A major key but contains C# - Please Read

Discussion in 'Beginner's Q&A Forum' started by amit82cse, Feb 25, 2006.

  1. amit82cse

    amit82cse Silent observeR

    Hello all,

    Chords in A major key are:
    A Bm C#m D E F#m G#dim

    But I have listened to songs which contain all these chords but in lieu of C#m it uses C#

    So questions are:
    1. Will I say this song is on Key-A or something else?
    2. If it qualifies on Key-A then why it has deviation from C#m?
    3. Are there any rules which govern deviation of one or more chords from a particualr Key?
    4. If such deviations are permitted then whats the use of Key, one can pick any combination that sounds good?

    Whenever I go deep in theory, I come with only questions:annoyed: And lack of answers fade my interest in theory:eek::

    Please help!!!
  2. vini

    vini Repeat Offender

    if i got u right and IF I'M NOT MISTAKEN then>>
    that C# is not a deviation from C#m of key of A(A scale)..its just that..its not necessary that a song would stick to one scale..some songs use 2 or maybe 3 scales while some stick to a single key/ scale ..isnt it? :think:

    that i also wanna know :help:
  3. dennis

    dennis The Bhangra King

    arrey, its just a guideline...u know that this combination of chords will sound good. Doesnt mean some other combination wont.
  4. amit82cse

    amit82cse Silent observeR

    So for above song what name will you give for its KEY, you can't call is A major key.
  5. bjr

    bjr Lady of the Evening

    The key of the song is F# Harmonic Minor. It's a reasonably common and popular key....very popular in old-time hindi tunes also.

    The scale-

    F# G# A B C# D E# F#

    E# is the same as F....just the correct naming convention suggests that I write E# here.
  6. amit82cse

    amit82cse Silent observeR

    @bjr...just a clarification...do you intend to say following...

    F# Harmonic Minor
    Notes/Scale:F# G# A B C# D E# F#
    Chords:A Bm C# D E F#m
  7. vikas25

    vikas25 New Member

    hey ! can you list some songs.

  8. bjr

    bjr Lady of the Evening

    No amit, not quite. You can use pretty much all the chords in that scale but the harmonic minor scale also has specific chords to represent each note. Check this thread out:


    I'm not very sure about Harmonic minor chord progressions but this thread pretty much explains it all in terms of chords.

    I usually use it in situations where the chords are like Dm C Bb A or similar.

    Okay vikas, songs that use harmonic minor or where you can use harmonic minor....I'll have to think some up.

    a) Sultans of Swing-Dire Straits (Note that Mark Knopfler does not really use the harmonic minor here. He just uses a C# note when the A chord comes in....the progression is Dm C Bb A)

    b) Hotel California- The Eagles (I didn't really want to name this song since even they don't use just the harmonic minor but it's a song where you can use B harmonic minor)

    c) Dum Maro Dum- I know you can use it here. I don't know if they do.

    d) Hello, is it me you're looking for- Lionel Ritchie (The part where the chorus comes in....Tell me how to win your heart.)

    e) Carlos Santana- Smooth (One of the few songs in my list that are actually using a lot of harmonic minor)

    f) Don't cry-GNR (The part where the solo comes in and there's a slight change of scale...he switches from A minor to A harmonic minor)

    I can't think of a lot more off the top of my head but there are loads and loads of songs that do use it.
  9. amit82cse

    amit82cse Silent observeR

    @bjr is right..chords I listed dont fall in F# minor key. Here is the detailed R & D on this:

    Notes in a particular key can easily be idenfied using whole/half interval style.

    Major: WWHWWWH
    Minor: WHWWHWW

    Hence for F# Minor, notes in this key has to be:
    F# G# A B C# D E# F#

    But these notes need not to be the chords in F# key. You have to construct the chords using this scale. And only rule to keep in mind is that any chord which can be part of this key will not contain any note outside the above set.

    So lets start picking one note at a time and find out the corresponding chord.

    F# - F# major chord contains notes (F#, A#, C#) and since all these notes are present in the above set. F# will be the one of the chord used in this scale.

    G# - G# major chord contains notes (G#, C, D#) and since C is not in the above set and hence G# can't be a chord in this key. What what chord will be there corresponding to this note? Well... if you see notes in G#m chord which are (G#, B, D#) and these notes are present in above set and hence G#m will be the chord in this key.

    Repeat the same excercise and you will find that following is the list of chords in F# Minor scale:

    F#, G#m, Aaug, Bm, C#, D, Faug

    Hence certainly these chords are not same as that I asked in the first post(A Bm C# D E F#m).

    It means that that song is not on F# harmonic minor scale. May be some wired scale :think:
  10. bjr

    bjr Lady of the Evening

    No no, you can use the harmonic minor scale with these chords....however, these chords are not the essence of the scale. You'll notice that the C# part of the melody comes only when the C# chord is played.
  11. amit82cse

    amit82cse Silent observeR

    hmmm...i got you...but there is no standard rule or guideline for this deviation right? If i choose to play a song on F# harmonic minor, theory says that it should use F#m chord but I can very well use F# chord if it goes good with the melody.

    Just a side question: why we call is "Harmonic Minor"? why can;t i simply say it just "Minor"?
  12. zing

    zing Machine Head

    the chords r 'defined' based on the first,third,& fifth note [taking the relative position] - but u can play any combination of notes from the scale to get any chord hence the deviations

    hope that restores ur faith in theory :)
  13. zing

    zing Machine Head

    so's not to confuse with natural or melodic minor
  14. zing

    zing Machine Head

    so if u playin C#m as 446654 if u dont play the 2nd string its 4466x4 - this cud be either C# or C#m & ur still very much in the scale
  15. bjr

    bjr Lady of the Evening

    If it's your song, you call the shots. Anything that goes well with the melody is "allowed".

    One thing you would do well to remember is that first came music and then came music theory...a lot of us forget that sometimes.
  16. vini

    vini Repeat Offender

    @ bjr
    woo.. :nw:

    u taught me major n minor..teach me other scales too now..now that u've exhibited ur abundant knowledge ;)
  17. amit82cse

    amit82cse Silent observeR

    I think more appropriate question will be whether theory has fully developed or still in infancy...

    Possibilities are numerous and scope is unlimited!!!
  18. bjr

    bjr Lady of the Evening

    Theory can never fully develop. You see as musicians advance they first learn the rules and then they figure out ways to break them. Breaking rules leads to forming newer theories so theory shall remain in it's infancy as long as creativity exists on the face of the planet.

    haha, do I detect sarcasm here? Ask questions and I'll try to answer them as best as I can. I don't usually have the inclination to type in articles unless someone asks for them.
  19. amit82cse

    amit82cse Silent observeR

    And i love breaking rules and trying new things out!!!

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