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#1
So, I was looking up the chords to a song, and the verse goes like this:

Eb-Bb-Ab-Abm-Eb-Cm-F-Ab

Now, this all makes sense and it sounds good with the melody of the song, but what is the theory behind introducing the Abm chord in the middle of the progression? It's technically introducing an accidental into the Eb major scale (the song the key is in), but what allows for that to happen and sound good?
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#2
I think you're in the wrong forum for an answer to that question
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#3
magnets
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Why would you spend tens of thousands of dollars to learn about a language you already speak? It was over before it even started dude

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brot pls
#4
It's a flat 5th. They typically fit in major keys, especially if you're coming from the adjacent notes.

EDIT: Whoops, can't count.
EDIT 2: Might have had it right the first time. Should really stop procrastinating.
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Last edited by chrismendiola at Dec 14, 2015,
#5
Quote by chrismendiola
It's a flat 5th. They typically fit in major keys, especially if you're coming from the adjacent notes.

Yeah, that
Come back if you want to
And remember who you are
‘Cause there's nothing here for you my dear
And everything must pass
#7
Quote by MeTallIcA313
lol why are you asking the pit?

Because the knowledge of pretty much everything in pit is unrivalled
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CURSE.
#8
Quote by MeTallIcA313
lol why are you asking the pit?

Clearly this is the place with the most intelligent posters and most fulfilling content, e.g. "Is it gay to suck your own dick,""turn people into food," "should I shit on my roommate's pillow," or "how do you feel about getting naked with your friends?"
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Last edited by chrismendiola at Dec 14, 2015,
#9
Quote by MeTallIcA313
lol why are you asking the pit?



Because who the hell even visits the Musicians Talk/Songwriting forums anymore? We have all of the songwriting competition threads and all of the UG album posts in the pit anyways.

Thanks.
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Quote by chookiecookie
i feel like you have an obsession with aubrey plaza.


Quote by WCPhils
at least we can all agree SGstriker is the woooooooooooooooooooooorst
#10
^ We have musician's talk forums?
Come back if you want to
And remember who you are
‘Cause there's nothing here for you my dear
And everything must pass
#11
Quote by i_lovemetallica
^ We have musician's talk forums?


My point, exactly
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Quote by chookiecookie
i feel like you have an obsession with aubrey plaza.


Quote by WCPhils
at least we can all agree SGstriker is the woooooooooooooooooooooorst
#12
Quote by chrismendiola
It's a flat 5th. They typically fit in major keys, especially if you're coming from the adjacent notes.

EDIT: Whoops, can't count.
EDIT 2: Might have had it right the first time. Should really stop procrastinating.


Ummm...

Abm triad = Ab-B-Eb

Eb major scale: Eb, F, G, Ab, Bb, C, D. Wouldn't it technically be flat 6, or sharp 5?
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Quote by chookiecookie
i feel like you have an obsession with aubrey plaza.


Quote by WCPhils
at least we can all agree SGstriker is the woooooooooooooooooooooorst
#13
melody could use an ascending melodic minor or some shit
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Why would you spend tens of thousands of dollars to learn about a language you already speak? It was over before it even started dude

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brot pls
#14
This is a common device. The harmony is using a minor iv in an otherwise straightforward, diatonically major tonality. It sounds good because it is "borrowed" from the parallel minor key of Eb min, in which iv is minor (Ab min). Makes for a chromatically nuanced variation.


Quote by SGstriker
Ummm...

Abm triad = Ab-B-Eb

More accurately, it is Ab, Cb, Eb.

Even though "B" is enharmonically true, A -> B implies some type of 2nd interval relationship. But you're actually referring to some type of 3rd (minor 3rd in this case), so the correct reference is some type of C (A -> C), ie Ab, Cb.

...modes and scales are still useless.


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Last edited by Xiaoxi at Dec 14, 2015,
#15
Quote by SGstriker
Ummm...

Abm triad = Ab-B-Eb

Eb major scale: Eb, F, G, Ab, Bb, C, D. Wouldn't it technically be flat 6, or sharp 5?

Excuse me. I'm a mess 'cause I've written two papers and I'm working on another right now.

Yeah, it would be a flat sixth. I did correct that earlier on, and then changed it back to flat fifth 'cause I thought I was right the first time.
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#16
Quote by Xiaoxi
This is a common device. The harmony is using a minor iv in an otherwise straightforward, diatonically major tonality. It sounds good because it is "borrowed" from the parallel minor key of Eb min, in which iv is minor (Ab min). Makes for a chromatically nuanced variation.

oh hey. I actually learned about that stuff once


goes to show how much I remember
Quote by Fat Lard
Why would you spend tens of thousands of dollars to learn about a language you already speak? It was over before it even started dude

Quote by captainsnazz
brot pls
#17
Quote by Xiaoxi
This is a common device. The harmony is using a minor iv in an otherwise straightforward, diatonically major tonality. It sounds good because it is "borrowed" from the parallel minor key of Eb min, in which iv is minor (Ab min). Makes for a chromatically nuanced variation.


