#1
Hello UG'ers.

I hope this is in the right section.

Well, I have been strugling around Sweet Child o' Mine's theory. Maybe it is right in front of me, but it is getting me frustraded.

I have a book with the song's sheet. It is very known, and all the sheets I've found look the same:



Very good. From the very start, we see the song is in D Major, because of C# and F#.


HOWEVER... all the sheets I've found, including the above, are written as if the guitar is tuned to Standard. Since it is tuned 1/2 step down, shouldn't it be written accordingly?

Also, I have noticed that the chords that are used are D, C and G.

In the tonality of D Major, there is no C. The only tonality that has D, C and G chords is G Major. So, chords would be in V, IV, I, order.

How can it be that this song seems on G Major and D Major at the same time? Am I missing something?
#2
Songs usually do not stay on just one chord. A key contains many possible chords that can sound good. D-G is pretty normal, as is D-G-A; the first one is pretty similar to "Imagine".
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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.
Quote by Hail
you're acting like you have perfect pitch or something
#3
Quote by NeoMvsEu
Songs usually do not stay on just one chord. A key contains many possible chords that can sound good. D-G is pretty normal, as is D-G-A; the first one is pretty similar to "Imagine".


Thanks for the reply!

Yes, I understand chords, and how they change.

But the song is either in the key of D Major, because of the sharps on the sheet, or in the key of G Major, from the chords that are played on the song.

What I'm confused about is if the song is in the key of D, G, none, or both. Or even Db or Gb.
Last edited by YellowCat at Dec 29, 2015,
#4
Here, a test: add C# over both chords. Does it fit? Or does C fit better?
Glad to cross paths with you on this adventure called life
Quote by Jet Penguin
lots of flirting with the other key without confirming. JUST LIKE THEIR LOVE IN THE MOVIE OH DAMN.
Quote by Hail
you're acting like you have perfect pitch or something
#5
It's written as if in standard and then you transpose half a step. It's easier for reading. As far as the key, you can use outside notes and chords. It's all about finding where it resolves.
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Last edited by theogonia777 at Dec 29, 2015,
#6
C sounds better to me. This makes me think that the song is in the key of G.

Therefore, most of the sheets found on the internet that say it is in the key of D are wrong.
#7
Quote by theogonia777
It's written as if in standard and then you transpose half a step. It's easier for reading. As far as the key, you can use outside notes and chords. It's all about finding where it resolves.

This.

The score treats the guitar as a transposing instrument. Everything is written a half step higher than what it sounds like. It's just easier to read that way (so that your x 0 2 2 2 0 chord is still called an A major chord, even though you are tuned a half step down). The actual (sounding) key of the song is C#/Db major.

Some examples of transposing instruments are clarinet, trumpet and saxophone. Their written and sounding pitch are different.

Where does the C chord come from? It's a common rock cliche. Rock music uses the bVII chord in a major key very often. It's a "borrowed" chord. Not all notes/chords you play need to fit in the key signature. Why is the song in D major? Because D major is our tonic. It sounds like home. It's not in G major because G doesn't sound like home.

The song also uses an A major chord in the chorus (so it uses both C and C#). The C is just an accidental. And using accidentals is very common. The b7 in a major key is pretty much the most common accidental in rock and pop music.


Quote by YellowCat
C sounds better to me. This makes me think that the song is in the key of G.

Therefore, most of the sheets found on the internet that say it is in the key of D are wrong.

No. It's in the key of D because D is our tonic. It doesn't matter what notes you use. As long as D sounds like the tonic, we are in the key of D.

Otherwise this song would be atonal (which it definitely is not):

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wN3IXRIQkP4

You can hear that D is clearly the tonic.
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Last edited by MaggaraMarine at Dec 29, 2015,
#8
Quote by MaggaraMarine
This.

The score treats the guitar as a transposing instrument. Everything is written a half step higher than what it sounds like. It's just easier to read that way (so that your x 0 2 2 2 0 chord is still called an A major chord, even though you are tuned a half step down). The actual (sounding) key of the song is C#/Db major.

Some examples of transposing instruments are clarinet, trumpet and saxophone. Their written and sounding pitch are different.

Where does the C chord come from? It's a common rock cliche. Rock music uses the bVII chord in a major key very often. It's a "borrowed" chord. Not all notes/chords you play need to fit in the key signature. Why is the song in D major? Because D major is our tonic. It sounds like home. It's not in G major because G doesn't sound like home.

