#1
E|-----------------------------------------------
B|----------------------------------13------14v--
G|--------------14--13---------------------------
D|----------13----------16--14--13------14-------
A|------15---------------------------------------
E|--16-------------------------------------------


I was messing around on my guitar earlier when I came up with this little bit. Sorry if it seems like a dumb question, but when I sharpened the C note at the end it made this feel resolved. So I guess my question is what kind of scale am I using here? Why does that accidental at the end seem to resolve so well with it?
#2
Good ear! You've come across a very traditional resolution, and it's a sign your ears are already tuned in to some of the important sounds you'll use in music.

But first, those are arpeggios, not a scale. A scale is linear. Those notes may all fit in the same sale, but that's because "scale" is a very broad category. Arpeggios are just chords played on note at a time, so they imply Harmony directly, just as chords would.

The important questions here are 1) What chords do these arpeggios spell out?, and 2) What Key are you in?

Answers:
1) The chords are G#7 and C# minor (it's OK if you don't know what those mean yet)

Why? Interestingly, G#7 is spelled out by all but the very last note. G#7 is spelled G#, B#, D#, F#; and you have those notes clearly.

The first three notes "16 15 13" are G#, B#, and D#.

The next 5 notes "14 13 16 14 13" are just moving down the C# minor scale

The next two notes, skipping strings "13 14" imply a G#7 with an altered note in the chord (D##).

And the last note is the C#, the root of the scale, which is exactly the resolution your expects.

2) Because of this very clear resolution to C#, the key is C# minor. You know it's minor because of the notes E and A, which belong to the C# minor scale: C# D# E F# G# A B C#.
-------------

I suggest now looking up the basic Major Scale and Minor Scale formulas, and start working with those. As you get familiar with them, you'll start hearing other familiar sounds.
#3
(cdgraves with the quick fingers beat me to it. :cool

tab out the notes man...

G# C D# A G# F# E D# C E C#

Then put them in order (any order) so you can see the notes and intervals...
G# A C C# D# E F#

Note: there are two different notes that use the letter C but we don't have any kind of B at all. Ideally we want to use all the letter names if we can so we can rename C by it's enharmonic B#.
G# A B# C# D# E F#

Comparing it to a normal major scale the sharps go in the order of F C G D A E...etc (circle of fifths). Here we have the F C G and D notes sharp which would suggest an E major or C#m scale if it weren't for that B#.

B# in E major would be pretty odd. However, B# in C# minor would be a major seventh (leading tone) which is the C# harmonic minor scale.

You already noted that you feel it resolves to that final C#. You just need to start looking at the "C" note as B# instead.

If you do then you will see the first three notes G# B# D# form a G major arpeggio. Then there is scalar run down from A (A G# F# E D#) that final D# is part of a major sixth shape (D# to B# = major sixth) which is followed immediately by another major sixth (E to C#).

That major sixth interval that finishes the lick is an inversion of a minor third interval.

If we take the B# and make it the lower of the two notes then we have B# D# -> a minor third built off the leading tone (suggesting a vii chord) which leads immediately to a C# E minor third which would be the minor tonic chord.

So yeah, short answer - C# harmonic minor. Even simpler answer - you're in the key of C# minor.

I've just taken a longer way to try to show why the B# is functioning as a B# not a C. I tried to show that it is a third above G# and a major sixth above D# and a major seventh against the tonic C#.

If we called it C then it would would have to call it a diminished fourth above the G#, a diminished seventh above D#, or a flat tonic - none of which are ideal.

So B# is the note, not C.
Si
#4
Quote by 20Tigers
You just need to start looking at the "C" note as B# instead.


So B# is the note, not C.

Why
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I love to have my vag pounded by guys who make lame threads on the internet!


Quote by snipelfritz
This thread topic is gold. I've been on this website for 8 years and I've never come up with anything like this. So yeah. Great job TS[457undead].
#5
Quote by 457undead
Why

We already have C#; it's custom to not have two notes designated as "C". So, we leave C# and call C "B#".
#6
Quote by 457undead
Why
Knowing when to use enharmonic naming is a matter of context. In this context (C#m) the note is a B#. The rest of my post explained why you would call it B# instead of C. Is there anything in that specifically that you didn't understand?

Regardless here's a quick recap...

1. Ideally we would use all seven letters when naming the notes of a scale. Here we had two C notes (C and C#) and no B. So calling the C a B# gives us a different letter for note.

2. The rest of the notes and that it resolves to C# indicates that it would in the key of C#m. C#m usually has a B as a minor seventh scale degree. The minor seventh is often raised to a Major seventh when used as a leading tone. Thus a B raised a semitone is a B#. It's a major seventh, a leading tone, not a flat tonic.

3. A major triad is a root third and fifth. A third above some kind of G is ALWAYS some kind of B. Thus if we have G# then a third above that is B#. So as part of a major G# chord then the note is B#. C would be a diminished fourth above G#, we want a major third.

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Also: cdgraves is spot on with his interpretation of the G#7 chord which is what this lick would suggest, a G#7 leading into a Cm tonic. Textbook harmonic minor.
Si
#7
Thanks a lot for your input guys.

It was that B# that threw me off from figuring out the key. Going from C to C# sounded so smooth and resolved perfectly, but theoretically didn't make sense to me. But all of your responses cleared things up. Thanks so much guys.