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Music theory: Never play ii chords in minor keys?
Old 1 week ago
  #1
Gear Head
 

Music theory: Never play ii chords in minor keys?

Got a music theory mystery which I could use some help in decoding.

Say we are making a song in the key of D minor. That means the natural D minor scale will permeate everything. Melody lines, chord colors, which chords works (and should be used) ... the scale is what will control that a G chord will be a minor chord (in D minor) because the B in D minor scale is diminished. It's a B flat. etc etc

But then, there's this:
Since the 6th note, of a natural minor scale, is a diminished 6th, it must mean that a ii-chord in a minor key (we are in D minor scale, so in our case a ii chord means an E minor chord) must be made a minus 5 chord? It must be played with a diminished 5, since the 6th note of D minor is a diminished B. E-G-Bflat, not B. This in order to harmonize with the D minor scale.
If not, if you just play an uncolored E minor chord, notes in the natural D minor scale cannot be played harmonically over that an E-minor chord.

Now, I feel I know that I've many times played songs that contained an uncolored ii chord in a minor key. And I've never encountered a problem with this apparent scale discrepancy. But I've mostly played chords, I haven't been improvising.

I'm not shure what to think here. Should a ii chord in a minor key always be a -5 chord to correspond with the minor 6th note in the parent minor scale? Sounds crazy to me.

And if not, then .. why not? What theoretical logic are you following then?

Thanks for any input

Last edited by Samando; 1 week ago at 01:26 PM..
Old 1 week ago
  #2
Lives for gear
 
kuasalogam's Avatar
CMIIW, It's called "borrowed chord" or modal interchange. You take a chord from other scale with the same root note.
Old 1 week ago
  #3
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Samando View Post
Got a music theory mystery which I could use some help in decoding.

Say we are making a song in the key of D minor. That means the natural D minor scale will permeate everything. Melody lines, chord colors, which chords works (and should be used) ... the scale is what will control that a G chord will be a minor chord (in D minor) because the B in D minor scale is diminished. It's a B flat. etc etc

But then, there's this:
Since the 6th note, of a natural minor scale, is a diminished 6th, it must mean that a ii-chord in a minor key (we are in D minor scale, so in our case a ii chord means an E minor chord) must be made a minus 5 chord? It must be played with a diminished 5, since the 6th note of D minor is a diminished B. E-G-Bflat, not B. This in order to harmonize with the D minor scale.
If not, if you just play an uncolored E minor chord, notes in the natural D minor scale cannot be played harmonically over that an E-minor chord.

Now, I feel I know that I've many times played songs that contained an uncolored ii chord in a minor key. And I've never encountered a problem with this apparent scale discrepancy. But I've mostly played chords, I haven't been improvising.

I'm not shure what to think here. Should a ii chord in a minor key always be a -5 chord to correspond with the minor 6th note in the parent minor scale? Sounds crazy to me.

And if not, then .. why not? What theoretical logic are you following then?

Thanks for any input
OK, so the first thing to understand about minor keys, from a basic perspective, is that you can choose to use notes from the natural minor, the harmonic minor (sharpened 7th) and the ascending melodic minor (sharpened 6th and 7th) scales, all in the same piece - not simply the natural minor, as you state.

This means that, in the case of D minor, you can use D, E, F, G, A, Bb, B, C and C#.

So, in terms of chords, your i chord will be minor, your ii could be minor or diminished, your III chord will be either major or augmented, your IV will be either major or minor, as will your V chord, and your vi and vii chords will be either major or diminished. And you can use any combination of them that works for you.

You have more choices with minor keys - have fun. I'll leave it to others to expand as I'm on the train now.
Old 6 days ago
  #4
Gear Addict
 

II chords in minor are usually used in first inversion as is, counting intervals from the bass to the other chord tones, the one without dissonances.
II chord, both in minor and major, t’s usually used with a 7th in first inversion.
Román numeral analysis is II65.
Old 5 days ago
  #5
Lives for gear
 
Herr Weiss's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by UKMK00 View Post
OK...There is so much NONSENSE and half truths and MISINFORMATION ^^^^^^^up there, we must be on the Internet

In ANY natural minor key, that is to say, flat 3, flat 7, the ii chord is DIMINISHED.

Period. The end. In the key of Dm, its E, G, Bb.

I dont know how one learns on the Internet.

So many Idiots trying to prove how smart they are...

Which of the responses got you all wired up?



~HW
Old 5 days ago
  #6
Gear Guru
 
henryrobinett's Avatar
The ii in a minor is half diminished. Minor 7 b5. I use it ALL the time. That’s the minor sound.
Old 5 days ago
  #7
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Herr Weiss's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by henryrobinett View Post
The ii in a minor is half diminished. Minor 7 b5. I use it ALL the time. That’s the minor sound.

Four note chords is too advanced for him.



~HW
Old 4 days ago
  #8
Gear Guru
 
henryrobinett's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by UKMK00 View Post
Depends on the voicing. He asked about a straight natural minor.

Straight minor is a 3 voice diminished chord.

Half Diminished is 4 voice, valid as the ii chord, but Im trying to keep it simple...
I love the minor b5 triad but in my experience it’s rare. Also I find the natural minor scale close to useless. The ii half dim followed by dominant 7 is it.
Old 4 days ago
  #9
Lives for gear
Never play ii chords in minor keys

There is no Never in art.

Music theory is the observation of common practice by it's practitioners.

Sometimes you may want to be remarkable.
Old 3 days ago
  #10
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by UKMK00 View Post
Depends on the voicing. He asked about a straight natural minor.

Straight minor is a 3 voice diminished chord.

Half Diminished is 4 voice, valid as the ii chord, but Im trying to keep it simple...
I may be wrong, but from what the OP posted it seemed that he was simply asking about minor keys in general, but made the assumption that meant he could only use the natural minor ("Say we are making a song in the key of D minor. That means the natural D minor scale will permeate everything."). Obviously this is not necessarily the case, which is what I was trying to explain.
Old 3 days ago
  #11
Gear Guru
 
henryrobinett's Avatar
Once you hear the minor b5 in the correct context you will begin hearing it and the natural 5 in a minor chord as the ii will probably sound wrong to you.

I had a student many years ago where I was teaching a well worn tune that had that Emin7b5. He learned the tune perfectly but every time he encountered that type of chord he made it a regular minor. It sounded good to him. I told him he did a great job learning that song, but THAT is wrong. Everytually he learned how to play that chord and now he can't believe the other ever sounded right.

OBVIOUSLY anything CAN work. But if it belongs to the key and the scale, even the non-musically educated can tell there's a "wrong note" in there somewhere.
Old 2 days ago
  #12
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by UKMK00 View Post
OK...There is so much NONSENSE and half truths and MISINFORMATION ^^^^^^^up there, we must be on the Internet

In ANY natural minor key, that is to say, flat 3, flat 7, the ii chord is DIMINISHED.

Period. The end. In the key of Dm, its E, G, Bb.

I dont know how one learns on the Internet.

So many Idiots trying to prove how smart they are...
Truth.
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