Topic: A plus D plus E does not equal key of A?

I've got a question about using the proper pentatonic scale with the song "Gloria" by Them/Van Morrison.  Since the song uses the chords of A, D, & E  I thought the  A minor pentatonic scale would work for solos, but my friend pointed out that it's actually in the key of E (and not A).   Is there an easy way to explain this? Thanks.

A plus D plus E does not equal key of A?

Re: A plus D plus E does not equal key of A?

Cork_92 wrote:

I've got a question about using the proper pentatonic scale with the song "Gloria" by Them/Van Morrison.  Since the song uses the chords of A, D, & E  I thought the  A minor pentatonic scale would work for solos, but my friend pointed out that it's actually in the key of E (and not A).   Is there an easy way to explain this? Thanks.

A plus D plus E does not equal key of A?

no any major chord triad is 1 3 5  the key of A major has 3 sharps F# C# G# this is based on a major scale construction the easiest way to explain is use the key of C it has no sharps or flats the C scale is C D E F G A B C just like the alphabet  C major is C E G or 1 3 5 this is based on a major scale construction of steps or intervals  1 1 1/2 111 1/2 compare this with the above C scale another way is Whole Whole half Whole whole whole half step and easy way to remember is W W H WWW H or wendy witch has wonderful white wavy hair so this means in order to construct a A major scale  you start with the root A B C D E F G A and use the formula A to B is a whole step B to C is a half step so it has to be a C# C# to D is a half step D To E is a whole step E to F is a half step so it has to be F#  F# to G is a half step so it has to be G# and G # to A is a half step which compleats the A major scale  A B C# D E F# G# A this formula works for every Major scale in any key
so it is A C# E not A D E if you want to make it minor flat the 3rd or A C E in the key of A
A minor scale in E is another thing E  F# G  A  B  C  D#  E this opens up a lot of possibilities of harmonic minor, melodic, natural minor scales
In a E major scale E  F# G# A  B  C# D# E notice the G and C are # (the 3rd and 6th) in a minor scale there natural or flatted.

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Re: A plus D plus E does not equal key of A?

"Wendy Witch Has Wonderful White Wavy Hair"

Never heard that before, Russell ... a fantastic way to remember the fundamentals!

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Re: A plus D plus E does not equal key of A?

E mixolydian is the same thing as A major. Sooooo you're both right. It's more about how the notes are used...

Re: A plus D plus E does not equal key of A?

Let me ask this....why doesn't the A minor pentatonic work with that song?  I'm trying to wrap my head around which scales work or don't work.  Thanks.

Re: A plus D plus E does not equal key of A?

Cork_92 wrote:

Let me ask this....why doesn't the A minor pentatonic work with that song?  I'm trying to wrap my head around which scales work or don't work.  Thanks.

the song is in E try C# minor

"Growing old is not for sissies"

Re: A plus D plus E does not equal key of A?

Tenement Funster wrote:

"Wendy Witch Has Wonderful White Wavy Hair"

Never heard that before, Russell ... a fantastic way to remember the fundamentals!

I learned it from one of the guitar books I studied but it works smile

"Growing old is not for sissies"

Re: A plus D plus E does not equal key of A?

Baldguitardude wrote:

E mixolydian is the same thing as A major. Sooooo you're both right. It's more about how the notes are used...

The song is in E

"Growing old is not for sissies"

Re: A plus D plus E does not equal key of A?

Here's how I would think of the tune. Might not be the same as the rest of y'all but for my two cents...

The chord changes are A D E, which indeed looks like a I-IV-V in the key of A. In this case though, that isn't correct. It's actually a I-VII-IV in the key of E, which is also known as e mixolydian. We arrive at e mixo by taking the 7th chord tone of the major scale (in this case D#) and dropping it 1/2 step. (If the song was in e major the progression would go E - D#dim - A.)

Cork to answer your scale selection question, you can play A major over the changes but it'll sound square and very much like you aren't following the song. The notes will all be correct but you'll be playing them at the wrong time. (More on that below.)

A minor pentatonic won't work for the reasons below. (Note that these are basic reasons and if you're a good enough improviser you can get away with anything.) (*disclaimer)
-    Over the E major chord (E G# B) you will be playing A C D E G. The A and G in your scale will clash with the 3rd of the E major. (G as a b3 of the chord can work, but it works much better in a different context that I discuss below.)
-    Over the D major chord (D F# A) you will be playing A C D E G. The G in your scale will clash with the 3rd of the D major.
-    The A major chord is least problematic, but the half step between the C in the scale and the C# in the chord is still an issue. In this case though it's a blue note, which you can get away with if you understand resolution. (Read that disclaimer again smile )

Clashing isn’t always a bad thing. Dissonance is important in music. But the dissonance has to properly resolve or it just sounds wonky and out of key. Suffice it to say that the a minor pentatonic is not a good "one size fits all" scale for this tune.

So you would instead play E mixolydian, which is enharmonic with A ionian. (Hence my "It's more about how the notes are used" comment.)

If you play this in A Ionian you will tend to resolve to A. However since this song is in E you want to resolve to your I chord...so even though the note selection is identical, "thinking" in e will (hopefully) result in resolving to the correct note(s) at the correct time, creating happy noises.

