#1
Hello, the way I write music is I would come up with something and then figure what key its in to use it as a guide to develop the song.

So, I came up with this, pretty simple: https://soundcloud.com/mikauve/electric-guitar-clean

Chords are: A, G, Bm, Em

My first guess was "Its on A" but then I figured G major chord wasnt in that key... so it must be another one. My second guess would be Em key but it doesnt seem to be a prominent chord on that progression so... I don't know.

Can someone explain whats going on here?
#2
You could look at this progression as being in the key of G.
The Bm is the III chord, and the Em is the relative minor. (VI chord)
The A chord would naturally occur as a minor, however,
it is fairly common to sometimes make a naturally occuring minor chord
such as the II chord (in this case A) into a major chord. Lots
of songs with major II chords.
III chord is also often altered to major as well. Think of Creep by Radiohead.
It uses a major 3 chord and a minor IV chord.

Sittin on the Dock of the Bay also uses a major/dominant 3 chord.

You could say this progression is in the key of D. G and A are IV and V chords.
Emin is the II chord, and Bmin is the VI chord.

Theoreticaly, you could say its in any number of keys. Its all a matter of how you
see it.
Remember, the music came first. The theory is only there for communication.
Dont get to caught up in the theory. Theory does not equal music.
Last edited by toddkreuz at May 26, 2013,
#3
It sounds like it's in D major. All of the chords are in the key of d major, with Bm the vi m, Em the ii m, A the V, and G the IV. Just play along and if you play a D chord at the end it sounds like it's resolved. But remember you can have chords that are outside the key, and still be in the key eg. You can have a D A C G progression and still have it in D major

You don't need to get too caught up in theory like toddkreuz said. Just play what sounds right.
#5
This is kind of strange...To me it really sounds like it's in D major even though there are no D major chords. It just kind of feels like the last chord should be D.

But having a G major chord in an A major song is usual. You can use non-diatonic chords. The key is only about where your progression resolves to. If it resolved to A, it would be in A even if you used lots of non-diatonic chords. And IMO this resolves to D. And I think that's because you play that long G-A thing. It feels like IV-V in the key of D.

Try playing D major after that progression. IMO it feels like the key center here.

TS, just don't worry about it. You can use non-diatonic chords and stuff. You can even modulate. You don't need to stay in one key throughout the song. So when you continue writing the song, just try to hear a part that would fit after this part. Maybe a key change sounds right (many times it sounds better than staying in one key all the time but not all songs need a key change - only do key change when it sounds right to do it). Just write what you hear, don't let any "rules" control your writing because there are no rules. It's just limiting to think that you only have seven possible notes and chords that you can use in this song. No there aren't! There are 12 different notes that you can use. Don't limit yourself.
Quote by AlanHB
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Gear

Bach Stradivarius 37G
Charvel So Cal
Fender Dimension Bass
Hartke HyDrive 210c
Ibanez BL70
Laney VC30
Tokai TB48
Yamaha FG720S-12
Yamaha P115
Last edited by MaggaraMarine at May 25, 2013,
#6
Thanks guys, the reason i wanted to know the key is that no chords seem to fit for the chorus the way i want it to (this would be verse) but i already got the vocal melody in my mind so ill try to transpose it to actual notes and see if i get inspired enough to find how to continue
#7
Quote by frusciante.ve
Thanks guys, the reason i wanted to know the key is that no chords seem to fit for the chorus the way i want it to (this would be verse) but i already got the vocal melody in my mind so ill try to transpose it to actual notes and see if i get inspired enough to find how to continue

So you have the vocal melody for chorus? Just write chords behind it and transpose it to the key that sounds the best. It doesn't have to be in the same key as the verse.
Quote by AlanHB
Just remember that there are no boring scales, just boring players.

Gear

Bach Stradivarius 37G
Charvel So Cal
Fender Dimension Bass
Hartke HyDrive 210c
Ibanez BL70
Laney VC30
Tokai TB48
Yamaha FG720S-12
Yamaha P115
#9
It's in A, using the mixolydian scale (major scale with a b7).

Quote by Tim-Blink182
It sounds like it's in D major.

Can't be in D if there's no D chord or cadences that reference a D tonality.
#10
Quote by cdgraves
It's in A, using the mixolydian scale (major scale with a b7).


Can't be in D if there's no D chord or cadences that reference a D tonality.

