A question on music theory

When it comes to music theory im probably the most clueless person ever i simply go to 8 notes pick a minor scale and just see what notes i can and cant use. But i recently saw something that confused me! The track was in the KEY of G minor but was using a SCALE of Bb Major?!?! Now im really confused i thought the key of a track is determined by what scale you use but now it seems keys and scales are totally different and you can actually use major scales whilst in a minor key?!?! Wtf??? Can anyone please explain this and help to stop my head from hurting.

Jan look up relative major or relative minor scales. You’ll see that G minor and Bb major share the same scale. G minor is the relative minor scale for Bb major

Is there any way to work out relative minors and majors of each other? Also how and where do modes come into play like the aeolian etc etc. Like i said im a complete scrub at this.

You want the circle of fifths dude.

Print this out, the outer ring is the major scale whilst the inner is it’s relative minor. So for example when you look at C Major, you can see that A minor is C Major’s relative minor.

That is awesome dude so i take it if your tune is in A minor you can use the C major scale ? If thats the case i fear a whole new world has opened.

Hey Jan - yes, essentially that.

The scales that are the relative major/minor of each other share the same notes -just in a different order and therefore with different chords. Great for harmonies. Try mixing things up to see what happens.





So the I Chord (triad) from Cmaj is CEG, from Am it’s ACE.

When you look at chord progressions, say the classic I-IV-V you get





I’ll often use a relative key for chords for pads for example.

Yes Jan, also worth noting that it’s a great idea for remixing.

Say for example the original is in a minor scale, you could do the remix in it’s relative major or vise versa.

Major scales have a happy sound / feel.

Minor scales have a sad sound / feel.

So just by changing to it’s relative minor / major you can really get a new direction out of something.

Yeah but like for the music i make (trance) its mostly in minor keys but im guessing if you want to get a bit of an uplifting feel it would make sense to put some majors in as well. But anyone got any clue about what modes are and how they work like the aeolian etc

here you go, a decent explanation

[url]The Diatonic Scales

I’m **** with this kinda thing too! Interesting post which will help me.

Wonder when we’re getting the rest of music theory

Circle of Fifths also show the # of sharp’s and flats in each scale/note. It’s pretty helpful. you can really have a lot of fun and trying different scales of your music.

Peep it… it’s a website I found that plays every chord progression you can think of and you can even choose different instruments.

tell u what is confusing, there are a couple of web pages I’ve looked at and they dont alway give the same information, they have melodic minors, harmonic minors and now I see ascending and decsending minors on the above web page which anwsers why I picked a different note in the scale I chose (the differnt between ascending and descending). But is there any hard and fast rule as to what we should be using in dance music? ie melodic, harmonic, descending or ascending?

Its now clear to me that just about every tune I’ve made I have unknowly done in a descending melodic minor scale by ear…

Lol 8notes.com is even more accusing according to them you can have a c natural minor scale running in the key of c major. Please for the love of christ bring out more music theory tutorials lol. Theres meant to be a book about music theory for computer musicians thats meant to be good.

It all depends on what you are doing.

If you want to used the minor scale JUST for the harmonic part, making chords, then ideally you use the harmonic minor scale.

In A minor, that is A B C D E F G# A

For example: If you use the normal I-IV-V-I chord progression your chords in A minor would be I - A minor, IV - D minor, [V - E minor] (E-G-B), [I - A minor] (A-C-E). The problem is that G in the V chord. In classical music theory, that G is raised a half-step to a G# in order to get a “satisfying” cadence (the V-I bit). That also makes that E-minor chord an E-major chord. Try playing the E-minor to A-minor and the E-major to A-minor. You’ll see there is a difference. That difference is what you get using harmonic minor over natural minor in writing chords. This is what is generally used by classical composers when they are working in minor scales and are considering the harmony. Also, at the end of the piece they would make the A-minor chord an A-major chord so they end with an even more “satisfying” cadence. It’s as if you were in A-major the whole time. Perhaps you also want to give the E-Major to A-Major chord a listen after those other two.

If you are using the minor scale for your melody as well, your lead part, then you should consider the melodic minor. In A minor, The melodic minor raises the F to F# as well as raising the G to G#.

In A minor, A B C D E F# G# A.

We saw in the harmonic minor that we raised the G# because it made our cadence more “satisfying” to the ears. Well, the G# is also called a leading tone, because it leads naturally to the A. It leads naturally to the A because it is the most jarring tone in the scale and it is so close to the the first scale note, A, that you ears demand that it go directly to A. That is why the E major to A minor scale is more satisfying than E minor to A minor. It is that leading tone. All harmonic and melodic minors have a different leading tone. It is always the sharp version of the seventh note of a minor scale.

The problem with the G# is that the distance between F and G# is bigger than the distance between F and G. This distance is actually found to be quite dissonant, especially during the classical and pre-classical era. This distance, called the augmented second, was too much, so convention sharped the sixth note as well so augmented seconds don’t appear in melodies that have a minor scale with a leading tone. As a general pattern in classical music, when a minor scale is used melodically, the sixth and seventh notes are sharped.

Now keep in mind that all of this about the F# and the G# are good for going up the scale melodically. Going back down the scale melodically starting at A does not require a leading tone, since you are going away from A, not towards it. So going from A to G does not require a sharp. Since G is not sharp, going to F is no longer an augmented second away. Therefore F is no longer sharp. That is why there is a difference in ascending and descending melodic minors.

Ascending melodic minor scale: A B C D E F# G# A

Descending melodic minor scale: A G F E D C B A

Having wrote all of that, you can disregard all of this in your tracks. This convention was used for a particular style. You can, and maybe should explore, just the natural A minor.

This would be: A B C D E F G A.

From a theoretical standpoint, this would actually be considered A Aeolian and not A minor. The main reason is that you have no leading tone, so it would be considered modal, not tonal (major/minor). So my suggestion is to just play around. Using these harmonic and melodic minors merely infuse more of the major scale sound into your minor scale. If you want to stick strictly to the minor sound, stay with the natural A minor.

If it sounds good to your ears, then you are on the right track. Theory should be a guide, not a guideline. If it is confusing, chuck the theory for now and trust your ears.

As I recall the way to tell the relative minor to a major scale is to count down 2 semi tones, so to find the relative minor to the C major scale you would count B and Bb as your 2 semi tones then the note of A would be the C major scales relative minor. I hope that helps :slight_smile:

haha my comp didnt load up all those replies untill I replied so bit late with that one txtPost_CommentEmoticon(‘:hehe:’);