Overview
What makes a song in the key of Em and not G? They're related, but why would I call the song in one and not the other?

The answer is the leading tone.

The leading tone is essentially a half step before the root note, giving it a pull into the root note. When looking at the key of E Major: E – F# - G# - A – B – C# - D# - E – it has a leading tone... D#!

When looking at the E Natural Minor (Aeolian) Scale it doesn't: E – F# - G – A – B – C – D – E.

So what scale does? The Harmonic (and Melodic) Minor Scales: Harmonic – E – F# - G – A – B – C – D# - E | Melodic – E – F# - G – A – B – C# - D# - E

So we know the G Major Scale and E Minor Scale are related... the reason why we should call something in the key of G Major vs. E Minor is whether or not the E minor has it's leading tone. The leading tone (D#) is not naturally found in the key of G Major.

G Major Scale: G – A – B – C – D – E – F# - G.

So while they do share the same notes, the absence of the Em's leading tone would lend me to call it in the key of G instead.

Let's look at the chords in G major:
G – Am – Bm – C – D – Em – F#dim (I – ii – iii – IV – V – vi – viidim)

They are the same as the key of Em, but I would call something in the key of Em if it has that leading tone. The leading tone is most commonly found in the “V” chord (5), it's original (parallel major's) dominant. The key of E major (E – F#m – G#m – A – B7 – C#m – D#dim) and Em have the same V chord – B7. So when I see a B7, I start thinking in the key of Em: Em – F#dim – G – Am – B7 – C – D/D#dim (i – iidim – III – iv – V – VI – bVII/viidim)

The PDF for this lesson has some example chord progressions... even more than what I go through in the video. Dig!

-Related Lessons-


0:16 – Transposing (Chords As Numbers)?! | UGT 5/8
0:28 – What's a Scale?! | UGT 1/8
0:28 – Major Scale Shapes | CO 7/10
0:51 – Minor Scales Shapes | CO 8/10
1:17 – Harmonic Minor Scale (Whole Neck!)
1:51 – Importance of Dominant Chord - Blog
1:51 – Transposing (Chords As Numbers)?! | UGT 5/8
2:02 – Playing Open Chords | BO 4/10
2:02 – 6th String Barre Chords | BO 9/10
2:02 - 5th String Barre Chords | BO 10/10
2:02 – Open 7th Chords
3:49 – Building Chords?! | UGT 2/8
4:29 - 6th String Barre Chords | BO 9/10
5:37 – Rhythms – Strumming the Guitar | BO 5/10
7:27 – Octave Patterns

PDF's – Minor Tonality, Theory, CAGED Scales Shapes, Harmonic Minor Scale Shapes, Open, Barre & Sus Chords, 7th Chords, Rhythms | Strumming Patterns, Octave Patterns



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