Go Back   UG Community @ Ultimate-Guitar.Com > Music > Musician Talk
User Name  
Password
Search:

Reply
Old 12-29-2015, 08:30 PM   #1
YellowCat
It's yellow. It's a cat.
 
YellowCat's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2012
Location: São Paulo - Brazil
Sweet Child o' Mine Theory

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?
YellowCat is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-29-2015, 09:15 PM   #2
NeoMvsEu
Sing the anthem of life
 
NeoMvsEu's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2010
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".
__________________
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jet Penguin
lots of flirting with the other key without confirming. JUST LIKE THEIR LOVE IN THE MOVIE OH DAMN.
NeoMvsEu is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-29-2015, 09:20 PM   #3
YellowCat
It's yellow. It's a cat.
 
YellowCat's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2012
Location: São Paulo - Brazil
Quote:
Originally Posted 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 : 12-29-2015 at 09:22 PM.
YellowCat is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-29-2015, 09:24 PM   #4
NeoMvsEu
Sing the anthem of life
 
NeoMvsEu's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2010
Here, a test: add C# over both chords. Does it fit? Or does C fit better?
__________________
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jet Penguin
lots of flirting with the other key without confirming. JUST LIKE THEIR LOVE IN THE MOVIE OH DAMN.
NeoMvsEu is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-29-2015, 09:24 PM   #5
theogonia777
Miss Kristen
 
theogonia777's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2009
Location: The Backwoods
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.
__________________
Quote:
Originally Posted by lolmnt
That's right I have a four inch penis.


Comma splices killed Steve McNair. When you post a comma splice, you are supporting murder.

Quote:
Originally Posted by NirvanaLuvr16
omg its better than i imagined... so dark and cozy and warm...


Now you have no excuse...

Last edited by theogonia777 : 12-29-2015 at 09:26 PM.
theogonia777 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-29-2015, 09:42 PM   #6
YellowCat
It's yellow. It's a cat.
 
YellowCat's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2012
Location: São Paulo - Brazil
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.
YellowCat is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-29-2015, 09:45 PM   #7
MaggaraMarine
Slapping the bass.
 
MaggaraMarine's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: Finland
Quote:
Originally Posted 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:
Originally Posted 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):



You can hear that D is clearly the tonic.
__________________
Quote:
Originally Posted by AlanHB
Just remember that there are no boring scales, just boring players.

Gear

Charvel So Cal
Ibanez Blazer
Yamaha FG720S-12
Tokai TB48
Laney VC30
Hartke HyDrive 210c

Last edited by MaggaraMarine : 12-29-2015 at 09:48 PM.
MaggaraMarine is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-29-2015, 09:58 PM   #8
YellowCat
It's yellow. It's a cat.
 
YellowCat's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2012
Location: São Paulo - Brazil
Quote:
Originally Posted 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):



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...
YellowCat is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-29-2015, 10:24 PM   #9
aerosmithfan95
Call me Billy.
 
aerosmithfan95's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: In the pipes
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.
__________________
AF95

Guitar --> Pedals --> Amplifier
aerosmithfan95 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-29-2015, 11:42 PM   #10
NeoMvsEu
Sing the anthem of life
 
NeoMvsEu's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2010
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:
Originally Posted by MaggaraMarine at #33751443
the song


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:
Originally Posted 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.
__________________
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jet Penguin
lots of flirting with the other key without confirming. JUST LIKE THEIR LOVE IN THE MOVIE OH DAMN.
NeoMvsEu is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-30-2015, 08:10 AM   #11
MaggaraMarine
Slapping the bass.
 
MaggaraMarine's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: Finland
Quote:
Originally Posted 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:
Originally Posted by AlanHB
Just remember that there are no boring scales, just boring players.

Gear

Charvel So Cal
Ibanez Blazer
Yamaha FG720S-12
Tokai TB48
Laney VC30
Hartke HyDrive 210c
MaggaraMarine is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-30-2015, 08:38 AM   #12
jongtr
Registered User
 
Join Date: Jul 2015
Quote:
Originally Posted 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:

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 : 12-30-2015 at 08:49 AM.
jongtr is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-30-2015, 08:52 AM   #13
NeoMvsEu
Sing the anthem of life
 
NeoMvsEu's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2010
Quote:
Originally Posted 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:
the Bowie

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.
__________________
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jet Penguin
lots of flirting with the other key without confirming. JUST LIKE THEIR LOVE IN THE MOVIE OH DAMN.
NeoMvsEu is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-30-2015, 01:36 PM   #14
jongtr
Registered User
 
Join Date: Jul 2015
Quote:
Originally Posted 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:
Originally Posted 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:
Originally Posted 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 : 12-30-2015 at 01:38 PM.
jongtr is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-30-2015, 02:49 PM   #15
MaggaraMarine
Slapping the bass.
 
MaggaraMarine's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: Finland
^ Yeah, a major key song based on the mixolydian scale maybe...
__________________
Quote:
Originally Posted by AlanHB
Just remember that there are no boring scales, just boring players.

Gear

Charvel So Cal
Ibanez Blazer
Yamaha FG720S-12
Tokai TB48
Laney VC30
Hartke HyDrive 210c
MaggaraMarine is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-31-2015, 11:07 AM   #16
jongtr
Registered User
 
Join Date: Jul 2015
^ Or "major key", with the understanding that the 7th degree is variable. (Just as it is in a minor key. .)
jongtr is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-31-2015, 11:18 PM   #17
cdgraves
Registered User
 
Join Date: Jan 2013
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 : 12-31-2015 at 11:21 PM.
cdgraves is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-01-2016, 01:26 AM   #18
Rhys Lett ESSM
Registered User
 
Rhys Lett ESSM's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2014
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.
__________________
Visit my music school site for advice on gear, music theory and lessons.
www.essm.net.au
Rhys Lett ESSM is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-01-2016, 03:41 AM   #19
NeoMvsEu
Sing the anthem of life
 
NeoMvsEu's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2010
Quote:
Originally Posted 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.
__________________
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jet Penguin
lots of flirting with the other key without confirming. JUST LIKE THEIR LOVE IN THE MOVIE OH DAMN.
NeoMvsEu is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-01-2016, 07:47 AM   #20
MaggaraMarine
Slapping the bass.
 
MaggaraMarine's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: Finland
Quote:
Originally Posted 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:
Originally Posted by AlanHB
Just remember that there are no boring scales, just boring players.

Gear

Charvel So Cal
Ibanez Blazer
Yamaha FG720S-12
Tokai TB48
Laney VC30
Hartke HyDrive 210c
MaggaraMarine is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply


Thread Tools Rate This Thread
Rate This Thread:

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

vB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Forum Jump



All times are GMT -4. The time now is 07:13 PM.

Forum Archives / About / TOS / Advertise with us / Customer Support / Ultimate-Guitar.Com © 2016
Powered by: vBulletin Version 3.0.9
Copyright ©2000 - 2016, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.