A melody without a key
I've been playing guitar for a long time, but I'm still a beginner when it comes to my music theory knowledge.
I have had this little tune or melody stuck in my head that I like to play on my guitar, and I would like to write a more complete song with it, but I can't seem to find the key that it belongs in. In fact, I don't know that it has a key, but this is where my limited knowledge of music theory leaves me high and dry.
The melody consists of two barre chords, played with a downward strummed arpreggio and then pick the 2nd then 3rd string on the upward return motion. Do not hit the first string or high E.
The chords are a Db/C# minor with it's root on the 5th string, and then up to a Ab/G# major root on the sixth. It has a sort of gypsy sound when strummed as I described above, and I would love to continue writing it, including writing a solo riff to it. But I have looked over all of the keys, and I can't find one that has these two chords with the correct minor and major placement. Any push in the direction of a gypsy mode or scale that will fit with these chords would be greatly appreciated. Please help in anyway that you can, I really appreciate your time.
hopefully someone knowledgable will come along to help.
In the meantime.
I think you are using C# harmonic minor scale.
Notes would be C#/Db D#/Eb E F#/Gb G#/Ab A C
Stacking thirds would give
C#/Dbm D#/Ebdim Eaug F#/Gbm G#/Ab A Cdim
Hope that helps,
Yes - those chords would be a common i - V progression in the key of C# minor (from the harmonic minor scale).
If we write out the chords in E major we have:
E F#m G#m A B C#m D#dim
For natural minor (relative minor) we start on the 6th of the scale:
C#m D#dim E F#m G#m A B
So you're playing a i v progression with the G#m altered to G#major (common technique since it's the V dominant chord). This alters the G#m by raising the B to B# (C).
So for soloing I'd just use natural minor and raise the B# to C when you are playing over the G# major chord.
...for soloing I'd just use natural minor and raise the B# to C when you are playing over the G# major chord.
That's actually overthinking it. The chords are C#m (C#-E-G#) and G# (G#-B#-D#). Since neither one has a B note in it, the easiest route is to use the harmonic minor (C#-D#-E-F#-G#-A-B#) throughout. You could also use the C# melodic minor throughout... because neither chord has an A note in it.
Keeping track of what the underlying chord is is never a bad idea. But if I were playing over that progression, I'd use the ascending melodic minor over the C#m (the A# will form a C#m6 against the chord, which is a bit more pleasing to the ear), and the harmonic minor over the G# - the A natural note their will give you a b9, adding to the tension you'll resolve when you return to C#m.
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Minor key with a major V is harmonic minor by definition. That's what harmonic minor is.
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