i got one of those books with self-tests and answer keys to help me learn, and i just can't figure out why what i got wrong is wrong.

1. write a vii diminished (1st inversion) triad in the key of b minor

A

E flat
C

the book says the right answer is:

A sharp

E
C sharp

I'm pretty damn confused, because there's no A sharp in the key of b minor. so if the root of the triad is A, why the **** would it be sharp?
A vii diminished doesn't fit into B minor diatonically, because if you're staying completely diatonic then the key of B minor would have a bVII. The root note of a VII or vii chord will always be a major 7th above the tonic, even if you're in a minor key.

Basically, whether or not something fits in the key doesn't matter with the roman numeral notation, just take it for what it is.
Last edited by The4thHorsemen at Apr 17, 2014,
Perhaps someone will correct me, but maybe:

1. The book is referring to the 7th degree in comparison to the major scale instead of the minor.

or

2. The triad is being derived from the harmonic minor scale, rather than the natural minor.
And no, Guitar Hero will not help. Even on expert. Really.
Soundcloud
The roman numeral thing is the same as with the integer way of naming intervals. It always relates to the major scale.

A vii dim in B minor is the same as a vii dim in B major
Quote by progdude93
1. write a vii diminished (1st inversion) triad in the key of b minor

A
E flat
C

the book says the right answer is:
A sharp
E
C sharp
???

Here's my logic, but my theory isn't the best
(I'm thinking maybe it's trick a question?)

ie: Key is B minor! and B Minor Key = D Major Key

I Bminor
ii C Sharp Diminished
III D Major... etc

...and the Seventh chord of D Major Key is:
C Sharp Diminished

Although as for the "inversion thing" i'm as confused as you are?

Good luck!
Quote by Jet Penguin
The Locrian mode is not real.
Last edited by tonibet72 at Apr 17, 2014,
Thanks a lot guys! Super helpful stuff

Quote by The4thHorsemen
A vii diminished doesn't fit into B minor diatonically, because if you're staying completely diatonic then the key of B minor would have a bVII. The root note of a VII or vii chord will always be a major 7th above the tonic, even if you're in a minor key.

Basically, whether or not something fits in the key doesn't matter with the roman numeral notation, just take it for what it is.

do any of the 1-6 chords work the same way? eg, is the root note of a 5 chord always a major 5th above the tonic?
Oh my ****ing God.
When writing chords in a minor key you use the harmonic minor, as in the seventh is raised, therefore it does have an A sharp. You don't do chord analysis using the natural minor because without the leading tone (the raised seventh in minor) there will be no tendency toward resolution (leading tones always resolve up by half step). The raised seventh also acts as the third of a V chord, making it so the dominant (the chord with the strongest pull toward resolution) remains major. Harmonic minor=Harmony.
You will almost never find a bVII in music, as it is enharmonically equivalent to V in the relative major, and has a strong pull to resolve to III. It is most often used as an applied chord to tonicize III, and would be analyzed as a V/III (read V of III). Brahms used it a lot because had an ungodly boner for third relations and would modulate to V through III in a lot of his sonatas.
Well, there's no such thing as a major 5th, that would be a perfect 5th, but yea, you've got the right idea. Like with intervals 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 indicates the degrees of the major scale and 1 2 b3 4 5 6 b7 is the minor scale, it's the same with chords. I ii iii IV V vi vii dim are the diatonic chords of a major key, whereas i ii dim bIII iv v VI bVII are the diatonic chords of a minor key.

1 = tonic
b2 = minor second
2 = major second
b3 = minor third
3 = major third
4 = perfect fourth
#4 = augmented fourth
b5 = diminished fifth (#4 and b5 are enharmonic)
5 = perfect fifth
b6 = minor sixth
6 = major sixth
b7 = minor seventh
7 = major seventh

The same thing applies to chords, but you use roman numerals and such (it seems you know how the major, minor, augmented, and diminished chords work so I won't trouble myself trying to explain it.
Quote by rob904
Oh my ****ing God.
When writing chords in a minor key you use the harmonic minor, as in the seventh is raised, therefore it does have an A sharp. You don't do chord analysis using the natural minor because without the leading tone (the raised seventh in minor) there will be no tendency toward resolution (leading tones always resolve up by half step). The raised seventh also acts as the third of a V chord, making it so the dominant (the chord with the strongest pull toward resolution) remains major. Harmonic minor=Harmony.
You will almost never find a bVII in music, as it is enharmonically equivalent to V in the relative major, and has a strong pull to resolve to III. It is most often used as an applied chord to tonicize III, and would be analyzed as a V/III (read V of III). Brahms used it a lot because had an ungodly boner for third relations and would modulate to V through III in a lot of his sonatas.

