I have a riff I've composed using the following power cords notes (here is what is sounds on piano https://soundcloud.com/tomasz-jasku-a-133883769/keyboardforsolo-rzczywistosc) :

Time 1 & 2: C#, A#, D#, B, F, C  
Time 3: E, C#, F#,  D, G#, D#  
Time 4: F#, D#, G# E, C#, F, C  

I was trying to figure out what is the key, what are the chords progression so I could build some arpeggios on top of it.

While the riff sounds ok, it seems that notes are not matching fully standard scales. My guess was the the whole is in A# key but it could be as well that each time has it's own key ?

about chord progressions I was trying to figure out by "ear" and the following seems to be ok

Time 1: A#min
Time 2: C#M,
Time 3: Cdim,
Time 4: Bdim

What do you think about, key, scale and chords ?

EDIT I've added the actual tune here https://soundcloud.com/tomasz-jasku-a-133883769/keyboardforsolo-rzczywistosc

  • "...this is not how actually it is played..." I think you need to show what you are actually playing. Sequence matters. You have sharps that sort of hint a B as a "key", then F C would contrast strongly being a tritone away from B Jun 2, 2020 at 21:34
  • Sorry but this question is unanswerable in its current state, way too many variables. A sample recording or music notation is necessary to really know what’s going on. Jun 3, 2020 at 3:44
  • I've edited the answer including the link to the actual tune. Hope that helps Jun 3, 2020 at 11:16

1 Answer 1


This is a vibe! The first thing to point out is that "Time 3" and "Time 4" are exact parallel transpositions of "Time 1", which means that yes, basically they "have their own key" as you put it. The other thing (which is what makes this piece such a vibe!) is that each "Time" actually contains two chords, which correspond to when you change the note in the bass. So "Time 1" starts with a A#min, then goes to BMaj when the D# plays in the melody and the B in the bass, then back to A#min when you go back to the C# over the A#. As you say about this not matching standard scales, and as is mentioned in the comments, this generates quite a large "contrast" or what feels like a large "move" in the harmony - the 'standard scales' that work in A#min and the 'standard scales' that work in BMaj don't share many notes - yet it's held together by the bass just rocking between two notes a semitone apart and the melody having strong melodic coherence.

So in terms of wanting to play something over this like an arpeggio etc., if you don't want to add any extra harmonic complexity you'll need to play something that changes to follow this harmonic movement.

As "Time 3" and "Time 4" are parallel to this, we find that "Time 3" moves from C#min to DMaj then back to C#min, and "Time 4" moves from D#min to EMaj then back to D#min.

This is what I consider to be the "fundamental harmony" of what you've played, but as far as the chords you've suggested, absolutely, C#Maj 'works' over "Time 1"/"Time 2" - and would add some extra flavour due to changing the harmonic emphasis - and Cdim 'works' over "Time 3" and Ddim over "Time 4" - but these are chords you could choose to play to add extra sound, and extra harmonic flavour, to what you already have, rather than being "the chord" of the underlying harmony

  • what a great answer giving all these details! I learnt a lot understanding my own composition. Thanks :) Jun 10, 2020 at 8:38

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