#1
So, a friend asked me to play with him but I know nothing about theory (I'm learning as much as I can right now with college and what not), and I need to learn a scale or mode or to play over these chords:
d# minor, a# major, g# minor.
If you could just tell me why I CAN USE that scale or mode over those chords I'd appreciate it so much!!! I'm practicing with him in couple of hours and I gotta practice by myself before!

note: I'm already playing the c# major scale over a verse that goes g# minor, d# minor, a# major... just because it sounds like it fits, not really sure about the theory behind it.

note 2: It's reggae/jazz, just as extra info!
Last edited by Positive_taco at May 4, 2015,
#2
Quote by Positive_taco
So, a friend asked me to play with him but I know nothing about theory (I'm learning as much as I can right now with college and what not), and I need to learn a scale or mode or to play over these chords:
d minor, a major, g minor.
If you could just tell me why I CAN USE that scale or mode over those chords I'd appreciate it so much!!! I'm practicing with him in couple of hours and I gotta practice by myself before!

note: I'm already playing the c# major scale over a verse that goes g minor, d minor, a major... just because it sounds like it fits, not really sure about the theory behind it.

note 2: It's reggae/jazz, just as extra info!


looks like D harmonic minor is your best bet, and depending on how much room you have to play (the space between each chord change) you could probably do... a lot more. But yeah D harmonic minor is the simplest answer.

are you sure the C# major scale sounds good over those chords?...
#3
Quote by RedDeath9
looks like D harmonic minor is your best bet, and depending on how much room you have to play (the space between each chord change) you could probably do... a lot more. But yeah D harmonic minor is the simplest answer.

are you sure the C# major scale sounds good over those chords?...


My bad, I'm dying here (need to sleep), the chords are d# minor, a# major, g# minor... Silly me uhg
#4
D# harmonic minor. Why? Because if you look at the notes in the scale and the chord tones, you'll see that all of the chord tones are part of that scale. Also, if you listen to the progression, D#m should sound like the home chord. This means you are in the key of D#m.
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 May 4, 2015,
#5
If you rename these chords as Ebm, Bb, Abm, then you can avoid the double-sharps that would appear for pitch names in D# harmonic minor, and you get Eb harmonic minor (same sounds as D# harmonic minor) ... Eb, F, Gb, Ab, Bb, Cb, D

Easy way through this ... play Eb min pentatonic (Eb, Gb, Ab, Bb, Db) over all 3 chords. Gives you a blues effect over the Bb major if you play the Db against the D in Bb).

To catch the flavour of the 2nd chord, play the D instead of the Db (or try bending the Db up to Dm, which sounds nice).

cheers, Jerry
#6
You want to say D# harmonic minor because of the presence of V MA (A#) but, in this progression, the A# is non-functioning.

I like Jerry's idea insofar as the root movement traces an eight bar blues type progression (albeit with different chord qualities.)
"No one is a sorcerer every hour of the day. How could you live?" — Pablo Picasso
#7
Quote by RedDeath9
are you sure the C# major scale sounds good over those chords?...
It's common in jazz to use the dorian mode over almost every minor chord, so yes C# major would work over D#m, since it returns to D#minor any dissonance caused over the G#m and A# will sound like they "resolve." D# harmonic minor is the simplest way to go, though you could also use the melodic minor for a bit of a jazzier sound. Another approach would be to use chord scales over each sonority, though I doubt that would achieve a much different result over anything but the dominant.
#8
^ MM wouldn't work that well because of the minor iv chord (also, calling the scale "melodic minor" would be a bit incorrect, because that's really not how melodic minor is used - it would just be minor scale with major 6th and 7th). Same with playing C# major over it. It would just sound a bit off.


How to figure out what notes to use over the progression? First I would find the key. That can be done by listening the progression and trying to find the tonic, ie the home chord. Then figure out if the other chords fit the key signature. In this case you have an A# major that doesn't fit the key signature of D# minor. But in minor it's very common to raise the 7th note of the scale, which makes it the harmonic minor scale. Many times the V chord in minor is a major or dominant 7th chord, instead of a minor chord, because it creates a stronger pull towards the tonic. It just sounds "stronger".

But yeah, if you find chords that don't fit the key signature, figure out what to do with them. Chord tones will always work. For example if there was an E major chord in your progression (bII in the key of D#m), you could just change the E# of the D#m scale to E natural, and it would work. Usually you just have to change one note from the key scale to make it work over the non-diatonic chords.

