• The “What Key Am I In” Game 2

    in "What Key" Game

    answers-big.jpgThis episode of the game was inspired by my good friend Rodney. He posted it as a comment on this lesson. So I decided to syndicate it to everyone!

    I have modified some stuff below to transform it into a full lesson. Thanks Rodney! :)

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    What key am I in if i play…

    D diminished
    G minor
    B flat major

    Possible answers:

    (a) C Minor
    (b) E flat Major
    (c) Both of the above

    (here’s a hint… know the pattern.)

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    The answer is BOTH!

    See, because major and minor scales overlap at the sixth tone; chords also overlap. For example, if you play the “C Major” scale all the way up the piano and listen closely, you may start to hear an “A minor” scale… because it is!

    Simply put, if you play the “C major” scale from “A” to “A,” you’re playing an “A minor” scale. This is the aeolian mode.

    This pattern is true for any major scale. To create the minor scale that goes with that major scale, start at the 6th tone and play the same exact notes of that major scale beginning and ending on the sixth tone! Simple!

    C major (two octaves):
    C D E F G [A B C D E F G A] B C

    A minor (two octaves)
    A B [C D E F G A B C] D E F G A

    I have used brackets [ ] intentionally. Notice the “A minor” scale is clearly in the “C major” scale and the “C major” scale is clearly in the “A minor” scale.
    That’s because they have a relative major / relative minor relationship. They share the same number of sharps and flats (0 in this case as C major doesn’t have any sharps or flats).

    The chords happen to go along as well.

    Now, let’s go to the question at hand which deals with Eb major and C minor…

    Compare the chords of Eb major with the chords of C minor:

    Eb major:

    1 – Eb maj
    2 – F min
    3 – G min
    4 – Ab maj
    5 – Bb maj
    6 – C min
    7 – D dim

    C minor:

    1 – C min
    2 – D dim
    3 – Eb maj
    4 – F min
    5 – G min
    6 – Ab maj
    7 – Bb maj

    Same chords! Just different starting and ending points! It’s almost like taking a magnifying glass and just zeroing in on the 6th tone as the starting point and moving up until you get back to that 6th tone. The substance doesn’t change… just the end points.

    So, in future “What key am I in” games, if you’re ever faced with major and minor answers, make sure the minor key choice isn’t the relative minor of the correct major key because if it is, it could also be the answer! (Remember, the relative minor is on the 6th tone of the major key in question).

    Does this make sense? Post your comments to let me know!

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    Hi, I'm Jermaine Griggs, founder of this site. We teach people how to express themselves through the language of music. Just as you talk and listen freely, music can be enjoyed and played in the same way... if you know the rules of the "language!" I started this site at 17 years old in August 2000 and more than a decade later, we've helped literally millions of musicians along the way. Enjoy!

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    { 14 comments… read them below or add one }

    1 don

    wonderful post. thanks for sharing. i now know the chords for the minor scale but didn’t have to learn any new chords. Proably if i had not read this post, i would have tried to eventually tackle the minor scale from scratch but one does not need to do that if they know what the relative major is .

    Reply

    2 pete

    Agree with Don. I like this game!

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    3 Nicholas

    Wonderful fun game.. cool JG, everytime i visit this site i learn something new

    Chris
    Port of Spain
    Trinidad

    Reply

    4 MS

    Thanks, Jermaine. I now have a different attitude toward Minor Scales. All those other music books don’t spell it out that clearly. This description makes it fun to tackle Minor Scales and their chords.

    Reply

    5 STEVE

    I was a little baffled as i was deflected from a correct answer due to Bb major 7
    changing from a Bb7 in the question and then to theanswer where it,s a
    Bb major 7….

    Reply

    6 STEVE

    However maybe i,m mistaken in my earlier post .But don,t get me wrong i can,t get enough of these blogs and Jermaines unique style of teaching is second to non.That i say sincerely folks.Jermaine you are the main man and no one can teach theory better than you.We are all so fortunate that you devote so much time and effort into helping us all along on our journey of discovering music.No stone is left unturned in your pursuit of passing on the knowledge you are so willing to share.Why you,ve even got me getting into gospel music as your enthusiasm is so
    infectious.What more can i say but keep up the great work.God bless you Jermaine.

    Reply

    7 Jermaine

    Hey Steve,

    Thanks for your encouraging words!

    I actually just caught this disparity… sorry, it was a guest post. Since the question used “triads,” I think the answer should have referenced “triads” and not “seventh” chords so I’m changing it now.

    Thanks for catching this! :-)

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    8 Jermaine

    Rather, since Rodney used half-diminished, I will have to change the question to 7ths… lol, I don’t know what to do! haha…

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    9 Jermaine

    Ok, so I’ve changed the question a little bit. I basically kept the triads and changed the half-diminished chord to diminished. That way, everything is consistent — triads. I also changed the reference charts in the “answer” section to only reference triads.

    Check out other “what key am I in” posts to see bigger chords.

    All the best,
    JG

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    10 Stephen

    There’s another problem with using 7ths. That is that your original question suggested a D diminished.

    If you use a Ddim as a triad, you get the notes D F Ab.
    If you use it as a seventh, you get Ddim7 with the notes D F Ab B.

    The problem is that the B isnt in either the Eb major or the C minor scale.
    You should have given the first chord as D half-diminished, which has the notes D F Ab C. (this chord is also called D minor 7th flattened fifth, or Dm7b5)
    All those notes actually are in both the Eb major and C minor scale.

    Reply

    11 Jermaine

    Stephen,

    When they are triads, it is in fact, D dimnished. There are only three notes in diminished triads, not four. So you get D + F + Ab (that’s it).

    When it changes to four-toned chords, it goes half-diminished: D + F + Ab + C.

    Reply

    12 steve

    Thanks JG i,m a little bit wiser now when using the term 7th i now know to mean a 4 note chord [the 7th being the 4th note in the chord 1,3,5,7}and not a triad which is three note chord 1,3,5 ,plus the 4 note chord in the question would be half diminished and the three note chord wholly diminished.It,s tricky theory for learning but once and for all i,m sure i understand now.That,s what i like so much about the blogs they cover a lot of little details that can make a big difference in getting to understand and see clearly music theory’s big picture.Thanks again Hallelujah.

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    13 steve

    Hearandplaymusic.com has really advanced my knowledge of music theory.If one takes the time to track down the various blogs there is a whole wealth of knowledge that really spells out what a gift Jermaine has for teaching.Hallelujah.

    Reply

    14 Noah's

    Is it possible to move from dim chord to dim chord to major on the 6-7-1 progression. Known as the Thomas Whitfield move. What about 1-1+-1/6. Using the augmented 1 to go to the 1356 to the 135b7 one chord

    Reply

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