E mixo:  E F# G# A B C# D

Note that the chord tones for all of the song's chords are in this scale (E G# B / D F# A / A C# E)

In my personal opinion that tends to sound a little square, so I play e major pentatonic and avoid that pesky 7th scale tone entirely...which to Russell's suggestion is enharmonic with C# minor pentatonic:
e f# G# B C#

For fun I'll throw in some e minor pentatonic just to create a bluesier feeling.
E G A B D

*Disclaimer: Strictly speaking a lot of these examples above involve playing b3rds and 4ths against major thirds, which is super common in blues and rock. The problem isn't really note selection but rather how the dissonant notes resolve to chord tones, and in the case of playing A minor pentatonic unless you're thinking in e, you won't resolve appropriately. Thus it will sound lost, dissonant, and likely that you are playing in the wrong key.

Re: A plus D plus E does not equal key of A?

The song is in the key of E not A the changes in E are  E   D  A   if it were in the key of A it would be  A   G   D   repeated till the cows come home try singing the song with your changes if you want a  good laugh they don't work

"Growing old is not for sissies"

Re: A plus D plus E does not equal key of A?

I am not talking about chord changes. I'm talking about scale selection and the reason a minor doesn't work.

Re: A plus D plus E does not equal key of A?

Baldguitardude wrote:

I am not talking about chord changes. I'm talking about scale selection and the reason a minor doesn't work.

BGD not sure where your coming from on this my thinking is any scale has to jive with the progression the only scale in E that comes close is a C#minor or a variation which can be played over E D A changes and it dose work sorry to disagree

"Growing old is not for sissies"

13 (edited by Baldguitardude 2014-09-27 03:09:04)

Re: A plus D plus E does not equal key of A?

Russell can you explain which notes in an e major scale make a d major chord?

Re: A plus D plus E does not equal key of A?

Baldguitardude wrote:

Russell can you explain which notes in an e major scale make a d major chord?

just offhand F# and A are the only notes but I never said a E major scale could be played over a D chord my suggestion was a C#minor scale could be riffed over the chords E D and A since the key of E contains a D# an E major scale wont work. I know your up on theory and I respect that I can only mention I have been playing lead guitar for over 50 years and I have learned a thing or two about which notes do or do not work. smile

"Growing old is not for sissies"

Re: A plus D plus E does not equal key of A?

C# minor also contains a d# in the second scale degree. So you'd play c# Phrygian/ e mixo both of which are enharmonic with a major smile

Re: A plus D plus E does not equal key of A?

Guys - need I remind you that Chordie is an English speaking forum.

http://www.clipartbest.com/cliparts/dc6/o55/dc6o55rxi.

Rule No. 1 - If it sounds good - it is good!

Re: A plus D plus E does not equal key of A?

topdown wrote:

Guys - need I remind you that Chordie is an English speaking forum.

http://www.clipartbest.com/cliparts/dc6/o55/dc6o55rxi.

Ditto!! I understand some of it but most of it is confusing.

my papy said son your going too drive me too drinking if you dont stop driving that   Hot  Rod  Lincoln!! Cmdr cody and his lost planet airman

Re: A plus D plus E does not equal key of A?

Baldguitardude wrote:

C# minor also contains a d# in the second scale degree. So you'd play c# Phrygian/ e mixo both of which are enharmonic with a major smile

I understand most of it but darn you sure say it nice lol thanks! smile

"Growing old is not for sissies"

Re: A plus D plus E does not equal key of A?

If a picture is worth a thousand words then a video might help explain it better so without further ado
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X7E9X42 … e=youtu.be

"Growing old is not for sissies"

Re: A plus D plus E does not equal key of A?

Prygian rocks.

Someday we'll win this thing...

[url=http://www.aclosesecond.com]www.aclosesecond.com[/url]

Re: A plus D plus E does not equal key of A?

I have to agree that some of this if all a bit foreign. However ... just by forcing myself to read through the knowledgeable posts on theory (in this thread and others) it's less foreign than it once was. It might be in slo mo, but it's progress.

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Re: A plus D plus E does not equal key of A?

Tenement Funster wrote:

I have to agree that some of this if all a bit foreign. However ... just by forcing myself to read through the knowledgeable posts on theory (in this thread and others) it's less foreign than it once was. It might be in slo mo, but it's progress.

progress is what it's all about I googled up Phrygian and was amazed to find a guitarist who explained some things I was a little fuzzy on so it's never to late to learn plus he was really excellent on guitar! smile This is the dude and at no time do his fingers leave his hand LOL
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QTM00kp1b3A

"Growing old is not for sissies"

Re: A plus D plus E does not equal key of A?

IMO for most rock and blues type players, fluency in all the modes is pretty worthless. I think if you focus on major, natural minor, dorian (minor with a natural 6) and mixolydian (major with a flatted 7th) you'll have all the tools you need to improvise and sound fantastic.

Re: A plus D plus E does not equal key of A?

I can't admit to understanding anything - but like Tenement Funster I am learning something. Russell, I watched your link to Corey Hunter, my eyes crossed and my fingers cramped just watchin the dude. Maybe someday I'll understand a thimble full of it. As TF said, "but it's progress".

Live in the "now" - a contentment of the moment - the past is gone - the future doesn't exist - all we ever really have is now and it's always "now".

Re: A plus D plus E does not equal key of A?

bluejeep wrote:

I can't admit to understanding anything - but like Tenement Funster I am learning something. Russell, I watched your link to Corey Hunter, my eyes crossed and my fingers cramped just watchin the dude. Maybe someday I'll understand a thimble full of it. As TF said, "but it's progress".

I was equally impressed what I liked about the video is he slows it down and breaks it all down to the essence and not just shows off I am happy to say I did learn something from watching even if it is only a thimble its a start.

"Growing old is not for sissies"