But yeah, know what notes are in the chords you are playing over, and know what notes are in the scale you are using. If the chord tones don't fit the scale, change the notes in your scale to fit the chord. (If there is an E# in your scale, and the chord has an E, just change the E# to E. Or if there's a C# in your scale and a Cx (double sharp - same sound as D natural) in the chord, just change the C# to Cx.)


Also, learn about chord functions.
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
#9
Quote by haynesr
It's common in jazz to use the dorian mode over almost every minor chord ...


It's common to use Dorian over minor(7) when the chord is a ii chord in a major key (of the moment), and also when it's just a groove on the minor(7).

But Aeolian gets used loads as well, in a minor key, off the i.

It's also common to mix up Dorian with MM, and to mix up Aeolian with HM.

There's also "minorisation", a la Joe Diorio, where Dorian gets used in many other contexts. (e.g B Dorian against Dmaj7, in a Lydian type groove).

cheers, Jerry
Last edited by jerrykramskoy at May 4, 2015,
#10
The progression is somewhat unusual in that all of the chords can be interpreted as belonging to D# harmonic minor, but, as noted earlier, in this progression, V MA is non-functioning, i.e., doesn't resolve.

And, as we know, the reason the harmonic minor scale was invented in the first place was to facilitate a stronger V-I resolution by introducing a leading tone to the natural minor scale.

In this progression, the note that would typically function as a leading tone (the third degree of the A# chord) moves up a half step to the fifth degree of the G#mi chord instead.

You could connect the two chords in some other way, but that would sort of defeat the purpose of harmonic minor in the first place.
"No one is a sorcerer every hour of the day. How could you live?" — Pablo Picasso
#11
Quote by jerrykramskoy
It's common to use Dorian over minor(7) when the chord is a ii chord in a major key (of the moment), and also when it's just a groove on the minor(7).



Or, most commonly, whenever you see a Imi - IV (or IV7) progression.
"No one is a sorcerer every hour of the day. How could you live?" — Pablo Picasso
#12
Quote by Positive_taco
So, a friend asked me to play with him but I know nothing about theory (I'm learning as much as I can right now with college and what not), and I need to learn a scale or mode or to play over these chords:
d# minor, a# major, g# minor.
If you could just tell me why I CAN USE that scale or mode over those chords I'd appreciate it so much!!! I'm practicing with him in couple of hours and I gotta practice by myself before!


This is pretty straightforward D# minor stuff, which most people would call Eb minor.

So your chords are Eb minor, Bb major, and Ab minor.

Bb major consists of the notes Bb, D, and F, whereas Eb minor has a Db in it, not a D-natural.

Some people have suggested that you use the Eb harmonic minor, and that's sort of right. But that D note is going to be difficult to make work when you're playing an Eb or an Ab chord, both of which contain an Eb note. Notes that are a half-step apart tend to clash, although there are ways they can work.

So what most musicians would probably do here is play Eb natural minor over the Ebmin and Abmin chords, and Eb harmonic minor over the Bb.

(Conceptually, rather than think of this is switching scales, you want to get to a point where you understanding the difference between the natural and harmonic minor - one note - and can just switch the one different note dynamically without having to change the scale in your head. The difference between those two scales is one note - the 7th, which is a half-step higher in the harmonic minor - and you want to get to a point where you know where your 7ths are in your scale shapes and you can just move them up a half-step as necessary).

Why can you use this scale? Uh ... it seems likely to be the scale that's functioning the same way these chords are. Eb is going to (barring something weird) be your tonic, and you're clearly in a minor tonality. ergo, Eb minor. Then you're just navigating clashes with the chord tones.
#13
Quote by haynesr
It's common in jazz to use the dorian mode over almost every minor chord, so yes C# major would work over D#m, since it returns to D#minor any dissonance caused over the G#m and A# will sound like they "resolve." D# harmonic minor is the simplest way to go, though you could also use the melodic minor for a bit of a jazzier sound. Another approach would be to use chord scales over each sonority, though I doubt that would achieve a much different result over anything but the dominant.


well yeah, i said that when i thought he was talking about Dm, not D#m, seems like he edited the post so now i look like a tool
#16
So, can you now figure out the key if somebody gives you a chord progression? And do you now know how to figure out what scale to use over the chords?
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