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ashc
10-03-2005, 08:22 AM
When writing in minor keys there are the natural, harmonic and melodic minor scales to harmonise and we have almost more diatonic chord choices then we know what to do with. In major keys our starting point is the harmonisation of just the one major scale - so quite limiting in contrast. The composers of old decided a good place to start spicing things up would be to "borrow" chords from the parallel minor key. Basically any chord but the tonic can be used.

NB: parallel minor is the one with the same key note e.g. C minor is parallel to C major - don't get this mixed up with the relative minor.

Normally this borrowing is from the natural minor scale harmonisation and some chords are far more common than others. For classical music, Vol 2 of Prof. Eric Taylor's highly useful AB Guides to Music Theory tells us the most common are IIdim, iv and bVI. In C major that would mean we add Ddim, F minor and Ab major to our pallete. In contempary/rock music that doesn't scan, most of us are already trying to avoid the Bdim - never mind adding another;-) Also, you might have noticied the bVII chord in many major key songs (Bb major in C).

Fortunately, we have help at hand in an excellent article from Chris Juergensen:

http://www.ibreathemusic.com/article/126

I suggest you read that (and all of Chris' other articles while your there). You will also learn, if you don't know already, about other devices like secondary dominants and leading tone chords.

Here we find that in Rock the most common borrowed chords in major keys are:

bIII, iv, bVI, bVII

So on top of the regular C major chords we now have: Eb, Fm, Ab and Bb

Using these can really spice up a major key progression and it won't sound wrong either. The challenge comes when you want to solo over the top - the dreaded non-diatonic chord!!

Since I like challenges I came up with something of this kind to test myself out and does make you think a lot more when you can't just wail away in one scale (Strictly Melody already gave us this challenge too).

So, the track is bit "indie pop" - I can't explain that, it just happened, sorry - it has an A and B part.

A: C G Ab F : 2 bars each
B: Am G Am G F Fm C : 2 bars each

Struture: A A B A A A B

The challenge is to handle the Ab and the Fm when they crop up. There are many possible approachs and many of you are far more able to both assess and perform those than I. But for starters:

1) Follow the chords using arpeggios and mix in scale tones.
2) Follow each chord with an appropriate scale (or mode).
3) Stick mainly C major and handle the Ab and Fm as they appear. e.g. Anything that works on the G you can slip up a semitone for the Ab.

Since I'm not the greatest player my solo is an attempt to demonstrate these approaches in a very basic way. The first A A B is approach 1) in almost mechanical way on a clean sound. The second A A A B is a mix of 2) and 3) with a overdriven sound.

The track might not be at all to your taste but if, like me, your not used to handling non-diatonic chords I think you should give it a go!

UKRuss
10-03-2005, 11:53 AM
WOW! Well done!

Really cool idea Ashdude! I like your version too, Are you Graham Coxon in disguise?:cool:

Apple-Joe
10-03-2005, 12:43 PM
This sounds VERY interesting. I have realized myself that I tend to play too diatonic. It sounds good, but not as spiced-up as it would to mix a little bit more across the 'constitutions'.

The F and Fm chord played back-to-back in the progression grabbed my attention. Two different chord types based on the same root note. Odd.

I look forward to checking out this progression further.

ashc
10-03-2005, 12:48 PM
Thanks guys!

Russ - LOL, yeah I noticied the Blur sound too. I fear the similarity is born out of ability (or lack thereof). I saw him at Reading this year and he went of out of tune, he was really going red in the face trying to sort it out.

AJ - I was tempted to put some more of the borrowed chords in but then it could get a bit too hard (for me at least) to solo over. The IV, iv, I pops up as a cadence a lot - check out the chorus of Don't look Back in Anger by Oasis (that means there must be a Beatles one as well).

mattblack850
10-03-2005, 01:11 PM
Superb job Ash!!!!!I agree, very 'Blur-esque'!!! (Sorry about that!!)

As for Beatles IV, iv, I cadences, where do you want to start!!
Dear Prudence, Nowhere Man probably the most recognisable 2!!!

Bizarro
10-03-2005, 01:46 PM
Great idea! I like your solos too. Basic like you said, but with melody. :)

ashc
10-03-2005, 08:57 PM
Neil - Thanks. Spot on with Beatles numbers - Beatles Complete is a goldmine! (check out the pdf one at Olga). The Oasis one came to mind on the spot - I seem to have Britpop'itis at the moment. :confused:

Biz - Thanks too! With limited chops, trying at least to be melodic sounds like a good plan :D

mattblack850
10-06-2005, 03:39 PM
Don't all rush at once then!!!!

