Em pentatonic...

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Why does this scale work over the chord progression E, D, A, A? As witnessed in whitesnake song Spit It Out.
Is this progression a V IV I? Confused.
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  • LestratcasterLestratcaster Frets: 326
    edited January 7
    All the notes from the scale fit over the chords, there's an E, G, A and D in the scale, which corresponds to a root note of the chords apart from the G as the lack of the sharp note (G# is major 3rd in E would clash).

    The key might be G major which the relative minor is Em hence why the scale works as both share the same notes. Is the first chord definitely an E major and not minor?
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  • It's E major to my ears... but I could be wrong
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  • LestratcasterLestratcaster Frets: 326
    edited January 7
    I think its a powerchord which has no 3rd in the chord (so its neither major or minor) so the G note from an Em will fit.
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  • vizviz Frets: 4725
    edited January 8
    It is E major, but it has a D chord, so it’s really using the E mixolydian scale. You can either noodle in E major pentatonic - or as you have found out, E minor pentatonic, as the only disputable note would be the G (it should strictly speaking be a G#, but in blues rock, the minor / major 3rd are often interchangeable, and sometimes even played together in the same chord, à la Hendrix-chord, the E7 flat 10 chord, 07678x). Even Coverdale sings both over the E and sometimes squeezes a note between the two. 

    In rock and blues, guitarists deviate from traditional classical harmony. So a song in E can have chords which are outside E major. E major would traditionally have:

    E major
    F# minor
    G# minor
    A major
    B major / B7
    C# minor
    D# diminished
    E major. 


    But in rock you can have
    E major
    G major
    A major
    B major / B7
    D major
    E major. 

    See, all those chords can just be parallel major chords, but crucially, despite each one being major, they are built on the E minor pentatonic scale (EGABD,E). So even though every chord can be a major triad, the notes they start on are in the E minor pentatonic scale. 

    That’s just rock. 
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  • HAL9000HAL9000 Frets: 3824
    edited January 8
    Drop everything down a tone and it becomes the Sweet Home Alabama progression (with all the associated arguments about which key it happens to be in).
    It might look like I'm listening to you, but in my head I'm playing my guitar.
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  • Danny1969Danny1969 Frets: 3555
    When it comes to rock \ pop music you can overthink the key  .... it's really only a guide to what notes \ chords might be within the piece but there's generally bits here and there which aren't technically within the key the chords imply  ..... especially when it comes to minor \ major thirds and sevenths ..... Bearing in mind on guitar we use notes BETWEEN minor and major ... notes you wouldn't even find on a piano 
    www.2020studios.co.uk 
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  • back to trusting the ear again lol
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  • carloscarlos Frets: 1247
    You can seriously overthink rock music. 
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