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n00b Theory Question

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by Definitely, Dec 17, 2012.

  1. Definitely

    Definitely Banned

    Alright, I'm a theory n00b. I've spent the last five years focusing mainly on technique and getting my hands to do what I want on the instrument, now I need to figure out what to get them to do! This question comes from a song (well, simple instrumental jam) I'm putting together. My question is this: the line that I have is in C minor, just plain old C minor, and I'd like to extend it to, yenno, make a progression and actually create a song out of it, and I'd like to go to the third (Eb); what are the notes of that scale? I'm having a huge brain fart and currently don't even remember what modes I'm using. The C minor scale is C, D, Eb, F, G, Ab, Bb, right? I'm so confused...that's the scale I'm using, and I'd like to move from there to Eb, so what would the appropriate Eb scale be? And if you could kindly explaining the reasoning for me, it would be a huge help! Thank you!

    tl;dr: bolded
  2. Not sure exactly what your asking, do you mean like, Eb major has the same notes at C minor scales?

    * like C is the relative minor to Eb major and the scale notes are the same, so your playing the same notes in both scales and getting confused? *
  3. Definitely

    Definitely Banned

    I don't even know how to word it I've confused myself at this point. I'd like to do a C to Eb chord progression (Cm 1-3), but I don't know what to do when I get to Eb, what scale do I use? Like, Eb minor, Eb major, a mode, what?
  4. The Eb major scale is literally the EXACT scale as C minor, they are related.

    C Minor = C - D - Eb - F - G - Ab - Bb - C
    Eb Major = Eb - F - G - Ab - Bb - C - D - Eb

    Same scale notes, starting on a different note!
  5. neebs


    Oct 25, 2011
    Manteca, California
    Well.. if you want them to use the same notes.. Ebminor. Atleast thats what I'm thinking.
  6. Definitely

    Definitely Banned

    Oh! Thanks! I knew that too...well thank you!
  7. Its Eb major, not minor.
  8. Dude, what are you talking about? I think you might be thinking too hard.

    Let me try to understand.

    You are writing a song
    The progression in C - Eb, so something like this C C / Eb Eb / C C / Eb Eb
    What is your question?
  9. hellofromming


    Jan 18, 2012
    Eb major?

    C minor (Aeolian) = C D Eb F G Ab Bb
    Eb Major (Ionian) = Eb F G Ab Bb C D
  10. FretlessMainly


    Nov 17, 2010
    There's some rather important information that's being left out here. The KEYS of Eb Major and C minor share the same key signature. To say that the C minor scale has the same notes as the Eb Major scale is oversimplifying things because there are several types of minor scales (e.g., natural minor, harmonic minor, jazz minor).

    More correctly, you could say that the C natural minor scale has the same notes as the Eb Major scale. This is because every Major key has a relative minor key (i.e., the key signatures are the same) that is based on the 6th scale degree of the Major scale in question. For Eb Major, the 6th scale degree is c; therefore the relative minor key with respect to Eb Major is c minor. It's not a good idea to confuse keys with scales, especially when you're talking minor.
  11. Not trying to oversimplify, just trying to help someone without getting them more confused then when they started.

    *I figured it would be best to let him know they are related and the same notes, that is all. I have seen many web pages dedicated to this topic and don't think its necessary for this answer to go past a simple one.
  12. FretlessMainly


    Nov 17, 2010
    Certainly there's a fine line between providing too much detailed information, thereby clouding the answer to the question, and providing an answer that indicates that the answer is only a half-truth; there are other situations where this answer isn't 100% law, but let's save those for later. Unfortunately, there is much misinformation in the theory section here that might be read in the future and the next thing you know, the keys of C minor and Eb Major are basically the same thing.

    Someone versed in theory might see the potential wisdom in such a statement in the context of simply choosing a scale from a key from which both chords are diatonic (ahh, but which one: Eb Major or Bb Major?, or are there other options?...well, sure), but someone not versed in theory is left with an inaccurate portrayal of the proper workings of music theory. In any case, the addition of the word "natural" in the context of C minor would have been enough to create a more accurate response that I don't think would have been unnecessarily complicated. This might have prompted the OP to ask "What does natural minor" mean? Then the doors open.
  13. MalcolmAmos

    MalcolmAmos Supporting Member

    OK let's pause here. You want a song that will use the notes of the C minor scale, in the melody, and the chords made from the C minor scale put into a progression. Fine let's go to a site that will give you the correct notes of the C natural minor scale and the chords made from that scale. http://www.guitar-chords.org.uk/chords-key-c-minor.html And we find that.....
    •C natural minor scale notes: C D Eb F G Ab Bb
    •Natural minor key chord sequence: min dim maj min min maj maj
    Chords made from this scale will be.
    Cm, Dm7b5, Eb, Fm, Gm, Ab, Bb, Cm.

