What scale is this?

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raymondh
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Post 18 Jun 2022

Hi all,
Scratching my head after not finding an answer searching the internet, so asking you good people.....

I'm creating a cover of Jean Michel Jarre's Equinoxe IV.




The first part of the track is in A minor.

The second part (from :54 in the video), I thought was D minor, but the chord progression is Dm - Bb - Gm - A.
I thought Dminor scale had A minor as the v chord but this is a major.

I don't need to know, but I find covering tracks a great way to learn and I'm keen to understand. Any thoughts?

thanks!

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orthodox
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Post 18 Jun 2022

raymondh wrote:
18 Jun 2022
The second part (from :54 in the video), I thought was D minor, but the chord progression is Dm - Bb - Gm - A.
I thought Dminor scale had A minor as the v chord but this is a major.
A or A7 is used way more often than Am. It is the most used three chord sequence of the vast majority of most trivial pop songs: Dm-Gm-A7-Dm. Or, in Am: Am-Dm-E7-Am.
What's so confusing about A? The C# note? The chord notes don't have to strictly follow the scale, there is no such rule. Even the lead melody doesn't have to follow it either.

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raymondh
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Post 18 Jun 2022

orthodox wrote:
18 Jun 2022
raymondh wrote:
18 Jun 2022
The second part (from :54 in the video), I thought was D minor, but the chord progression is Dm - Bb - Gm - A.
I thought Dminor scale had A minor as the v chord but this is a major.
A or A7 is used way more often than Am. It is the most used three chord sequence of the vast majority of most trivial pop songs: Dm-Gm-A7-Dm. Or, in Am: Am-Dm-E7-Am.
What's so confusing about A? The C# note? The chord notes don't have to strictly follow the scale, there is no such rule. Even the lead melody doesn't have to follow it either.
Yeah it's the C# note. I didn't think it was in the Dm scale.

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MarkTarlton
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Post 18 Jun 2022

yeah typically a v chord in a minor scale is minor. I would consider it a borrowed chord, where the chord is altered from minor to major, like a mini modulation of sorts, maybe someone else can explain it better than me. that's how I learned it when things aren't diatonic. I'm a big fan of using borrowed chords to give boring progressions some flavor. radiohead does that a lot.

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orthodox
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Post 18 Jun 2022

MarkTarlton wrote:
18 Jun 2022
yeah typically a v chord in a minor scale is minor.
I can't agree, typically it is major in both major and minor scales.

This is for a typical example:



or this one:


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huggermugger
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Post 18 Jun 2022

The V chord in any minor can be either major or minor. In the harmonic minor scale, it's major. In the melodic minor scale, it's major if you're ascending and minor if you're descending.

D harmonic minor - D E F G A Bb C# D C# Bb A G F E D
D melodic minor - D E F G A B C# D C Bb A G F E D

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orthodox
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Post 18 Jun 2022

huggermugger wrote:
18 Jun 2022
The V chord in any minor can be either major or minor. In the harmonic minor scale, it's major. In the melodic minor scale, it's major if you're ascending and minor if you're descending.

D harmonic minor - D E F G A Bb C# D C# Bb A G F E D
D melodic minor - D E F G A B C# D C Bb A G F E D
Never heard of such rules. The V chord can be major or minor regardless of that.
Anyway, harmonic and melodic minors are rare beasts themselves. I am talking about the natural minor, and the V chord is a major in overwhelming majority of cases (despite that the natural minor is the descending part of the melodic one, and by your rule it should be minor).

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raymondh
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Post 18 Jun 2022

Oh - Harmonic minor - got a hit on some internet searches, and explained the variation. Apparently to make it 'smoother' and also (somehow) easier to sing!

Thanks everyone. Consider myself more informed!!

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huggermugger
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Post 18 Jun 2022

orthodox wrote:
18 Jun 2022

Anyway, harmonic and melodic minors are rare beasts themselves. I am talking about the natural minor, and the V chord is a major in overwhelming majority of cases (despite that the natural minor is the descending part of the melodic one, and by your rule it should be minor).
Yep, so rare that they're included in virtually every Player that quantizes notes in Reason. So rare that they are fundamental to Western diatonic harmony.

In Jarre's piece, the progression of Dm - Bb - Gm - A follows the melodic minor - descending we get the minor 6th (the Bb and Gm chords), ascending we get the major 7th (the A chord). The melodic minor gives chord progressions and melodies a smooth sound in both directions, hence its name.
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orthodox
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Post 18 Jun 2022

huggermugger wrote:
18 Jun 2022
orthodox wrote:
18 Jun 2022

Anyway, harmonic and melodic minors are rare beasts themselves. I am talking about the natural minor, and the V chord is a major in overwhelming majority of cases (despite that the natural minor is the descending part of the melodic one, and by your rule it should be minor).
Yep, so rare that they're included in virtually every Player that quantizes notes in Reason. So rare that they are fundamental to Western diatonic harmony.

In Jarre's piece, the progression of Dm - Bb - Gm - A follows the melodic minor - descending we get the minor 6th (the Bb and Gm chords), ascending we get the major 7th (the A chord). The melodic minor gives chord progressions and melodies a smooth sound in both directions, hence its name.
I don't see any melodic minor there. So you think the key scale varies? I think this is just an attempt to preserve the false rule of strict adherence to the key scale. There are lots of examples where the scale is violated all the time and where you wouldn't be able to find a corresponding melodic or harmonic variation to explain that.
While the explanation is simple: the key scale does not have to be strictly followed, period.

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huggermugger
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Post 18 Jun 2022

raymondh wrote:
18 Jun 2022
Oh - Harmonic minor - got a hit on some internet searches, and explained the variation. Apparently to make it 'smoother' and also (somehow) easier to sing!

Thanks everyone. Consider myself more informed!!
It's worth exploring the different qualities of minor scales and modes. They offer numerous shades of musical colour that can be used to darken and lighten your chord progressions and melodies. Reason's own Scales & Chords lets you automate the scale, so you can switch between the various minors and minor modes during a piece.

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