More accurately, it is Ab, Cb, Eb.

Even though "B" is enharmonically true, A -> B implies some type of 2nd interval relationship. But you're actually referring to some type of 3rd (minor 3rd in this case), so the correct reference is some type of C (A -> C), ie Ab, Cb.


Thank you sir. Also, the irony with your sig is not lost on me.

The whole question was inspired by me wanting to use this type of arrangement in a song. Ive heard it done in a few songs, but i never understood how it worked musically, so I've not bothered to try it in my own songs.


Quote by chrismendiola
Excuse me. I'm a mess 'cause I've written two papers and I'm working on another right now.

Yeah, it would be a flat sixth. I did correct that earlier on, and then changed it back to flat fifth 'cause I thought I was right the first time.


No worries. You had me convinced for a second.
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i feel like you have an obsession with aubrey plaza.


Quote by WCPhils
at least we can all agree SGstriker is the woooooooooooooooooooooorst
#18
Abm is Ab-Cb-Eb. Cb is enharmonic to B, but they are not the same.

Modal mixture, borrowed chords (from the parallel key), quite common.
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lots of flirting with the other key without confirming. JUST LIKE THEIR LOVE IN THE MOVIE OH DAMN.
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you're acting like you have perfect pitch or something
#19
Quote by SGstriker
So, I was looking up the chords to a song, and the verse goes like this:

Eb-Bb-Ab-Abm-Eb-Cm-F-Ab

Now, this all makes sense and it sounds good with the melody of the song, but what is the theory behind introducing the Abm chord in the middle of the progression? It's technically introducing an accidental into the Eb major scale (the song the key is in), but what allows for that to happen and sound good?

Because Ab - Abm - Eb introduces some nice chromatic movement.

If you listed the notes of the Ab and moved each voice by as small a distance as possible to create an Eb chord you would get the following movement...

Ab -> G (movement down a half step)
C -> Bb (movement down a whole step)
Eb -> Eb (no movement)

If you break that whole step movement into two half step movements then you get...

Ab -> Ab -> G
C -> Cb -> Bb
Eb -> Eb -> Eb

If you play it again listen for that C - Cb - Bb movement.

This kind of move is very common in music usually in the form of a IV-iv-I resolution. This is an extension of a plagal cadence.

Two examples of where you will hear this is Radiohead's "Creep" and Pink Floyd's "Nobody Home". There are a lot of other songs that use this move.

It is not uncommon to borrow chords from the parallel major or minor mode and the Ab in this instance can be viewed as borrowed from the parallel key Eb minor. However, the reason it works isn't simply "because it's borrowed" it's because of that chromatic movement as the third moves down a half step and then down another half step.

Play the change a few times and listen to that chromatic movement. Play the C - Cb - B line on it's own and then play the chord change again.

(and yes I have consistently used Cb and not B. The reason being that a minor third above Ab is always Cb and never B - it's simply a labelling thing and the sound of the note is actually the same so )

EDIT:
Well that was a waste of time typing when Xiaoxi explained it so much quicker and more elegantly while I was typing away.
Si
#20
To elaborate further on what Prof. chrispenny mentioned about the flat six and emphasizing 20Tigers:

There is a voiceleading intrigue in conjunction with the key borrowing. From Ab -> Abm -> Eb, you have C -> Cb -> Bb, a chromatic line and gesture that works well against the chord roots.

In other words: 6, b6, 5 against 4, 4, 1.


Quote by SGstriker
Thank you sir. Also, the irony with your sig is not lost on me.

It's not ironic.

There is no such thing as chords, only separate melodies that happen to sometimes agree with eachother.

#oldskool, #bach2rock, #counterpointmasterrace, #whereweregoingwedontneedscales

...modes and scales are still useless.


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Last edited by Xiaoxi at Dec 14, 2015,
#21
Quote by SGstriker

The whole question was inspired by me wanting to use this type of arrangement in a song. Ive heard it done in a few songs, but i never understood how it worked musically, so I've not bothered to try it in my own songs.

If you want to venture out a little more, you could do Eb Bb Ab Fb/Ab (ie Fb maj on its 3rd) Eb

That's

Ab C Eb
Ab Cb Fb
Eb Bb Eb

more chromatic alterations / voiceleading goodies

...modes and scales are still useless.


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Last edited by Xiaoxi at Dec 14, 2015,
#22
So much to learn. Thank you all. I'm stickying this for future reference.
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Quote by chookiecookie
i feel like you have an obsession with aubrey plaza.


