#1
I've been ****ing around with my guitar and occasionally I'll come across a little riff that I love. I've only recently started using scales as a base to my riffs, instead of only using the notes in the scale. Not sure if this is a good idea but it's allowed me to come up with some riffs I really love. Such as the following:

Up by the 8th fret (with the first major scale shape)
C E A E
D F A>A#<A F

Now my knowledge of music theory is sketchy at best but I'd assume that this was a riff based on the C major scale. Yet I'm also pretty sure it isn't as it sounds pretty depressing when played slowly. I'm at a loss of what chords I could use.

Sorry if this post looks like nonsense or is in the wrong forum section, it's been a while since I played and I've never used these forums before. Danke.
#2
Quote by arsehead
I've been ****ing around with my guitar and occasionally I'll come across a little riff that I love. I've only recently started using scales as a base to my riffs, instead of only using the notes in the scale. Not sure if this is a good idea but it's allowed me to come up with some riffs I really love. Such as the following:

Up by the 8th fret (with the first major scale shape)
C E A E
D F A>A#<A F

Now my knowledge of music theory is sketchy at best but I'd assume that this was a riff based on the C major scale. Yet I'm also pretty sure it isn't as it sounds pretty depressing when played slowly. I'm at a loss of what chords I could use.

Sorry if this post looks like nonsense or is in the wrong forum section, it's been a while since I played and I've never used these forums before. Danke.


A C E are the notes of an A Minor Chord

A Minor is the parallel minor of C Major.

So yes in a way you are playing in C Major, in the sense that you are using the same notes.

The chords you can use are:
C Major, Dm, Em , F Major, G Major, Am, B Diminished.
Last edited by SumFX at Aug 19, 2011,
#3
the C E A E part is implying an Am chord, yes, but that second part, the D F A A# A F part would sound good with a Dm under it (although then I'd respell it as D F A Bb A F I think), especially following an Am. It's because Am is made of an A, a C, and an E, and Dm of a D, an F, and an A
#4
In all honesty you could probably use dozens of chord progressions, in the key of C or not, play whatever the hell sounds good to you man. Record your riff, and put down chords behind it until you find what you want (if you dont have anything to record riffs, even the most simple rig will do, have someone else play the riff and mess around until you find what your looking for)

I will say it probably is in C, However, it looks like it resolves to F (the fourth) which makes total sense. Now you have a raised 6th, my suggestion would maybe play a C (mess around with different C's, like major 7 or whatever you want, who knows), move to D minor when the riff goes to D, then either go to F major or maybe Am then F major then resolve back to C I can almost guarentee will sound good, remember

C dm em F G am bdim for the key of C

EDIT: everyone said what I said first, my bad folks, I'm a slow typer
Last edited by sar8777 at Aug 19, 2011,
#5
Quote by SumFX
A C E are the notes of an A Minor Chord

A Minor is the relative minor of C Major.

So yes in a way you are playing in C Major, in the sense that you are using the same notes.

The chords you can use are:
C Major, Dm, Em , F Major, G Major, Am, B Diminished.

Fix'd
^^The above is a Cryptic Metaphor^^


"To know the truth of history is to realize its ultimate myth and its inevitable ambiguity." Everything is made up and the facts don't matter.


MUSIC THEORY LINK
#6
Quote by rockingamer2
Fix'd


Thats the ticket! I was fumbling for that term but i couldn't remember it.
#7
Quote by theknuckster
(although then I'd respell it as D F A Bb A F I think)


I understand that Bb and A# are the same thing, but I don't really get what you mean by respelling. Does it make a difference as to which I call the note (given that they are one and the same)?
#8
Quote by arsehead
I understand that Bb and A# are the same thing, but I don't really get what you mean by respelling. Does it make a difference as to which I call the note (given that they are one and the same)?


In the long run, yes.

But if your not too bothered going into theory, don't worry.

If you are looking to get into theory have a look at The Crusade articles on UG.
They are worded in an easy way to understand.
#9
Quote by arsehead
I understand that Bb and A# are the same thing, but I don't really get what you mean by respelling. Does it make a difference as to which I call the note (given that they are one and the same)?

