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Old 12-07-2017, 06:17 AM
All bar one All bar one is offline
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Default Parent key?

Hi, I Have a chord progression for my latest song that I don't know the parent key of?

Its A6 ( 5x465x ) to Bbmaj7 for the versus and then switches to Cmaj7 to Gmaj7 for a chorus

Does it have a parent key or is it what they call modal?

Thanks in advance.
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Old 12-07-2017, 07:35 AM
MikeBmusic MikeBmusic is offline
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That's a strange (and seems hard) way to play A6! For a start, A and Bb - 2 major chords 1/2 step away from each other - can never be in the same key. Then you're switching to C and G maj chords, which, likewise would not be in either of the other keys. If you were writing the song on sheet music, you'd just sharp/flat certain notes, and do a key change for the change to C/G
Is there a reason you are looking to 'name the key'?
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Old 12-07-2017, 08:17 AM
Erithon Erithon is offline
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Yes, to expand on what Mike said: if you want to 'name the key,' you may want to think of the A6 as F#m7/A and the Bbmaj7 as A#maj7. Or keep the Bbmaj7 and think of the A6 as or Gbm7/Bbb. Either you'll be dealing with a double flat or double sharp.
Once again, however, these two chords are not in the same key as one another (or the Cmaj7 and Gmaj7). Too many accidentals. It's not modal, just a more colorful (i.e. chromatic) progression you've devised.
If I absolutely had to declare a key (and I wouldn't, because the progression here doesn't really have one in traditional Western music analysis, not unlike the opening of Wagner's "Tristan" prelude), I would probably say G. The C then becomes a IV, the F#m7/A becomes an undiminished vii in first inversion, and the A#maj7 a borrowing from an unrelated key.
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Old 12-07-2017, 09:08 AM
Wade Hampton Wade Hampton is online now
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What melody note (or notes) does the tune begin and end on? Sometimes that's the best way to start figuring out less obvious keys and progressions, working backwards to figure out the sense of the harmonic structure from there.

A few years ago I had to transpose "Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds" two steps lower to accommodate the baritone voice of one of my bandmates, and that's how I worked it out. Not exactly a I-IV-V song there!


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Old 12-07-2017, 09:16 AM
mr. beaumont mr. beaumont is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by All bar one View Post
Hi, I Have a chord progression for my latest song that I don't know the parent key of?

Its A6 ( 5x465x ) to Bbmaj7 for the versus and then switches to Cmaj7 to Gmaj7 for a chorus

Does it have a parent key or is it what they call modal?

Thanks in advance.
Could be modal in nature...How long are these chords hanging around? What are the melody notes? That stuff matters.

Just seeing it on paper, if I was say, called into the studio to record a solo on it, I'd be addressing every chord as a seperate entity and not concerning myself with a parent "key" very much.

Btw, that's my favorite 6th chord shape!
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Old 12-07-2017, 12:22 PM
rct rct is offline
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Music is context. Without the melody and knowing what note best resolves tension(s) there isn't really any saying what key it is.

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Old 12-07-2017, 12:25 PM
jseth jseth is offline
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As some have said, it doesn't really matter and is difficult to pin down from the information you gave us... melody and duration of the tune would dictate the "parent key" more accurately...

That's a GREAT way to play an Amaj6 chord... I believe that is in Lesson #1 in the Mickey Baker Introduction to Jazz Guitar book!
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Old 12-07-2017, 12:28 PM
SongwriterFan SongwriterFan is offline
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A friend of mine would say that's probably in the key of G-demolished.
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Old 12-07-2017, 01:28 PM
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Todd Tipton Todd Tipton is offline
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I'm not going to try to answer this; there are many good responses. Maybe someone can get something out of my prattling. I feel compelled to try to offer something useful here because I have so much empathy and compassion with the question. It reminds me SOOO much of my early years. If I had a time machine, I would go back and try to keep it all from happening. But then again, I might not be the same person I am today. And also, I wrote this over many sittings in between practicing. It is probably too much to READ in one sitting...lol

I, like many people, put the cart before the horse. I started out like most people. I just want to play. I want to play now! I want to play the things I like. And anything that didn't serve that purpose was set aside as not useful to me.

