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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Without typing 5,000 words, how does this progression work?

If you're in Amin, then play a Gmaj, then a Dmin, the E should also be a minor, right? Well, there's a song I'm listening to that goes to E Major and you think it'd be a minor since A Minor is the key.


I swear, I'm never going to learn this stuff...
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
Is it because it starts out with A minor and then goes to A HARMONIC minor? I think you can switch it up and go from natural to harmonic minor when done right, correct?
 

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Without typing 5,000 words, how does this progression work?

If you're in Amin, then play a Gmaj, then a Dmin, the E should also be a minor, right? Well, there's a song I'm listening to that goes to E Major and you think it'd be a minor since A Minor is the key.

I swear, I'm never going to learn this stuff...
Don't get down on yourself...you've got it right...if this song was only in NATURAL MINOR.

If it was in natural minor the whole time, yes the E would be an Em, but what is happening (and it happens a lot with minor keys) is that it switches to A HARMONIC MINOR, which is the same as natural minor scale except with a raised 7th, which makes the V chord or Em into E major.

So:

Natural Minor: 1 2 b3 4 5 b6 b7 8 or in the key of Am: A B C D E F G A
Harmonic Minor: 1 2 b3 4 5 b6 7 8 or in A Harm Minor: A B C D E F G# A

Get it? If you have any questions, please ask.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I figured it out right before you posted =)

I played the triads/arpeggios of it, kind of played a scale through it and realized that it went from a whole step (natural) to a raised 7th/half step back to A, so I figured that's what it was -- I'm proud of myself for figuring this out!


I've got scales and stuff covered, so now it's time to start working on chord progressions. Chord progressions, making music 'flow' and connecting everything together is definitely my weak spot, so I'll have to learn how all of it works.


I can definitely write little pieces and put some simple bass notes under it, but chord progressions/patterns and changing keys is where I'm absolutely terrible.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Oh yeah.. I do have a question.


When you have the numbers for chord progressions (I-IV-V for example), is the 1 always relevant to the major scale, or say, if you're in Amin (like above), the 1 would be a Aminor (not a VI/6)? Or can it even work both ways?
 

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Awesome - glad you figured it out!

Yeah, just keep at it - there's a lot of theory out there, but bit by bit you can start to understand how it all works together.

If you haven't already, you should check out Dave Weiner's "Riff of the Week" series on youtube. He's got quite a few vids on chords, progressions, soloing over changes etc.
 

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Oh yeah.. I do have a question.

When you have the numbers for chord progressions (I-IV-V for example), is the 1 always relevant to the major scale, or say, if you're in Amin (like above), the 1 would be a Aminor (not a VI/6)? Or can it even work both ways?
I think people may look at this different ways, but I always look at the one as being the tonic, or root note, of that key.

So in a major key the chords are: I ii iii IV V vi vii(diminished) I
In a natural minor key: i ii(dim) III iv v VI VII i
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Thanks for the info! I'll check out those vids on youtube soon as well.


I really need to start studying this and experimenting with different chord progressions; I want to do my best to try and not be limited to where everything sounds the same.


The above progression that I typed would be...

i-VII-VI-V(major V because of raised 7th) for minor, and... if you were to say it in the relevant major key, it'd be something like vi-V-IV-III(major V because of raised 7th), correct?
 

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Just out of interest, what song is this from?

I'm slightly intreiged by the harmonic possibilities of a melody over this progression. I was just wondering if the raised 7th was introduced over the Dmin in the melody, and how that would sound coming straight from a Gmaj.
 

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for the a and G play A dorian, that will imply G Major overall, then go into A harmonic minor or E major for the d and E chords. so find common tones from each chord. sorry if you know this and i'm insulting your intelligence :)

learning theory is sometimes a pain in the butt, but well worth it!

a minor = a c e
g = g b d
d minor = d f a
e =e g# b
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
I'm an experienced player, but definitely not an experienced theory guy. Since I've started this thread, I guess I'll go ahead and ask a few more questions that may have nothing to do with anything, but it's about time I learn this stuff =)

Is an augmented chord even useful? Maybe for something like atonal or really dissonant music (death metal), but I found out that an augmented chord exists by playing the triads of the harmonic minor; it would be the 3rd note (if in the key of Amin, it would be C augmented). When I play this, it creates tension and sounds nice if you revert back to the natural minor (it would be C Major then) -- like something out of a movie.