The song also uses an A major chord in the chorus (so it uses both C and C#). The C is just an accidental. And using accidentals is very common. The b7 in a major key is pretty much the most common accidental in rock and pop music.


No. It's in the key of D because D is our tonic. It doesn't matter what notes you use. As long as D sounds like the tonic, we are in the key of D.

Otherwise this song would be atonal (which it definitely is not):

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wN3IXRIQkP4

You can hear that D is clearly the tonic.



This is all VERY great and useful information! Thank you very much.

I'm sorry, but I'm afraid I'll need some time for all this to settle, as I'm a bit confused.

I don't intend to be an ass, so, please, don't take it this way, but I need to ask:

If we took the bVII chord, in the key of D, we would have Cm7(b5) instead of the regular C#m7(b5). If we ignored the b5, still it would be a minor chord. So I can't undersand why the C fits.

Even though I understand that notes and chords does not need to necessarily be in a given key...
#9
For the first half of of SCOM (or the "pre-guitar solo" portion of it), the tonic of the song is D*. Thus, making it the key of D major*. The Chorus' progression: A-C-D-D. The A will be the V chord, the C is the bVII that adds tension, and it is resolved to the I chord of D.

It's not until we hit the solo that we make a key change to E minor. Right before the solo starts, it does a chromatic walk-up from D5 to E5.

Sometimes, it's better to listen to the song as opposed to strictly analyzing it on paper. Sure, a D-C-G-D can be in the key of G major, but the context it is used in and the way it resolves, it puts it in the key of D major.

Hope that helps!


*The original song is tuned down a half-step, but we'll refer to the chord shapes and fingerings as if they were in E standard tuning.
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#10
Urgh missed measure 3-4. It makes the point I tried to make a bit moot. Anyways, I can think of the chords as extended to Dmaj7-Cmaj7-Gmaj7(#11)-Dmaj7, thus making C# my choice for the D and G chords, at least. I pointed to C# because C# is a leading tone to D, but anyways.

D-C-G-D. We just had this discussion yesterday, it's a common I-bVII-IV-I in D.

Chorus' A-C-D: V-bVII-I is a common cadence in rock. It resolves to D. D is an ending note, the place of rest for this harmonic progression.

Quote by MaggaraMarine at #33751443



You can hear that D is clearly the tonic.

Yeah, but also be careful because the note naming is a bit suspect on the accidental side.
Quote by YellowCat at #33751450
If we took the bVII chord, in the key of D, we would have Cm7(b5) instead of the regular C#m7(b5). If we ignored the b5, still it would be a minor chord. So I can't undersand why the C fits.

No, why is it minor? It's clearly major in the song. Where does Eb come in?

Also, b5 of C is preposterous in the key of D; it'd work as Cmaj7(#11).

This is probably a bit too high-level...

=====

TL;DR: exactly what theo said.
Glad to cross paths with you on this adventure called life
Quote by Jet Penguin
lots of flirting with the other key without confirming. JUST LIKE THEIR LOVE IN THE MOVIE OH DAMN.
Quote by Hail
you're acting like you have perfect pitch or something
#11
Quote by YellowCat
This is all VERY great and useful information! Thank you very much.

I'm sorry, but I'm afraid I'll need some time for all this to settle, as I'm a bit confused.

I don't intend to be an ass, so, please, don't take it this way, but I need to ask:

If we took the bVII chord, in the key of D, we would have Cm7(b5) instead of the regular C#m7(b5). If we ignored the b5, still it would be a minor chord. So I can't undersand why the C fits.

Even though I understand that notes and chords does not need to necessarily be in a given key...

The bVII chord is borrowed from the parallel minor. It's a major chord, not a m7b5 chord.

When we are talking about borrowed chords, you always borrow from the parallel key. So you can borrow chords from D minor to D major or from D major to D minor (though I would say it's more common to borrow from minor to major key than the other way around).

Rock music mixes minor and major all the time. It's very common to use the minor pentatonic scale over a major key (for example D minor pentatonic over D major).


So where does the C major come from? It's just mixing D major and D minor.
Quote by AlanHB
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#12
Quote by YellowCat
C sounds better to me. This makes me think that the song is in the key of G.

