#1
Hoi.

Theory is just an area where I'm lost. Let's say we have a C Major scale CDEFGAB and I wanted to play it with chords. The chords would be something like C, Dm, Em... And so on. Why are the chords and notes different? Shouldn't it be C and D not C and Dm?

How I formed the chords was moving in the particular scale with a formula "1-3-5". I don't know why I'm doing this because I can't remember where I found this " tactic". With this chord formula I can identify the chords and clearly the following chord of C is Dm.

What if I was using a natural minor scale? How would I find the chords then? The same thing but with a formula 1-3b-5?
#2
Hey Billie,

You're on the right track, but you're missing the idea of intervals.

Take a C Major Scale

C D E F G A B C

A Major Triad is built with the idea that if you took the chord and built it from the major scale of the same name, so, a C Major chord built off the C Major Scale, you'd grab the 1 3 and 5 from that scale, and end up with a Major Triad:

C E G.

Let's look at a D major scale next

D E F# G A B C# D

If you took the 1 3 5 from the D Major Scale, you'd end up with a D F# A - A D major chord.

But we say that in C the D chord is Dm. Can you compare the scales, (C Major and D Major) and see why?

In C major's scale the D chord spells D F A -

Not D F# A. There is no F# in the C Major scale. The notes for D from the C major scale are D F A

So what you have is a D minor, 1 b3 5 is the chord formula.

Now you can do that for every chord in the C Major key, or you can realize someones already done the work. and therefore if you look at the chords made from C Major, you have C Dm Em F G Am Bo - Or you could do the work and spell out every major scale and come to the same answers yourself

But where you lack, is you didn't know that in D the F# is a major 3rd and F is a b3. This is what I mean about lacking an understanding of intervals (a full understanding) yet. You're on the right track but not there yet.

Hopefully this gives you a better understanding of the importance of knowing and being able to identify intervals.

Have you ever considered maybe getting a private teacher?

Best,

Sean
Last edited by Sean0913 at May 30, 2015,
#3
Good answer, Sean. If you know your fretboard, Billie, count the number of frets between each of the notes in each triad. From C, E is four frets higher and from D, F is only three. Each note is the third letter higher, an interval of a third, but from D the interval is smaller or MINOR.

Theory is a bit like math. You have to learn to count, then add and subtract before going on to multiplication and division. A good teacher can help with all that in short order. Check with your local muSic store and be clear with what your goals are. Good luck
#4
Quote by P_Trik
Good answer, Sean. If you know your fretboard, Billie, count the number of frets between each of the notes in each triad. From C, E is four frets higher and from D, F is only three. Each note is the third letter higher, an interval of a third, but from D the interval is smaller or MINOR.

Theory is a bit like math. You have to learn to count, then add and subtract before going on to multiplication and division. A good teacher can help with all that in short order. Check with your local muSic store and be clear with what your goals are. Good luck


Exactly. All I need to teach a student, any student theory, online or otherwise, is to start with the ABC's, the ability to count to 7. You nailed it, P-Trik

As an example of just how far that simple starting point can take you, here's an very small excerpt of someone's answer sheet from a recent homework assignment they turned in from my Chords and Triads course (I think this is lecture 7):

-----------------------------------------------------------
1. B# G# E = E aug , 2nd inversion, open voicing
A# F# C# = F#, 1st inversion, open voicing
Bbb Eb Gb = Eb Diminished, 2nd inversion, Closed voicing
B F D = B diminished, Root, Open voicing
A# E# Cx = A# , Root, Open voicing
Db Gb Bbb = Gb minor, 2nd inversion, Closed voicing
E# Gx C# = C# aug, 1st inversion, closed voicing
F A D = D minor, 1st inversion, Closed voicing
-----------------------------------------------------------

Two months ago, this student knew NOTHING. But I started with ABC's and counting 1 to 7. And this last homework took him about 3 days, from the time he viewed the lecture, till the time he turned in the homework, which this is just part of assignment #1, there are 7 total sections to this particular homework. This means that he's already functioning at a high level, in real-time. But...it started with ABC's and counting 1-7.

Best,

Sean
#5
Remember that "b3" doesn't mean the third note needs to have a flat in front of it. So D minor is not D Fb A. The flat sign just means it's a minor interval, not a major interval. It has nothing to do with actual sharps and flats. When we are referring to intervals, we assume them to be major or perfect. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 are all major/perfect intervals. If we want to make them minor, diminished, augmented, whatever, we can add flat and sharp signs in front of them. For example natural 6 means major 6th, and b6 means minor 6th. A F# is a major 6th (6), A F is a minor 6th (b6). A Fb would be a diminished 6th (bb6).

