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What Key, What Scale


(@rcsnydley1)
Trusted Member
Joined: 13 years ago
Posts: 59
Topic starter  

There are about a billion songs with the chords D, G, C. At first glance it would appear as though the key was G as in G=I, C=IV and D=V. However, these songs begin and end on the D chord feeling totally resolved.

So, what key are they in and what scale would I you use to play over them? I feel they are in D, and the scale is Mixolydian.
Does this sound right or am I way off base?

snydley

Ric

"I've got blisters on my fingers." - Ringo Starr


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(@fretsource)
Prominent Member
Joined: 15 years ago
Posts: 974
 

You're right - they're in the key of D. The key is determined by the tonal centre, which in those songs is D. Many folk songs in the Mixolydian mode use those chords in exactly the same way.
In the case of more modern, pop, rock, etc, what's happening is called mode mixture. That means songs in major or minor keys using chords borrowed from the corresponding minor or major scale on the same key note (or any mode/scale).
In those songs you're talking about, D is the I chord, G is the IV chord and C is the (b)VII chord taken from the scale of D (natural) minor: D E F G A Bb C D.
Using the mixolydian scale for improvising will work fine in that situation.


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(@rcsnydley1)
Trusted Member
Joined: 13 years ago
Posts: 59
Topic starter  

Thanks, fret.

I have run across "mode mixture" recently and will have to explore it more. I'm sure it will help me in figuring out/learning songs as well as writing.

Ric

"I've got blisters on my fingers." - Ringo Starr


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(@nick-layton)
Active Member
Joined: 13 years ago
Posts: 12
 

Fretsource is exactly right---you could also try using a mix of D major and minor pentatonic.

http://www.nicklayton.com
[email protected]


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(@rcsnydley1)
Trusted Member
Joined: 13 years ago
Posts: 59
Topic starter  

Back to work on memorizing the pentatonic scales.

Ric

"I've got blisters on my fingers." - Ringo Starr


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(@corbind)
Noble Member
Joined: 19 years ago
Posts: 1744
 

Cool look at it. I've played many songs with the same chords but could not find the solos.

"Nothing...can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts."


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