Skip to content
Notifications
Clear all

Simple Key question

11 Posts
10 Users
0 Likes
1,571 Views
floydthegolfer
(@floydthegolfer)
Estimable Member
Joined: 19 years ago
Posts: 55
Topic starter  

Hi all,

I'm learning a song with a friend where the chords are A C D E G, all major, simple strumming type thing. I wondered a) what key is this, and b) what scale would therefor e be appropriate for improvising some lead parts?

apologies for the somewhat obvious answers which I'm sure they are!

Rob

"You got the heart kid... but you don't got the tools no more....."
"DRAGOOO!!!!!!!!"


   
Quote
Voodoo_Merman
(@voodoo_merman)
Reputable Member
Joined: 17 years ago
Posts: 368
 

Kinda hard to tell as there are no minor chords. It could technically be in the key of F, G or C. Im almost certain that this in in C though. For the melody and solos, you cant go wrong with using the Cmajor scale or preferably the Cmajor pentatonic scale. If you look at the progression it matches perfectly with the notes of the C major pentatonic scale. Not that this is always the best way to go about scale selection.

At this time I would like to tell you that NO MATTER WHAT...IT IS WITH GOD. HE IS GRACIOUS AND MERCIFUL. HIS WAY IS IN LOVE, THROUGH WHICH WE ALL ARE. IT IS TRULY -- A LOVE SUPREME --. John Coltrane


   
ReplyQuote
Ignar Hillström
(@ignar-hillstrom)
Illustrious Member
Joined: 20 years ago
Posts: 5349
 

I don't agree, C-pentatonic would collide massively with this. These notes are used: A B C C# D E F# G G#. C-pentatonic would be: C D E G A. Over more then half of these chord this could create problems:

A- C and D notes.
C- pretty safe
D- G note
E- C, G and A notes
G- pretty safe

I don't think working within any one scale will work too well. You might just as well use a different pentatonic scale of each chord.


   
ReplyQuote
kingpatzer
(@kingpatzer)
Noble Member
Joined: 18 years ago
Posts: 2171
 

My GUESS, provided that the chords played aren't power chords, is that this song modulates between two keys (at least harmonically speaking) C and A.

In C you have the I and the V and in A you have the I, IV and V.

"The music business is a cruel and shallow money trench, a long plastic hallway where thieves and pimps run free, and good men die like dogs. There's also a negative side." -- HST


   
ReplyQuote
Voodoo_Merman
(@voodoo_merman)
Reputable Member
Joined: 17 years ago
Posts: 368
 

I don't agree, C-pentatonic would collide massively with this. These notes are used: A B C C# D E F# G G#. C-pentatonic would be: C D E G A. Over more then half of these chord this could create problems:

A- C and D notes.
C- pretty safe
D- G note
E- C, G and A notes
G- pretty safe

I don't think working within any one scale will work too well. You might just as well use a different pentatonic scale of each chord.

Thats true Arjen. But, as he is only looking to use a single scale ("what scale would therefor e be appropriate for improvising some lead parts?") there isnt a better option. It does clash. But, what other popular single scale would be better?

At this time I would like to tell you that NO MATTER WHAT...IT IS WITH GOD. HE IS GRACIOUS AND MERCIFUL. HIS WAY IS IN LOVE, THROUGH WHICH WE ALL ARE. IT IS TRULY -- A LOVE SUPREME --. John Coltrane


   
ReplyQuote
slejhamer
(@slejhamer)
Famed Member
Joined: 18 years ago
Posts: 3221
 

For the music theorists, wouldn't an approach based on chord tones (or "chord scales") be useful? If KP is right and the key changes, then it seems that following the chords would give a good starting point for soloing over those chords. Unless they are indeed powerchords.

"Everybody got to elevate from the norm."


   
ReplyQuote
Wes Inman
(@wes-inman)
Illustrious Member
Joined: 19 years ago
Posts: 5582
 

I can't comment from theory, but those are pretty classic chords for a Rock song in the key of A. I would use the A minor pentatonic, should work perfect over every chord.

If you know something better than Rock and Roll, I'd like to hear it - Jerry Lee Lewis


   
ReplyQuote
Mike
 Mike
(@mike)
Famed Member
Joined: 19 years ago
Posts: 2892
 

A Minor?

No sharps, no flats. It has the I, IV and V.................


   
ReplyQuote
michhill8
(@michhill8)
Honorable Member
Joined: 19 years ago
Posts: 420
 

I don't know the progression, but it could be a 5th/4th progression. Just what I noticed. Hope that helps anyone.

Thanks Dudes!
Keep on Rockin'

Pat


   
ReplyQuote
Misanthrope
(@misanthrope)
Noble Member
Joined: 17 years ago
Posts: 2261
 

...as he is only looking to use a single scale ... there isnt a better option. It does clash. But, what other popular single scale would be better?
I want a guitar that reads my mind and plays what I'm thinking - but if there's no such thing, I'm outta luck :wink: If I didn't know that there was no such thing, I'd rather somebody told me there wasn't than told me a strat would do the job :mrgreen:

ChordsAndScales.co.uk - Guitar Chord/Scale Finder/Viewer


   
ReplyQuote
hbriem
(@hbriem)
Honorable Member
Joined: 21 years ago
Posts: 646
 

From the information given, the key is impossible to determine.

It could be A major (sort of), C major, D major, E of some sort or G major.

If it's A major, its rather mutant with a bIII (C) and a bVII (G) borrowed from the parallel minor. The A minor pentatonic would work reasonably well.

If it's C major, it's using major substitutions for the vi (Am) and iii (Em), not terribly uncommon. The C major pentatonic would work reasonably well. Not entirely by coincidence this has the same notes as the A minor pent mentioned above.

If it's D major, it's using major substitutions for the ii (Em) and borrowing the bVII (C) from the parallel minor (or Mixolydian). Both common in rock. The D major pentatonic scale (D-E-F#-A-B) should work OK.

If it's E (minor), it's using a major substitution on the I and IV. Not common. Unlikely.

If it's G major, it's using major substitutions on the ii (Am) and vi (Em). Both common. The G major pentatonic (or E minor) would work well.

What it comes down to is not the chords used.

This is almost never a conclusive way to determine the key. What matters is what sounds like the harmonic centre, the home chord, the resting place. Where does it resolve to? (That's why it absolutely cannot be in F even though the chords might exist in F.

Where does it start? This is very often the key chord.

Where does it end? This is almost always the key chord.

Try stopping on each of the chords in the progression. Where does it feel finished, complete? That's the key chord, the harmonic centre.

--
Helgi Briem
hbriem AT gmail DOT com


   
ReplyQuote