Just like most everyone else, I made progress. Not as much as I COULD have made, but I made progress. I played more. I listened more. My tastes evolved. And then it started happening. I had questions. Then I had more questions. And sometimes they weren't the right question because I didn't know enough to know what to ask. And the answers to my questions were long, confusing and only left me with more questions.

The thing is, it is okay. It is normal. We aren't robots. We are not computers to merely be programmed with the most efficient and effective way. And we are talking about one of the most popular instruments in the world!

To give an analogy, maybe I like science fiction. I love the ideas of time travel. Black holes are fascinating! So I start reading and studying them. It is cool. And, at this point, I have no way of knowing how my tastes will evolve. I don't care. I'm just enjoying learning about black holes. And I like Star Trek. All of them. Don't care for Star wars, and what is this about C3Po's silver leg?

The thing is, I've been studying black holes for a really long time. I keep wanting to learn more and more. Suddenly, I start having questions. And the answers aren't helping. It takes WAY too long to get an answer, and I'm only left with more questions. What do they mean magnification? What is Kepler's Law? There are THREE of them? What is an ellipses anyway? Is that singular or plural? What does redshift have to do with all of this?

There comes a point where I have a decision to make. And the good news is, there is no wrong answer.

1. Stop learning about black holes.
2. Go back and invest time in learning fundamentals that I didn't think were important at the time.
3. Relax. Continue learning about black holes MY WAY and know that somethings are just not fun to learn about. Nothing wrong with that stuff, but I just am not interested.

To repeat, there is nothing wrong with either answer. Choose, and enjoy life! For me (shift from metaphor to guitar), I couldn't stop learning about guitar. And I WAS interested. I couldn't STOP asking my questions. And I need to add that a BIG, BIG part of it was that I later (many years later) found a teacher that motivated me. He managed to begin teaching those fundamentals in a relatively quick and painless sort of way. He tricked me into needing some of those answers to the RIGHT questions (to the fundamentals) right away. Everything from theory, reading, hand positions, exercises, scales, arpeggios, you name it: He had me in a situation where the following always occurred:

1. an easy and digestible piece of knowledge was the most efficient and logical piece of information I needed to learn at that moment if I was going to build an amazing "race car" in the least amount of time.

2. He found an amazing way to make me WANT that little piece of information so that I could play this particular pice of music right now.

With his help, I chose path number 2. I chose to go back and invest time in learning fundamentals that I didn't think were important at the time. I could have chosen number 1 or number 3. And that would have been okay. But for many years, I didn't choose ANY of 3 choices. I tried to avoid it.

Like many people, I took music store lessons as a kid. Now is a great time to say that anyone in this position is someone to be highly honored and respected. It is something I did many years ago. Too often, a teacher is put in a position where "the customer is always right." I think I was paid back for my "poor" behavior as a student, and I am grateful I no longer have to do that. So, having nothing to do with anything, the next time you see a music store teacher? Buy them a beer! :-)

But I was on the other side. And it is like the usual, "what do you want to learn?" My sarcastic adult self decades too late replies with, "You are the teacher. I am the student. I have no basis for evaluating what I want or need." Don't misread that! You'd have to see the laughter and twinkle in my eye as I say that. It's one of those moments when a colleague spits out their coffee in laughter. Besides, there is a good chance the teacher was thinking the same thing as he asked me what I wanted to learn, being scolded one too many times by the music store owner...lol

Here is a good example of not knowing enough to even ask the right questions. I had learned SOME of my pentatonic scales. (Not all of them because that would require work....lol I didn't know how to work nor understand why it was important. I could play in a couple of the forms and it sounded good. In the same haphazard way, I worked on my major scales. I didn't learn them. Wasn't interested.

