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what key is this?

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(@almann1979)
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I think i may have accidently stumbled upon understanding modes a little more without trying.

i used jam studio to create a backing track, and i wanted it in Aminor. The chords were Am G Am E (2 bars of each).

i decided to play only arpeggio's over each chord, to help myself become more familiar with them. i also allowed myself to use the 7th of each chord.

thinking the track was in A minor, i tried to use the F, over the G chord as the 7th, but it sounded off, while the F# sounded fine.

i thought, maybe the track is in em, or G, but, the Am is too common for that, so have i accidently created something in A dorian??

if so, this will be the first time i have actually had a practical understanding of modes, so i will be very happy if i am correct :D :D

"I like to play that guitar. I have to stare at it while I'm playing it because I'm not very good at playing it."
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(@noteboat)
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You're in Am. It's got nothing to do with modes, though.

The F# is part of the A melodic minor scale. Since your progression has both G (in the G chord) and G# (in the E chord), a scale that has both is a logical choice - and that's A melodic minor. It also has F natural, which will sound fine over the Am.

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(@almann1979)
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thanks noteboat - that makes a lot of sense, although i am dissapointed that my modes epiphany turned out to be wrong :oops:

"I like to play that guitar. I have to stare at it while I'm playing it because I'm not very good at playing it."
Noel Gallagher (who took the words right out of my mouth)


   
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 cnev
(@cnev)
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I'll be checking this to see what the answer is I have my own idea but I won't say since I'd probably be wrong. I don't fully understand modes either although I think alot of the confusion is as guitarist we think in patterns not intervals and a mode is a unique scale in itself.

I haven't really attempted to do much with modes yet since my skills with the major scale still need work. I'm somewhat Ok with the minor pent but still have a bit of work on that.

Ok well I just saw Notes answer and I was right it wasn't a mode.

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(@fretsource)
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Edit - NoteBoat got in first, but I'll post anyway.

No, not quite, Allman. Your chord progression contains E major, which contains the note G#. A Dorian doesn't contain G#. So even though your melody could be in A Dorian, the presence of the G# in the harmony cancels any Dorian qualities in your melody so the 'song' as a whole isn't Dorian.
The KEY of A minor, however, does contain G# as well as F, F#, and G, due to the harmonic and melodic scales of A minor. So all of your chords and notes belong to A minor, rather than A Dorian.

If you change your E major to E minor then your melody and harmony will agree (the G# becomes G)- and the music as a whole will be in A Dorian.


   
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(@almann1979)
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Fretsource, you just made me a happy man!!!

i actually made a mistake in my opening post - the E WAS E minor. i hadnt realised i had made that error :D

so, it is A dorian then? i will have a chocolate biscuit to celebrate 8)

"I like to play that guitar. I have to stare at it while I'm playing it because I'm not very good at playing it."
Noel Gallagher (who took the words right out of my mouth)


   
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(@coolnama)
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Well it depends on what the melody does right?

Am,G,Am,Em could be in Aminor ( Cmajor )

It could be a vi,V,vi,iii

but if the melody does something that includes an F# then it is in G major, but you would call it A dorian because of the tonal center?

I think that the F doesn't sound quite right because it is the 4th degree and you have to be careful with those don't you ?

And also it is two bars, that is a lot of time :P and its not just "This song is in Cmajor so the whole scale will sound right no matter what chord I play it over".

I think you can't really say what key this song is in unless we had a melody and just more voices all around.

If the case was: Am7,Gmaj7,Am7,Em7 then we would know it is in G or in A dorian but if you did Am7,G7,Am7,Em7 then we would know it is in A minor ( C major)

But Am,G,Am,Em (without any melody )is pretty ambiguous , right?

Could be a vi,V,vi,iii or a ii,I,ii,vi.

I guess the answer is it could be in Aminor, or A dorian depending on what you do with it ?

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(@almann1979)
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to be honest i didnt really have a melody. i was just practicing playing as many different arpeggio's over each chord as possible within the 2 bars, and then switching to the next chord.

"I like to play that guitar. I have to stare at it while I'm playing it because I'm not very good at playing it."
Noel Gallagher (who took the words right out of my mouth)


   
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(@fretsource)
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to be honest i didnt really have a melody. i was just practicing playing as many different arpeggio's over each chord as possible within the 2 bars, and then switching to the next chord.

Well, you have a melody of sorts, even if it's restricted to chord tones. What's important is that your tonal centre is A and that you have F# (and no F naturals) and also that you have G naturals (and no G#s)
Try improvising a melody over it. You'll find the Dorian mode works a treat over it.

One condition, though. So far, we've assumed that A is your tonal centre. Only you can tell if that's really the case (depending on how you play it). Is Am the chord that you would most naturally want to eventually end on, i.e., the one that makes the progression feel complete?

If E minor is the chord that most naturally completes it, then the key would be E minor. I think that's less likely though because in Em your progression would be iv III iv i, which isn't a strong 'key defining' progression.


   
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(@coolnama)
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But I don't see how we have F# in there ?

He's playing A-C-E, G-B-D and E-G-B

All those are naturals and they all fit into C major or A minor. Sure it also fits into G major, or E minor, or A dorian, but since we don't have anything else if he plays the A minor scale it turns into A minor and if he plays G major scale, depending on how he plays the scale it could be A dorian, G major or E minor. o.o

I wanna be that guy that you wish you were ! ( i wish I were that guy)

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(@fretsource)
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But I don't see how we have F# in there ?

He's playing A-C-E, G-B-D and E-G-B

All those are naturals and they all fit into C major or A minor. Sure it also fits into G major, or E minor, or A dorian, but since we don't have anything else if he plays the A minor scale it turns into A minor and if he plays G major scale, depending on how he plays the scale it could be A dorian, G major or E minor. o.o

He does have F# - He included it in his melody when playing over the G chords.


   
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(@coolnama)
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Oh.... oops xD okay then.

I wanna be that guy that you wish you were ! ( i wish I were that guy)

You gotta set your sights high to get high!

Everyone is a teacher when you are looking to learn.

( wise stuff man! )

Its Kirby....


   
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