can help, feel free to come back and post - you are a class act. Respect.

Best,

Sean


Cheers man. I've found a site that explains it in a way that I can get along with.

In answer to my own question at the start, A guitarist playing a I-IV-VI-V progression in Em would be playing Em-Am-C-Bm?
#8
A minor key is a bit different, in that it can refer to progressions based off the Natural Minor, Melodic Minor and Harmonic minor scales.

The first part of my response, concerns your use of upper case roman numerals.

People commonly expect those to mean Major. Lower case, many times indicate the chord type is minor.

Second, a i iv VI v would be the chords you indicated.

As I said the use of progressions based upon Harmonic and Melodic minor are fairly common also.

Best,

Sean
#9
Quote by Hammerzeit
Because i've taught myself by ear and not by reading books. Thanks for the tip.

Have a watch of this, it'll complement a lot of the stuff that Sean is talking about

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hTUXKWnHH-g
Actually called Mark!

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

...it's a seagull

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i wanna see a clip of a recto buying some groceries.


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#11
It may well have been me linking it

I was lucky enough to catch it on telly a few years ago but I don't think it's been repeated since - really deserves a DVD release.
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
#12
Quote by steven seagull
Have a watch of this, it'll complement a lot of the stuff that Sean is talking about

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hTUXKWnHH-g


Just watched it. That was brilliant. I think i've seen other parts of that series before but not the one on Harmony.

His explanation of Aug and Dim chords was very good. As I understand it, augmentation of major triads involves raising the dominant by half a step, so 1-3-5#. Whereas with the diminished, the tonic is raised so 1#-3-5? Correct me if i've misunderstood it?

Quote by Sean0913

As I said the use of progressions based upon Harmonic and Melodic minor are fairly common also.


I guess those are used as stable scales in rock, especially the harmonic minor in metal. Do these have "formulas" of sorts as well like with Major scales where no matter what note the dominant of the scale is, the pattern of triads is the same?
#13
You get the Augmented triad from the Melodic or haronic Minor scale.

Over C harmonic Minor G B Db occur over the V chord -- though you will often see B7, the really cool cats use G augmented in there when moving to the Cmin7 (check out Goodbye Porkpie Hat by Mingus to hear a great example of this -- originally in F minor he puts a C augmented arpeggio in the 6th measure ... very coooool)

The diminished triad occurs naturally as the vii chord of the harmonized major scale.
#14
um i just listened to the music in your sig, what exactly are you doing? sitting in the background? cos it sounds like something that someone who doesn't know whether a chord should be major or minor would have a hard time writing?
#15
Quote by gavk
um i just listened to the music in your sig, what exactly are you doing? sitting in the background? cos it sounds like something that someone who doesn't know whether a chord should be major or minor would have a hard time writing?


I play bass and write the lyrics. I did the melodies in the verse in Bmin in Memento too. I don't contribute massively to the chordal stuff as our keys player is classically trained so it gets left to him, but the guitarist and I get to write our parts. You'd be right in saying that I have nothing to do with the sus13 chord and the neopolitan 6th in Memento.

The chords aren't my problem in that band. We don't have a drummer and I can do a bit of that so I have a say in the arrangement and programming of that. The parts of "memento" I wrote are the riff in E Minor at 33 seconds in and all of my bassline (solo inclusive but that's just a run down the Emin scale - doesn't take a genius) for which I got given the root chord for. In "I Await The Day" I wrote the main verse riffs and all lyrics. In both cases, it just sort of came out. We're a band. We write as a collaborative unit. I can't take sole credit for either song song. A lot of our stuff is VERY keys driven which neither I nor the guitarist have anything to do with. The heavier it is, the more influence I tend to have had.

Like I said. I have learnt to play bass by jamming with other people and not out of the book. Hence why my chops are decent but my absolutely dreadful knowledge of chordal theory. I'm now going back to the book and learning what I should have done about 3 years ago. I hope you can appreciate that.
Last edited by Hammerzeit at May 16, 2011,
#16
Chords are formed from scales.

E.g. you have an E minor chord. The 3 notes in theat chord are E G and B
These notes are taken from the E minor scale.

E F# G A B C D
1 2 3 4 5 6 7

You just take the first note [E], the third [G] and the fifth
Got it?

To answer your question about finding out if a chord is major of minor...

A triad has 3 notes. Let's use Am as an example.
A C E
A is the tonic and E is the dominant. This does not change between major and minor scales

What determines if a chord is maj or min is the THIRD.
A C E
--^--
C is the third [3rd note of the scale]
The C in Am is a MINOR THIRD, making it a MINOR CHORD. It is 3 semitones [3 frets] away from the tonic [A]

Another example.

D F# A
F# is four semitones away from D, making the interval a major 3rd. This makes it a major chords.


Next question...you wanna know what scales to play over chords?
Let's use an example.

Find out what chords there are in the progression and what key they are in.
E.g. Em, Bm, C, Am

This chord progression is in E minor.
Use the E minor scale
Woffelz

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