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Thread: Music theory question

  1. #1
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    Default Music theory question

    Any YouTube video explaining why you can use/how to apply it for example playing an A minor pentatonic scale over a C chord progression? Don't how to explain it. I thought that if you're in the key of C you have to play scales that are in C?

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    Default Re: Music theory question

    A minor is the "relative minor" of C Major

    Every major key that you play a song in, the relative minor scale is the optimal blues pentatonic scale -it's always 3 half steps down. So if a song is in G Major, solo in the E minor pentatonic. If the song is in D Major, solo in the B Minor Pentatonic.

    Got it?

    Of course this just the basics and there's a crazy amount of options outside of this -but this is the very basics you need to know.
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    OH THE GLAZE! Clint 55's Avatar
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    Default Re: Music theory question

    A minor pentatonic haz the exact same notes as C major pentatonic. That's why it works.

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    Mojo's Minions Gtrjunior's Avatar
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    Default Music theory question

    Quote Originally Posted by NegativeEase View Post
    A minor is the "relative minor" of C Major

    Every major key that you play a song in, the relative minor scale is the optimal blues pentatonic scale -it's always 3 half steps down. So if a song is in G Major, solo in the E minor pentatonic. If the song is in D Major, solo in the B Minor Pentatonic.

    Got it?

    Of course this just the basics and there's a crazy amount of options outside of this -but this is the very basics you need to know.
    The important difference is the chord tones.
    In C you would shoot to resolve on C, E, and G. (Not including the 7th for simplicity).
    In Am your shoot for A,C,E.

    And of course, this is the tip of the iceberg. It only get deeper from here. Lol

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    Toneologist JMP/HBE's Avatar
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    Default Re: Music theory question

    Been playing 40 years.
    Ive approached Theory several times.
    I don't have time for Theory, im too busy playing guitar.

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    Sock Market Trader GuitarStv's Avatar
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    Default Re: Music theory question

    A minor pentatonic = 1 b3 4 5 b7 of A = A C D E G

    C major pentaonic = 1 2 3 5 6 of C = C D E G A


    As mentioned, the same notes in both scales which is why it sounds like it works. You just have to remember not to target the A root note of A min pentatonic . . . it's pretty natural to play a minor pentatonic lick and end on the root note, but the A ends up sounding like a 6th of the C major scale which will not sound as strong for a phrase resolution as landing on the C, E, or G.
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    Default Re: Music theory question

    Quote Originally Posted by Clint 55 View Post
    A minor pentatonic haz the exact same notes as C major pentatonic. That's why it works.
    Indeed, forgot to mention that -the only difference between either is what note you start or feature versus the steps you take which suggest to the mind a key foundation.

    Really if you think about it, a song written with only the chords C and A minor -really is a one chord song with 2 chord voicings.
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    Mojo's Minions RorySquier's Avatar
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    Default Re: Music theory question

    I believe or sense there is some underlying darkness lurking in thine pentatonic scale...no?





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    Administrator Mincer's Avatar
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    Default Re: Music theory question

    Well, C major and A minor are the same notes. A minor pentatonic and C major pentatonic have the same notes. Those keys also contain the same chords. That's why it works.
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    HardtailPisser ibanezrocks's Avatar
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    Default Re: Music theory question

    As already mentioned, both scales are the same notes. Solos usually heavily rely on 1, 3, 5, as resting notes, which are C, E, G in C major and A, C, E in A minor. Depending on your phrasing, it can be unclear from the listeners perspective which key you're soloing in.

    What you hear as the root in a song depends on a lot of things, like where a chord progression starts or ends and how it changes throughout the song. If the chord progression isn't firmly rooted (somewhat subjective), the solo can definitely be enough to pull it over from C to A.

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    Default Re: Music theory question

    Now - why does an Am work over a C7 chord?!?!?!?!?

    - It SHOULDN'T, but it DOES!!!! BWahahahahaha
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    Mojo's Minions Gtrjunior's Avatar
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    Default Music theory question

    Quote Originally Posted by Aceman View Post
    Now - why does an Am work over a C7 chord?!?!?!?!?

    - It SHOULDN'T, but it DOES!!!! BWahahahahaha
    Sure it should...
    The 7th of C7 is B. B is the 2nd of Am. It’s all within both keys.
    In Am, B isn’t exactly a good note to land on for resolution but it completely works in C, especially in a bluesy setting.