Where is it appropriate to start a diminished arpeggio? In a minor key, you can just go up a whole step and play a diminished arpeggio there (since the minor is the 6th of the major and the diminished is the 7th), but from the way it's working out (I have my guitar in my hands right now), the harmonic minor would have two diminished triads, right? They would be G# and B (in the key of A), right?

My assumption is that chord progressions with different scales will always be different -- a 1-4-5 progression might not work if say, you're in the hungarian minor scale...

Playing a simple I-IV-V is good for getting things started, but where do you go from there? Of course I wouldn't want to be stuck playing a I-IV-V the entire song, so I'd either have to add another progression in the key that I'm in (something other than I-IV-V) to have another part of a song (like I-IV-V being the intro and then adding another one for a chorus), or change the key. I'm not experienced with doing either =/
 

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if your using augmented chords and they sound good for you, use them!! i use them as arpeggios/ tapped arpeggios but NEVER strummed with overdrive or distortion lol

i made learning theory a priority and have VERY good teachers
 

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Thared33.......................there are only 4 diminished chords in any given key..and all you have to do is memorize one of them becaus eall 4 (minor third apart) have the same notes...in other words one main dim chord and three inversions
 

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Without typing 5,000 words, how does this progression work?

If you're in Amin, then play a Gmaj, then a Dmin, the E should also be a minor, right? Well, there's a song I'm listening to that goes to E Major and you think it'd be a minor since A Minor is the key.

I swear, I'm never going to learn this stuff...
I haven't read all the replies, so I'm sure people have already replied to this in depth, but here's my explanation:

First of all, with ANY progression, you need to know 1) where it's coming from and 2) even more importantly, where it's GOING TO. So, let's assume that this is just a repeating progression and that A min. is always the tonic chord.

As others have pointed out, there are three different relative minor scales: natural minor, harmonic minor and melodic minor. The natural minor is the same as a major scale, just starting on the 6th note of the major scale (hence 'natural' minor; no alterations from the major scale). Harmonic minor is the same as natural, but the 7th note is raised one half step, which gives it a more exotic sound. The melodic minor - let's forget about that one for now as it's not important for the time being.

Now, in Western music, the V chord (or, the chord built on the 5th note in the scale), is ALMOST ALWAYS 'dominant' and, in tonal music, ALMOST ALWAYS resolves to the tonic chord (not 'always,' just millions of times in millions of songs & pieces). But, the thing is -- the dominant chord is ALWAYS major. Always, always, always, always -- except for a few instances in which a 'minor dominant' is used instead.

So, getting back to your question -- when chords are derived from the A natural minor scale, the V chord ends up being MINOR because the 7th note of that scale is the minor 3rd of the V chord. However, when chords are derived from the harmonic minor scale, the V chord is MAJOR because the raised 7th is the major 3rd of the V chord. In other words, an A natural minor scale has these notes:

A-B-C-D-E-F-G-A

If we build a chord off the 5th degree, we'd have: E-G-B .... which is E minor, which means it is a MINOR DOMINANT.

A harmonic minor has these notes:

A-B-C-D-E-F-G#-A

If we build a chord from the 5th note of this scale, we'd have: E-G#-B .... which, as you probably know, is E MAJOR, which makes it a MAJOR DOMINANT, which is what it traditionally is. If you play an E maj - A min. progression, the pull from E maj. to A min. is much greater than the pull from E min. to A min. because of the raised 7th from the A harmonic minor scale. That is why, when you study Classical music, you'll notice most melodies and progressions are derived from the harmonic minor scale, because our ears hear a stronger pull from a major dominant to a major/ min. tonic rather than a minor dominant to tonic. By the way, the tonic doesn't matter. It can be either major or minor. What matters is whether the V chord is major or minor and, in the case of your example, it is major because it is derived from the harmonic minor scale, which gives the V chord a G#, thereby making it major rather than minor.

Did that make sense to you?
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Oh my...


I apologize for not being around and being able to reply =/


Thanks very much for the replies -- especially the one above.

I'm still looking around for info like this. I do understand most of the math behind all of this stuff, and I've always considered myself a guitar player, but now I want to be a WRITER.


I've got to find out what does work, what does not work, and also find out the possibilities for diversity's sake -- what options I have when writing. I think it's terrible of me to be able to play so well but not know the basics of this stuff... I've still got to work on the chord progression area -- learn how to create riffs/chops and find what works and what I should avoid over the top of them. Changing keys, altering the chords and scales in the middle of something (like going from natural to harmonic minor), etc -- all of this stuff I've still got to learn. I think it's time to learn how to construct my own stuff.
 
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