Therefore, most of the sheets found on the internet that say it is in the key of D are wrong.

You're confusing "key" (and "key signature") with "scale".

The "key" is whatever sounds like the key (note and chord). In this case it's clearly Db (concert key), but usually notated as D because they tuned down, turning the guitars into transposing instruments. (When tuned down, you'd read "D" and play what looks like D, and you don't have to care that it sounds like Db. You just want the notation to refer to the note positions you know. That's like a trumpet player who plays what looks like "D" on his music, and he calls it "D", but it comes out (sounds) as concert C. But transposing instruments are a whole other mind-blowing thing....let's not go there.. )

A "key signature" doesn't tell you the key! It tells you which of the 7 notes (ABCDEFG) need to be altered (raised or lowered) when playing - to save writing accidentals throughout the music.
IOW, a key signature identifies a scale, not a key. A key sig of 2 sharps could indicate either D major or B minor - two different keys. We tend to call it a "D major key sig" because that's just the most common application of those 7 notes. It could also indicate any other mode of those 7 notes - although conventions differ there.

In this case, the actual key (forgetting about the tuning down) is clearly D, which is why 2 sharps have been used - because to most readers 2 sharps means "D". This is despite the fact that the verse uses C natural thoughout, so would only really need a one-sharp key sig. Using 2 sharps means that any time a C appears they need to use a natural accidental. That's wasteful (breaking the "economy" rule of notation), but maintains the "clarity" rule, because the reader will see it as "D major with b7" - which is correct.
However, later in the tune (in the chorus) there is an A major chord, as is normal in the D major key, so the C in the verse is merely a common chromaticism. It's a RULE in rock songs that they can use bVII chords whenever they like - even when they also use a major V chord (as here). bVII chords sound cool.
IOW, no important rule is being broken here. If you think it's "wrong", you're just applying the wrong rules.

Even if the song had no A chord, and no C# note anywhere (only the F# on the D chord), that still wouldn't make it "key of G major". It would be using the same scale as G major, but if D still sounds like the key, then D IS the key. It just happens to be "D major with b7". Some people would call it "D mixolydian mode", which is just a fancy name for the same thing ("D major key with b7", or "G major scale with D keynote").
Or you could say the C chord is "borrowed from D minor".

The point is that musicians write according to what sounds good, not according to rules in theory books. The theorists are just trying to determine the most common practices they find, and then say that composer do this and that "as a rule" - i.e., most of the time, but not all of the time. There are always exceptions and deviations with any of these "rules" - i.e. practices which still sound good, but are just less common.
Sometimes the deviations - if common enough - get their own labels, such as "borrowing from the parallel minor", aka "mode mixture". This is a "rule" that rock music likes to follow (more than it likes to follow the "beginner major key" rule).

So mostly rock will mix major and minor keys (as MaggaraMarine says), but you do sometimes get rock songs written entirely in one set of notes but using a key which is not the major or relative minor of that scale. Mixolydian mode is probably the most common alternative sound. Here's a song in D mixolydian:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tgcc5V9Hu3g
The key centre is clearly D. But you won't hear an A major chord anywhere. Instead you get C and Am, along with the D, G and Em. Five chords you usually find together in the key of G major, but it would make no sense to say this was "in the key of G" - not if you use the word "key" correctly; it's clearly "in D".
The question for a transcriber then is: "do I give it a 2-# key sig to indicate "D", and then use a C natural when I need it? Or do I give it the correct 1-# key sig (to indicate in the most economical way the scale material being used), and risk confusing readers who expect a key sig to indicate the key?"
Last edited by jongtr at Dec 30, 2015,
#13
Quote by jongtr at #33751978
So mostly rock will mix major and minor keys (as MaggaraMarine says), but you do sometimes get rock songs written entirely in one set of notes but using a key which is not the major or relative minor of that scale. Mixolydian mode is probably the most common alternative sound. Here's a song in D mixolydian:

This goes into the discussion from yesterday about "minor pentatonic in major keys"... I hear C# at 0:07, and bVII-IV-I (or IV/IV-IV-I what have you) is functional tonal harmony. Having said that, borrowed chords are quite common. Having said that, it's still in D.
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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.
Quote by Hail
you're acting like you have perfect pitch or something
#14
Quote by NeoMvsEu
This goes into the discussion from yesterday about "minor pentatonic in major keys"...
Well yes, it's all part of the same "mode mixture" concept, the idea that the boundary between major and parallel minor is artificial to some extent, or at least very blurred.
In the case of Heroes, the melody is actually mostly major pentatonic (just the occasional 4th, but no 7th), and there is zero blues influence - unless you trace the bVII in that direction.
Quote by NeoMvsEu

