#1
Hey!
First off,am I posting to many threads? haha,I don't wanna' be that annoying newbie.

Okay,so ever since I learned myself how to create major scales,major/minor/dim./aug. chords there's one thing that's been bothering me. How in the world am I supposed to go ahead on applying them to the fret board?

Sure,I've learned all the chords in C and G major key/scale,and sure,I can go up online and look for the tabs for the chords I create. But I want to know HOW they figured this out. HOW you make a chord on paper,and then apply it too the fretboard? And say if you DID actually find a suitable left hand shape for your newly created chord,how would you know if it's correct? xD

I'm sorry,going online to check it out feels cheap. I have the urge to know everything from the ground up lol
#2
It is great that you are interested in this stuff. There are no stupid questions.

Learn the note names on the fretboard, at least in some way. You know the open strings, right? A fret up is a half step up. Remember that there's a half step (one fret) between E and F, and B and C, and a whole step (two frets) between all the other notes. Based on this, you can name all the notes on the fretboard. Of course it takes some time, but the more you do it, the better you get at it.

Another thing is to use intervals to build chords. Major chord has root, major third and perfect fifth. Minor chord has root, minor third and perfect fifth. Diminished chord has root, minor third and diminished fifth. Augmented chord has root, major third and augmented fifth.

Or use a scale to build chords. If it's a minor chord, take the 1st, 3rd and 5th notes of the minor scale (with the same root as the chord). If it's a major chord, do the same thing, but with the major scale. If it's a diminished chord, use the minor scale, but flatten the fifth. If it's an augmented chord, use the major scale and sharpen the fifth.

Remember that this "scale" doesn't have anything to do with the key scale or the key you are playing in. It is just to find the chord tones easily. Well, you could of course also use the key scale to build the chords. And this is what you do when you want to figure out what chords are in which keys.

So how do we know what chords are in the key of C major? We need to harmonize the scale. Let's start the scale on the root, third and fifth, and we'll get all the triads in the key of C major.

    R 3 5
I   C E G - C
II  D F A - Dm
III E G B - Em
IV  F A C - F
V   G B D - G
VI  A C E - Am
VII B D F - Bdim
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
#3
I don't even know what your problem is?
Do you know what pitch each string is tuned to on the guitar in standard tuning?
Do you know the chromatic scale (more importantly the order of the pitches?)
If you do, then you should be able to work out where what notes are on the guitar.
Then proceed to find said notes from the triad you are trying to play on the guitar.
#4
Huh,I actually knew all that stuff you said Maggara...I see it now though,I can't believe I've been so "tunnel visioned" with all this theory lol.

Another question though,what actually decided what key you are playing in?

Is it,that you only limit yourself to all the chords in one key? Say for example you only play C maj.Emin and Amin....would that mean you are in the key of C? Isn't there some other keys with those excact chords in them as well? What if you add chords outside of the key as well? would it be considered a song with both the key of x and y?

EDIT: And how many ways are there to play a chord? I'm not talking about major,minor and that stuff but Open position,Barre position...I know only those two but are there more ways than those?
Last edited by Oddly_Phrygian at Mar 21, 2015,
#5
^ The key you are in is determined by the tonic. You need to listen to what the home chord/note is. That's your tonic. You can add accidentals and it will still be in the same key, as long as it feels like it resolves to the same chord. For example a progression like G-F-C-G is in the key of G major, even though the chords are not even diatonic to the key (and they are diatonic to C major). But the thing is - it doesn't sound like C major, so it's not in C major. You could make the same progression sound like C major, though, depending on the context.


How many ways are there to play a chord? Well, open chords and barre chords are the same. You just take the open chord shape and move it up (for example compare the open E major chord - 0 2 2 1 0 0 - and the basic F major barre chord shape - 1 3 3 2 1 1). There are different kind of voicings. I would say full chords (that use all/most strings - for example the basic open chords and basic barre chords) and then three/two/four note voicings.
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
#6
So I think I just created a Bminor chord...I barred the third fret (F#,B) and put my fingers on 4th fret,3rd and 4th strings (F#,B) and 3rd fret 2nd string (D)....that was correct right? Think I got it now,it helped to draw up the first 5 frets on the guitar and place all the notes I wanted in their respective places lol.

