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Having had a really insightful thread on Autumn Leaves - that was hugely helpful. It brought together lots of abstracts for me. 

I then started to think about keys - so I considered Heavens door 'G C D' thats 'I Vi V' and following that made sense of some of slashes passages in the solos as he follows the chords. 

So! I then started to think about something else I've been playing with on my new Hemicaster. A Cadd9 G D Dsus4 D. A nice little chord progression. Deffo starts on A, deffo returns to A. Must be in A then 

But it can't be because the chords in this key are A major, B minor, C# minor, D major, E major, F# minor, and G# diminished. 
I looked that up :-) 

So Amaj is in key, C isn't, G isn't but D is. But its in A? 

How does one approach this? 
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  • machakmachak Frets: 5
    edited October 31
    Something starting with a certain chord doesn't mean it is automatically in that key. 
    Also, chord progressions don't always start with "main"/first scale degree chord  I  e.g.  you could have (quite common) chord progression of 
    II – IV – V  
    So, above progression in the key of G would be: D -C -A   (look ma, no G ;-) )

    edit:
    you should study/read some articles about tonic/tonal/pitch center. I don't have any links, but googling it will give you enough links.   


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  • vizviz Frets: 5093
    edited October 31
    Knockin’ is G D C isn’t it?  - which is I V IV
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  • vizviz Frets: 5093

    So! I then started to think about something else I've been playing with on my new Hemicaster. A Cadd9 G D Dsus4 D. A nice little chord progression. Deffo starts on A, deffo returns to A. Must be in A then 

    But it can't be because the chords in this key are A major, B minor, C# minor, D major, E major, F# minor, and G# diminished. 
    I looked that up :-) 

    So Amaj is in key, C isn't, G isn't but D is. But its in A? 

    How does one approach this? 
    It’s perfectly ok to borrow chords outside the key. In your case, the G is a “flat 7” chord, or a bVII; probably a quarter of rock songs use it. It resembles the mixolydian mode, which again is often used in rock. 

    The use of the chord on the minor 3rd - the C - is a “flat 3” chord or bIII. Also very common. Check out Smoke on the Water for another example.

    The reason these two chords are so often used is because blues rock frequently blends major and minor together. A lot of it is agnostic of the major and minor moods. The key of A minor would have a C chord and a G chord, yet the A chord has a major 3rd (or is even just a power chord with the 3rd lacking). You can kinda think of your progression as being “in A” rather than as being “in A major”. 
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  • HAL9000HAL9000 Frets: 4141
    edited October 31

    So! I then started to think about something else I've been playing with on my new Hemicaster. A Cadd9 G D Dsus4 D. A nice little chord progression. Deffo starts on A, deffo returns to A. Must be in A then 

    But it can't be because the chords in this key are A major, B minor, C# minor, D major, E major, F# minor, and G# diminished. 
    I looked that up :-) 

    So Amaj is in key, C isn't, G isn't but D is. But its in A? 

    How does one approach this? 
    I'd probably play solos predominantly using the A minor pentatonic.

    Lots of blues/rock has this minor/major ambiguity thing going on that allows use of a minor scale over a major chord.

    You'll often come across blues/rock that uses the major chords based on the relevant pentatonic minor scale. For instance the A minor pentatonic consists of the notes A, C, D, E, and G. So the  chord progression you describe which is essentially A, C, G, D (all major chords with roots from A minor pentatonic scale) means you could solo over it using notes from the pentatonic minor scale.

    I don't feel I've explained that particularly well, but hopefully you can see what I'm trying to get across.

    Edit - Thinking about this further, I guess the reason this works is (looking at major chords with roots based on the A minor pentatonic scale)...

    A major contains two notes from the scale (A & E)

    C major contains three notes (C, E, & G)

    D major contains two notes (D & A)

    E major just the one (E)

    G major contains two (G &D)

    ...so there are plenty of 'right' notes in there to make it work.
    It might look like I'm listening to you, but in my head I'm playing my guitar.
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  • Thanks Chaps - appreciate your time to try and enlighten me! 
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  • guitartangoguitartango Frets: 109
    What about Hey Joe ?  Starts in E , then goes on to use C,G A and D and then back to E again. The guitar solo uses a E minor pent scale. So is the Key in E or G/Emin ? @HAL9000 @viz ;
    There's a killer on the road His brain is squirmin' like a toad
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  • HAL9000HAL9000 Frets: 4141
    edited November 1
    What about Hey Joe ?  Starts in E , then goes on to use C,G A and D and then back to E again. The guitar solo uses a E minor pent scale. So is the Key in E or G/Emin ? @HAL9000 @viz ;;;;
    See, it's that major/minor ambiguity thing again.

    If I saw Hey Joe written out using musical notation I'd expect to see four sharps, so I'd say that it's in E despite there being plenty of chords that wouldn't normally be considered to be in that key.

    Except for the C, the song is built from major chords whose roots are based on the E minor pentatonic (see my ramblings above about how these chords form the building blocks of a lot of blues/rock).

    As has already been pointed out, there is nothing wrong with borrowing notes or chords from other keys. 



    It might look like I'm listening to you, but in my head I'm playing my guitar.
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  • vizviz Frets: 5093
    HAL9000 said:
    What about Hey Joe ?  Starts in E , then goes on to use C,G A and D and then back to E again. The guitar solo uses a E minor pent scale. So is the Key in E or G/Emin ? @HAL9000 @viz ;;;;
    See, it's that major/minor ambiguity thing again.

    If I saw Hey Joe written out using musical notation I'd expect to see four sharps, so I'd say that it's in E despite there being plenty of chords that wouldn't normally be considered to be in that key.

    Except for the C, the song is built from major chords whose roots are based on the E minor pentatonic (see my ramblings above about how these chords form the building blocks of a lot of blues/rock).

    As has already been pointed out, there is nothing wrong with borrowing notes or chords from other keys. 



    Exactly. And the other interesting thing about Hey Joe is that it cycles clockwise through the circle of fifths, so it’s a great way of remembering the order of the keys in ascending number of sharps. 
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