I hear C# at 0:07,
Wow, that's a subliminal one! I think you're right, but I can't say I'd noticed it before.
Quote by NeoMvsEu

and bVII-IV-I (or IV/IV-IV-I what have you) is functional tonal harmony. Having said that, borrowed chords are quite common. Having said that, it's still in D.
Agreed. This is not really a "modal" tune, strictly speaking. The chords still convey a sense of functional movement, within a "D major" context. (The Am-Em-D is a kind of sub for C-G-D, or bVII-VI-I, that traditional rock "double plagal cadence".)

IMO, the word "mixolydian" is useful as a shorthand label (for a major key tune with bVII and no leading tone or major V), if we're clear it has nothing to do with medieval mixolydian, and little to do with jazz mixolydian.
OTOH, I can see that it smacks of unnecessary mystification....
Last edited by jongtr at Dec 30, 2015,
#15
^ Yeah, a major key song based on the mixolydian scale maybe...
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#16
^ Or "major key", with the understanding that the 7th degree is variable. (Just as it is in a minor key. .)
#17
The key signature and chords do not have to conform.

The key signature only communicates the tonic chord. Literally everything else is negotiable. Songs harmonized to a modal scale typically use the standard key signature with accidentals.

If I saw a score with one sharp but everything resolving to D I'd be pretty confused, honestly. Using a modal key signature is unusual enough that it'd probably have to be pointed out on the score, which defeats the purpose of the key sig in the first place.

(and for the record, no this song not modal in any strict sense of the word. It just uses a bVII chord).
Last edited by cdgraves at Dec 31, 2015,
#18
Playing wise I think in D mixolydian ideas. Works for me but isn't the accepted way to think of modes around here.

And remember it's only called music theory not music fact! The theory is a shortcut to help explain and speed up the learning not the be all and end all.
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#19
Quote by cdgraves at #33754394
The key signature and chords do not have to conform.

The key signature only communicates the tonic chord. Literally everything else is negotiable. Songs harmonized to a modal scale typically use the standard key signature with accidentals.

If I saw a score with one sharp but everything resolving to D I'd be pretty confused, honestly. Using a modal key signature is unusual enough that it'd probably have to be pointed out on the score, which defeats the purpose of the key sig in the first place.

Different frames of reference; modal key sigs is definitely a thing in orchestral music. Discussion in this (closed) thread.

Also, more precisely, the key sig communicates probable tonic chords, not one specific one. 2 flats can be Bb; however, it can be Gm as well in common notation.
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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.
Quote by Hail
you're acting like you have perfect pitch or something
#20
Quote by Rhys Lett ESSM
Playing wise I think in D mixolydian ideas. Works for me but isn't the accepted way to think of modes around here.

And remember it's only called music theory not music fact! The theory is a shortcut to help explain and speed up the learning not the be all and end all.

It's not because it's not "the accepted way around here". It's because the song has nothing to do with actual modal music - it is a tonal song. Yes, if you want to play over it, D mixolydian would be the "best" scale to use (because it will work over all of the chords in the progression). But what key something is in is not about what scale you would use to solo over it. CST =/= modes.

So yeah, there's nothing wrong with thinking in mixolydian scale when playing over it because that's what you would most likely be playing over it. The scale with the notes D E F# G A B C in it is D mixolydian, so nothing wrong with calling the scale D mixolydian because that's what it is. But that doesn't change the fact that the song is in the key of D major.
Quote by AlanHB
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#21
Quote by cdgraves
The key signature and chords do not have to conform.

