#1
Hey, so I'm working on a song based in C# minor and for the second half of the chorus I want to use a progression of E major-D# major-D major-C# minor (has kind of a bluesy sound to it). I want to throw in a guitar melody over top of it but I don't know whether or not to stick to the key signature since the D# has two notes not in C# minor (G and A#). So trying to keep the melody in C# minor is creating some ugly minor 2nd intervals, but changing the key mid-melody sounds awkward. What would you guys recommend I do?
#2
You can either use the key you said, but maybe sneakily strategically target notes which don't sound "off" when you're playing over the non-diatonic chord (or avoid the ones which do). Or you can just target chord tones throughout. or the even simpler version which is if it sounds right, it is.
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#3
generally speaking, use the key you're in, accounting for the accidentals in the chords you're using (e.g. targeting chord tones).

and while you may be playing the enharmonic equivalent of a G, the third in a D# major chord is an Fx.
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#4
Quote by Dave_Mc
You can either use the key you said, but maybe sneakily strategically target notes which don't sound "off" when you're playing over the non-diatonic chord (or avoid the ones which do). Or you can just target chord tones throughout. or the even simpler version which is if it sounds right, it is.


Quote by AeolianWolf
generally speaking, use the key you're in, accounting for the accidentals in the chords you're using (e.g. targeting chord tones).

and while you may be playing the enharmonic equivalent of a G, the third in a D# major chord is an Fx.


Sounds good, I'll try working those notes into the melody I have so far! And I know the G is actually a double sharped F, I just put G to avoid any possible confusion.
#5
TS you are thinking backwards. This is your question:

TS asked "what key do I use if I have....

Quote by GuerillaGorilla
a song based in C# minor and for the second half of the chorus I want to use a progression of E major-D# major-D major-C# minor (has kind of a bluesy sound to it).


The answer is that you don't "use" any key. You look at the chords to find what key it's in. Your question should be "what key is the chord progression E major-D# major-D major-C# minor. If it matters the rest of the song is in C# minor".

The point is that the chords have already predetermined the key, and you can't do anything to change that (apart from changing the chords).

The answer really is "depends on where it resolves", because that is what determines the key. However it's also likely that the entire thing is in the key of C# minor if that's what the rest of the song is in. In keys you can play any note or chord, diatonic or not.

If your actual question is "how do I solo over this?", it's been addressed in the posts above. You use accidentals to accommodate for chord tones. I'd personally write something that sounds cool over it and stick with that, so that I don't have to risk making sounds I don't like if I have to improv over the passage.
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#6
Quote by AlanHB
TS you are thinking backwards. This is your question:

TS asked "what key do I use if I have....


The answer is that you don't "use" any key. You look at the chords to find what key it's in. Your question should be "what key is the chord progression E major-D# major-D major-C# minor. If it matters the rest of the song is in C# minor".

The point is that the chords have already predetermined the key, and you can't do anything to change that (apart from changing the chords).

The answer really is "depends on where it resolves", because that is what determines the key. However it's also likely that the entire thing is in the key of C# minor if that's what the rest of the song is in. In keys you can play any note or chord, diatonic or not.

If your actual question is "how do I solo over this?", it's been addressed in the posts above. You use accidentals to accommodate for chord tones. I'd personally write something that sounds cool over it and stick with that, so that I don't have to risk making sounds I don't like if I have to improv over the passage.


Trust me, I know that the chord progression determines the key, the problem is is that I'm using three chords that are just shifted chromatically down the neck and as a result creating a lot of accidentals. So I guess my titled should actually be phrased "should I stay in key for this melody" instead. I just don't have a lot of experience using chords that aren't diatonic beyond your basic V chord in a minor key as a result of making the 7th degree sharp.

And I'm definitely not asking how to solo over this, I'm trying to write an actual melody.
#7
As long as you understand and know how to get there. Thats what matters.
Other poeple can rack thier brains out trying to figure out what you played.lol

If it sounds good it sounds good. Yeap the double # or flat are rather rediculous
just to tell you to play a note.

I was watching Pual Gilbert decribe a chord he was using...
C7add 9, b11,#13....Oki doki, at least I know what he's talking about.haha
#9
Don't think about the key. Use the notes that are in the chord you're playing over when you're playing over it.
#10
Quote by GuerillaGorilla
And I'm definitely not asking how to solo over this, I'm trying to write an actual melody.


It's still the same answer. Use accidentals to accomodate for out-of-key notes.
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#11
Quote by cdgraves
You should use whatever notes are in the non-diatonic chords.


I'd say this. Shoot for notes that are in the chords you're playing over, then go back to playing in key after that part is over.
#12
Quote by GuerillaGorilla
Trust me, I know that the chord progression determines the key, the problem is is that I'm using three chords that are just shifted chromatically down the neck and as a result creating a lot of accidentals. So I guess my titled should actually be phrased "should I stay in key for this melody" instead. I just don't have a lot of experience using chords that aren't diatonic beyond your basic V chord in a minor key as a result of making the 7th degree sharp.

And I'm definitely not asking how to solo over this, I'm trying to write an actual melody.

Using a lot of accidentals doesn't really matter, so long as it sounds good to you. Though, you can rewrite your progression as E Major - Eb Major - D Major - C#mi if you want to avoid the double sharps and such.
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#13
If you aren't sticking to traditional tonal harmony, I don't think that thinking with a key to chord relationship is very helpful. Rather, think of the chord tones as collections in which you can grab notes that don't sound 'off'.
#14
Quote by GuerillaGorilla
And I'm definitely not asking how to solo over this, I'm trying to write an actual melody.


if you're not 100% sure how to write a melody over a few non-diatonic chords, i'm not 100% sure you'd be able to solo over them. the principles are exactly the same.
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#15
You could always use your ears and pick notes that sound good over those chords. Just a thought.
#16
Quote by GuitarMunky
You could always use your ears and pick notes that sound good over those chords. Just a thought.


