What key would you say this is in? I wrote it earlier this week.

Discussion in 'Music Theory, Lessons & Techniques' started by QuantumCybin, Oct 26, 2013.

  1. QuantumCybin

    QuantumCybin Lost In Thought

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    https://soundcloud.com/rush-ribarovic/ambient-tone-and-kick-drum

    Hey guys, so I have recently started trying to teach myself production techniques with Reaper and programming drums with EZ Drummer, but that's not the real focus of this topic; I'm more interested in trying to figure out what key you would say this piece is in? I'm playing a six string tuned to drop C.

    The first series of notes you hear are all natural notes, and the progression is D-A-F-C.

    The only two chords so far are played as such:

    --7-----------7-----
    --7-----------5-----
    --7-----------5-----
    --10----------7-----
    --7-----------5-----
    --7-----------5-----

    I'm currently in theory I at my local college, so I have a very rudimentary base knowledge of theory at this point, and I don't necessarily think of it as I'm writing things for my own pleasure; however, I want to understand chords beyond triads already! Thanks in advance.
     
  2. AugmentedFourth

    AugmentedFourth X:1 K:C [c^f]|

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    Looks like D minor to me.

    You chord are swooper dooper ambiguous. 6 completely different notes, all pulled from the same diatonic (7 note) scale between the two chords.....

    It's a mess. Because of the voicings I would call this

    iv - III - iv - III (in D minor)

    But it doesn't matter too much.
     
  3. QuantumCybin

    QuantumCybin Lost In Thought

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    Interesting. Can you explain why you believe it's in D minor? I'm messing with adding more to the song, possibly a distorted guitar section and I've found a relatively nice transition, and it's this chord here:


    ----5----
    ----6----
    ----5----
    ----8----
    ----5----
    ----5----

    Pretty sure this is just a voicing of a minor chord right? At any rate, this sounds quite pretty when played after that final chord in the clip I uploaded. From a theory standpoint, why??
     
  4. Waelstrum

    Waelstrum All Fourths Advocate

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    The first chord has the notes G D Bb C E A. You could call that Gm nat13 with the 7 omitted, or a polychord of Am on top of Gm. I would usually prefer to call it a polychord, because of the spacing.

    The second chord has the notes F C G Bb D A. If the Bb were in the bass it would be Bb F C G B A, which makes me look at it as an inversion of that quintal chord. You could also see it as G Bb D F A C which is either Gm11 or a polychord of Gm and Fmaj, but they're all mixed up in this one. That would lead me to call it Gm11.

    Given the context of the second chord, I'd call the whole thing Gm nat13, and both chords are actually different voicings of the same chord.


    The overall track is definitely in D minor. The melody is moving around the D minor pentatonic scale, and comes to a rest on D. Gm nat13 is also all of the notes of the D natural minor scale in thirds starting from G, which is the fourth of Dm. If you followed those chords with some sort of Dm chord, it will sound resolved.
     
  5. Waelstrum

    Waelstrum All Fourths Advocate

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    This has F C Ab Bb Eb G which is either another polychord with Ebmaj on top of F minor, or it's Fm11. This introduces notes that are not of D natural minor, with the Ab and Eb. I'd still say that the track is in Dm, but if you like how that sounds after the preceding chords, then you can use it as a point of modulation.

    As to why it sounds nice after the first two chords, I think it's because of voice leading as much as anything else. If we say the first two chords are different voicings of the same chord (I say they are, but there are tonnes of ways you could label them) then you're going from Gm nat13 to Fm11. More importantly, though, is where the notes are moving and where they aren't.

    This is going to require looking at each note's movement individually, so I will do them in ascending order. The bass note is F in both, which makes it seem like a multi-appoggiatura (the kind that is usually I in second inversion to V in root position). The C stays the same in both as well, helping to reinforce the stability. Then there is the G going to an Ab. In the context of an Fm chord, F C G going to F C Ab is a standard 2 to 3 suspension, but in this it is hidden in these extended chords. Next is a Bb staying as a Bb. It helps the stability by not moving, but not as much as the F or C below it, as Bb in this case is the the 13th of the chord: a highly unstable note. Then there is a D going to Eb, which prom the perspective of Fm is nat6 going min7: going from very unstable to comparatively quite stable - in this context a resolution. Finally is A falling to G. This is important for a few reasons. Firstly, it's the only note going down, all the others are staying the same or going up. This contrary motion in addition with it being the highest note highlights its significance. Secondly, it's the only note that has a chromatic alteration happen to it between those two chords. (The E is present in the first voicing of the Gm nat13 but not in this one, making the introduction of the Eb slightly easier.) Ordinarily, one might expect that in a chord progression that has A then Ab, the A would go to the Ab, but you skipped passed it and went on to the G. This further makes it stick out, as A going to G is still a perfectly fine voice leading, but by going for the second most obvious movement (and the one that "feels" less chromatic) it fits well with your piece. Overall the chord adds chromaticism relatively subtly into an up until the modal piece, which is not an easy thing to just slip in.

    7----5----
    5----6----
    5----5----
    7----8----
    5----5----
    5----5----
     
  6. QuantumCybin

    QuantumCybin Lost In Thought

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    This forum never ceases to amaze me lol. I just always feel like my eyes are bigger than my stomach when it comes to digesting theory knowledge. I wish I could say I consciously knew all of that when trying to write something I thought sounded nice.

    Like I was saying, the only chords that are being covered in this theory I class I'm in are triads in root and their two inversions. I understand that, but we haven't talked about how inversions really function or anything within the context of a piece. And seventh chords aren't even being touched until theory II.

    Thank you for your thorough post though man; exactly the type of answer I have come to expect here :agreed:
     

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