Okay,so open,barre,2/3 and 4 note chords...got it.
Regarding the key though,I'm currently working on a new "song"...I grabbed all my chords out from C major scale/key but now after 2 different chord progressions I'm stuck,I've ended at Amin for that slow/spanish 'ish ending with a hammer on/pull off on that C note. Then some following melody line for that last touch. Though I'm happy with what I got so far,it feels like it's too short atm,I'd like to extend it a bit. Cut the melody line for the real ending. But I want to keep that Amin chord for that small pause/suspension before moving onward to the next chord progression.

*phew* a lot of text.

So,I started the piece with a Dminsus2 chord and ended it on a Aminsus2 chord. Now what defines what key THAT little piece is in? xD It doesn't quite resolve to the starting part.

Oh,and any tips on how I can approach different keys? I've heard about parallels,relatives (relative minor is the same as the major but just with the notes in a different order,wth?),dominant,sub dominant and I think there's a couple of more. What is all this? xD

EDIT: Forgot to ask,what does diatonic mean?
Last edited by Oddly_Phrygian at Mar 21, 2015,
#7
Quote by Oddly_Phrygian
So I think I just created a Bminor chord...I barred the third fret (F#,B) and put my fingers on 4th fret,3rd and 4th strings (F#,B) and 3rd fret 2nd string (D)....that was correct right? Think I got it now,it helped to draw up the first 5 frets on the guitar and place all the notes I wanted in their respective places lol.


do you mean this chord?
2
3
4
4
2
x

if so, then yes. also notice that it's the same shape as your open Am chord, just moved up two frets. This is one of the most common barre chords.

Okay,so open,barre,2/3 and 4 note chords...got it.
Regarding the key though,I'm currently working on a new "song"...I grabbed all my chords out from C major scale/key but now after 2 different chord progressions I'm stuck,I've ended at Amin for that slow/spanish 'ish ending with a hammer on/pull off on that C note. Then some following melody line for that last touch. Though I'm happy with what I got so far,it feels like it's too short atm,I'd like to extend it a bit. Cut the melody line for the real ending. But I want to keep that Amin chord for that small pause/suspension before moving onward to the next chord progression.

*phew* a lot of text.

So,I started the piece with a Dminsus2 chord and ended it on a Aminsus2 chord. Now what defines what key THAT little piece is in? xD It doesn't quite resolve to the starting part.

Oh,and any tips on how I can approach different keys? I've heard about parallels,relatives (relative minor is the same as the major but just with the notes in a different order,wth?),dominant,sub dominant and I think there's a couple of more. What is all this? xD

EDIT: Forgot to ask,what does diatonic mean?

Small note, minor chords are labelled with a lower case m, and you can't have a minor or major chord that's also suspended. sus2 or sus4 means there is not a 3rd of any kind in the chord and it has a 2 or 4 instead. If you've got a major or minor chord that also has the 2 but no 7th then you'd call it "add9". The naming conventions get a little more complicated once you start adding notes after the basic triads.

Diatonic is a 7 note scale, like how pentatonic is the 5 notes scale. When people say something "is diatonic" they mean that it fits the key signature - the notes aren't out of key. Notes or chords that fall outside of the key signature are called non-diatonic. C, D, E, F, G, A, and B are all diatonic to C major, where something like Bb or F# would be non-diatonic in C major. This doesn't mean you can't use those notes! The diatonic notes are like the 'safe' notes. They're easiest to use and the easiest to understand, but a lot of times those "out" notes are exactly what you need, so don't get too caught up on making everything fit perfectly in key - unless you're just doing it for the sake of practice. If something sounds good then it is good.

