#1
Friend handed me some tabs of a song he wants to do but I need to write a solo and not exactly sure which key (or possible keys) it's in... as of right now, all i have are power chords. :/

F# D C# B

Is it B melodic minor?
#2
F# seems like the tonic to me

I bVI V IV

F#m

Write out your powerchords and put the notes in order...
F#5 = F#, C#
D5 = D, A
C# = C#, G#
B = B, F#

F# G# A B C# D ? F#

Given the major third between the D and F# it's safe to assume that the E is an E natural.

F# G# A B C# D E F# = F# minor
Si
#4
No worries man,

If we made those into full triads using that scale then we would have...

F#m D C#m Bm

So if you were going to target chord tones and wanted some thirds then those would be the diatonic options.

But as they are powerchords you could get away with targeting the root and fifth obviously and either the major or minor thirds in most of those chords.

If you implied all major chords it would be less diatonic but give it a little more grunt...depending on what the song is and what it needs...

F# D C# B

F# = F# (A#) C# 
D  = D   F#  A
C# = C# (E#) G#
B  = B  (D#) F#

The raised sixth D# and E# give us the F# melodic minor - but you can't use that as a blanket approach given we have a D natural as the second chord and it would clash against the D#.

The Major third in the F# would be an A# and shortly after we hear the A natural as the fifth of the D5 powerchord. But it will work fine.

It really depends what the song needs.

As mentioned F#m is the diatonic approach.

But you might find F# major (with a borrowed bVI chord) works better.

Here's a list of scale possibilities that could work over that powerchord progression:
F# minor (diatonic)
F# minor pentatonic
F# melodic minor

F# blues

F# major
F# major pentatonic

F# mixolydian

Any of those scales could possibly work, some of them may have a few more avoid notes over specific chords than others.

Best of luck.
Si
#5
The key is defined by the tonic, ie the chord that feels like home. Now, power chords can be either major or minor but it has to do with context.

First try to find the tonic. And yeah, I would agree with 20T, it's F#.

How to figure out whether the chords are minor or major? Well, you can of course change their quality depending on what notes you play over it. But if you only play the chords alone, the F# in this case sounds like minor because it's followed by a D5 chord that belongs to the key of F#m, not in the key of F# major.

But yeah, you could for example make all of the chords major if you wanted to. Just play A# over F#5, F# over D5, E# over C# and D# over B5. But if you want to stay diatonic to the key, play F# minor scale over everything.


As said above, the progression could also be in F# major with a borrowed bVI chord.
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Last edited by MaggaraMarine at Mar 2, 2016,
#6
H minor
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#8
Quote by Himynameisben95 at #33862497
Yeah it's in A major (F# minor)

Just because the two keys share the same set of notes doesn't mean that they're interchangeable.

The strong note is definitely F#; whether it's major or minor depends on the rest of the context. Power chords are simple dyads, and it's hard to get information from an incomplete map.
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
#10
To add to the excellent explaination of 20Tiger. If you gonna make all the chords major, you can improvise in F# major, with the exception of D major, there you can improvise in F#minor instead. This would imply some nice mode mixture and borrowed chord.

Another way to look at the D major as a dominant chord, so you can either play D mixolydian or D lydian dominant. This would imply some nice tritone substitution.

Yet another really hip sound is to play D lydian #5 over the D major. This would implies a borrowed chord from F# mixolydian b6.

Lots of possibilities for different sound colors here. All these scales you can google and I'm sure on youtube there's decent introductory video of how to use these scales in a melodic way.
#11
Quote by donfully
To add to the excellent explaination of 20Tiger. If you gonna make all the chords major, you can improvise in F# major, with the exception of D major, there you can improvise in F#minor instead. This would imply some nice mode mixture and borrowed chord.

Another way to look at the D major as a dominant chord, so you can either play D mixolydian or D lydian dominant. This would imply some nice tritone substitution.

Yet another really hip sound is to play D lydian #5 over the D major. This would implies a borrowed chord from F# mixolydian b6.

Lots of possibilities for different sound colors here. All these scales you can google and I'm sure on youtube there's decent introductory video of how to use these scales in a melodic way.

Cool stuff but sounds a bit complicated considering that TS has a hard time finding the key. I would suggest sticking with the F# minor scale for a start. Also, this CST stuff starts making a lot more sense once TS has a better understanding of harmony and improvisation in general. It will sound weird if your solo is otherwise basic pentatonic rock licks and then over one chord you play some weird scale.


Another thing would be trying to sing a melody over the chords and then trying to play what you just sung. This way you are free from scales and finger patterns and think in pure sound. It may result in quite a different sounding solo than just picking a scale and playing some licks in that scale.


Oh, and if all of the chords were major, I would suggest trying F# minor pentatonic over D major and F# major pentatonic over the rest. That would be the simplest way and I'm sure TS is familiar with those scales.
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
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Last edited by MaggaraMarine at Mar 22, 2016,
#12
No quarrel with the above, but an alternative view is that the "key" is irrelevant. The chords give you enough material to determine what notes to solo with, and which one might be the keynote is a secondary issue.

As 20Tigers says, the chord tones spell out the scale commonly known as either A major or F# minor (guessing the missing E), and - of those two - F# would be the obvious choice if looking for a keynote.

I don't see any reason to deviate from that given material and suggest F# major at any point.

But a lot depends on how long each chord lasts. A lot of time spent on the F# chord might mean a deviation towards F# major (or at least mixolydian) might work. OTOH, a lot of time spent on the B might suggest B is keynote, and B minor pent could work (at least on the B chord).

Of course, F# minor could sound a little "vanilla", and the absence of E from the chord tones suggests something more exotic could be worth trying, such a F# harmonic minor (with E#). Or F# harmonic major, if going for the major sound on the F#.
Last edited by jongtr at Mar 22, 2016,
#13
I don't see any reason to deviate from that given material and suggest F# major at any point.

Well, it's not rare that in rock music all chords are major chords. And the progression would work well as an F# major progression with a borrowed chord (bVI) from the parallel minor. All the other chords (F#5 C#5 and B5) are diatonic to both F# major and minor.
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
#14
Quote by MaggaraMarine
Well, it's not rare that in rock music all chords are major chords. And the progression would work well as an F# major progression with a borrowed chord (bVI) from the parallel minor. All the other chords (F#5 C#5 and B5) are diatonic to both F# major and minor.
Sure. My feeling is we just don't know enough about how these chords are working. On the face of it it's an F# minor scenario - mainly because of the D of course, the others being indeterminate.
That doesn't mean it can't go beyond that, it just doesn't need to, from what we're given. Hearing it would certainly make a difference! (How much role that D plays.)