The key signature only communicates the tonic chord.
And not even that.
2 sharps could mean a tonic of either D or Bm.
And it could also stand for A mixolydian, E dorian, etc.
Quote by cdgraves

(and for the record, no this song not modal in any strict sense of the word. It just uses a bVII chord).
True.
We could say - loosely - that the bVII is a "mixolydian effect", but it doesn't mean very much.
The song is just in a "major key", which in rock permits (in fact almost demands) the use of a bVII, along with the usual IV and V, and minor ii, vi and iii.
bIII, bVI, minor iv and major II are other fairly common optional extras.
IMO "mode mixture" is a good term to cover these practices, but I agree this song is not "modal" in the most useful sense of that term.
#22
I've yet to see any music written with a modal key signature, but I don't have much experience with orchestral scores. Most of the music I read is jazz, in which case modal music uses the standard major/minor key signature with accidentals in the melody.
#23
Quote by cdgraves
I've yet to see any music written with a modal key signature, but I don't have much experience with orchestral scores. Most of the music I read is jazz, in which case modal music uses the standard major/minor key signature with accidentals in the melody.
Maybe I'm thinking of So What or All Blues both written with blank key sigs....
#24
Hello! I'm sorry for taking long to answer here. New Year festivities with family and such has taken a lot of my time. Happy New Year to you, your families, friends and dear ones!

Sometimes, it's better to listen to the song as opposed to strictly analyzing it on paper. Sure, a D-C-G-D can be in the key of G major, but the context it is used in and the way it resolves, it puts it in the key of D major.


Yes, I agree! I'm just trying to understand what I see. I have always learned more theory than practice, and some time ago I decided I should work on my playing. Because of this, I let the theory aside, and this kind of bothers me.

So I was learning some parts of SCOM the other day, with the papers in front of me, and this came to my mind. I'd love to be able to read music, and identify the theory behind it. It is obvious that I failed miserably this time...

Thanks for the help, btw!


For the first half of of SCOM (or the "pre-guitar solo" portion of it), the tonic of the song is D*. Thus, making it the key of D major*. The Chorus' progression: A-C-D-D. The A will be the V chord, the C is the bVII that adds tension, and it is resolved to the I chord of D.


No, why is it minor? It's clearly major in the song. Where does Eb come in?


The bVII chord is borrowed from the parallel minor. It's a major chord, not a m7b5 chord. When we are talking about borrowed chords, you always borrow from the parallel key. So you can borrow chords from D minor to D major or from D major to D minor (though I would say it's more common to borrow from minor to major key than the other way around). Rock music mixes minor and major all the time. It's very common to use the minor pentatonic scale over a major key (for example D minor pentatonic over D major).


This... THIS... THIS!!!! You guys should receive a prize!

SO, please correct me if I understood wrong:

C in SCOM occurs because it is a bVII, borrowed from the D Minor key, in which the C is Major. Right?

Even though VII on Dm is C#m7b5, when you say bVII, it is just using the borrowed VII from the parallel key. If this is correct, it enlightens a lot of this subject to me!


Even if the song had no A chord, and no C# note anywhere (only the F# on the D chord), that still wouldn't make it "key of G major". It would be using the same scale as G major, but if D still sounds like the key, then D IS the key. It just happens to be "D major with b7". Some people would call it "D mixolydian mode", which is just a fancy name for the same thing ("D major key with b7", or "G major scale with D keynote"). Or you could say the C chord is "borrowed from D minor".


This exactly! A friend of mine said "This song is in G Major, but it uses the D Mixolydian, which is the same..." And I confess this is what started all this mess in my head. I THINK now I'm starting to understand, although I'm still a bit confused...


The key signature and chords do not have to conform.


I'd say that this is what brings me the most confusion. In my head, if I saw a score with 2 sharps, then it would be D Major or B Minor Keys, and I would necessarily need to use D Major/B Minor Scales and key chords. I know that music is subjective, and there are no strict rules. But there are things that "work better" than others.

However, there are some things like specific changes, or cliches that happen in some rhythms that "break" these rules. Like the minor pentatonic over major key, and the bVII chord.

What I'm asking you now, if you guys can help is: what can I study/read/watch, to get this "out of the box" knowledge?


I think I'll need to open another post, but this information here has shed me some light on rock improv.

Thanks, guys!

You rock!

Best!
#25
bVII of Dm is C(7)
vii of Dm is C#dim(7) (C#-E-G-(Bb)). This is actually a common substitute for A7 (C#-E-G-A); one note is different.

m7b5 is alternate notation for half-diminished chords. That's something different.

Yes about C borrowed from D minor in SCOM.
---
It might have helped just to think about D-C-G-D as I-IV/IV-IV-I. C acts as a plagal resolution to G, and G does likewise to D. Since the G is secondary, it still has to go somewhere before resting.