Parallel just means two different scales that have the same tonic, like A major and A minor, and yup, relative scales share the same notes but have different tonics. The difference is on which note you make sound like "home", "comfortable", "safe", etc. If you're having trouble getting the difference between major and minor scales sharing the same notes it's better to look at a pair of parallel scales instead. For instance, play an A major chord, play the A major scale, then play the A major chord again. Then play an A minor chord, the A minor scale, then the chord again. Pay attention to how they sound different.

Dominant and subdominant and such are words used to describe how chords are functioning and is for when you're getting into the roman numeral way of talking about chords. I would explain this in more detail, but I feel like it'd be overly wordy and rambly.
Last edited by The4thHorsemen at Mar 21, 2015,
#8
Thanks for clearing that up man! Really helps

And I wouldn't mind if you proceeded on the Dominant and subdominant stuff. I know how the numeral system work so fire it up if you will! lol

Oh and yes,that was the chord I was thinking of,Bm
Last edited by Oddly_Phrygian at Mar 21, 2015,
#9
Ok, so you know about how chords can be represented as I IV VI etc? Cool, that makes things easier. I'll go over the basics. In a major key all 7 basic diatonic chords can be represented as I ii iii IV V vi viio (i don't feel like figuring out how to do the actual diminished symbol) the same in a minor key would be i iio bIII iv v (or V) bVI bVII. Harmonic minor has a V chord instead of the v of natural minor, so either can be used here - the V7 has the strongest resolution towards the I or i chord, which is why the harmonic minor scale exists. I'm not going to go into how this stuff works in minor keys because I'm not super familiar with how it works, but it is very similar. So, the names of each of the chord functions are:

I Tonic
ii Supertonic
iii Mediant
IV Subdominant
V Dominant
vi Submediant
viio Leading Tone

The Tonic, Dominant, and Subdominant have the strongest cadences, which are chord movements that create a resolution. A Perfect Cadence is when you go from the dominant to the tonic, or V I, and has the strongest resolution, especially when the V is a dominant 7th (V7). Try playing B7 E to see what this sounds like.
-2-0
-0-0
-2-1
-1-2
-2-2
-x-0

There is also the Interrupted Cadence which is basically when you play the V chord but don't go to the tonic next, like a V vi. It sets you up to expect the tonic next and then surprises you by going somewhere else.


The subdominant is the same distance below the tonic as the dominant is above the tonic, so the tonic is kinda the dominant of the subdominant. It is often used to set up for the dominant, like in a IV V I. The Plagal Cadence is IV I, which doesn't have a sense of finality like the perfect cadence, but more like it's prolonging something. Try playing a I IV I V I like E A E B E.

Those are the basics, but there is a lot more to it, like the mediant and submediants are often used in a similar way as the tonic because they share two notes with the tonic, and the leading tone acts similarly to the dominant because it pulls toward the tonic, the supertonic tends to establish the V as the place you want to go, and even more complicated things like secondary dominants and chord substitutions. I just don't feel like I'm quite up to par on explaining these things in depth since I don't know these areas as well as I feel like I should and just have a vague sorta half-assed understanding of that stuff, but what I've written above should give a decent idea of the basics. Maybe someone else would like to elaborate more? Or you can search for articles on "functional harmony".

Basically the point of this stuff is to describe western musical tendencies to use chords as a way to get from the tonic to the dominant and back and all the various ways you can create expectations of where the harmony is going and then fulfilling or not fulfilling those expectations.

Edit: I thought I should mention that the reason the V7 pulls more strongly to the I than the normal V is because the interval between the 3 and 7 is a tritone, which is very dissonant and the 3 is one halfstep below the tonic and the 7 is one halfstep above the 3rd of the major chord, so there is halfstep movement going up and down from a tritone to a major third within the chords. Because of this you can substitute a whole diminished 7th chord containing those notes for the V, such as a iidim7, this is known as tritone substitution - one of those more advanced concepts I mentioned.