Crazy!

You don't compose a melody with pen and paper, or with note names. You compose it with your ears and your brain - thinking in SOUNDS.

eg, not "Well, the melody could go F#-D#-E-C#" but rather, "Doo dee do do doop"
#17
Loop the progression and sing a melody over it that you like and then play that on the guitar
#18
Quote by HotspurJr
Crazy!

You don't compose a melody with pen and paper, or with note names. You compose it with your ears and your brain - thinking in SOUNDS.

eg, not "Well, the melody could go F#-D#-E-C#" but rather, "Doo dee do do doop"

Exactly!

Although, there's nothing wrong with writing down a few options on paper and then playing them (and possibly embellishing or simplifying, as needed). I do that a lot myself. But the key is...I'm actually using my ears to see which melody that I like best and which fits the song best (in many ways, the latter is more important, imho). I generally use chord tones as the basis for the melody, btw.

But music involves your ears; use them!
Last edited by crazysam23_Atax at Feb 7, 2014,
#19
Quote by AlanHB
TS you are thinking backwards. This is your question:

TS asked "what key do I use if I have....


The answer is that you don't "use" any key. You look at the chords to find what key it's in. Your question should be "what key is the chord progression E major-D# major-D major-C# minor. If it matters the rest of the song is in C# minor".

The point is that the chords have already predetermined the key, and you can't do anything to change that (apart from changing the chords).

The answer really is "depends on where it resolves", because that is what determines the key. However it's also likely that the entire thing is in the key of C# minor if that's what the rest of the song is in. In keys you can play any note or chord, diatonic or not.

If your actual question is "how do I solo over this?", it's been addressed in the posts above. You use accidentals to accommodate for chord tones. I'd personally write something that sounds cool over it and stick with that, so that I don't have to risk making sounds I don't like if I have to improv over the passage.


yeah

Quote by crazysam23_Atax

But music involves your ears; use them!


+1
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Quote by K33nbl4d3
I'll have to put the Classic T models on my to-try list. Shame the finish options there are Anachronism Gold, Nuclear Waste and Aged Clown, because in principle the plaintop is right up my alley.

Quote by K33nbl4d3
Presumably because the CCF (Combined Corksniffing Forces) of MLP and Gibson forums would rise up against them, plunging the land into war.

Quote by T00DEEPBLUE
Et tu, br00tz?
#20
I get what you guys are saying, it's just that I wouldn't have made this thread if I was able to make it sound good to my ears on my own, I had been trying to get something sounded good to my ears for a while now. I just wanted to hear what input you all had to give on a topic I'm not well versed in and if you had any advice I could apply to make what I have sound better. I mean, that's what this board is about, discussing music theory.
#21
Quote by GuerillaGorilla
I mean, that's what this board is about, discussing music theory.


which is useless if you can't actually hear the things that are being discussed. it's kind of like joining a painting forum and discussing the color periwinkle without being able to see it.

while it's true that music theory leaves a lot to be discussed, the endgame is not just to understand it, but to be able to apply it. without being able to hear it, all application will be minimized, if not completely ineffective.

write some melodies using the chord progression you have, and pay particular attention to consciously internalizing the sounds. that will improve your skills in this concept.
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#22
I am no expert, but play in C#m and instead of the D chord, make it a Dadd9.
Then play in F#m while on the Dadd9 chord. Just an idea... Dunno if it's gonna sound good
#23
Quote by GuerillaGorilla
I get what you guys are saying, it's just that I wouldn't have made this thread if I was able to make it sound good to my ears on my own, I had been trying to get something sounded good to my ears for a while now. I just wanted to hear what input you all had to give on a topic I'm not well versed in and if you had any advice I could apply to make what I have sound better. I mean, that's what this board is about, discussing music theory.


Until you can hear a theoretical concept in practice, you don't "know it." Heck, I'm of the opinion that one of the primary purposes of theory is as a tool to isolate concepts so that you can learn how to hear them. (eg, think of how hard it would be to figure out what a V7-I is if we didn't have the concepts of a V7 and I, which don't exist without the concept of the major scale, etc. But if you know that a V7-I is a thing, then you can play a whole bunch of types of it - B7-E, D7-G, G7-C, etc and start to understand the fundamental sound of that cadence.)

But - and it's a little hard to tell from this post - when you say you have trouble "mak(ing) it sound good to your ears" - you might be going about this the wrong way. You might be moving your fingers around on the fretboard and listening to see if you like what you come up with. This is very common, but it's backwards. I call it "playing by finger."

Instead, you want to listen to the sounds inside your head, until you hear a note in your head that you want to hear with your ears, and then you play it.

This is very hard to do unless you have a well-developed ear. eg, if you can't hear a melody that I play, and quickly play it on your guitar, then you're going to struggle with the melodies you hear in your head and finding them on the guitar.

This is why the first step towards being able to compose songs is developing your ear.

Ear training is not well taught because a lot of people don't need to do it. Particularly if you learned an instrument young, there's a good chance your ear developed without a lot of specific on it. Those of us who came to the guitar as adults, however, have to make it a thing: transcribe melodies, use the functional ear trainer, etc.