Oh look, it's the music police telling me what chords I can and can't play. Look dude, theory isn't meant to tell you how to do things, it's to describe things that are being done.

It doesn't have an A# because you use harmonic minor, it has an A# because it's a vii diminished chord and A# is the major 7th of B
Last edited by The4thHorsemen at Apr 17, 2014,
Quote by The4thHorsemen
Well, there's no such thing as a major 5th, that would be a perfect 5th, but yea, you've got the right idea. Like with intervals 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 indicates the degrees of the major scale and 1 2 b3 4 5 6 b7 is the minor scale, it's the same with chords. I ii iii IV V vi vii dim are the diatonic chords of a major key, whereas i ii dim bIII iv v VI bVII are the diatonic chords of a minor key.

Diatonic means that the notes fall within the tonal system (as in major/minor, not modal, not atonal) what you have provided is a roman numeral analysis of the aeolian mode. In analysis of tonal music the harmonic minor is used as the basis of the analysis. You would indicate that your analysis is in minor and then treat every scale degree as if it had been unaltered. A proper analysis would be something more like: i ii dim III (the seventh is not raised only on the III chord to avoid an augmented triad) iv V (raised seventh changing the quality to major) VI vii dim (the seventh is raised to change the quality to diminished)

A minor v chord will generally only appear mid phrase as a result of voice leading, or as a pivot chord during a modulation.
Quote by The4thHorsemen
Oh look, it's the music police telling me what chords I can and can't play. Look dude, theory isn't meant to tell you how to do things, it's to describe things that are being done.

It doesn't have an A# because you use harmonic minor, it has an A# because it's a vii diminished chord and A# is the major 7th of B

He's using b minor.
Quote by tonibet72
B Minor Key = D Major Key

This is incorrect.

The key of B minor is a minor key that resolves to B.

The key of D major is a major key that resolves to D.

They happen to share the same notes, but they're very different to eachother.
And no, Guitar Hero will not help. Even on expert. Really.
Soundcloud

Quote by AlanHB

2. The triad is being derived from the harmonic minor scale, rather than the natural minor.

Anything other than this that was posted in this thread is complete garbage nonsense. Like literally everything. EDIT: Actually ^ that's legit too.

When you're doing exercises like this you'll be listing chords from the harmonic minor scale.
I don't know what music theory is.

Quote by The4thHorsemen
Well, there's no such thing as a major 5th, that would be a perfect 5th

lol good call. i guess that's what happens when i'm running on caffeine fumes..

Quote by The4thHorsemen
but yea, you've got the right idea. Like with intervals 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 indicates the degrees of the major scale and 1 2 b3 4 5 6 b7 is the minor scale, it's the same with chords. I ii iii IV V vi vii dim are the diatonic chords of a major key, whereas i ii dim bIII iv v VI bVII are the diatonic chords of a minor key.

1 = tonic
b2 = minor second
2 = major second
b3 = minor third
3 = major third
4 = perfect fourth
#4 = augmented fourth
b5 = diminished fifth (#4 and b5 are enharmonic)
5 = perfect fifth
b6 = minor sixth
6 = major sixth
b7 = minor seventh
7 = major seventh

The same thing applies to chords, but you use roman numerals and such (it seems you know how the major, minor, augmented, and diminished chords work so I won't trouble myself trying to explain it.

so, just to make sure i'm clear, let's beat this dead horse into oblivion.

let's pick the 3 chord for simplicity. it's iii in a major key, III in a minor key. so in the major key, the root note is always a major third above the tonic, while in the minor key, the root is a always minor third above the tonic?

edit: dammit i lack the knowledge to tell who's right and who's not.

are you guys saying that WHENEVER i construct a chord from a minor key i should use the harmonic minor and not the natural minor?
Last edited by progdude93 at Apr 17, 2014,
Quote by progdude93
lol good call. i guess that's what happens when i'm running on caffeine fumes..

so, just to make sure i'm clear, let's beat this dead horse into oblivion.

let's pick the 3 chord for simplicity. it's iii in a major key, III in a minor key. so in the major key, the root note is always a major third above the tonic, while in the minor key, the root is a always minor third above the tonic?

edit: dammit i lack the knowledge to tell who's right and who's not.

are you guys saying that WHENEVER i construct a chord from a minor key i should use the harmonic minor and not the natural minor?

You are correct about the distance of the chord from the root.
And no, not whenever you're constructing a chord in the minor key, only when doing theory exercises. When you're composing do what you want.
^No not always, but for these kinds of exercises by rote, that's probably what you're meant to do.

Here's the list of roman numerals for major and minor.

Major: I ii iii IV V vi viidim
In C major: CM Dm Em FM GM Am Bdim

Minor (harmonic): i iidim III+ iv V VI viidim
In A minor: Am Bdim Caug Dm EM FM G#dim
I don't know what music theory is.