Here's mine. I think it suited a more melodic approach rather than an all out frontal attack!!!!;)

ashc
10-06-2005, 04:46 PM
I Like it!!! Loads of really nice melody bits in there - I want to hear that at a higher MP3 bit rate. Didn't seem like you had trouble dealing with following the progression.

There were some good "TV theme" moments in there - I don't know why that came to mind but it did???

UKRuss
10-06-2005, 05:16 PM
Oooooooooo. Nice Neil!!!

Great playing! Nice Melody:D

mattblack850
10-06-2005, 07:15 PM
Thanks guys!!!:D
I'm kinda toying with a harmony line idea as well!!!

mattblack850
10-07-2005, 02:09 PM
Not quite Dave and Ansell Collins, but it's Double Borrowed!!!:D
Geddit?? See what I did there??:p :p

ashc
10-07-2005, 02:37 PM
Cool! Two takes! and ambitious stuff harmonising for two minutes ! At the beginning theres a bit that reminded me of a specific song - but I can't name it - so thats going to be in my head bugging me and no doubt after a couple of drinks tonight I'm going go "oh yeah"....

BTW, if someone wants to try out the concept here but doesn't like the backing track name your style / tempo and I just might oblige...

UKRuss
10-07-2005, 02:46 PM
Fear not Ashmeister.

All duties dutifully dutied I am now in a position to borrow some stuff tonight.

Although me mam always said never a lender nor a borrower be. But what the hell. I kinda changed that to, if someones willing to lend, I'm willing to borrow.

I'm thinking of going in a club style, muzak crossover or alternatively some usual widdling.

Probably the latter.

ashc
10-07-2005, 03:24 PM
Cool! (BTW, wood floor = slippers)

Since it's major some sliding country sixths widdle is an option too..

On the Backing Tracks, I've been learning all this VST / Sequencing nonsense (drums and bass at the mo') so I could do with the exercise of doing another one.

mattblack850
10-07-2005, 04:32 PM
Since it's major some sliding country sixths widdle is an option

Something a bit like this?;)

Guess who hasn't had a lot to do today!!!:p

ashc
10-07-2005, 06:20 PM
Ah yes, thats it. My favourite take so far for sure! Nice one. I prescribe some beer at this point!

I might try a country version myself..

UKRuss
10-08-2005, 08:41 PM
Ahhhh, time to play guitar. So nice, all jobs done, kids a sleepin', time to kick back and write a chown to pop over Ash's tasty track:D

I couldnt decide if i liked the januty cloean sound or a dirty take, so i did both in one track.

I start with Root triad arpeggio and dropping to a Bdim arpeggio over the G taking me back elsewhere in the Cmajor scale to resolve. Over the Ab, using the major triad built off the 5th, then back into the Cmajor pattern. Second tie round I start similarly with the Root arp then go into superimposing Emin pent over the 2nd bar of Cmaj and the Gmaj, treat the Ab the same and off we go again.

For the Amin part, going distorted and really utilising the Amin pent and Amin scale, going into a tapped triadic Fmaj then Fmin arp taking me back to Cmajor scale and a descending run to root to finish.

The clean guitar mirrors the Fmaj/Fmin arp but picked.

All simple, but effective:D

As the sureness of taxation I shall always wish you to...

Enjoy!

Apple-Joe
10-08-2005, 09:12 PM
I'm impressed mattblack. I've listened to all three of your takes, and from the very first second I thought "this sounds very musical". The backing track also deserves some credit.

Now, I'm listening to Rabbit borrow, which I think is my favourite of the three.

Next out is UKRuss' recording. Looking forward to it. More comments soon.

EDIT: UKRUss - Inspirational. I like the atmosphere in the beginning. Then you suddenly change the tone further into the song. Great effect, key word: versatility. I think your recording sounds quite original. Wow! Around 1:46 - great harmonics and whammy-bar work (isn't that what it is?).

I like the contrast between the sound in the clean parts and the sound of your dirty parts.

Sounded like you really wanted to play.

UKRuss
10-08-2005, 11:02 PM
I did wanna play!! been desperate these last couple of weeks.

