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Questions about Scales and Chords

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Questions about Scales and Chords

Post by musicaholic on Thu May 28, 2009 9:48 am

1. If I'm learning a new song, is there any way I can identify which scale it's played in (by ear)?
2. Are there some chords that go well with specific scales?
3. How do I choose which chord to start on and what chord progression would be a good one?
4. Some times, a chord is played differently. For instance, F# C# F# as far as I know is not a chord so how come many songs use this kind of a "chord"?
5. I have noticed that some songs play broken chords (Arpeggios) but in a strange way. For instance, instead of playing the keys of C minor in this pattern: C,D#,G they are played as C,D#,G, C(higher octave), D(higher octave),G,C(higher octave),G. Any thoughts on that?
6. If scales are said to be very important and every song follows a certain scale (or more than one) then why do we have a chromatic scale in which every key is played? Isn't that in contradiction with the fact that scales are used because their notes sound good together? A chromatic scale plays all keys so basically if I hit any key it would still be in the chromatic scale. It's kinda confusing.

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Re: Questions about Scales and Chords

Post by Thomandy on Thu May 28, 2009 1:58 pm

musicaholic wrote:1. If I'm learning a new song, is there any way I can identify which scale it's played in (by ear)?
2. Are there some chords that go well with specific scales?
3. How do I choose which chord to start on and what chord progression would be a good one?
4. Some times, a chord is played differently. For instance, F# C# F# as far as I know is not a chord so how come many songs use this kind of a "chord"?
5. I have noticed that some songs play broken chords (Arpeggios) but in a strange way. For instance, instead of playing the keys of C minor in this pattern: C,D#,G they are played as C,D#,G, C(higher octave), D(higher octave),G,C(higher octave),G. Any thoughts on that?
6. If scales are said to be very important and every song follows a certain scale (or more than one) then why do we have a chromatic scale in which every key is played? Isn't that in contradiction with the fact that scales are used because their notes sound good together? A chromatic scale plays all keys so basically if I hit any key it would still be in the chromatic scale. It's kinda confusing.

1: Yes, you can if you got a good relative pitch (or perfect pitch).
2: All scales got their basic chords that fit well in their scale!
3: Well, you should start on the Tonic. If its C major, use fex a basic chord = C E G
there are other topics here that present proggessions in more detail!
4: This IS a chord!! Its one of the most common chords. When it starts on the tonic and ends on the "tonic" it just means that the chord is Closed! Basic Chord Definition = 3or more notes played at the same time!! And what you mentioned there is a I V I chord in F# major!
5: A composer can play whatever harmony he wants to, he dont Have to follow Basic chords, he can jump to whatever key he wants to, and go up an octave down ect ect
6: Well, most pieces follow a normal scales, and many things build up around certen keys in those scales ect. If you know a scale, you can easier create a feeling when you see the song is in that scale. You know the territory ect ect.. There are as you say the chromatic scale, and its important as well. There is the twelvetone system as well that bases composition on all 12 keys in the chromatic scale! But there are strict rules to this composing style, and its not that much used! Read about it at Wiki. So yeah, learn scales, normal scales, chromatic scales ect. If you want to compose you need to learn all these things so you got greater options for how you should compose! If you only know a little, then your range is smaller!

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Re: Questions about Scales and Chords

Post by yokewong on Tue Jul 20, 2010 4:31 am

1. Yes, unless you have perfect pitch. Ear training will help you identify the scale.
2. Yes, every scale has a set of diatonic chords. For example, in the key of C major. You have C, D, E, F, G, A, B, and C. The diatonic chords built from the scales are I major - C/E/G; ii minor D/F/A, iii minor E/G/B, IV major F/A/C, V major G/B/D, vi minor A/C/E and vii half dim- B/D/F. You can build chords from all different type of scales.
3. If you are working on an original composition, you can start on whichever chord that you want your composition to begin. Usually you would want to start on the tonic, but its not always necessary. You can choose any chord progression that you want your composition to be in. There are several cadences that you can use, for example, V-I, ii-V-I, IV-V-I, vi-V-I, iii-vi-ii-V-I, etc.
4. F#-C#-F# is a chord progression. I-V-I. Even if you are talking about the notes F#/C#/F#, it can still be a chord, depending on what notes other instruments are playing. Right now, its just root, 5th and root. So its a F5 chord without major or minor tonality.
5. Arpeggios can be played in any number of octaves. It can also be played with notes other than just the triads. For example, C/Eb/G/Bb/C/Eb/G/Ab/Bb
6. Scales are the building blocks to music. Every piece of music follows certain scale or scales. Every scales used have specific rules on what notes, how, and when to use them. Even when the scales consist of every single note; the chromatic scale. It also has rules on how to use them correctly.

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