    And under this you see several chord progressions suggested. Pick one.

    OK go back to that scale generator I gave you and pull up the scale of Eb...... Eb minor or major is the next question that should be worked out. It's your song, you decide. Yep, that is kinda important. Keep reading.

    I gave you a scale and chord generator that will give you:
    1) the notes in the scale.
    2) the chords that can be made from that scale, AND those chords that will harmonize (sound good) with the notes of the scale you are working with. Kinda important.
    3) some suggested progressions that will move the song from rest to tension, to climax and then return it back to rest so verse number 2 can start. That's kinda important, but, we can get into that later.

    Go play with that and then come back with some more questions. Which really brings up the question why do you want to change scales in the first place. Most songs pick a key and stay with it through out the entire song. Just keep that in the back of your mind --- I think you will find that the major scale is easier to work with than the minor scale. Go do some what if stuff with the major scale.

    Have fun.

    P.S. Here is one of the better theory papers. http://www.billygreen.pwp.blueyonder.co.uk/Music Theory - Basic, Intermediate, Advanced.pdf First 30 pages are beginning theory, next 60 pages are intermediate and advanced. Do not go into the intermediate and advanced sections until you understand the first 30 pages. Of course ask questions here.
  14. repoman


    Aug 11, 2011
    Kinderhook NY
    from the link above... is this a typo...?
    • playing the 5th fret on the G string (that’s two strings away) produces a m7 (a D)

    shouldn't that be (a C)
  15. MalcolmAmos

    MalcolmAmos Supporting Member

    Yes I seem to remember there are three typo's in that paper, but, beyond that it's still a very good theory paper.
  16. repoman


    Aug 11, 2011
    Kinderhook NY
    well that's good...though I was missing something in his explanation. I plan on going through this part over the next few weeks...where can i find the other two sections.?
  17. Swipter


    Sep 7, 2009
    So just for clarification, is the relative minor scale of a major the same notes only starting on the 6th of the major?
  18. MalcolmAmos

    MalcolmAmos Supporting Member

    Yes. Same notes in both. Same chords in both. C and Am for example have the same notes.
    C major scale. C, D, E, F, G, A, B, C
    A minor scale. A, B, C, D, E, F, G, A.

    Same chords.
    Chords in C major = C, Dm, Em, F, G, Am, Bdim.
    Chords in Am ......= Am, Bdim, C, Dm, Em, F, G.

    Tonal center of C Major is the C, F & G chords.
    Tonal center of Am is the.......Am, Dm & Em.

    It's the chords that give those two scales their major or minor sound. If the chord used under the melody notes are C, F & G you hear major. If the chords used under the melody notes are Am, Dm, Em you hear minor. Plus the melody notes will probably not be the same. Minor chords will be using their notes tones as melodic phrases, same with the major chords.
  19. FretlessMainly


    Nov 17, 2010
    To add to what Malcolm posted, you can either find the first note of the relative minor scale as the 6th scale degree of the Major scale, or you can go down an interval of a minor 3rd (3 half steps or 3 frets) from the root of the Major scale. Either way gets you to the same note (albeit an octave apart), which is the first scale degree of the relative minor scale (and the root of the chord that is the relative minor of the Major chord).

    So in C Major, go up to the 6th scale degree, which is the note A, or go down a minor 3rd to the note A an octave lower than the A that is the 6th scale degree. The scale you'd be playing over this A minor (A, B, C, D, E, F, G, A) is a natural minor scale. Down the road, there are other types of minor scales you'll want to investigate.
  20. There are three common minor scales. I suggest using the Aeolian Minor in this case, as it provides a better chord on the third:


    Next, harmonize the scale. That is, using only scale tones, stack thirds on each note as its own root. So for C, you will get CEbG, a C Minor chord. For Eb, you will get EbGBb, which interval-wise, is a Eb Major Chord.

    You usually approach the III Major chord in minor scales by the VII major chord, so BbDF in this case (Bb Major Chord). However, in uncommon circumstances, since the III can be thought of as the secondary dominant of the sixth (Ab), written as V7/VI, you can use it right after the V chord. Why? Because normally, it only sounds good to follow a five chord with a six chord (normally - we are not talking really exotic stuff here). And a secondary function chord can substitute for the original for flair.

    So here is a good chord progression (I will omit the words "major chord" and "minor chord"):

    c - Eb - f - G - Eb - f - G7 - c

    Uppercase is major, lower is minor. This gives a symmetric (almost) eight chord progression to play with. Note, I borrowed the G7 from the Harmonic Minor scale because a minor five is a poor dominant. You could use the non-dominant "G" as a "g" however since it is not resolving to the tonic.

    Feel free to PM me to clear any of this up. I skimmed over a lot of explaining of things for the sake of brevity.