It completely depends on the scale.

In music theory, a scale has to contain a note of every name... Ok, not every scale, the pentatonics don't... With no note name repeating.

So, in A major, the notes would be A, B, C#, D, E, F#, G#, then the octave, A.

Ummm.... I forgot where I was going with that...
Understand nothing, in order to learn everything.

Quote by liampje
I can write a coherent tune ... But 3/4? I play rock, not polka.
#10
Quote by arsehead
I understand that Bb and A# are the same thing, but I don't really get what you mean by respelling. Does it make a difference as to which I call the note (given that they are one and the same)?

It makes things simpler in a way. Diatonic scales always have all the letters A B C D E F G with sharps or flats, and no letter is ever twice. If you utilize the circle of fifths for example, going by this rule is essential.
E:-6
B:-0
G:-5
D:-6
A:-0
E:-3
#11
Quote by arsehead
I understand that Bb and A# are the same thing, but I don't really get what you mean by respelling. Does it make a difference as to which I call the note (given that they are one and the same)?



From a theory standpoint it is very important. As a way to communicate a pitch you played, not so much.

When you spell a key you may have only one of each letter. Flats and sharps always appear in the same order if you spell a key.

This order is:

Flats - BEADGCF
Sharps - FCGDAEB

What this means is that if your key has one flat in it that flat is Bb. If it has two then the two flat notes are Bb and Eb, this continues for three, four, etc.

If you have one sharp that sharp is F#, if you have two they are F# and C#, etc.

Because the only accidental that appears in you riff is Bb (the first flat to appear in keys with flats) and because the second line in your riff is more or less a D minor arpeggio, I believe that the key you are most likely playing in is D minor: D E F G A Bb C

How well do you know your 12 keys? I would suggest looking up a lesson about the circle of fourths/fifths for some further reading.
Last edited by Vlasco at Aug 19, 2011,
#12
Quote by arsehead
I understand that Bb and A# are the same thing, but I don't really get what you mean by respelling. Does it make a difference as to which I call the note (given that they are one and the same)?

The sound is the same, but the way we communicate musical ideas require that there is a difference. Here are a few examples of why.

-You can't have and F and an F# in a scale or chord because you are repeating a letter, which can make things messy.

-Also, the letters are attached to different intervals. Take the C major scale. C is the tonic, D is the major second, E is the major third, etc. If you do something to an interval, you use that note. A C half diminished seventh chord has the notes C, Eb, Gb and Bb (1 b3 b5 b7). Now to make it a C fully diminished seventh chord, I have to flat the b7. The note will be the same as a major sixth (A), but to keep things organized and to indicated that the note I changing is the seventh, I double flat the seventh. So a C fully diminished seventh chord is spelled C, Eb, Gb, Bbb (1 b3 b5 bb7). This also happens with sharps (indicated with an x)

-In certain keys, certain notes that aren't normally used have to be used to avoid the "No repeating letters" rule. Example: Key of C# (C# D# E# F# G# A# B#) The E# and B# in most keys are spelled F and C, but that can't be done here.
^^The above is a Cryptic Metaphor^^


"To know the truth of history is to realize its ultimate myth and its inevitable ambiguity." Everything is made up and the facts don't matter.


MUSIC THEORY LINK
Last edited by rockingamer2 at Aug 19, 2011,
#13
Quote by sar8777
In all honesty you could probably use dozens of chord progressions


This is it. Now, your riff simply outlines an Am -> Dm progression, but depending on possible accompaniment/development, it could be any number of things. If you choose Am - Dm, then the only tension coming from the melody is the Bb with the Dm chord and of course the tension stemming from moving away from the tonic in general. You could create more tension by changing the underlying chords, perhaps:

C -> F or Em -> Dm

Using the same riff will create tensions and releases at different points in your melody. Simply outlining chords is safe but often less interesting than trying more aggressive approches. However, going too far out will make it feel disjointed and unrelated. Try out some different chord progressions and see what takes.
Nothing that is worthwhile in life will ever come easy.
#14
The A minor is also the V of the D minor chord, only without the harmonic/melodic modifications one would normally see in the classical realm.