Quote by rob904
stuff

It doesn't matter if the key is minor or major. In B major or minor 7 indicates A# and b7 indicates A, same with chord names. How else would you label chords that don't fit into the key? Say you use a D# chord in a song that's in B minor? Labeling it #III wouldn't make any sense because that makes you think "Augmented 3rd? Wtf?"
Last edited by The4thHorsemen at Apr 17, 2014,
Quote by AlanHB
This is incorrect.
The key of B minor is a minor key that resolves to B.
The key of D major is a major key that resolves to D.
They happen to share the same notes, but they're very different to eachother.
Yeah cool, IDK... i'm kinda getting that from the4thhorseman and Robs rally for service.
This relative Major things a bit of a new one on me,
but point taken DMaj and Bmin (due to resolution) are 2 different things.

Coool!!!
Quote by Jet Penguin
The Locrian mode is not real.
Hm, I've seen enough posts by jazz_rock_feel to know that he knows more than me, but that just does not make sense to me because of the reasons I said above. I don't think that III should mean a chord built off of the b3.

also, wtf? Caug is not a diatonic chord of A minor.
Quote by The4thHorsemen
Hm, I've seen enough posts by jazz_rock_feel to know that he knows more than me, but that just does not make sense to me because of the reasons I said above. I don't think that III should mean a chord built off of the b3.

also, wtf? Caug is not a diatonic chord of A minor.

Capital or lowercase refer to the quality of the chord, not its relation to the tonic.

EDIT: And Caug is totally not in a minor, the III chord in minor is the only place you dont raise the seventh
Last edited by rob904 at Apr 17, 2014,
Quote by jazz_rock_feel
^No not always, but for these kinds of exercises by rote, that's probably what you're meant to do.

Here's the list of roman numerals for major and minor.

Major: I ii iii IV V vi viidim
In C major: CM Dm Em FM GM Am Bdim

Minor (harmonic): i iidim III+ iv V VI viidim
In A minor: Am Bdim Caug Dm EM FM G#dim
Just while you're at it... please, tell me something... these guys are discussing BMajor/Bminor... you've now come in with C Major/A minor???

Care to clarify (ie: in keeping with their BMaj/Bmin thing?)

i'm now confused again???
Quote by Jet Penguin
The Locrian mode is not real.
Quote by tonibet72
Just while you're at it... please, tell me something... these guys are discussing BMajor/Bminor... you've now come in with C Major/A minor???

Care to clarify (ie: in keeping with their BMaj/Bmin thing?)

i'm now confused again???

C major and A minor are related because they have the same key signature; however, A minor will include a G# (the raised seventh) that will not be in the key signature, so it will be altered in the score.
Quote by rob904
Capital or lowercase refer to the quality of the chord, not its relation to the tonic.

Yea, but I was talking about in a minor key. Sorry, I should have clarified. I'm just saying that it doesn't make sense for III in B minor to mean D and iii in B major to mean D#m, because what if you used a D#m in a B minor song?
Quote by The4thHorsemen
Yea, but I was talking about in a minor key. Sorry, I should have clarified. I'm just saying that it doesn't make sense for III in B minor to mean D and iii in B major to mean D#m, because what if you used a D#m in a B minor song?

Then you do it exactly how you wrote it, #III, if a chord is augmented there will be a plus sign superscript after the chord rather than before
Quote by rob904
C major and A minor are related because they have the same key signature; however, A minor will include a G# (the raised seventh) that will not be in the key signature, so it will be altered in the score.
C Major and A minor share same Key Signature and G# altered in the score... I get that, but you and the4thhorseman seem to be discussing B Major/B minor as if C Major to C minor... not C Major to A minor... 2 different things yeah?
Quote by Jet Penguin
The Locrian mode is not real.
Quote by The4thHorsemen
Hm, I've seen enough posts by jazz_rock_feel to know that he knows more than me, but that just does not make sense to me because of the reasons I said above. I don't think that III should mean a chord built off of the b3.

This is why the ultimate master race way of notating roman numerals is all uppercase. VII means any chord built off of the note a seventh above the tonic, regardless of the quality or alterations to the chord. Soooo much simpler/better. But anyway...

The roman numerals indicate a chord built on that scale degree. In a minor key that means III is built of of b3. If the third is altered you could indicate #III or bIII (or be like the master race and just indicate III and let people figure out what should be obvious for themselves).

Quote by The4thHorsemen
also, wtf? Caug is not a diatonic chord of A minor.

Neither is E major or G# diminished. We're building chords off of the harmonic minor scale. Granted, you will see the III chord without the raised third, but very often (probably more often than not) for these kinds of exercises the III will be augmented.

Quote by tonibet72
Just while you're at it... please, tell me something... these guys are discussing BMajor/Bminor... you've now come in with C Major/A minor???