That's because the major scale has both whole and semitones in it. There's a semitone between the 3rd and 4th, and 7th and 8th (1st) notes, and when we apply this structure to the C major scale, we get the natural note names - C, D, E, F, G, A, B. What this means is that there is a half step between E and F, and B and C, because they are the 3rd and 4th, and 7th and 8th notes of the scale. If we based note naming on the whole tone scale instead of the major scale, it would be different.
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
But I just don't know why I used the major formula 1-3-5 to find the chords, why not the minor one or even the diminished one? Why is it the major one? And again I might be overthinking this but if I had a C Natural minor scale, how would I determine the chords? Using the major formula or the minor formula?

And just I have no idea how to determine the key/scale let's say for a progression eg. Em C G D
I'd have no idea what to do. And I'm not interested in searching for corresponding keys/scales for 3 hours just to determine the key of a few chords.

And no, no possibilities to get a teacher, a proper one. I played saxophone for about 4 years many years ago in a proper "institution" but currently my guitar teacher is just not teaching anything. He's able to do things but he just can't teach. And anyone can get in this with money. But the institution in which I played saxophone was for the talented ones only and there were tests before entering. We were taught theory back there but not that I remember anything of it, lol.
Last edited by Billie_J at May 31, 2015,
#7
Just let the scale dictate the pattern of thirds. It's all about the thirds.

Harmony is built on thirds.
#8
You look at intervals. Natural 3 = major third (4 frets), b3 = minor third (3 frets). How many frets are there between C and E? How many frets are there between D and F?

As I said, there's a semitone between E and F, and B and C. That's because our note naming is based on the major scale.


Just count the distance between C and E. That's two whole steps (C -> D = whole step, D -> E = whole step). Then count the distance between D and F. That's one and a half steps (D -> E = whole step, E -> F = half step). That's why there's a major third (3) between C and E, and minor third (b3) between D and F. And that's also why C E G is C major and D F A is D minor. The third is what makes them different. In D major there would be D, F# and A, because a major chord needs to have a major third in it.

This all has to do with semitones and whole tones. E->F = semitone. That's why D->F = 1½ steps. And that's why D major chord needs to have an F# in it.


If this feels hard, just use the minor scale to build minor chords, and major scale to build major chords. So if you want to know the notes in a Cm chord, use C minor scale and take the 1st, 3rd and 5th notes. If you want to know the notes in an E major chord, use E major scale and take the 1st, 3rd and 5th notes. This is an easy way to figure it out (if you know scales well), but I don't 100% support it because it lacks context and it may lead to misunderstandings like E major chord is only in the key of E major or something like that.
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 31, 2015,
#9
Quote by Billie_J
But I just don't know why I used the major formula 1-3-5 to find the chords, why not the minor one or even the diminished one?


Go ahead. Do it, and let us know what happens when you do. Use the diminished and the minor.

But you should know that the reason most of us use it, is the Major Scale sets the standard of everything we know about the rest of music theory, because that's the central reference point.

A Minor scale is a Major scale, but with a b3 b6 b7. That's how we relate it to a Major scale. A Dimininshed triad is a R b3 b5, we relate those notes to the major scale/triad and modify them accordingly. At least at first. Once you get these under your belt, you can add to knowledge. Sure I can shorthand a minor scale now, and if you'd like to commit to learning all minor scales and major scales you can do that. But central to Music Theory is the Major scale.

Quote by Billie_J
Why is it the major one? And again I might be overthinking this but if I had a C Natural minor scale, how would I determine the chords? Using the major formula or the minor formula?


Again, go put your ideas to the test, and answer those questions. Instead of ask why, go prove it to yourself. It will either work, or it won't, right?

The answer is you'd learn how to write/spell and recognize every triad. The notes of the scale are used to build the chords. They are one and the same. But until you learn HOW to do triads, there's no way you'll be able to determine the chords, unless you understand the relationship that Chords have to Scales and Keys. And that's a ways from where you are right now.

I mean you could learn how to spell out every minor and Major Scale, and there's a benefit to doing that, and then you could work out the chord formulae and order in a Diatonic Major scale, and a Diatonic Natural minor scale, practice writing the scales, and the chords according to that formula, and then, you wouldn't need to know how to tell triads, but you'd have the right answers because you memorized the formula.

