General Question

Waffle's avatar

Which D#m scale to play for this song?

Asked by Waffle (248points) August 9th, 2010

So I’ve gotten into improvising with guitar recently and I found some software that detects what key a song is in. According to that software, the song “Pipes Honour” by Nightmares on Wax is in D#m.

Now how do I know if that means I should be playing along the D# Natural (Pure) Minor guitar scale, the harmonic minor scale, the melodic minor scale, the pentatonic minor scale, etc.

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8 Answers

gasman's avatar

I’m not a guitar player so I can’t answer this directly. But is it possible the recording you heard in playback was actually performed in either Dm or Em ? Changing to those keys (or their relative majors, F and G, respectively) would be WAYYY easier for most players (my experience is with winds) & so small a change won’t affect a vocalist’s performance.

Can the software itself be “tuned” to offset what it “hears”? A semi-tone amounts to only about a 6% change in playback speed, & the actual pitch difference here is probably less than that.

From what little I know of music theory, the choice of underlying scale depends on the nature of the music.

harple's avatar

Electronic readers frequently go to D sharp rather than E flat, even though E flat is a much more common key for pieces (in the major dealing with only 3 flats rather than, ouch, a key with all sharps and two double sharps!!!! – you just wouldn’t see this as a key signature)... So think of it as E flat minor. (heck, you could even de-tune the guitar to this!)

Minor keys work a bit differently, and you already seem to understand that there is a difference between the melodic scale and the harmonic scale (for this case, ignore the pentatonic minor or any others for that matter)... But the real answer to your question is in the names of those two scales. The Melodic scale, (raised 6th and 7th on the way up but flattened on the way down) refers specifically to notes in the Melody line, the tune. The notes in the harmonic minor scale, same on the way up as it is down, relate to the harmony, or the accompanying chords if you will.

Melody lines move from left to right – they’re notes following one after another.
Harmony is vertical – it is the notes at any given single point that accompany the melody note.

So if you play the melody line on your guitar, you will probably notice that when the music ascends, you’ll have a sharpened 6th and 7th, and when it comes back down they’ll be flattened (for non musos, just think of Greensleeves…)

But if you are playing chords to accompany it, then they will follow the harmonic scale notes.

Gosh, I could go on and on! Feel free to ask more if it’s of any help!

jazmina88's avatar

my suggestion is to think in E flat as well.
Eb F Gb Ab Bb C D(b) Eb
a good foundation to play with.

max_gutierrez's avatar

if you want soloing you can use the 4 you wrote and more, (G#m, A#m, F#, B, C# and other things )

RomanExpert's avatar

I believe the song is actually in Dm or Em (nobody writes in D#m). Most importantly, be artistic and creative, use your sense of musicality to decide which notes of the scale to play and don’t be confined to one set scale.

max_gutierrez's avatar

@RomanExpert actually there is people who writes in Ebm ; and also theres people who tune their instruments half step down, and a “Em” transfers to Ebm.

RomanExpert's avatar

@max_gutierrez Right, some people write in Ebm, not D#m, but outside of some theoretical reasoning, why would you arrange it that way on guitar? You wouldn’t. You would tune down a half step and think Em, but you’re really playing in Ebm. And/Or this occurs because a lot of players tune down a half step. Thank you for feedback.

max_gutierrez's avatar

@RomanExpert actually is because it isn’t called D#m is Ebm haha, and yes, that is what i was trying to say, people who tune down a half steo usually plays in # or b, they don’t tune it that way and still playing like standar tuning, What i was trying to say before is almost the same you said, most people who writes in ebm, is because they tune it half step down, and play it like “em” in standar tuning.

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