need advice on soloing over chords/chord progression/making music.

Discussion in 'Music Theory, Lessons & Techniques' started by vejichan, Dec 10, 2019.

  1. vejichan

    vejichan SS.org Regular

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    Hi I need advice, tips and direction on the following

    - If for example, if you have a loop of somebody chugging away on the C chord. What scales/modes can you use to solo over that c chord.. how do you know which scale to use?

    - What are some very common chord progressions in metal?


    Need some pointers/advice on creating my own songs and music.
     
  2. Element0s

    Element0s Low Fantasy/Black Denim

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    This question is so open-ended that it's a little hard to give you a straight answer. There are loads of variations on a "C chord" and the scales you'd want to pick your notes from will vary depending on the specific type of C chord you're playing, not to mention it's context within the overall chord progression of the song. Chugging away at a C power chord has so little context that you could do damn near anything and make it work if you played it with enough chutzpah.

    The stock answer would be to play the minor scale over a minor chord and the major scale over a major chord. The more detailed the chord/chord progression is, the more specific you note choices may need to be. The more simple and open your progression, the more room you have to try different stuff.

    I personally think you would get more knowledge from learning solos and songs from artists you admire. Learn some riffs and chord progressions from your favourite songs. Learn some leads and solos that you like which are within your playing ability and see if you can figure out what scales/modes are being used and how they sound in context against the chords/riffs in the background. If you can eventually do this by ear then I think you'll make the most gains.

    If the issue is that you have already done this sort of thing but you lack the theory knowledge to properly analyse it, then that's a different situation and I'm happy to answer a few more specific questions if you have them.

    Personally, I had some of my first breakthroughs in understanding chord progressions and lead melodies when I started learning Iron Maiden songs by ear. Pick like 3-5 songs and you'll notice a lot of stock patterns and "pet" progressions right away.
     
  3. Winspear

    Winspear Tom Winspear

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    For the first question - A common approach over just one chord would be the same as usual - Look at the overall key of the song/part (maybe it's C minor, or C harmonic minor) and just use that. The jazz/more interesting approach would be to look at a lone, long C chord (is this a powerchord, minor, major?) as an opportunity to play any scale at all that contains C, G, and E/Eb*(*depending if it's maj or min). The scale would be chosen by knowing what it sounds like and deciding what sound you want to make
     
  4. vejichan

    vejichan SS.org Regular

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    I basically need to understand how to use music theory ..I know theory gives you options for you to use but I just like to know from a general rule...my options when someone is chugging away on the c major chord. What scale can I use?
     
  5. budda

    budda Guiterrorizer Contributor

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    Literally any of them. Some of them will sound better than others, but you can use anything over anything.

    The *usual* point of putting a lead over something is to express yourself. What are you trying to express?
     
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  6. Winspear

    Winspear Tom Winspear

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    Like I said technically any scale containing C E and G (the chords notes) would be a conventional choice and will 'work'. C Major, C Lydian, C Mixolydian to pick a few common ones. Each will have there own vibe. Part of making any scale work is emphasising the right notes at the right times, and tastefully resolving notes that create tension
     
  7. vejichan

    vejichan SS.org Regular

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    so just simply, if someone was strumming a c chord.. i can play c ionian, c dorian, c phyrigian, c lydian, c mixolydian, c aeolin, c locrian, c blue scale, c pentatonic etc .. basically any scale with C can work in c chord but dependning on the feel/sound i am going for? in C what are the resolving notes ?
    Thanks
     
  8. c7spheres

    c7spheres GuitArtist

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    If it sounds good then it is good. If not, you can just say it got a little jazzy or experimental. : )
     
  9. DudeManBrother

    DudeManBrother Hey...how did everybody get in my room?

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    If the C chord is the tonic then you’d typically play Ionian. I like to go up to Phrygian over the I chord as it really brings out the nice qualities of the tonic.

    If the C chord is functioning as the dominant then you’d want to flat the 7 (mixolydian). You can get some cool sounds by playing a diminished scale up a semitone from here. This is the place to mess with the tritone (F# in this case) and play around as an alternative flat 7 major scale. It resolves to the tonic (Fmaj7 here) beautifully.

    The biggest thing is to get chord tones on the down beat. That’s where blues and bebop scales come from. Adding one extra note can make sure the 1,3,5,7 land on down beats. The up beats are free to explore chromatically or diatonically. There are lots of little rules of thumb as to when you’d use chromatic notes vs not, but your ear can easily guide those decisions with a little practice.
     
