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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Jamming along with a track and the chord progression is Amaj, F#min, C#min, Bmaj. In the key pf Amaj shouldn't the II be Bmin? Or is this a modal thing... Lydian with the #4 of the major scale?


Sorry if its a dumb question, but I get confused about this stuff.
 

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Jamming along with a track and the chord progression is Amaj, F#min, C#min, Bmaj. In the key of Amaj shouldn't the II be Bmin? Or is this a modal thing... Lydian with the #4 of the major scale?

Sorry if its a dumb question, but I get confused about this stuff.
This is a good question because this stuff is confusing. There are also multiple correct answers...

1. The key is E major (4 sharps in the key signature).
2. Correct, in the key of A major, ii is B minor.
3. You can think of it as a modal thing... A Lydian. All the chords can be found in E major without raising or lowering any pitches. In other words: E major = A Lydian.
It is a nice chord progression, especially on a 7 string guitar. :D
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
This is a good question because this stuff is confusing. There are also multiple correct answers...

1. The key is E major (4 sharps in the key signature).
2. Correct, in the key of A major, ii is B minor.
3. You can think of it as a modal thing... A Lydian. All the chords can be found in E major without raising or lowering any pitches. In other words: E major = A Lydian.
It is a nice chord progression, especially on a 7 string guitar. :D
Thank you for the explanation... Though I'm at work now and don't have a guitar to play with at the moment! I think I understand what you mean by A Lydian = E major, but I'll have to sit down tonight and see/hear it. That might explain why the C#minor sounds so prominent in the progression and the F#minor almost sounds like a passing tone, despite the weight it carries in the progression.

When I hear a song or progression that catches my ear I like to decipher it myself (with very limited theory knowledge) and figure out what makes it intriguing, but this particular progression just gave me fits when trying to improvise over it! Maybe I'll drag out my arch nemesis... the foreign object 7 string.

Thanks again!
 

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He means A lydian is a mode of the E major scale like F# dorian or B mixolydian.
I see... The A Lydian scale pattern is the same as the 4th position E major scale pattern?
Yes, and C# aeolian (natural minor) is also a mode of E major, so every chord is in E major, the aeolian and dorian have minor tonalities and the rest have major tonalities which fits with the chord voicings as well, this is why the progression sounds good.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Yes, and C# aeolian (natural minor) is also a mode of E major, so every chord is in E major, the aeolian and dorian have minor tonalities and the rest have major tonalities which fits with the chord voicings as well, this is why the progression sounds good.
Thanks for the explanation... For some reason I get so confused regarding scale modes. What I wouldn't give to have a solid understanding of some of these basic concepts! Sure makes learning anything a struggle.
 

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For some reason I get so confused regarding scale modes. What I wouldn't give to have a solid understanding of some of these basic concepts! Sure makes learning anything a struggle.
Universities do not require 4 years of music theory because it's easy. Dumb music theory related questions do not exist so when you have questions, ask them. :D
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Universities do not require 4 years of music theory because it's easy. Dumb music theory related questions do not exist so when you have questions, ask them. :D
Thanks... I sure would like to be more educated on music theory! Little things can just throw me off, and when I get confused I get frustrated and don't have fun playing... which is the only reason I play. I really appreciate the explanations.

A couple of weeks ago I figured out the chord progression to a cool sounding backing track I had purchased (bought like 450 of them for under $20). The name of the track said it was G major, but it contained an Fmaj chord... threw me for a loop when improvising along with it. The F note really stands out. I had to look it up online and found a lot of info about borrowing chords from another key, bIIV chords, mixolydian mode, etc...

 

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Modes are as follows:

I - Ionian (Major)
II - Dorian
III - Phrygian
IV - Lydian
V - Mixolydian
VI - Aeolian (Minor)
VII - Locrian

The chords for those are as follows:

I - Major
II - Minor
III - Minor
IV - Major
V - Major
VI - Minor
VII - Minor b5

It should be noted that when the 7th is added to the V chord, it is dominant (b7), which differs it from the I & IV chords.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Modes are as follows:

I - Ionian (Major)
II - Dorian
III - Phrygian
IV - Lydian
V - Mixolydian
VI - Aeolian (Minor)
VII - Locrian

The chords for those are as follows:

I - Major
II - Minor
III - Minor
IV - Major
V - Major
VI - Minor
VII - Minor b5

It should be noted that when the 7th is added to the V chord, it is dominant (b7), which differs it from the I & IV chords.
Thanks... I've been refreshing my limited scale/mode knowledge lately. It's coming back to some degree. I found this guy's short video series on the modes very good:


It was also helpful because I use the 3 note per string scale patterns to get around the fretboard and he tends to stay in the 4/5 fret positions, so it helps to blend the patterns and helps my fretboard knowledge.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
OK... So I've been brushing up on modes and feeling ok about it. Then I was playing along with a random backing track last night just for the challenge of it... it was a nice "modey" sounding track. The progression was in two parts - A maj, G maj, D maj... then after a few bars switched to F maj, G maj, A maj, and toggled back and forth between the two. What key or mode? 3 major chords a whole step apart? Or is this one of those instances where you just ignore the rules and play what sounds right?
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
I'm not sure. Playing what sounds right is ideal though. I would try scales/modes on D or A.
Thanks... I never could figure out any known key or mode that fit the progression. I guess it's one of those progressions that borrows chords from other keys? I dunno... I guess being a technical guy I like to have everything well defined, but music doesn't always work that way.
 

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Thanks... I never could figure out any known key or mode that fit the progression. I guess it's one of those progressions that borrows chords from other keys? I dunno... I guess being a technical guy I like to have everything well defined, but music doesn't always work that way.
To me, the chord progressions never give a sense of finality or resolution. They could loop forever with no convincing end. This is not a musically well defined chord progression because there is no dissonance, leading tones to give the listener/player a strong sense of which note is the tonic. Keep in mind, there is no rule stating all backing tracks need to be particularly good.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
To me, the chord progressions never give a sense of finality or resolution. They could loop forever with no convincing end. This is not a musically well defined chord progression because there is no dissonance, leading tones to give the listener/player a strong sense of which note is the tonic. Keep in mind, there is no rule stating all backing tracks need to be particularly good.
You know... I never thought of it like that, but you are right. It has an interesting/intriguing "feel" to it, but doesn't really go anywhere. The youtube user name is "Elevated Backing Tracks". I liked the tracks because there would be hints regarding "try soloing over it in such and such mode" with diagrams, but some don't really go anywhere and can be a bit bland! Thanks for the insight... \m/
 

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Perhaps they're designed for looping rather than as a song with a beginning, middle and end.
All the chords are in C ionian (major) scale so you could make it resolve if you wanted to make a simple song of it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Perhaps they're designed for looping rather than as a song with a beginning, middle and end.
All the chords are in C ionian (major) scale so you could make it resolve if you wanted to make a simple song of it.
Probably "extended jamming" more than looping. Most of the guy's tracks are around 10 minutes long... Good quality tracks with usually two different sections to spice them up a bit, but now that I've been jamming with several of them they seem to be a little bland. Most a re really good tracks... https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCqAZJmEC2-C9roOB4vgzROA
 

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OK... So I've been brushing up on modes and feeling ok about it. Then I was playing along with a random backing track last night just for the challenge of it... it was a nice "modey" sounding track. The progression was in two parts - A maj, G maj, D maj... then after a few bars switched to F maj, G maj, A maj, and toggled back and forth between the two. What key or mode? 3 major chords a whole step apart? Or is this one of those instances where you just ignore the rules and play what sounds right?
Sorry I didn't get to this earlier, been busy lately. I see this collection of chords as being in the key of D. The first three chords you gave are your traditional I, IV, V chords, all though in a different order. You can play diatonically with the notes of D major over those three chords. Also, for a blues effect, you can play D minor pentatonic over those chords. Now looking at the second three chords you listed, you see we already have the G & A. Odd to this is the Fmaj. In D, that should be F#min, but fret not, the aforementioned D minor pentatonic will work great over that, as D minor is the relative minor of F major. Hope this helps.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Sorry I didn't get to this earlier, been busy lately. I see this collection of chords as being in the key of D. The first three chords you gave are your traditional I, IV, V chords, all though in a different order. You can play diatonically with the notes of D major over those three chords. Also, for a blues effect, you can play D minor pentatonic over those chords. Now looking at the second three chords you listed, you see we already have the G & A. Odd to this is the Fmaj. In D, that should be F#min, but fret not, the aforementioned D minor pentatonic will work great over that, as D minor is the relative minor of F major. Hope this helps.
Yes, thanks taking the time to reply! It does help to see how you looked at it and put it into the context you did. This is exactly what I am trying to learn and understand... and exactly why I try to play over random backing tracks in odd keys and modes. I'll definitely grab my guitar when I get home today and give it another go... Thanks!!
 
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