Plagal cadences are common in older church music, hence their alternate name (church cadence).
---
Chord borrowing means that notes are coming from outside the key, beyond just the 7 notes of a normal diatonic key.

Keep on mindfully listening to music and write your questions down.
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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.
Quote by Hail
you're acting like you have perfect pitch or something
#26
Quote by YellowCat

This... THIS... THIS!!!! You guys should receive a prize!

SO, please correct me if I understood wrong:

C in SCOM occurs because it is a bVII, borrowed from the D Minor key, in which the C is Major. Right?

Even though VII on Dm is C#m7b5, when you say bVII, it is just using the borrowed VII from the parallel key. If this is correct, it enlightens a lot of this subject to me!

The bVII refers to the flattened 7th scale degree. C# is the "normal" seventh in D major, C is the flattened 7th. Minor has flat 3, flat 6 and flat 7 in it when compared to major. If you use any of those notes in a major key, you would call it mixing major and minor.

D major is D E F# G A B C#
D minor is D E F G A Bb C


This exactly! A friend of mine said "This song is in G Major, but it uses the D Mixolydian, which is the same..." And I confess this is what started all this mess in my head. I THINK now I'm starting to understand, although I'm still a bit confused...

Your friend is confused. G major and D mixolydian are totally different things. (But don't worry, I was confused like that some years ago. One of my first posts in MT was actually similar to what your friend said - I was describing an AC/DC songs as a V-IV-I progression "in G major = D mixolydian". Luckily people corrected me and here I am. I have learned a lot from hanging out on this forum. I'm a to-be theory teacher and I think I have to thank UG's Musician Talk forum for that.)

I'd say that this is what brings me the most confusion. In my head, if I saw a score with 2 sharps, then it would be D Major or B Minor Keys, and I would necessarily need to use D Major/B Minor Scales and key chords. I know that music is subjective, and there are no strict rules. But there are things that "work better" than others.

However, there are some things like specific changes, or cliches that happen in some rhythms that "break" these rules. Like the minor pentatonic over major key, and the bVII chord.

What I'm asking you now, if you guys can help is: what can I study/read/watch, to get this "out of the box" knowledge?

Diatonic harmony is not a rule. Non-diatonic harmony is not "out of the box" knowledge either. It's actually pretty basic stuff.

There are so many songs that use chords and notes outside of the key signature. Stop treating theory as any kind of rules. Actually, as jongtr mentioned, using a bVII chord in rock music could be treated as a "rule", or more like a common practice. It's part of the "language" of rock music. You rarely see a diminished vii chord in rock music, but bVII is used all the time.

How to break out of the "theory = rules" thinking? Listen to songs and analyze them.

Theory only gives explanations to stuff. It doesn't tell you what to do. Theory can explain any sound you play. There is no right or wrong in theory. There are just common practices. And mixing major and minor IS a common practice. We have a name for it - "modal mixture". If theory has given a name for it and can explain it, why would it be against the rules? Just forget about all of that. That is extremely limiting. You can do whatever you want. Nothing is against the rules.

I mean, think about it. You hear a sound in your head that you like. Why would it be wrong to play that sound if you like it? Art is supposed to be about expressing yourself. If it's out of the key, who cares? Whether you like the sound is what matters. Nobody could care less what the explanation for the sound is when you play it. People care if it sounds good or not. There is no "music police". If you think about it, you'll notice that kind of thinking just doesn't make sense.

If you think diatonic harmony is a rule, then pretty much all songs would be breaking the rules and there would be no sense to call it a rule because it wouldn't apply. Why come up with rules that nobody follows? Just stop treating anything as a rule. The closest to a rule you can get is "common practice". It is very common and used in most songs (in that genre). But that doesn't mean you have to use that common practice all the time. The common practices are part of what make rock sound like rock and renaissance music sound like renaissance music and folk music sound like folk music.

