A little music theory help if possible please?

Hey All,

I have been trying to learn a little about music theory as I go along but I am a bit stuck on something and I wonder if anyone can answer it for me.

I have written a track in A minor. (I think :)) because it is made up of chords from the A minor scale.

I have read that your melody should start and possibly end with the tonic of the scale. In my case, A, but mine doesnt it has A in it but its not at the start or the end. Does this make my melody “incorrect” as far as “the rules” go? Or is it ok for me to write melodies like that as long as they have the correct notes in there somewhere?

And secondly… my bassline is a two note walking bassline but the two notes arent A either… so is this wrong? I think its D and F or D and G or something (not looking at it right now) Both notes of course are in the A minor scale but neither of them are the tonic… so is this wrong? And does it mean its not in A minor?

Please help me I am confused.

Thanks in advance!

32 Views and no replies? I thought this was a good place to come and learn about music production?

I’m no expert but A Minor is all the white keys A, B, C, D, E, F, and G. As long as you play along the white keys I’m guessing it could be argued it’s in A minor. However it’s relative major is C so it’ll depend on what chords you have in it. If you’ve got a minor chord that should make the track minor not major.

For example, if you played a pad sound with an A minor 9th and then had the melody playing on the white keys, the track would be A minor. You definitely don’t have to start with the tonic of the scale, most jazz stuff doesn’t, it’ll start with the 3rd or 5th note of the scale which helps get the jazzy sound. However most pop music will start the the tonic as it’s easier for the listener to understand and hum along to straight away.

You could always Google it, there’s about a million hits come up if you do.

It’s entirely possible you’ve written it in another key.

It really depends on your tonic and the actual composition of the triads in your chords. Or so I believe.

Google ‘circle of fifths’ and you’ll get a handy diagrams showing major keys and their relative minors. It’s a good reference for music theory.

For example, given that you said your bassline is a two note and probably starts with D. There’s a good chance the track may be in the key of D-minor. It shares most of the same notes as C-Major/A-minor with the exception of one flat (B).

You’d need to post the melody notation and the chord composition for us to have a better idea and to help you more.

You can’t limit yourself to one scale, it doesn’t work. You’re always going to be using chords from other scales to add variety and interest. If most of your chords aren’t a-minor chords, then you’re most likely not in a minor, but another minor like d minor with chords borrowed from a-minor. But it actually doesn’t matter. If it sounds good, go with it.

‘I have read that your melody should start and possibly end with the tonic of the scale.’

To make this a rule is a bit silly I think. For minor chords, the third (C), fifth (E), dominant seventh (G) or even the nine (B) are good notes to include in your melody. All the other white keys are good ‘leading tones’ to the notes above.

If you are learning to write/produce I suggest starting the first note of the bass line with the tonic then as your writing skills develop you can experiment more…

Sorry guys been busy for a while!

Thanks for the replies… gives me some more reading / learning to do!

Cheers :slight_smile: