#1
I have so many questions about this subject, it's unbelievable. I've been starting to learn scales and I'm doing okay, and I really wanna start writing my own stuff, but the theory is killing, it's like noone has the answer I'm looking for. Anyways here's questions I have, numbered for simplicity...

1: I really can't seem to be able to figure out the key of a song. As much as I try I never understand how people can figure it out with having tabs in front of them, or even music sheets(without the key signature). The problem isn't doing it by ear, it's doing it at all, with knowing the played notes. I would really love to be able to open a guitarpro file and be able to say the key of a song. If anyone could PLEASE just take a short tab, tell what the notes are, tell what key it is in, AND most importantly tell me WHY you would say it is in a specific key.

2:Still concerning the key... what it can it actually be? Is the key always minor or major? Or can any scale/modes be the key?

3:About scales, is there an actual difference with the root note? Like, do you play it more often, or is it the note you start phrases with? When people say you "resolve" about that note, what does it mean? How is it used diffferently then others, if it is?

4:Chord progressions... I've been trying to figure out those, like the key, and am pretty much clueless. How can you first figure out a chord progression? And would a chord progression follow you the whole song, without a change, does it repeat? How can you know the key of a song knowing a chord progression? If you can show me with tabs like the key, it would be greatly appreciated too. I'd be eternally grateful.

5:So supposing I know the key of the song I wanna write, and the chord progression... As an example, let's say in E minor, and with a chord progression(I'm clueless here ), what do I have the "right" to play? Like which scales/modes can I use? How do I know the ones I can use and the ones I can't use? And does the chord progression make a difference to the scales and modes you can use?

Sorry for all these questions, it's been on my mind for a long time now. Took so many hours to try and figure out but I can never find the answers, so I'm stucked. Thanks a lot for anyone who's gonna try and help, it will be really appreciated. It might be really beginner questions, but really I need to know, it would be such a big step for myself.
Quote by MH400
a girl on the interwebz?

You have 2 options.

1. Tits.
2. GTFO.

#2
1. figure out the major, minor, and/or diminished chords in the scale.

here's a quick chart for major keys:
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 1
M m m M M m dim M

and for minor keys:
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 1
m dim M m m M M m

2. modes are just normal scales starting on different notes.

C Ionian (Major):
CDEFGABC
D Dorian:
DEFGABCD
E Phrygian:
EFGABCDE
etc. basically the letter and mode name determines the scale. in the example, the number of flats and sharps didn't change. this is because the only thing we changed was the note you started on.
I-------------Ionian
Don't--------Dorian
Punch-------Phrygian
Like----------Lydian
Muhammed--Mixolydian
A-------------Aeolian
Li-------------Locrian
(I'm aware that it's "Ali" and not "A Li." it's just to help you)

3. usually to resolve, means to end on a root noot, or 1 chord. although it doesn't always have to. and you can play the root note as often as you like. there really aren't any laws or anything. there are guidlines, things that are commonly done, that do not need to be followed. but I guess traditionally, the root note is one of your most used notes/chords.

4. chord progressions just deal with the scales. the easy way I showed you figure out the key, helps you find the progression. each letter in the key matches up to a number.
ex:
12345671
CDEFGABC

that means that if you want a I-IV-V progression, you would use the chords C-F-G. it all has to do with counting.

and if it says I-♭iii-V, you would just flat the e chord.

and the chord progression doesn't have to be the same throughout the entire song. that's where you get a verse, chorus, bridge, etc. they change up a bit. and progressions may repeat, like if you have 2 verses or something along those lines.

5. okay, key of em:
e f# g a b c d e
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 1
m dim M m m M M m

that would be the E Aeolian (Minor) Scale.
so the modes you can use are:
A Dorian-------ABCDEF#GA
B Phrygian-----BCDEF#GAB
E Aeolian--------EF#GABCDE

those are the minor modes. you can't use, in this case, the Ionian, Lydian, and Mixolydian because they are major sounding scales. whereas the Locrian is diminished sounding. although it wouldn't be completely farfetched to use any of those scales.

now, you could even use a pentatonic scale if you wanted. it's all up to you. because you get to choose what you do and don't want to do. you have the "right" to use any note/scale/whatever, because music isn't like math. there are many different outcomes from one progression. you can't even count the possibilities out there. whereas math is simple 1+1, or 4X7. things that normally only have one answer.

and the progession doesn't dictate the key. the key dictates the scales/modes, which limit your choices, for the progression, to a more managable level. from millions down to thousands.

so you can basically have any progression in any key. because a progression is just a bunch of roman numerals. the key is the notes that match up to the roman numerals.


