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Chords in the key help

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by Arizona Jones, Apr 2, 2014.

  1. Well, I thought I had a good handle on theory basics, but this one through me for a loop.

    I was looking for some chord progressions to run through and ran into the video in question.

    The progression is in the key of "C", but the progression is C - G# - A# - F.

    Huh? Can it be in the key of "C" and be this far out? I like the progression and want to figure out the theory behind it.

    What do you all think?

    Youtube Link To Video

    Attached Files:

  2. Bainbridge


    Oct 28, 2012
    Yikes. Sounds like F minor to me, not C. Just because the track ends on a C chord, key of C it does not make. The spelling is atrocious. Those chords are F5 C5 A♭5 B5, though you could do Fm Cm A♭ B♭ if you wanted more chord tones. Could also do them all as major triads, which is more stylistic.
  3. Leo Smith

    Leo Smith

    Oct 21, 2009
    Brooklyn, NY
    Well, you're right that it's not C Major. Modally speaking it could be F Aeolian. As an exercise to work out solo licks, think of it as C Blues / C min pentatonic. ( C Eb F F# G Bb ) With some judicious bending, you can make those notes fit into all the chords.

    Also, the chords that are actual being played are neither major nor minor, but just power chords. Root and 5th for each chord, no thirds. It would sound a little more symphonic, for lack of a better term, if the chords were all planing major or planing minor chords.
  4. bluesdogblues


    Nov 13, 2007
    IMHO, after check the youtube link I think it's in Eb (Root). (Then the C = Aeolian (Cm) or 6th).

    So it's like Cm - Ab - Bb - Fm (like the Intro & Verses part Chord progression of The Police's Message In A Bottle, only this one played one half step lower with distortion sound)

    CMIIW cause I only checked it for seconds :D
  5. MalcolmAmos

    MalcolmAmos Supporting Member

    Your grasp of the chords in a key is probably OK. What goes off kilter is what songwriters end up doing.

    When I checked in with a guitar forum we often got post saying; "I just made up this chord progression, which sounds great, what key is it in?"

    You do not need theory to write stuff, if you have a good ear, It does not have to follow the rules. Course it does help when we try and tell other musicians what we've done.
  6. Ed Fuqua

    Ed Fuqua

    Dec 13, 1999
    Chuck Sher publishes my book, WALKING BASSICS:The Fundamentals of Jazz Bass Playing.
    The thing everyone seems to be forgetting is NOT ALL SONGS DEAL WITH FUNCTIONAL HARMONY. If you're playing with some singer/songwriter with a limitied harmonic vocabulary, all the chords in all their songs are going to be only chords they know how to play. But over and above that, if you have the wit and ability, you can write songs that are all dominant chords, all minor chords, all major chords, whatever. FUNCTIONAL HARMONY RULES ONLY ARE IN EFFECT IF YOU ARE IN FUNCTIONAL HARMONY LAND.
    So just stop.
  7. joeeg33

    joeeg33 Supporting Member

    Sep 11, 2002
    Central New Jersey

    It seems now a day, anything goes. And like said above, I believe the people writing the stuff that is popular today really don't have a musical clue. Most of it is just root 5, power chords moved around.
  8. lyla1953


    Jul 18, 2012
    My instructor often tells me - "No real rules, just guidelines -
    and thats the beauty of music!"

  9. True

    You need to hear this new local metal power trio. They are doing interesting things with a triangle, autoharp and piccolo, but they are too loud for me.
  10. Bainbridge


    Oct 28, 2012
    You guys are weird. It's diatonic harmony. Key of F minor, i v III iv. The presence or absence of a third doesn't suddenly make the progression unanalyzable, and with something this basic, every musician should be able to tell what's up. The world needs more people who know how to write a chart, and less lazy mamby-pamby "w/e its al gud" people who can't do the musical equivalent of tying their shoe. The person who made the video may not be able to spell the chords - and that's alright, they just don't know - but they're clearly off on the key, and that tells me that they're taking somebody else's word for it and not putting in any of the work for their self. Don't be that musician.
  11. joeeg33

    joeeg33 Supporting Member

    Sep 11, 2002
    Central New Jersey
    I just looked at the progression posted, I did not bother with the link. The progression itself is quite common but, if you are playing as the original post, all major then there really wouldn't be a so called center. You would need to hear the melody to see where the composer is coming from.
    And I agree, there are no rules, I'm totally into what sounds good. It is art after all, the beauty is in the ear of the listener.
  12. teleharmonium


    Dec 2, 2003
    I feel like a broken record every time I tell somebody that "key" means tonal center and nothing else for non diatonic music, which includes everything blues based, which is the bulk of popular music since the 1920s.

    I have no problem with C as the tonal center of those chords as written. I bVI bVII IV . Clearly it would want to end on as well as start on the C and that's all you can really ask from a tonal center. More than likely that's a verse and there is also a chorus that ends with a dominant progression.
  13. Try playing blues bass with active 16th note altered chord runs and see if anybody gets it.

    Everything has rules. No rules is a rule.
  14. davidhilton

    davidhilton Supporting Member Commercial User

    Apr 13, 2009
    Los Angeles, CA
    Stop the insanity!!
  15. Stick_Player

    Stick_Player Banned

    Nov 13, 2009
    Somewhere on the Alaska Panhandle (Juneau)
    Endorser: Plants vs. Zombies Pea Shooters
    Music created by NON-musicians. Really now, what else can be expected, other than garbage?
  16. Ed Fuqua

    Ed Fuqua

    Dec 13, 1999
    Chuck Sher publishes my book, WALKING BASSICS:The Fundamentals of Jazz Bass Playing.
    Aw now Stick, there have been PLENTY of moments of True Poetic Beauty that have been created by folks with a limited harmonic vocabulary. Or linguistic vocabulary for that matter. It's not the words you use, it's whether or not you have the ability to communicate feelings, thoughts, intent and meaning.
  17. Stick_Player

    Stick_Player Banned

    Nov 13, 2009
    Somewhere on the Alaska Panhandle (Juneau)
    Endorser: Plants vs. Zombies Pea Shooters
    Yes you are right.

    And occasionally, someone will win the Power Ball.

    Me? I don't gamble. I invest.