You are kind of right but the last G-A strumming kind of suggests that the next chord should be D. It just sounds like that to me. Otherwise it doesn't sound like D major that much but the last G-A thing makes it sound like D major. It kind of wants to resolve to D major even though there are no D chords. But yeah, if the whole song doesn't have any D chords, it can't really be in D. But remember that this is just one part of the song.
Quote by AlanHB
Just remember that there are no boring scales, just boring players.

Gear

Bach Stradivarius 37G
Charvel So Cal
Fender Dimension Bass
Hartke HyDrive 210c
Ibanez BL70
Laney VC30
Tokai TB48
Yamaha FG720S-12
Yamaha P115
#11
Quote by cdgraves
It's in A, using the mixolydian scale (major scale with a b7).


Can't be in D if there's no D chord or cadences that reference a D tonality.


^

i can definitely see how it's pulling everybody to wanting that D in there, though. it'd be very easy to sit back into D major for a chorus by way of the dominant
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#12
Im having a hard time trying to figure out what are the notes in my head but i can sing them! (maybe not in tune but enough to give an idea of what im trying to do) so if anyone wants to help me with that let me know
#13
Quote by frusciante.ve
Im having a hard time trying to figure out what are the notes in my head but i can sing them! (maybe not in tune but enough to give an idea of what im trying to do) so if anyone wants to help me with that let me know

Record your singing and then find the notes on the fretboard. Sing it slowly first and figure out every note. Just try to find the notes on your fretboard.

It helps a lot if you learn intervals.
Quote by AlanHB
Just remember that there are no boring scales, just boring players.

Gear

Bach Stradivarius 37G
Charvel So Cal
Fender Dimension Bass
Hartke HyDrive 210c
Ibanez BL70
Laney VC30
Tokai TB48
Yamaha FG720S-12
Yamaha P115
#15
Quote by cdgraves

Can't be in D if there's no D chord or cadences that reference a D tonality.


The only requirement is that the song resolves to D major. I dont think you need a specific cadence or the chord to be played for a song to resolve there.

Another song where this occurs (although you'll probably disagree) is Katy Perry's "Last Friday Night" which resolves to F# even though it's never played.
And no, Guitar Hero will not help. Even on expert. Really.
Soundcloud
#16
Quote by AlanHB
The only requirement is that the song resolves to D major. I dont think you need a specific cadence or the chord to be played for a song to resolve there.

Another song where this occurs (although you'll probably disagree) is Katy Perry's "Last Friday Night" which resolves to F# even though it's never played.

I don't know if that song really resolves to F#. I don't hear it resolving to F#. It sounds more like D# minor to me.
Quote by AlanHB
Just remember that there are no boring scales, just boring players.

Gear

Bach Stradivarius 37G
Charvel So Cal
Fender Dimension Bass
Hartke HyDrive 210c
Ibanez BL70
Laney VC30
Tokai TB48
Yamaha FG720S-12
Yamaha P115
#17
Quote by AlanHB
The only requirement is that the song resolves to D major. I dont think you need a specific cadence or the chord to be played for a song to resolve there.

Another song where this occurs (although you'll probably disagree) is Katy Perry's "Last Friday Night" which resolves to F# even though it's never played.


Well when the TS posts the part of the song that resolves to D, we can re-evaluate. The song doesn't resolve to D unless it actually resolves to D.

I think the C# in "Last Friday Night" is an unresolved V/V.
#18
I think the "Music theory" answer here would be A Mixolydian. Assuming that Em resolves back to A, this would create a "non-dominant" authentic cadence that corresponds with A Mixo. But, there are plenty of possibilities to write in D major tonalities.

Really, it depends on what the TS is looking for in the song. Adding in D major somewhere would certainly give it a stronger tonal center.
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#19
Quote by MaggaraMarine
I don't know if that song really resolves to F#. I don't hear it resolving to F#. It sounds more like D# minor to me.


Yeah it just sounds like a major song to me. There's a number of Katy Perry songs that have quite clever chord progressions (runs for the hills).
And no, Guitar Hero will not help. Even on expert. Really.
Soundcloud
#20
Quote by Angusman60
I think the "Music theory" answer here would be A Mixolydian. Assuming that Em resolves back to A, this would create a "non-dominant" authentic cadence that corresponds with A Mixo. But, there are plenty of possibilities to write in D major tonalities.

Really, it depends on what the TS is looking for in the song. Adding in D major somewhere would certainly give it a stronger tonal center.


just because it harmonizes to the A mixo scale doesn't mean the key has anything to do with A mixo. it's just A major
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