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Chords progression of one of my songs - phrygian mode?

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Chords progression of one of my songs - phrygian mode?

Postby Frank Rideau » Sat May 15, 2021 3:17 pm

I came up with a chords progression, liked it and built a song around it.

It goes:

G#m - C#m - Bmaj7 - G#m - E - A - G#m

Do not want to overthink it but I was curious to understand what is the key/mode of this.

The key looks to be in G# minor, but the A major chord kind of makes it phrygian mode or something. Minor phrygian ?

The song's here
https://soundcloud.com/orgasmo-sonore/ballade-a-escondida-by-orgasmo-sonore

cheers !
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Re: Chords progression of one of my songs - phrygian mode?

Postby RichardT » Sat May 15, 2021 4:28 pm

Frank Rideau wrote:I came up with a chords progression, liked it and built a song around it.

It goes:

G#m - C#m - Bmaj7 - G#m - E - A - G#m

Do not want to overthink it but I was curious to understand what is the key/mode of this.

The key looks to be in G# minor, but the A major chord kind of makes it phrygian mode or something. Minor phrygian ?

The song's here
https://soundcloud.com/orgasmo-sonore/ballade-a-escondida-by-orgasmo-sonore

cheers !

Those chords are mostly compatible with G#m Phrygian - though the Bmaj7 isn’t, and it isn’t compatible with any major mode of G# given that you have A major.
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Re: Chords progression of one of my songs - phrygian mode?

Postby merlyn » Sat May 15, 2021 4:29 pm

All those chords except Bmaj7 are in the key of E major. If Bmaj7 was B7 then it would be in E major throughout and you're right, E major starting on G# is the phrygian mode.

It's mostly E major and the note that has changed when the chord is Bmaj7 is A has gone to A#, which is the key of B major.
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Re: Chords progression of one of my songs - phrygian mode?

Postby Frank Rideau » Sat May 15, 2021 5:29 pm

Thanks for your observations
There is indeed a chromatic voicing going on (G#, A, A#, B), that is why I was confused identifying the scale.
So Bmaj7 looks like the intruder if you see it from the E Major or G# phrygian scale, but as far as the first chords goes G#m - C#m - Bmaj7 - G#m, nothing let you think it's different than a G# minor scale until it hits the A chord.
Anyway, I came up with it without thinking about it, it's in the afterthought that I was trying to figure out the scale.
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Re: Chords progression of one of my songs - phrygian mode?

Postby Murray B » Sat May 15, 2021 5:43 pm

Hi Frank,

I can't think of any mode that has a chromatic run of three notes together in it. Those in your case being the A A# and B.

According to the clever bit of software here:

https://www.scales-chords.com/scalefinder.php

it's

E ichikosucho

Otherwise I would have gone for E with a extra note in :-)
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Re: Chords progression of one of my songs - phrygian mode?

Postby blinddrew » Sat May 15, 2021 5:49 pm

I have zero knowledge on the theory but it is a nice tune. :)
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Re: Chords progression of one of my songs - phrygian mode?

Postby Frank Rideau » Sat May 15, 2021 5:54 pm

@MurrayB The chromatic run is because it's probably not one specific scale, that's what I was trying to understand. The more I think about it, it is simply G# minor modulating in the G# phrigyan.
@Blinddrew thanks !
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Re: Chords progression of one of my songs - phrygian mode?

Postby manwilde » Sat May 15, 2021 6:42 pm

Sorry to go off-topic but I´m listening to your "Best orgasms form 2011 to 2018" and enjoying it a lot! :clap: :clap:
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Re: Chords progression of one of my songs - phrygian mode?

Postby Frank Rideau » Sat May 15, 2021 7:38 pm

manwilde wrote:Sorry to go off-topic but I´m listening to your "Best orgasms form 2011 to 2018" and enjoying it a lot! :clap: :clap:

Off-topic comment approuved :thumbup:
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Re: Chords progression of one of my songs - phrygian mode?

Postby Wurlitzer » Thu Jun 10, 2021 10:26 am

It's in G# minor. Natural minor (aeolian), with one chromatic chord (A) towards the end. If you were improvising and thinking modally you could say that that chord puts it into the phrygian mode for a bar.

Sweet.
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Re: Chords progression of one of my songs - phrygian mode?

Postby OneWorld » Thu Jun 10, 2021 11:14 am

manwilde wrote:Sorry to go off-topic but I´m listening to your "Best orgasms form 2011 to 2018" and enjoying it a lot! :clap: :clap:

I'm inclined to agree. It is clear that Ennio Morricone is an influence and at times sounds like the background music to some 60's 'Exotic Art Movie' but hey, nothing wrong with that, it is pleasantly quirky, and most of all quite listenable.

I often struggle with deciding what key a piece of music is in, if for example I am clearly in the key of C Major, but then, for example, a chromatic shift going from

Cmaj->Gmaj->Fmaj->Emin->#Dmaj->Gmaj->Cmaj

have I stayed in C major or have I changed key and added some 'accidentals' ?
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Re: Chords progression of one of my songs - phrygian mode?

Postby RichardT » Thu Jun 10, 2021 1:05 pm

OneWorld wrote:
manwilde wrote:Sorry to go off-topic but I´m listening to your "Best orgasms form 2011 to 2018" and enjoying it a lot! :clap: :clap:

I'm inclined to agree. It is clear that Ennio Morricone is an influence and at times sounds like the background music to some 60's 'Exotic Art Movie' but hey, nothing wrong with that, it is pleasantly quirky, and most of all quite listenable.

I often struggle with deciding what key a piece of music is in, if for example I am clearly in the key of C Major, but then, for example, a chromatic shift going from

Cmaj->Gmaj->Fmaj->Emin->#Dmaj->Gmaj->Cmaj

have I stayed in C major or have I changed key and added some 'accidentals' ?

You’re still in C major. The D#maj doesn’t act as a tonic.
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Re: Chords progression of one of my songs - phrygian mode?

Postby GilesAnt » Thu Jun 10, 2021 2:02 pm

As Richard says, a piece can still be in a given key, even if some of the notes and chords seem to lie outside that key. The rhythmic and melodic context can also be important though.
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Re: Chords progression of one of my songs - phrygian mode?

Postby Ben Asaro » Fri Jun 11, 2021 1:58 am

As stated above, it’s what feels like ‘home’. As your progression doesn’t really have a traditional cadence, there’s not much tension pulling it home.

Phrygian is a natural minor scale with a flat II, and you would accentuate that by getting that b2 on strong beats.

Your progression goes i - IV - iii, so it’s in the i chord’s key of G#m. In this case, E and A are borrowed chords.
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Re: Chords progression of one of my songs - phrygian mode?

Postby rshellard » Fri Jun 11, 2021 2:54 am

Hey Frank,

Nice tune!

To me, it sounds solidly in G#m with the A major chord functioning as a Neopolitan chord - typically a major triad built off of the flat 2nd scale degree, you often hear it in minor more often than major and typically in the first inversion (with the third in the bass, in this case C#). You can see more here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neapolitan_chord.

Typically, it precedes the dominant (V chord, so D# major in your case) as it approaches tonic (G#m here), but the omission of the D# major gives it a cool chromatic feel that I'm totally going to steal!
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