Care to clarify (ie: in keeping with their BMaj/Bmin thing?)

i'm now confused again???

Oh sorry, I was just using the simplest keys for that sake of speed.

The roman numerals stay the same, but for each the chords are:

``````B major: BM C#m D#m EM F#M G#m A#dim
B minor: Bm C#dim Daug Em F#M G#M A#dim``````
I don't know what music theory is.

Wow, that really does not make sense. I think about everything in intervals because it's all relative, and #III just screams"WTF! THAT'S A PERFECT 4TH!" I don't see the point in adding the unnecessary complexity of having different rules then the normal intervals.
Quote by The4thHorsemen
Wow, that really does not make sense. I think about everything in intervals because it's all relative, and #III just screams"WTF! THAT'S A PERFECT 4TH!" I don't see the point in adding the unnecessary complexity of having different rules then the normal intervals.

It's not intervals. When you're talking about roman numerals you're starting to talk about chord function so everything is relative to the tonic and the mode (meaning major/minor, mode is the only word I know of used to refer to them both inclusively so deal with it).
I don't know what music theory is.

Quote by The4thHorsemen
Wow, #III just screams"WTF! THAT'S A PERFECT 4TH!"

I remember Pebber Brown yabbering about the "Augmented 3rd" chord, and said although rare, technically correct...???
Quote by Jet Penguin
The Locrian mode is not real.
Came in this thread wayyyy late and didn't see the answer in the first three or so posts and didn't read the rest so excuse me if this repeats what's already been said. The old rules in the Royal Conservatory's book was to use the harmonic minor scale for chords (harmony) in minor keys. Harmonic minor is natural minor with raised 7th degree so B minor would be two sharps, F# and C#, plus A# when working with chords. Hope that helped or at least reinforced what's already been said. Good luck
Quote by jazz_rock_feel
It's not intervals. When you're talking about roman numerals you're starting to talk about chord function so everything is relative to the tonic and the mode (meaning major/minor, mode is the only word I know of used to refer to them both inclusively so deal with it).

I don't know, I feel like it would be more useful to not have to know whether the song or section is major or minor beforehand and just know from the chords being used which it is, since that's how we analyze actual chords. Then again, I guess that adds one extra step. It just seems like it makes more sense the way I was saying if you have any non-diatonic chords, but I do see your point.

Edit: yup, in case TS is confused, apparently I was wrong and P_Trik just summed up the correct way nicely.

Doubledit: Also, I still feel like my way is perfectly fine and makes sense, but apparently it's not the standard way of doing things and therefore wrong.
Last edited by The4thHorsemen at Apr 17, 2014,
Quote by The4thHorsemen

Doubledit: Also, I still feel like my way is perfectly fine and makes sense, but apparently it's not the standard way of doing things and therefore wrong.

Such passive aggressiveness. Do whatever you like, as long as you know that pretty much everyone else does it my way.
I don't know what music theory is.

Quote by jazz_rock_feel
Such passive aggressiveness. Do whatever you like, as long as you know that pretty much everyone else does it my way.

lol, yup, that's me

And yea, I'm glad this came up, because I really did think that was the correct way and now I know better.
^you're welcome

yeah there are a lot of things that aren't the standard way of doing things that can bite you in the ass

for example, the way i figure out how to write the key signature is that, for sharps, you go until the sharp that is a note below the desired key sig. so if you're trying to write the key sig for B#maj, there's F C G D A. for flats, the second to last one you write is the key. So if you're trying to write the key sig for Bbmaj, it's B E. and to turn that to minor, subtract three sharps or add three flats. and while that will usually work, it will sometimes fail. like for B minor.

also, thanks P_trik, that was very succinct and easily digested by a novice such as myself

but i'd like more clarification on this:

let's pick the 3 chord for simplicity. it's iii in a major key, III in a minor key. so in the major key, the root note is always a major third above the tonic, while in the minor key, the root is always a minor third above the tonic? and for a 4 in the major key is a major fourth from the root, and vice versa?
Quote by progdude93
but i'd like more clarification on this:

let's pick the 3 chord for simplicity. it's iii in a major key, III in a minor key. so in the major key, the root note is always a major third above the tonic, while in the minor key, the root is always a minor third above the tonic?

Yup

Quote by progdude93
and for a 4 in the major key is a major fourth from the root, and vice versa?

Um, there's no such thing as a major or minor fourth. There's a perfect fourth in both major and minor keys.
ugh i've made that same mistake twice now. i neeeeeeed sleeeeeeep

seriously though, thanks a LOT for all your help.

thank you horseman
thank you P_trik
thank you jazzrockfeel
thank you rob
thank you alan
thank you tonibet
Oh, also, apologies to rob. I was so sure I was right