That is SOOO ridiculous, it is worth repeated: I wasn't interested in learning major scales! Because I didn't know enough to know what I was saying, "no" to. All I knew was the pentatonics sounded cooler. Besides, I'M the boss! "What do you want to learn?" I learned what I wanted when I wanted. What I needed to learn wasn't important because my teacher had bills to pay! (As a side note, I hope that poor music teacher gets a straight ticket to heaven and may all of his years sitting in that music store trying to pay his bills, fearful of taking charge and losing students...may he never have to serve a day in Purgatory. Dealing with me alone was surely enough penance!)

So, I learned random things as I felt I needed them. I think it was some metal piece I was wanting to learn and couldn't figure out the solo that sparked something. The Phrygian Mode. I was FASCINATED! Why? It sounded cool.

Darn it! He pulls out one of those major scale forms I was SUPPOSED to already learn. Instead of just taking a few moments, it of COURSE turned into wasted hours, weeks, and months of my questions. It would have been FAR easier if I had just let him lead the lessons from the very beginning. But that is hindsight. I couldn't see this at the time.

So taking WAY too long to learn, I finally got a half misconception in my head: different scales and modes go with different styles of music. No doubt, this misconception was based on my teacher trying to trick me into learning something important without losing me as a student. Spanish music is the Phrygian mode. Hippy music is the Dorian mode...LOL etc.

I was finally motivated to learn a scale pattern or two. But I was a hot shot metal head that could ride up and down the 1st string like no ones business. Learning the scale forms and how they connect required effort. I didn't know how to work.

So, one day I walk into my lesson. And I quote, "I want to learn the jazz mode." I am serious. I actually said those exact words. The more I tried to learn, the more I realized I didn't know anything. And I didn't even know enough to know that I had to make a choice. I either had to stop playing, or stop asking questions, or....GULP...I had to go back and do what I should have done from the very beginning.

I was fortunate enough that someone MADE that choice for me. I started playing when I was 10. That teacher didn't come along until I was 21. And the only reason HE came along is because I failed a music audition. I failed miserably. And it was devastating to a young, arrogant, cocky jerk who had "dedicated his life to music."

Many of my colleagues have written books. There is some insight on bursts, rhythmic variations, speed, tone, whatever. And there is a lot of regurgitated information where I'm not sure they mean what they write, or if they even understand it themselves. Me? I'm too young. I'm not even 50 yet. But I suppose if I ever wrote my OWN book, it might be filled with stories like this one. Let's hope I have a good editor. :-)
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Old 12-07-2017, 01:42 PM
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What He Said!! Same travails for many of us. I wholeheartedly agree, as will many members. Why? Because we've done the same approach-avoidance stuff... Bar chords? Don't need 'em! Modes? What's the point? Memorizing the fretboard? Poppycock!

But eventually, it comes 'round full circle. I agree with Dr. Tipton wholeheartedly! (Except for that underhanded comment about the single greatest droid in the universe....).

Cheers!
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Old 12-07-2017, 03:36 PM
charles Tauber charles Tauber is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Todd Tipton View Post
I feel compelled to try to offer something useful here because I have so much empathy and compassion with the question.
I think yours is a good contribution to the subject.

I suggest that for many human endeavours we can reduce the time and effort required to excel at a chosen endeavour by learning from the experience of others who have come before us and excelled at that endeavour. Those who excelled, and who have a good method for teaching others to also excel, provide a coherent trail of bread crumbs that allows one to progress more quickly than most would progress trying to excel on their own.

The more modest one's goals of achievement, the less one benefits from learning from the experience of those who came before us. If, for example, one's goal is to be good a fingerpainting, a thorough grounding in cubism isn't likely to be particularly useful in attaining that goal. It depends upon what level of achievement one wants and how one measures that achievement: one person's symphony is another person's noise.
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Old 12-07-2017, 05:59 PM
stanron stanron is offline
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T



ry Em.
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Old 12-08-2017, 04:00 AM
All bar one All bar one is offline
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Wow, thanks so much for all your wonderful answers!
The reason for trying to pin down a key is when I go to jam nights there are a few guys who play along with sax or trumpet, and I wanted to give them a hint of the key - a few of my songs have 'odd' chord structure, so when people join in, there comes a distinct point where they get lost or it just sounds not so good. Of course they could learn the song but different musicians appear at different times.