    Revision:
    Diatonic to C, the correct chord would be Cmaj7.
    If you play C7 (Dominant) and solo with Am penta, there is neither a B or Bb in the scale, so you sort off “skirt around” the issue of the B (or Bb note).
    Last edited by Gtrjunior; 05-19-2019 at 04:07 AM.

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    Default Re: Music theory question

    Quote Originally Posted by Aceman View Post
    Now - why does an Am work over a C7 chord?!?!?!?!?

    - It SHOULDN'T, but it DOES!!!! BWahahahahaha
    Am7/C is a fine chord, isn't it? Just be careful with the spacing and the resolution.

    If we are talking about an Am pentatonic scale, it avoids the Bb/B (or B/H) clash that might arise from use of the full A minor scale.
    Last edited by Sirion; 05-18-2019 at 06:25 AM.

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    Mojo's Minions Gtrjunior's Avatar
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    Default Re: Music theory question

    Quote Originally Posted by Sirion View Post
    Am7/C is a fine chord, isn't it? Just be careful with the spacing and the resolution.

    If we are talking about an Am pentatonic scale, it avoids the Bb/B (or B/H) clash that might arise from use of the full A minor scale.
    There is no Bb in an Am scale.

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    Default Re: Music theory question

    The real reason is that we are so used to hearing minor pentatonic soloing over chords with a major 3rd and minor 7th that it sounds perfectly normal even though it is 'wrong' theory-wise.
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    Default Re: Music theory question

    Quote Originally Posted by Mincer View Post
    The real reason is that we are so used to hearing minor pentatonic soloing over chords with a major 3rd and minor 7th that it sounds perfectly normal even though it is 'wrong' theory-wise.
    A great musician can make ANY note sound good over any other note or chord etc to the listener -so long as they have a passage that is leading the brain in a direction of conflict or resolution.

    The brain really just wants to know where we are going and how long we are hanging around.
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    Mojo's Minions ItsaBass's Avatar
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    Default Re: Music theory question

    A minor and C major contain the same notes, but it does not mean that they are the same scales. You don't just play in A minor over a C major song, and have it sound fine. You are pulling from the same bunch of notes when playing strictly within both scales, but you are moving very differently in terms of melody, harmony, resolution, etc. That said, as the chords change in a song that is in C major, you might find yourself actually playing in A minor for a bit. Lots of songs do it: flop back and forth between "being in" a relative major and a relative minor key. I think of it as a "mini modulation," or "temporary modulation."
    Last edited by ItsaBass; 05-18-2019 at 10:49 AM.
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    Default Re: Music theory question

    ^^^^ This. While Am may be the relative minor, it does not work as a sub for a C major chord. It would function as an C6, and I'm pretty sure that doesn't sound too good through a Bogner. Am7 would be closer, but no cigar.
    Last edited by SoPhx; 05-18-2019 at 03:18 PM.

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    Default Re: Music theory question

    Quote Originally Posted by Gtrjunior View Post
    Sure it should...
    The 7th of C7 is B. B is the 2nd of Am. It’s all within both keys.
    In Am, B isn’t exactly a good note to land on for resolution but it completely works in C, especially in a bluesy setting.
    He said C7 not Cmaj7.

    Am works over C7 cause both share the same notes when in altered dominant setting.

  20. #20
    Ultimate Tone Slacker zionstrat's Avatar
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    Default Re: Music theory question

    Great discussion thus far...

    I tend to think the other direction starting with the relative major and minor scales and thining out the notes as I move towards pentatonic.

    By seeing the pentatonic overlaid with the major or relative minor, it becomes easier for me to see the raising of the seven in the minor scale. A lot of us do this without even thinking about it, however, there is an abundance of blues and jazz riffs that use the raised 7th for a stronger push into the minor tonic. most of the time I'll switch back to the regular minor when going down the scale however I also quite often raise the 6 and the 7 going up... Just as before, it makes the minor tonic considerably stronger, or you can switch into a Picardy third which is simply turning the minor tonic chord into a major chord.

    It's also helps me with a related concept, I really enjoy great guitarist who switch between major and minor pentatonics, Clapton it's famous for it. If I'm working in a true blues song where 1 4 and 5 are domanants, I usually automatically shift to the parallel minor (cm in place of C major) especially if other instruments aren't playing chords (Cream is a perfect example).

    The lowered 7th on the I and IV give me 2 more notes to mess with, and it's relatively easy to hear, but I tend to be more aggressive when I can see potential chord members superimposed on the full scale.

    Hope this makes sense... It's easier to play than it is to describe

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