Double edit: I should note once again that these concepts can be very helpful to understand and be aware of, but you shouldn't let it dictate your songwriting, just help you understand what you are doing better and describe things that are happening. Your own ear and judgement are the most important factor in songwriting.
Last edited by The4thHorsemen at Mar 21, 2015,
#10
Wow,this was a lot to swallow in one go,haha
I'll have to sit down with this stuff for a while I guess to get it worked in. And yes,I am aware that I shouldn't let myself be controlled by theory,I agree with what you say that your own ear and judgement are the most important factor in songwriting.

For example this tune I'm working on,I have all the chords from the C major key signature worked in,but there's nothing of that "standard" chord progressions and it doesn't start off with the C major chord,nor does it currently end on a C major chord. Though all the chords are from the C major key signature D: And it still sounds good atm. Would you still say it is in the key of C?
It goes like this Dsus2-Asus2-C...that's the first progression,the second one is F-C-G-C-Em-Am.....it sounds quite nice fingerpicked Though I am stuck here,possibly ignoring all musical theory I'd like to try and branch out from that Am chord and explore what kind of possibilities I have there
#11
Yea, it may be a little if you're still working on really getting down what chords are in what keys and chord formation. The understanding comes from applying concepts, not just reading them, and that's difficult to do while simultaneously trying to figure out which chord is which, so this may be a little advanced for where you are in your musical journey.

The amount of time spent on each chord and rhythmic emphasis can effect which chord is your tonic, so in some cases it's hard to tell the tonic just from the chords without listening to it. The way I just played it the Dsus2 Asus2 C sounds like C major to me if the C chord is played longer than the others - if they're all played one bar each it sounds like it doesn't ever make it to the tonic, that C wants to go somewhere, like G or F.

F C G C by itself would be a clear IV I V I in C major. The Em Am part sounds like half of a 4 chord section. The most obvious thing to do would be to add a G and C to the end so it would be F C G C Em Am G C (IV I V I iii vi V I, but that sounds pretty final to me, like the end of a song, so you could go with something else like F Dm, or even do something like Em Am Bm Em which would tonicize the Em. There are lots of possibilities, I'm just throwing some out there to give you some ideas.

Edit: Forgot to say, determining the key is a listening skill that takes practice looking at what notes fit what key can help, doesn't guarantee anything. You have to listen and think, "Which chord could I stop on and it would sound resolved?" Some progressions will be harder to tell than others.

Like if you made your progression F C G C Em Am Bm Em you could keep looping it and stop at the second C and it would feel finished, or the second Em and it would also feel finished because you would basically be alternating between two different keys, so C would be the tonic of the first half and E would be the tonic of the second half.
Last edited by The4thHorsemen at Mar 21, 2015,
#12
Kind of stupid of me to not tell you rythm and what not,it could be like anything with the progression I gave you xD So here's a quick raw,un-edited version of it. https://soundcloud.com/odd-j-rgen-h-ib/test1
It's almost the same time spent on each chord imo except for the G chord where I run down and then up before switching to the C. Key of G? haha,I don't think so xD

Also,the second progression goes like this F-C-G-C-E and then back to F again and repeat the last one,except NOW you go to the Am for the finish :P
#13
Ah, sorry, I'm on satellite internet and it's raining right now so the internet's being pretty slow and intermittent right now. I'll have to check it later when the weather's cleared up. I hate satellite internet so much, but that's what you get living out in the country
#14
The first section sounds like A minor to me and the second section sounds like C major. Just listen to it yourself.

I don't think the key matters that much when you are writing the song. Sometimes it's good not to think about anything but sound when you are writing a song. First sound, then theory.


I Tonic
ii Supertonic
iii Mediant
IV Subdominant
V Dominant
vi Submediant
viio Leading Tone

I rarely hear people talking about chord functions with these names (well, tonic, dominant and subdominant are used pretty often, but I don't hear the others used that much, and leading tone doesn't usually refer to a chord, it refers to the note a half step below the tonic). Also, the ii chord has a subdominant function and the viio chord has a dominant function. I don't see a point with giving them different names. I mean, just listen to their sound and the way they are used. The viio chord sounds a lot like a rootless V7 chord and the IV chord and ii chord are also pretty close to each other soundwise, especially if you use the fourth scale degree on bass. They are also used similarly. Try playing I-IV-V-I and then I-ii-V-I and they don't sound that different.

