#1
Hello, I notice Radioehad use chords that are not in the key of the song, how is that possible?

For example: No surprises in the key of F Major, yet they use Bb Minor chord in the intro.
Nude is in the key of E Major, yet they use G# Major chord.
#2
What do you mean "how is it possible"? I can play any chord I like after any other - same with Radiohead - or you.

Jokes aside, there's nothing to say that chords from outside the key can't sound good or fit in a song - but often they grab our attention since we're so used to chords coming from the key of the song. Radiohead use this brilliantly, in your example above or in creep where they do some minor/major switching that really sets that ambigious mood of the song.

If you go to Youtube and search for radiohead + Ben Levin there's a fun little tounge-in-cheek guideline to how you write a Radiohead song, with a focus on these special changes with chords from outside the key.

Just my two cent but I hope it was helpful!
#3
Quote by Radioheader
Hello, I notice Radioehad use chords that are not in the key of the song, how is that possible?

For example: No surprises in the key of F Major, yet they use Bb Minor chord in the intro.
Nude is in the key of E Major, yet they use G# Major chord.


In both of those cases, they just borrowed a chord from an another key. Bb minor is a chord from F minor, and when used in F major it gives a really cool, dark sound. I like that borrowed chord in particular, sounds pretty sweet.

The second one is less obvious since you could see it as if it was borrowed from the relative minor. You might wonder how you can borrow a chord from a relative key since the chords are identical, but in minor keys, the minor v chord is often replaced with a major V chord. When used in a major context (turning the iii chord into a major chord) it gives the progression some edge and dissonance. This is just a generalization though, you can use both chords in a lot of different ways. But you could look more into borrowed chords, a good place to start is borrowing from the parallel major/minor. Play around with this concept a bit and you might get cool results.

Quote by copperwreck
Ben Levin


Ben also has a video explaining a similar concept to OP's "No Surprises" example, where he explains how you borrow the iv chord from the parallel minor. Called something like "A Touch of Darkness" iirc. Ben is great anyway, check him out OP.
Quote by Jet Penguin
Theory: Not rules, just tools.

Quote by Hail
*note that by fan i mean that guy who wants his friends to know he knows this totally obscure hip band that only he knows about with 236 views on youtube. lookin' at Kev here
#4
Radioheader Your concern is a common one. Music theory (including chord progressions) is just an observation of what was commonly used (usually based on folk analysing classical music mostly). As tastes change (bit different now to the 18th century for example!), so different ideas have been tried out ... human nature to explore. Hence stuff like theory for jazz includes, but extends theory for classical.

The critical point is that these are observations ... these are NOT proclamation, rules , that must be adhered to ... just descriptions.

So, as people explored, they'd start looking at things like turning a major or minor chord into a dominant chord (e.g. in F major, you might like the sound of F G7 C rather than F Gm7 C. It just strengthens the sound for arriving at the C. The question then is how to deal with the non-key pitch(es) that get introduced ... and again, you have a choice. You can ignore the chord type change ... then you may get a clashy sound, if you play Bb (from F) against the B of G7. Doesn't matter. Or you may decide to emphasise the difference,. and play the B pitch.

The most effective way to navigate these sorts of things is to be aware of the chord tones (root, third (maj or min), fifth (dim, perf, aug) and seventh (dim, min or maj) as suitys the chord type, and target these ... you can chuck in whatever else you like.
Last edited by jerrykramskoy at Jan 13, 2017,
#5
Quote by Radioheader
Hello, I notice Radioehad use chords that are not in the key of the song, how is that possible?
It's possible in the same way that it's possible to ride a bike without training wheels...
#6
Speaking of Radiohead, "Paranoid Android" is a great song with plenty of odd harmonies and one of the most alien guitar solos I've heard (even weirder than Buckethead or Allen Holdsworth). It's hard to believe that outro solo is supposedly (according to a topic of mine a while ago) in C Major (or so I've heard). Seriously what's going on there? Anyway Radiohead is rather good at adding strange things to songs and making them sound natural.

The music video is bizarre but it's a good song with plenty of interest.


Harmonies can get wild at times ...
"I don't know what you're trying to suggest. There's no shame in taking what you need to hold your position!"

Super Buu (DBZ) on assimilation (it could also apply to blues guitar and guitar soloing in general).
#8
Quote by jerrykramskoy
Still got mine ... and knee pads!
I still wear knee pads when playing the guitar. And elbow pads and a crash helmet. You can't be too careful.
The boxing gloves do present a problem though....