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  10. Winspear

    Winspear Tom Winspear

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    If it was a powerchord yes*. If it was a major chord with an E instead of Eb, you'd want to avoid the minor scales you listed there that contain an Eb. *Locrian contains a Gb instead of a G, too. You're looking for ones that match all the chord tones (CEG), generally. The chord tones will feel stable, and notes a semitone away from them will create most tension. For example resolving B or Db back to C, F# up to G etc. A strong melody would most likely be implying a chord progression over the droned chord. For example ending a melody with emphasis on G, B, and D - a G major chord - before going back to emphasis on C, E and G. A melodic V>I resolution. You could throw in a tasteful chromatic climb from D>D#>E across the bar of this Gmaj>Cmaj implied melodic chord change, for emphasis here as an example of how to accent a resolution
     
    Last edited: Dec 13, 2019
  11. Drew

    Drew Forum MVP

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    Good lord this is a huge question. :lol:

    If someone is JUST playing a C major chord, and no other chords, then any C scale with a major 3rd and a perfect 5th - E and G, relative to C, will sound "right." Some of those will clash - dorian and phrygian have minor thirds, for example, as does aeolean, while locrian has both a minor third and a flat 5th. So, they'll sound a bit "out."

    Now, that doesn't mean you CAN'T use them - a lot of blues is based around mixing major and minor tonalities, for example - but when you do, you're creatiung tension. Music is largely about tension and resolution, so if you're going to play C Locrian over a C major chord, then there's goign to have to be some sort of payoff at some point, where all that tension resolves.

    As a general starting point... Music theory is a HUGE subject and there are, well, I wouldn't describe them as rules so much as a toolbox with a whole bunch of different tools you can use to make music. But, one basic approach to start off with is to harmonize a scale into triads - in C major, play the root, the third, and the fifth (which itself is a third above the 3rd, so you're stacking thirds), but limit yourself to scale tones. So, C, E, G. Then, shift everything up one scale tone, to D F A, which gives you a D minor chord. Continue up the neck this way, and it'll create this chord "progression" - C major, D minor, E minor, F major, G major, A minor, B diminished. Any time you see a chord progression that ONLY uses those chords, you can play across the whole thing in C major.

    This is only the tip of the iceberg, though - diatonic harmony is awesome and you can make a lot of music with it, but it can also sort of become a bit of a trap and finding ways to break it that sound musically satisfying (again, using the toolkit that music theory gives you) can also yield some really cool results.

    But, it's a starting point. If you don't want to read books on mixing on your long commutes, a book on music theory might be a good choice, especially if you can find one written for guitarists (and before you ask, no, I don't have one to recommend, I just took classes on this back in college and did a lot of study on my own).
     
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  12. Drew

    Drew Forum MVP

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    I just missed the edit window (it closed after I wrote a long edit) but I'll add one final "generalized" approach.

    1) If every single note in every chord in a chord progression or in a riff can be found in a scale, you can use that scale to solo over the progression. For example, a progression that goes Am-F-C-G is entirely composed of A minor scale tones, so you can play A minor across the whole thing. This isn't the ONLY scale you can play, but it's a very safe one. This is an extremely common approach to playing a solo.
    2) If not every note can come from a particular scale, it may be possible to subdivide a progression into a series of "sub progressions" where you can use one scale for a series of chords. For example, A-F#m-G-C doesn't work neatly in one scale, because both A and F#m have a C# in them (the 3rd and 5th respectively). However, you can treat it as an A-F#m progression, which you can use A major on, and a G-C progression, which you can use an A minor/C major scale to play over. Or, Am-G-F-E, where the E doesn't fit cleanly because it has a G# - you could use A minor throughouit, then change to A harmonic minor (where the G is raised to G#) for that last chord. This sort of approach is pretty common in rock, as well.
    3) Taking #2 to the furthest extreme, you could treat every chord in a chord progression as it's own "tonality," and use a scale or arpeggio chosen for that chord. Then, to make a solo sound "cohesive," you could find interesting ways to resolve from one scale tone or chord tone in your chord, scale, or arpegiio, to the next. This is basically the crux of jazz soloing, and requires you to REALLY understand what you're doing to make it not sound like utter garbage.

    So, I guess tl;dr - think about how chords in a chord progression connect. This is a massive, massive, massive topic, though, and I think you actually found a bigger wormhole to go down than "I want my mix to sound better, what do I do," so good luck with that. :lol:
     
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