I don't find these names that useful. Know what tonic, dominant and subdominant are and you'll be fine. Nobody uses "mediant" - everybody talks about the iii chord. Knowing the sound is way more important than knowing what "mediant" means.


TS, you don't have to ask the meaning of every word. You can google it. There's plenty of information in the internet. If the definition is unclear, look at some other explanations. If you still don't understand, then ask us. I'm fine with a couple of questions, but seriously, we can't teach you everything.

Look at some Wikipedia articles for example. They should tell you what diatonic, dominant, subdominant, parallel/relative key or whatever means. As I said, if you don't understand it after you have tried to figure it out on your own/with the help of Wikipedia articles or whatever, then ask us.

I mean, if you aren't even trying to understand Wikipedia articles or online music theory lessons, it kind of feels like you aren't putting any effort to it.
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
Last edited by MaggaraMarine at Mar 21, 2015,
#15
Quote by MaggaraMarine
I rarely hear people talking about chord functions with these names (well, tonic, dominant and subdominant are used pretty often, but I don't hear the others used that much, and leading tone doesn't usually refer to a chord, it refers to the note a half step below the tonic). Also, the ii chord has a subdominant function and the viio chord has a dominant function. I don't see a point with giving them different names. I mean, just listen to their sound and the way they are used. The viio chord sounds a lot like a rootless V7 chord and the IV chord and ii chord are also pretty close to each other soundwise, especially if you use the fourth scale degree on bass. They are also used similarly. Try playing I-IV-V-I and then I-ii-V-I and they don't sound that different.

I don't find these names that useful. Know what tonic, dominant and subdominant are and you'll be fine. Nobody uses "mediant" - everybody talks about the iii chord. Knowing the sound is way more important than knowing what "mediant" means.


See, I am aware of those things but figured I'd go ahead and cover the formal names while I was in explanation mode, and then since I was using formal names I got caught up in that and lost sight of things a little bit - which is why I was reluctant to try to explain it in the first place. I actually couldn't even remember that the ii was called the supertonic and had to look it up Mediant is definitely not a common term to use, but I've at least seen it used occasionally, compared to stuff like the supertonic and "leading tone" (I know that name's commonly used for single notes).

I guess this just demonstrates your last point - I meant to give a basic idea of the concept without trying to explain all of it, but then I ended up explaining way more than I meant to, and failed to mention how musicians actually use the words.
#16
Quote by MaggaraMarine
The first section sounds like A minor to me and the second section sounds like C major. Just listen to it yourself.

I don't think the key matters that much when you are writing the song. Sometimes it's good not to think about anything but sound when you are writing a song. First sound, then theory.

TS, you don't have to ask the meaning of every word. You can google it. There's plenty of information in the internet. If the definition is unclear, look at some other explanations. If you still don't understand, then ask us. I'm fine with a couple of questions, but seriously, we can't teach you everything.

Look at some Wikipedia articles for example. They should tell you what diatonic, dominant, subdominant, parallel/relative key or whatever means. As I said, if you don't understand it after you have tried to figure it out on your own/with the help of Wikipedia articles or whatever, then ask us.

I mean, if you aren't even trying to understand Wikipedia articles or online music theory lessons, it kind of feels like you aren't putting any effort to it.


Yeah,sorry,I've kind of used this forum as a teacher,which is wrong xD
Thanks for all the great replies and I'll restrain myself from posting here until it's the last resort!
#17
Quote by Oddly_Phrygian
Yeah,sorry,I've kind of used this forum as a teacher,which is wrong xD
Thanks for all the great replies and I'll restrain myself from posting here until it's the last resort!

Yeah, no problem. Just try to figure out things on your own first. If you are having a trouble with understanding something or something confuses you, then come here and ask about it. Yes, you shouldn't really use this forum as your primary learning source (if everybody did that, people would have no time to answer all the questions). I mean, the internet is full of lessons. Use them. This site also has its own "lessons" section.
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