Author Topic: Non-muso muso question  (Read 211 times)

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Offline nobloodyname

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Non-muso muso question
« on: February 14, 2024, 02:30:03 AM »
Just wondering if someone might be able to explain what's going on here!

Standard chord sequence on guitar: Am, G, F, E. My research leads me to believe this is the key of A minor. I've been playing the A harmonic minor scale over it. I've noticed that if I play G# from that scale, it sounds really quite dissonant when it's played on top of anything other than the E. Is this working as intended, ie a 'feature' of the harmonic minor?
Paul
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Offline Indiscipline

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Re: Non-muso muso question
« Reply #1 on: February 14, 2024, 03:07:23 AM »
Let's put it this way:

Am, G, F are chords built on the notes of the A natural minor scale (i.e. the C Major Scale): A, B, C, D, E, F, G

When the progression goes to E, it's borrowing a dominant chord (parallel sostitution) from the A harmonic minor scale, which features A, B, C, D, E, F, G#

So, if you are constantly using the A harmonic minor scale, G# is a chord tone only on E, hence a reliable note to lean on melodically, while on the other chords it tends to sound "better" as a quick passing tone.

Offline nobloodyname

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Re: Non-muso muso question
« Reply #2 on: February 14, 2024, 03:23:36 AM »
Ah, that's brilliant, thank you! So if I played the A natural minor scale, everything would sound fine.

...and I've just realised that it would be Em in the key of A minor, not E major. Ooops! But the E major sounds really nice :biggrin:

Paul
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Getting right out of my comfort zone: www.youtube.com/@paulplayspoorly Go on, you can do it, too!

Offline Indiscipline

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Re: Non-muso muso question
« Reply #3 on: February 14, 2024, 03:28:09 AM »
Ah, that's brilliant, thank you! So if I played the A natural minor scale, everything would sound fine.

...and I've just realised that it would be Em in the key of A minor, not E major. Ooops! But the E major sounds really nice :biggrin:

"Sounds fine" is totally up to you, mate. Those are explanations to things happening, the only rules are what you like to play!

Offline nobloodyname

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Re: Non-muso muso question
« Reply #4 on: February 14, 2024, 03:44:05 AM »
Indeed. My issue was the E being of major variety rather than minor variety, just because I thought it sounded good* in the sequence. So it's either switch that E major to minor and use the natural minor scale or keep the E major and save that lovely lingering G# for when I'm on the E major.

No idea how on earth you and others remember all this stuff. Music theory knowledge always impresses me!

*and there's nothing wrong with that, I know
Paul
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Getting right out of my comfort zone: www.youtube.com/@paulplayspoorly Go on, you can do it, too!

Offline Indiscipline

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Re: Non-muso muso question
« Reply #5 on: February 14, 2024, 03:47:20 AM »
Indeed. My issue was the E being of major variety rather than minor variety, just because I thought it sounded good* in the sequence. So it's either switch that E major to minor and use the natural minor scale or keep the E major and save that lovely lingering G# for when I'm on the E major.

No idea how on earth you and others remember all this stuff. Music theory knowledge always impresses me!

*and there's nothing wrong with that, I know

The E major sounds great in that progression, why changing it?

Now that you know the way it works, you can switch the scales you use on the various chords - or pick/omit key notes in your favourite scale accordingly -  as you see fit.
« Last Edit: February 14, 2024, 03:56:46 AM by Indiscipline »

Offline Lonk

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Re: Non-muso muso question
« Reply #6 on: February 14, 2024, 06:16:51 AM »
Indeed. My issue was the E being of major variety rather than minor variety, just because I thought it sounded good* in the sequence. So it's either switch that E major to minor and use the natural minor scale or keep the E major and save that lovely lingering G# for when I'm on the E major.

No idea how on earth you and others remember all this stuff. Music theory knowledge always impresses me!

*and there's nothing wrong with that, I know

The E major sounds great in that progression, why changing it?
Not only does it sound great, it would be "proper practice" to have an E major (or dominant) go to Am, if the E major represents the end of a period or phrase.
Vmadera has evolved into Lonk