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Reconciling Power Chords and scale

Music Theory
2 Jan 2011 17:08 | Quote
Joined: 02 Jan 2011
Hey guys, first post here on something that has been bothering me for quite some time and I cannot seem to find an answer.

So my understanding of music theory is basic but I can usually get along fine. I am writing two songs using variations of a simple power chord progression BUT when I try to find the scale associated with it, there appear to be none :) I have used this site and others with scale finders and have failed. I would like to know if I am a freak or if there is some information I have yet to learn which would allow me to reconcile my progression and scale.

The progression is, all power chords,
F5 - F/C
G5 - G/D
G#5 - G#/D#
A5 - A/E
D5 - D/A
one of the songs has an E5

This seems such a stupid simple riff. I would like to know what scale it is built off of and perhaps how I can determine it myself. Any hint on the key signature would be much appreciated as well.

I get the entire thing as an F Major Blues (eg) until I add the E for the A5 dyad or the D# from the G# dyad. At which point there are no options.

Thanks guys for taking the time to try and help :) Every time I use power chords I run into this problem.

2 Jan 2011 17:25 | Quote
Joined: 20 Sep 2009
United States
Karma: 8
Just look at the root note for each powerchord.
2 Jan 2011 17:57 | Quote
Joined: 02 Jan 2011
See that is where I run into problems actually.

From my admittedly limited understanding:

When looking at a standard chord progression from say a C-Major scale (for simplicity) I have to consider each note in each triad and the intervals between them which creates the I-ii-iii-IV-V-vi-vii pattern (Major, minor & diminished). If laying a melody over a rhythm composed from those chords it should be more harmonious if I do not stray from the specific notes which create those chords. Such as: if I were to have the rhythm playing a simple I-V-vi progression (C-G-Am) then I should not start blasting out a sustained C# on the lead (as there is no C# in the key, nor the related scale and Am is a minor specifically because of the flatted C#, ie C).

If that is basically correct, wouldn't the same be true for power chords? When determining the scale I am playing in wouldn't I need to consider all of the individual notes which are included in the chords? Wouldn't the D# from the G5 dyad preclude what would otherwise be a simple C Major Bebop scale?

If not, I may have some seriously flawed understanding of the relationships between scales/keys/chords lol.

I really don't mean to be a pest here :) and I appreciate you trying to help lol but I don't understand why the individual notes would matter for triads but not dyads.

Thanks again
2 Jan 2011 18:21 | Quote
Joined: 24 Sep 2008
United States
Karma: 16
the problem with asking us, is that we can't hear it nor do we have any idea what your stressing in the progression. So i have to completely assume what your trying to do, relative to what i have seen/hear others try to do. To top that off power chords (5th intervals) tell me basically nothing (at lest in Diatonic Major, which I'm assuming your in [99% sure]), and in Jazz "shell theory" it is basically the most useless interval being drop all the time (exceptions of course: altered, diminished, and such, but don't worried about that as of now).

now that wasn't meant to be, Look how cool I am and your stupid, actually it's quite the contrary. I more than willing to help you, but you have to understand the enormity of my task as you have given me basically nothing to work with and it can go in o so many ways (almost countless). but I'll try and feel free to call me out.

to start, it is most likely the G# is a passing tone (powers chords [5th intervals] aren't chords by themselves), so to find the key you would leave it out (that's why the "tool" wont give you anything). but those notes really don't establish the key as technically it could be any one of the remaining tones.

now from what i have seen/heard of other people at your assumed level of theory, is that either the first note/chord or the last is the key. Being that I have not heard the progression there is no way of knowing how your resolving it. So if you understand or know when you hear a resolution, that will generally be your key in what your trying to do. Now I'm thinking your key is D, but as I have not heard anything, I really can't know which, with the info you have given me.

I think it is D due to me assuming the A is being the Dominate, in that most westerners generally try to accomplish a perfect cadence. Now the A could easily not be the dominate at all. Hell, they could all be dominates, you really can't be sure about anything. In what you have given.

now if I have confused the crap out of you, just take away one thing that the G#5 is passing and don't put it into the "tool" and just experiment. I guess which is what I would rather you do, than thinking you understand and really don't. Experimentation and tossing aside what you may or think you know is the best approach to music

**edit** you posted while i was bouncing back and forth ( I do many things at once, I'm weird)

from the quick read, I think I answered your Question, but one thing. The B-bop scale is not a scale so much as a theory, in that chords tones should be played on the beat and non-chord tones on the off beat. So don't think it's a scale scale. IT IS NOT.

again ask any questions you like, your not a pest

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