So just listen to music and analyze it. That way you will learn about it.
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Last edited by MaggaraMarine at Jan 3, 2016,
#27
Quote by YellowCat

SO, please correct me if I understood wrong:

C in SCOM occurs because it is a bVII, borrowed from the D Minor key, in which the C is Major. Right?
Right.
Quote by YellowCat

Even though VII on Dm is C#m7b5
Typo, I guess? You mean D major.C#m7b5 is VII of D major.
Quote by YellowCat

, when you say bVII, it is just using the borrowed VII from the parallel key.
Yes, it means from the parallel natural minor.
Quote by YellowCat

A friend of mine said "This song is in G Major, but it uses the D Mixolydian, which is the same..."
Same notes, different keynote.
It's not really "in" G major, because that suggests the G major key, in which G is "I".
Your friend means it uses the G major scale, but with D, not G, as keynote.

D mixolydian is relative to G major, same as E minor is relative to G major. Same 7 notes, with a different one as the keynote (tonal centre).
In D mixolydian, D is "I", not "V of G". Same as, in key of E minor, Em is "i", not "vi of G".

Mind you, "mixolydian" is a risky term . Like all modal terms, it comes with a whole load of historical (pre-classical) and jazz baggage. Best leave well alone, unless you really understand that stuff (and maybe even if you do)....

Just call it "D major, with b7 (and bVII)" . K.I.S.S.
Quote by YellowCat

I'd say that this is what brings me the most confusion. In my head, if I saw a score with 2 sharps, then it would be D Major or B Minor Keys, and I would necessarily need to use D Major/B Minor Scales and key chords.
Well, that's usually a safe bet, but even the usual D major and B minor keys can have chromatic notes.
The key of B minor, for example, will usually have an F# chord somewhere, with an A# note. That's standard, conventional; following a rule, not breaking one.
And all kinds of chromatic notes and chords might crop up in a major key tune.
The key sig is just giving you the ballpark: the set of notes that are the foundation of the music. It doesn't exclude anything else. Accidentals (chromatics) are not banned!

Of course, if your piece with a 2-sharp key sig ended up using no C#s anywhere, and only C's, than you might question why the key sig didn't just use 1 sharp (on F). Would the consistent use of C natural and not C# mean the key was really G? No - not unless the key chord (by sound) was obviously G.
But of course a 1-sharp key sig might lead you to believe the key was G, and then be confused when the main chord seemed to be D....

In the case of SCOM, C# does occur somewhere (in the A major chord at least), so a 2-sharp key sig is perfectly acceptable, even if there are more C's than C#s - as long as the key centre is clearly D (and it is).

Thing to remember about notation (as a famous conductor once said when holding up the score in front of an orchestra): "This is not the music. It's just some information about the music." The accent being on "some". (And the "music" is what happens when you play. It's the sounds, not the dots on the page.)
Notation is a more or less feeble attempt to translate sound into symbols on a page. It's not a set of instructions. It's just "some information" - as correct as possible (given sensible limits of economy and clarity), but a long way from the whole story.
Quote by YellowCat

However, there are some things like specific changes, or cliches that happen in some rhythms that "break" these rules. Like the minor pentatonic over major key, and the bVII chord.
You're sensibly putting "break" in quotes - because, of course, no rules are really being broken here. As long as everything sounds right, then rules are being followed.
The rules that do get commonly broken - and cause confusion - are rules of terminology. The real "rules" are not about what you can and can't do, but about what you call it when you do it! Give it the wrong name, and you can believe you are breaking some musical rule when you aren't.
Quote by YellowCat

What I'm asking you now, if you guys can help is: what can I study/read/watch, to get this "out of the box" knowledge?
Keep studying songs, and take nothing for granted. Especially any music theory rules you think you know. Songs are never wrong (assuming they've reached the stage of being recorded, issued and bought!). Your knowledge of music theory may be correct, but will never be complete. And even if you did know all the music theory that exists, it still wouldn't explain everything.

Remember that theory is only a system of naming and categorising musical sounds - looking for patterns and defining concepts, describing "common practices".
If the concepts you know don't match the sounds, then it's the concepts that need adjusting, or adding to. Maybe you've found an "uncommon practice". Or maybe (more likely) it's a common practice you just don't know the name of yet.

Always work from the music to the theory, and not vice versa.
#28
So from what I've read would you say that it's in a modal key of D which allows for the bVII chord of Cadd9?
#29
Also there's an F major in the chorus (this first "woah"). This doesn't come from D mixo, it also comes from the parallel minor (like the C chord).

You're safe improvising with the D mixo scale, except for that F, which further suggests that the song is not in D mixo.
And no, Guitar Hero will not help. Even on expert. Really.
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