Scales, Modes, Resolution, Cadence, Etc

Discussion in 'Music Theory, Lessons & Techniques' started by jam3v, Oct 24, 2010.

  1. jam3v

    jam3v wat

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    I apologize in advance, as I'm sure this has been covered to death, but the search terms are mentioned in literally every thread in this forum. I'm pretty much a theory newb, but I know some basics, so again apologies if I misuse some terms.

    My issue is with developing solos or melodies over a chord progression in a specific key. I need alternatives for resolution or segueing into the next passage.

    If the song is in E, it's really boring to always end on the root or the root of the relative major (G). It's also really boring to continue playing the same 7 notes over and over.

    What are my options? Can I resolve to different notes other than root/relative? Should I segue into a related mode? Maybe I just need to spice up my phrasing... What do I do?

    Thanks
     
  2. Mr. Big Noodles

    Mr. Big Noodles Theory God

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    Try ending the phrase on a V chord (B major chord in E minor). It'll create a need for resolution, as opposed to giving it away too soon. In the theory world, we call that a half cadence. As for what's going on before the ending of a phrase, I would really need to hear the tune to give my opinion. Maybe you need to emphasize chord tones, or perhaps get away from chord tones. Perhaps some chromaticism is in order. Really, it depends.
     
  3. Waelstrum

    Waelstrum All Fourths Advocate

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    +1 to half cadence.
    Another one in a similar vein is deceptive cadence, where you go from the fifth to the sixth chord. It's called deceptive because in a major key the sixth is minor, and in a minor it's major. It sounds 'kinda' resolved, because the leading not still goes to the tonic, but it's not the tonic chord - it's a deceptive cadence.

    tl;dr, try going from B major to C major as the last two chords of a phrase in E minor.
     
  4. Mr. Big Noodles

    Mr. Big Noodles Theory God

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    Another neat idea is elision: you start the next phrase on the resolution of the first. So, if the last note in your first phrase is E, and the first note in the second is E, then make them the same note. Take away any unnecessary pauses.
     
  5. jam3v

    jam3v wat

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    I'm even more a chord noob than anything. I assume when you say a V chord, you mean a chord based on the fifth of the tonic, which as you mentioned would be B in this case.

    Could I also end a passage, during a solo, on the fifth (B) to get the same result?
     
  6. viesczy

    viesczy SS.org Regular

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    As music is expression, do w/e you like and is pleasing to your ear. You like ending on whatever note, do it. Just make sure if it makes a lot of tension, like you mistakenly bent flat, you do it again so it sounds like you meant to do it.

    We have 12 tones right, didn't EVH say to use them all?

    If you're bored why not try some exotic scales to give a Middle Eastern or Asian flavor?

    Derek
     
  7. Mr. Big Noodles

    Mr. Big Noodles Theory God

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    Yeah, chord functions are based on the tonic of the key you're in. So, in the key of E minor, the notes are E F# G A B C D, the triads that you get from it are

    Em - E G B
    F#dim - F# A C
    G - G B D
    Am - A C E
    Bm - B D F#
    C - C E G
    D - D F# A

    For the sake of stronger resolutions, the seventh scale degree is raised in minor keys. So, in Em, we change D to D#, which turns our Bm chord - B D F# - into B - B D# F#, and out D chord - D F# A - into D#dim - D# F# A.

    Anyway, if we assign numerals to these, we get the following:

    Em - i
    F#dim - ii°
    G - III
    Am - iv
    Bm - v
    B - V
    C - VI
    D - VII
    D#dim - vii°


    So, when I say a member of the V chord, I mean any of the notes, B, D#, or F#. B is probably strongest, with D# being equally as strong. Try it out.
     
  8. MusicMetalHead

    MusicMetalHead P4

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    I don't look at a lot of theory when writing a song, but one thing I do like to do is take a scale I like, find another scale I like with almost all of the same notes with one or two differant, then find another scale with just one or two notes differant from that one, and I keep going from one scale to another, but they kind of flow together very nicely as I play because I'm not totally changing scales but kind of slowly morphing I guess you could say. I dunno, it sounds kool. Not very original?
     
  9. All_¥our_Bass

    All_¥our_Bass Deathly Chuuni

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    Lot's of eastern music does this.
    I just mix the scales freely, depending on how tense or relaxed I want to the music to be at those very moments.
    I might play a lot of locrian, diminished, and generally dissonant/nasty stuff and them go back to plain Aeolian (natural minor scale).
     
  10. StratoJazz

    StratoJazz SS.org Regular

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    As long as you end on chord tones on the downbeats, it's going to sound good.

    If you're playing over chord changes, in jazz, try always resolving in to the thirds of the chords.

    Try ending tunes, or your tunes, on different chords. V chords are good, you could also end on a picardy third, which makes the i chord Major I.

    If your a sweeper, get a drone of a pitch and play a major sweep lick a minor third up from the root, for example:

    A is your bass note, sweep a C major triad lick, arpeggio, what have you over it. It'll get you a cool sound.

    You could also work with upper extension chords in general. Dm9= D F A C E.

    Just some suggestions.
     
  11. MintBerryCrunch

    MintBerryCrunch Melody>Metal

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    I'd also throw in that it's not "illegal" to play chords in solos as well. You can play around playing arpeggios or scale climbing the relative scale but you can also hold chords in the relative scale to create a different mood than the song itself and add more color. :shred:
     

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