That would work, as an option.

Quote by Billie_J
And just I have no idea how to determine the key/scale let's say for a progression eg. Em C G D - I'd have no idea what to do.


You do have an idea, and that is, you understand that you'd need to learn more than you know. As it stands right now, no you don't have those tools. But you do have an idea how to get them, the question becomes, are you prepared to put in the work, I think.

Quote by Billie_J
And I'm not interested in searching for corresponding keys/scales for 3 hours just to determine the key of a few chords.


OK, so that answered that question: No you're not willing to.

So are you willing to continue on musically, and no longer have this inquisitive need to know the key or chords and how it all fits together? Would you be willing to just let go of the idea of understanding keys and chords and scales, and just create music by ear, at random, without knowing what you're doing?

Would that be acceptable to you?

Quote by Billie_J
And no, no possibilities to get a teacher, a proper one. I played saxophone for about 4 years many years ago in a proper "institution" but currently my guitar teacher is just not teaching anything. He's able to do things but he just can't teach.


So there's no chance for you you to learn then. Because you seemed to indicate that don't want to put in the work, you want to find your own way in such a way that suits you, and you have only one option for a guitar teacher, in a world where you have the Internet.

What if you were talking to a guy that couldn't ski?

*****

Dude: I cant ski, I want to go skiing.

A: Well get to a mountain and take lessons

Dude: I don't own skis.

A: Well get some skis.

Dude: I don't want to waste my money buying skis. Look, skis are just flat pieces of wood. Why should I have to pay money for skis, when my dad has 2x4 planks out in the garage? Why should I have to buy skis? In fact, skis are just wood. I have tree branches outside, why can't I just strap on some branches to my feet and ski that way? How did the early people learn to ski before they started making skis?

A: Well okay - go try and build yourself some 2x4 skis and let us know how it worked out. You might be some brilliant engineer type that can carve their own skis, I don't know. Go try it.

Dude: I dont want to waste my time making them, I'd prefer they materialize at my door.

A: What about get a teacher? Maybe they might have some loaner skis for the lesson.

Dude: No chance man. I once had a teacher that taught woodshop...and I learned to make a clock...

A: Uh....okay...(not sure what that meant)

Dude: But I want to learn to ski...

****


Best,

Sean
Last edited by Sean0913 at May 31, 2015,
#10
But I just don't know why I used the major formula 1-3-5 to find the chords, why not the minor one or even the diminished one? Why is it the major one? And again I might be overthinking this but if I had a C Natural minor scale, how would I determine the chords? Using the major formula or the minor formula?


I see what your asking..and why you don't "get it"..

OK to make it very simple

C major scale

C D E F G A B
1 2 3 4 5 6 7

To produce chords(3 note chords/triads in THIS scale..(Formula 1 3 5)

Ok the "easy to see" on paper...Its every "other note"

So for C major its C E G / 135 // next note: D - same formula 135/every other note - so its DFA-135- this produces a D minor chord..//next note E--same formula 135 every other note EGB - this is E minor..

now with this in mind you can finish the remaining chords..

your question on the "natural minor scale"

ok the natural minor is in relation to the major key and its the sixth step of the major scale..so..in the Key of C..(count to the 6th note..its A..and using the 135 formula the notes in the Aminor chord are ACE/135)

OK now where you are with theory knowledge..you ARE going to have more questions

(possible question: should the D minor formula of 135 really be 246??)

not everyone wants to invest time/energy to "know" why chords work they way they do or what scales work with what chords..but if you become "hungry" and serious about learning music..invest in learning basic "diatonic harmony" it may be boring to you..or may not-as it unlocks the mystery of Keys/notes/scales/formulas etc

you can digest it in small "bites" but it WILL help you with understanding music..

hope this helps
play well

wolf
Last edited by wolflen at May 31, 2015,
#11
Have I just missed something or have I read the answer without understanding, don't know. Again the progression I was talking about.. How should I approach it when I'm about to determine the key/scale?
#12
Quote by Billie_J
Have I just missed something or have I read the answer without understanding, don't know. Again the progression I was talking about.. How should I approach it when I'm about to determine the key/scale?



do you mean this---

And just I have no idea how to determine the key/scale let's say for a progression eg. Em C G D
I'd have no idea what to do. And I'm not interested in searching for corresponding keys/scales for 3 hours just to determine the key of a few chords.


