#1
Hi all - the song I am trying to figure out is Broken Bell's Holding on For life. The verse seems to be in the Bm key, with a I-VI-VII progression (Bm - G - A). But at the end of the verse is a small bridge that goes Em - F#, but it should be an F# minor there if it is indeed in the key of B minor, thus a IV - V in the bridge.

What exactly are the composers doing here? Modulation? If so, to what key in the bridge and with what technique (i.e. just making a major out of the V in the original key?)

Reason I ask is because I love the feeling that F# major gives, as opposed to an F# minor there, and I want to incorporate the progression into my songwriting.

The tab is here:

http://tabs.ultimate-guitar.com/b/broken_bells/holding_on_for_life_crd_1431374id_11112013date.htm

Regards.
Last edited by proXy124c41 at Jan 2, 2015,
#2
The key is still B minor. The F# major is derived from the harmonic minor, rather than the natural minor.

It's extremely common, and the strongest cadence there is.
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#3
In a natural minor scale, the 5th chord is naturally a minor chord. Bumping the 3rd up half a step in the 5th chord from a minor to a major triad makes the 5th chord a major chord. That note is just a half step from the tonic, allowing you to resolve the tension in the chord easily just by sliding up to the tonic note. So from F# (A#) to B minor (B).

I'd milk that like a cow. Super common, but powerful. It somewhat mimics what a natural major scale can do, with the 5th chord becoming suspended into the tonic chord. However, when implementing the natural minor scale, you can keep the darkness of a minor chord while utilizing that grinding tension and release.
#4
its just melodic minor man, you can raise the 6th and 7th notes of the minor scale at will (and use them in Chord construction) allowing for more pull when you want it, examples: Greensleeves, carol of the bells, four horsemen/mechanix, almost anything in flamenco
Last edited by Bad Kharmel at Jan 2, 2015,
#5
Quote by Bad Kharmel
its just melodic minor man, you can raise the 6th and 7th notes of the minor scale at will (and use them in Chord construction) allowing for more pull when you want it, examples: Greensleeves, carol of the bells, four horsemen/mechanix, almost anything in flamenco

Not melodic minor. Melodic minor would be E major - F# major - Bm. It's harmonic minor because there's an Em.

But whatever, it's just using accidentals. That's really common. In a minor key the most common accidental is the major 7th. I wouldn't actually even call it an accidental - it's part of the harmonic minor scale. I would guess major V chord in a minor key is more common than minor v chord. The leading tone (major 7th) is a pretty important note because when it goes a half step up to the tonic, it sounds strong. Try playing Bm-F#m-Bm and then Bm-F# major-Bm and listen to the sound. The second one should sound stronger.
Quote by AlanHB
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#6
Quote by MaggaraMarine
Not melodic minor. Melodic minor would be E major - F# major - Bm. It's harmonic minor because there's an Em.

But whatever, it's just using accidentals. That's really common. In a minor key the most common accidental is the major 7th. I wouldn't actually even call it an accidental - it's part of the harmonic minor scale. I would guess major V chord in a minor key is more common than minor v chord. The leading tone (major 7th) is a pretty important note because when it goes a half step up to the tonic, it sounds strong. Try playing Bm-F#m-Bm and then Bm-F# major-Bm and listen to the sound. The second one should sound stronger.

no dipshit, its melodic minor because it can change, there is no Amaj chord in b harmonic minor, the essence of melodic minor is its ability to change, that accidental major 7th you are talking about means you are using melodic minor
#7
oh and @AlanHB feel free to ban me for using the word "dipshit" I know we shouldn't swear, but I didn't have a better word for this
#8
I won't ban you, but you should be careful being inflammatory when you aren't entirely correct (and even when you are right). This is a common misconception about harmonic/melodic minor.

You can't be "in" harmonic minor. You are in B minor, and the V chord is DERIVED from a harmonic minor scale.

Music in a minor key uses all three "forms" of minor interchangeably. Saying that an A Major chord forces you to be in melodic minor is like saying there's no way to tell if a power chord has a major or minor implication.

Just because all of the information isn't there doesn't mean there aren't implications.

If that isn't entirely clear, I'd be happy to go into more detail, but let's keep it civil.
"There are two styles of music. Good music and bad music." -Duke Ellington

"If you really think about it, the guitar is a pointless instrument." - Robert Fripp
#9
in minor keys..we can beg borrow and steal form other minor scales..intermix them at will if you know how..no ridged rules for this..as the fifth degree of the natural minor is minor..you can alter it to Major or dominant..the chord alone can be from the Harmonic or Melodic minor as both of these scales use F# maj/F#7 as their fifth degree.. the chords Emi G Maj & A Maj are part of the natural minor scale so we are good to go there..
play well

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Last edited by wolflen at Jan 2, 2015,
#10
Quote by Jet Penguin


You can't be "in" harmonic minor. You are in B minor, and the V chord is DERIVED from a harmonic minor scale.



I kind of like to think of this a bit differently. Not like a chord derived from a scale, but a scale formed from a chord.

To me, the example given by OP, is a Bm tune, which has the common feature of turning the v into a V, and when you do that, you are taking the Bm key scale, and sliding the 7th degree of the minor scale up a semi-tone, and this creates the harmonic minor scale.

So, to me, from my perspective, it is not that this chord is derived from the harmonic minor scale, so much as it is the harmonic minor scale that exists because of the use of this chord sort of thing.

But technically, I guess neither are "correct", really. I think questions like these, like the one OP asks, like "How come you can do this, don't you need to obey some system?" No, no you don't. There are just some things that sound good, and some that don't, and we organize that with a naming system. It is imperfect. Music is not perfect that way. The math of frequencies doesn't work right, we have to settle for equal temperament tuning. There are keys and things like that, but no real rules. A V in a minor key sounds great and goes well to the i. That's just how it is. Harmonic minor key works well over that, and reflects that sharpening of the 7. The theory describes and organizes our observations. It does not tell us what is or isn't possible, or correct. We developed a system to organize it, we make it work as well as possible, and organize it in as useful a way as possible, but it's not neat and tidy, cut and dry. Just like pi isn't some nice and even number. The universe isn't simple that way. If you played something that sounded great that was somehow missed so far, and didn't fit well with the current organization of sound, then theory would change to accommodate that. If it sounds right, then it is right.
Last edited by fingrpikingood at Jan 2, 2015,
#11
Exactly, the best we can do is try to codify and standardize this stuff. Your method of thinking about it is completely valid and correct.

Historically, we tend to think scale first because of Western Art Music's focus on counterpoint and voice-leading, but its a push and pull, one requires the other.
"There are two styles of music. Good music and bad music." -Duke Ellington

"If you really think about it, the guitar is a pointless instrument." - Robert Fripp
#12
Quote by Bad Kharmel
oh and @AlanHB feel free to ban me for using the word "dipshit" I know we shouldn't swear, but I didn't have a better word for this


You're safe from me, as I am no longer a mod. If you're looking for an alternative try "I disagree". So instead of "no dipshit" say "no I disagree". This way you can get your point across without making yourself look bad.
And no, Guitar Hero will not help. Even on expert. Really.
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#13
Ahhhhh I see - I never knew that such a relationship existed between the scale and chords. Thanks everyone