Quote by WCPhils
at least we can all agree SGstriker is the woooooooooooooooooooooorst
#23
Quote by 20Tigers

EDIT:
Well that was a waste of time typing when Xiaoxi explained it so much quicker and more elegantly while I was typing away.

gg



but yours is very comprehensive

...modes and scales are still useless.


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#24
Remember that there are no rules. If it sounds good, it is good. Just because not all notes are in the key scale doesn't mean they are wrong notes. And just because you don't understand it in theory doesn't mean you shouldn't use it.


Oh, and in the future if you have any questions about music theory, MT really is a better place to ask those questions.
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#26
Quote by ultimate-slash at #33729094
I've never understood scales. So what, all of a sudden music is reptiles or something?

There are keys also, but where are the locks??? What are they hiding?
WHAT A
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NIGHT TO
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CURSE.
#27
Quote by BladeSlinger
magnets


Its actually string theory, or string fact as I like to call it,
SANDBLAST YOURSELF.


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#28
Quote by ultimate-slash
I've never understood scales. So what, all of a sudden music is reptiles or something?


Moon reptiles, They live on the moon.
SANDBLAST YOURSELF.


Quote by i_lovemetallica
If you think Gollum was sober with his whole "Gollum/Smeagol" thing and thinking he was invisible with the ring, then you need to remove the cotton wool from your eyes.

Wake up sheeple.

Sunaj
#29
Hmm.. I've used a iv before but I considered it to be the sixth chord of the relative harmonic minor scale. Technically I guess that's wrong because the sixth chord of the harmonic minor is still a major chord, but the sixth mode has a #2 which is enharmonic to the b3. So really if you looked at it this way it's a vi with a #2 no 3. I've always considered the harmonic minor to have two vi chords, or a chord with both minor and major 3.

I know I know a #2 and a b3 isn't the same thing. But you can't tell me what to do! Sometimes I'll even flat the 7 of the vi chord of the harmonic minor while playing the 3 and #2 to get the purple haze chord
#30
I've never wasted mush time with scales and whatnot. imo, any combo of any notes can sound right with the right spacing, the way it's hit.......and whatever the rest of the song is doing. but I also don't play for a living. glad I was so much help.
Last edited by mattedbird at Dec 14, 2015,
#31
Quote by eddievanzant
Hmm.. I've used a iv before but I considered it to be the sixth chord of the relative harmonic minor scale. Technically I guess that's wrong because the sixth chord of the harmonic minor is still a major chord, but the sixth mode has a #2 which is enharmonic to the b3. So really if you looked at it this way it's a vi with a #2 no 3. I've always considered the harmonic minor to have two vi chords, or a chord with both minor and major 3.

I know I know a #2 and a b3 isn't the same thing. But you can't tell me what to do! Sometimes I'll even flat the 7 of the vi chord of the harmonic minor while playing the 3 and #2 to get the purple haze chord

Dom7#9, added tones are usually relegated to higher numbers.

Borrowing is from parallel, not relative keys.

A sharp 2 is enharmonic to a minor 3rd. A major third is enharmonic to a doubly augmented second. But major and minor (and diminished and augmented, for that manner) chords are defined by the general intervals 1-3-5; writing 2's in lieu of 3 is considered error.
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Quote by Jet Penguin
lots of flirting with the other key without confirming. JUST LIKE THEIR LOVE IN THE MOVIE OH DAMN.
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you're acting like you have perfect pitch or something
#32
The Abm is borrowed from the key's (Eb major) parallel minor (Eb minor).
Skip the username, call me Billy
#34
Don't overcomplicate things

C Harmonic Minor has a B, falling from C to B, from Ab to Abm. That's where the B comes from.

Then it changes key from Eb to Bb, allowing for the A, thus allowing the F major chord.
#36
Quote by NeoMvsEu
Dom7#9, added tones are usually relegated to higher numbers.

Borrowing is from parallel, not relative keys.

A sharp 2 is enharmonic to a minor 3rd. A major third is enharmonic to a doubly augmented second. But major and minor (and diminished and augmented, for that manner) chords are defined by the general intervals 1-3-5; writing 2's in lieu of 3 is considered error.


Yeah I'm aware of all that despite my words implying otherwise. But to me Abm is easier than Ab#9 no 3. You're right it's not borrowing, I'm saying it is a chord from the relative harmonic minor of Ab. Kinda.
#38
Quote by jrcsgtpeppers
Don't overcomplicate things

C Harmonic Minor has a B, falling from C to B, from Ab to Abm. That's where the B comes from.

Then it changes key from Eb to Bb, allowing for the A, thus allowing the F major chord.

> "Don't overcomplicate things"
> Gives the most complicated explanation out of all that have been proposed
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