..all those chords are in the key E minor..(when I play it - it wants to end on Emi )now I have no idea if its a song that ends on the D chord or continues to other chords - some time-not always- the ending chord may determine the key of a song..E minor scales would work over those chords..experiment with them see what sounds good to you
play well

wolf
Last edited by wolflen at May 31, 2015,
#13
Quote by Billie_J
Have I just missed something or have I read the answer without understanding, don't know. Again the progression I was talking about.. How should I approach it when I'm about to determine the key/scale?

First of all, listen to the progression, and try to find the home chord by ear.

You could also name the notes in the chords, and find the scale that uses those notes. But that will give you at least two answers (major and minor), and in some cases it will not give you any answers, because some progressions use non-diatonic chords. So you still have to use your ears. Does it sound like major or minor?


Did you understand why the chord built on the second scale degree of the major scale is a minor, not a major chord?

You just need to look at the intervals. Is it a minor or a major third?

Just use your ears. Does it sound like minor or major?
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 31, 2015,
#14
I know and understand the questions asked above. But just, I don't think it's the best way to determine the key/scale by collecting all the notes of chords and then trying to form a scale of them. Might work yes, but what is the point of it if it takes longer than finding notes by ear?

It would be just easier though, if I knew theoretically where to start making solos or anything at all..
#15
Quote by Billie_J
I know and understand the questions asked above. But just, I don't think it's the best way to determine the key/scale by collecting all the notes of chords and then trying to form a scale of them. Might work yes, but what is the point of it if it takes longer than finding notes by ear?

It would be just easier though, if I knew theoretically where to start making solos or anything at all..


So what is the best way to determine key/scale?

While you think about that answer...

What you stated above...that's not how you do it. You don't collect the notes of chords and form a scale with them.

You learn scales. Let's just do one. Major scale. Go learn how to spell every major scale. Come back and post. Start there. Don't try to eat the entire elephant at once. Just do THAT one thing. Post:


The Major scales for


A

B

C

D

E

F

G

Don't go look for the "answers". Go look and learn how to spell the notes (its a pattern/formula), and then do it.

Best,

Sean
Last edited by Sean0913 at Jun 1, 2015,
#16
^This. Lego Strategy. Learn HOW things work and get put together, not just WHAT things work.
"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
#17
Quote by Billie_J
I know and understand the questions asked above. But just, I don't think it's the best way to determine the key/scale by collecting all the notes of chords and then trying to form a scale of them. Might work yes, but what is the point of it if it takes longer than finding notes by ear?

It would be just easier though, if I knew theoretically where to start making solos or anything at all..

As I said,

"You could also name the notes in the chords, and find the scale that uses those notes. But that will give you at least two answers (major and minor), and in some cases it will not give you any answers, because some progressions use non-diatonic chords. So you still have to use your ears. Does it sound like major or minor?"

So yeah, you will always need to use your ears when you are determining the key. Just collecting all the notes in a progression will give you at least two possibilities for the key (and if there are non-diatonic chords, that will give you zero possibilities, because no key scale has both Eb and E natural in it for example). That's why it is not the best way to determine the key.


When looking for what notes to play over what chords, you need to know if the chords belong to the key or not. Only that way you can know what scale to play over what chords.


Solo is just a melody. You don't really need any theoretical knowledge to write a solo - though it helps analyzing other people's solos. Just listen to the sounds in your head. You get more ideas by listening to/playing as many solos as possible. It's the same with everything songwriting related.

I suggest paying attention to the chords in the background and what notes are played over those chords. Our ears naturally hear notes that work well over the chords. If you just start humming a melody over a chord progression, even if you don't know what the chords or chord tones are, you'll still automatically sing them, because they work well over the progression. It's hard to sing/hear really dissonant stuff over a chord progression (unless you practice that a lot and do it intentionally). So even if you aren't aware of it, your melodies most of the time have lots of chord tones in them. This of course doesn't apply if you go on autopilot mode and let your fingers decide what to play. But if you just use your ears and try to hear something and sing over a chord progression, your melody will have a lot of chord tones.
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 Jun 1, 2015,
#18
TS, you have to face reality here. No one is going to just telepathically shove the knowledge into your head. You will actually have to learn. Several of your replies basically sound like, "Well, why should I learn that?!". Yeah, well...facts are, either you learn something; or you might as well stop asking these questions.
#19
^ a bit raw but accurate...all of questions asked have been answered..more than once!
play well

wolf
#21
Read the thread, which is now closed.
"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