Thanks for kind words as always A_J

mattblack850
10-08-2005, 11:35 PM
Like Russ, thanks for the kind words A-J!!


hahaha, forgot to say:-

Great Take Russ!!!! But then it's getting to the point where it's a given that you'll come up with some very fluently phrased passages!!!;) :D :p

ashc
10-09-2005, 09:41 AM
Russ - loved the countryesque clean part and then boom into the dirty part with the mix of the two as well. Very nice!! I'm quite chuffed this is bringing out some different styles.

UKRuss
10-09-2005, 02:42 PM
Its a great backing track Ash, really liked this one.:D

Stratosaurus
10-12-2005, 05:18 AM
Very nice, Russ. It sounded like a Japanese video game soundtrack in the clean parts. And just pure shred material in the dirty parts.

Extremely smooth and fluid-like... I need to play more like you!

UKRuss
10-12-2005, 07:39 AM
That's it!! You've hit the nail on the head Stratdude. I've been wondering why I have this love/hate thing going on mentally with the clean part.

Now I know, it reminds me of a video game!!! Too jaunty yet somehow OK...

Stratosaurus
10-12-2005, 07:58 AM
I think it works, actually. I can guarantee you that (at present time) there's nothing else like it on this forum. I'm glad I helped you figure it out. I hate stuff like that; like when you can't remember an actor's name for example. Drives me nuts.

mattblack850
10-12-2005, 03:54 PM
Probably had a little too much time to myself today!!
Thanks Russ for the Mario opening!!!;) :p

mattblack850
10-12-2005, 07:40 PM
I think it works, actually. I can guarantee you that (at present time) there's nothing else like it on this forum. I'm glad I helped you figure it out. I hate stuff like that; like when you can't remember an actor's name for example. Drives me nuts.

Christopher Walken.;) :p :D :D

UKRuss
10-12-2005, 08:10 PM
Probably had a little too much time to myself today!!
Thanks Russ for the Mario opening!!!;) :p

Thank you for the quote:D

Love the overlaying of the guitars. Good effect that.

ashc
10-13-2005, 07:59 AM
Probably had a little too much time to myself today!!
Thanks Russ for the Mario opening!!!;) :p

Thats 4 takes now! This is a NICE one..! You see actually having to follow the progression a bit is actually fun after all :D

There was a hemiola pull off lick section there that had me thinking you were going to go into the Sultans of Swing solo.

I forgot, at the time, to give Russ credit on the Mario tune for the use of triad arps to form extended harmony e.g. Bdim over G => G7. Playing keyboards I always tend to see a Maj7 as bass + minor triad off the third, Min7 as bass + major triad and Dom7 as bass + dim triad, Why - well I use to own a synth that was 4 note polyphonic ;-) With guitar I just see frets and strings and patterns still !

mattblack850
10-13-2005, 10:41 AM
Thats 4 takes now! This is a NICE one..! You see actually having to follow the progression a bit is actually fun after all :D

There was a hemiola pull off lick section there that had me thinking you were going to go into the Sultans of Swing solo.

I don't know why I'm enjoying this one so much.:confused: :D
If you're talking about that last section, it's based around the harmonised parts in the 'Borrowed from Country' take, so that's probably where the hint at 'The Knopf' comes in!!!

jessmanca
09-11-2007, 11:23 AM
Aye this method of "borrowing" is probably the easiest way of creating chord progressions that are unique, yet still sound "right"

In Harmony II class in college it was called "Modal Mixture" and it was a subject that always fascinated me. A very commonly borrowed chord in rock is the bVII in major. You can think of it as borrowed from the parallel minor or perhaps the parallel Mixolydian (probably more accurate). Indeed you can borrow chords from any of the modes while in a Major key. Of course those modes closely related to major will likely sound the best (chords borrowed from Lydian and Mixolydian for example), but the "minor modes" can be used to good effect as well.

Lately I have been playing around with using the minor v chord (borrowed from natural minor), I love the sound.

D / / / Am / / / D / / / Am / / /

[EDIT] I suppose this can also be thought of as borrowed from the parallel Mixolydian. Seems to be a common mode in rock.

[EDIT2] Well we might as well complete our borrowed chords from Mixolydian. We have the minor v and the bVII. The final one is the iiio (3 diminished chord. In our key of D Mixo it would be F# A C). So now we can use Am, C and F#dim in the key of D. As rock songs typically avoid the dim chord, let's borrow F from the parallel minor instead. Here's a sample chord progression:

D / / / Am / / / D / / / Am / / /
F / / / C / / / A / / / / / / :|| (repeat)