The reason for using the A6 in that position is because the Bbmaj7 is rooted to the 6th fret, and also it allows a small walk from the Gmaj7 back to the A6 when the different parts transition to each other.

I wish I was better technically so I could record it for you, as it would show the relationship between the melody and the chords - I have a Zoom H1 recorder for all my song ideas so I could put it on that but then I get lost with the next steps for sharing.

Anyway, the song is called 'The last Alchemist in the World" and tells the story of the last in line of a spell maker whose fed up with the type of requsts for his craft.

Once again, thanks for your wonderful answers.
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Old 12-08-2017, 11:22 AM
Wengr Wengr is offline
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I usually rely on my ear, but not possible in this situation.
Have you considered F?
When I see two chords with roots only a semi tone apart in a key that I suspect to be major, I consider if they are the 3 and 4, or the 7 and 8.
So if Bb was the 8, then the tonic would be Bb, and I assume you would hear it as such. But since you are asking, I suspect you don't hear it, so maybe the A6 functions as the 3rd, the Bb as the fourth, and therefore the tonic would be F, but you are not hearing it because you have not used it in the progression.
Just a guess.
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Old 12-08-2017, 12:01 PM
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Todd Tipton Todd Tipton is offline
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A second reply. With sincerity, I hope that some people find my post useful.
Having said that, I also have a tendency to miss some very big and important information sometimes. All Bar One wrote, "I Have a chord progression for my latest song." That was a pretty important part of the post. My response leaves a pretty bad taste in my mouth. As a result, I feel compelled to offer an additional reply.

First off All Bar One, congratulations! That is a nice sounding progression. I've taken a minute to play it. While I don't know exactly what you are doing with it, I like it.

The first thing I want to briefly mention is the role of theory and composition. I mean, you are asking questions related to theory. And, you wrote something. That makes you the composer. It is not the composer's job to try to follow the "rules" of theory. Rather, it is the theoretician's job to explain to the rest of us what composer's are doing.

You wrote something. You like it. I like it. There. :-)

Jazz is not my area of expertise, but it is worth my briefly discussing because classical musicians and jazz musicians talk about theory in different ways. Other styles of music may be influenced by either. One way isn't better than the other. They are just different. They are both tools that do different jobs very well.

To solve your problem, I wouldn't try to find a key. There isn't one. Although not technically correct, you might want to think of the key changing for every chord. Again, this is not correct, but it might get you thinking about this in a better way.

Find a different scale that sounds good for each of the chords. For example, I'll tell you what I did:

Look at your A6 chord. You can play an A major scale and it sounds great. But you can also play A Mixolydian and it sounds great, too (just think of it as a D major scale if it is confusing. My personal tastes? I like the A Mixolydian (or D major).

I'd simply choose B-flat major for the second chord.

So, whether or not I was writing a melody or soloing, I would go back and forth between the D major scale (A mixolydian) and the B-flat major scale mirroring the chords.

For the chorus? I'd go back and forth between the C major and G major scales. That really means that sometimes your F is sharp, and sometimes it is natural. With either your solos or your melody, you can really play with that. 6 of the 7 notes always stay the same, but 1 changes. Knowing when the note changes is what will get the results you want.

Now, take it a little further. What if you studied the verse in the same way? Look at the notes in your D major scale:

d, e, f#, g, a, b, c#

Look at the notes in your B-flat major scale:
b-flat, c, d, e-flat, f, g, a

There are three notes in common: d, g, and a. The other four notes are always changing depending on which chord is being played.

Taking it even another step further, and getting some great results with just a little bit of work:

Do you know your five major scale patterns and how they connect? If you don't this might be the motivation to learn them. Why? Because your melodies, and solos are going to sound very, very cool and well learned when you can shift back and forth from one key to the other, but not have to shift positions. To be able to stay in one spot and move from one scale to the other. Learning five scale patterns and how they connect is the key to being able to play in all keys, everywhere at the same time.

Happy practicing! And again, this is really cool what you have done. Have fun with it. I hope something I wrote helps. :-)
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