I hope this answers most everything. and if not, feel free to message me to get more of the specifics that I missed.

and as a side note; I believe that I am pretty close to being right on all of this, but if I'm off...feel fres to correct me. the last thing I want is to give out horribly skewed information.
#3
I'd think the easiest way to answer all your questions is through these lessons by John Urban, particularly parts 4, 7 and 8. They will answer all your questions, but read them all from 1 to make sure you have your ground theory down. It takes maybe 30 mins to read through them all, and they will definately answer all your questions.
#4
Quote by Spike6sic6
I have so many questions about this subject, it's unbelievable. I've been starting to learn scales and I'm doing okay, and I really wanna start writing my own stuff, but the theory is killing, it's like noone has the answer I'm looking for. Anyways here's questions I have, numbered for simplicity...

That's your problem right there, and that's all it is. This is a massive subject and you're not going to be able to take it in all at once. Likewise you're not going to be able to recognise keys right away, it's going to take time to train your ears to listen out for things like that.

Just start at the beginning, be patient and don't try to learn everything at once - those Crusade articles should help.
Actually called Mark!

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#5
Quote by steven seagull
That's your problem right there, and that's all it is. This is a massive subject and you're not going to be able to take it in all at once. Likewise you're not going to be able to recognise keys right away, it's going to take time to train your ears to listen out for things like that.

Just start at the beginning, be patient and don't try to learn everything at once - those Crusade articles should help.


Well that's not the problem. I have no problems with scales and all. What I'm stucked at is how they construct a song out of these scales, modes, etc. I also needed information on the key, chord progression and such.

This answered a lot of questions, and thanks a lot about that, but I have other questions. First when I mentionned the possibilities for the key, what I meant was, what can it actually be? Can your key be for example, B Phrygian? Or would the key always be major/minor?

As for what scales to play over what key... suppose you are playing in Em again. Are you limited to using the E minor scale(and it's minor modes), or can you actually play other scales like A minor. And can you play major scales, or do you have to stay in minor?

As for the chord progression, I think I now understand. Basicly, your progression is the result of what you are playing, rather then the opposite? So, you'd write a riff, and it would tell the progression, instead of actually taking a progression and making a riff with it.
Quote by MH400
a girl on the interwebz?

You have 2 options.

1. Tits.
2. GTFO.

#6
Quote by Spike6sic6
Well that's not the problem. I have no problems with scales and all. What I'm stucked at is how they construct a song out of these scales, modes, etc. I also needed information on the key, chord progression and such.

That's EXACTLY what the problem is - if you can't do those things then you have plenty of problems with scales. You haven't actually learned them, all you've done is memorise the patterns which is one tiny, relatively unimportant aspect of the scale.

Spend more time studying and working with scales, getting a feel for the intervals and the chord progression derived from them. The more you do this the more sense it wil make and the better you'll get at it.
Actually called Mark!

Quote by TNfootballfan62
People with a duck for their avatar always give good advice.

...it's a seagull

Quote by Dave_Mc
i wanna see a clip of a recto buying some groceries.


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#7
You cant be told how to determine key signatures in a thread on here and be like oh thats how. Its not that easy. Your trying to take a shortcut on a very complex topic that takes a long time to study. It is a class at college and high school that takes students years of steady advancing to understand really well. I took it and I didnt learn how to tell key signatures for months into it. You might know how to add and subtract and know how to read numbers but that doesnt mean someone can explain how to do calculus or trig to you in one sitting.

Get a book or read lessons starting at the begining like seagul said. If you are reading stuff that you already know you are reinforcing knowlage and possibly getting a better understanding. If you think you have "finished" or "understand" scales fully then you are stubburn and have a bad learning attitude and only you will suffer for it.