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I've stumbled upon a sample in one of my sample packs from KSHMR it is labeled as Dm-F-Em-D♯ Progression, I'm new to music theory and just recently started learning how to find scales but this one, in particular, I cannot find it and I don't know why.

The chord progression is Dm-F-Em-D♯. I've tried using Scale Finder but no luck.

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  • I think you might be mistaking notes for chords. Or chords for scales. Dm, F, Em and D# are chords. If you enter "Dm" into that scale-finder thing it will probably show you all the notes of a D minor scale. You can then do the same with "F", then "Em", then "D#". If you are wanting to play along with the sample, try the notes of a Dm scale with the Dm chord, the notes of an F major scale with the F chord and so on. It looks like Hawkwind or Pink Floyd or something. So play loudly. You'll find some of the notes in those scales work better than others. Jun 28 '20 at 23:03
  • @OldBrixtonian Thanks for the info really appreciate it
    – murthaA
    Jun 29 '20 at 3:19
  • I don't know what's going on here, but I hear that Dm-F, and my ear immediately wants to stick Gm-A7 onto it... De Alto Cedro voy para Marcané..
    – Strawberry
    Jun 30 '20 at 11:52
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I'd consider that progression in D minor (Dorian) with the D♯ as a transition chord. In other words, the D♯ is a chromatic transition chord, taking you from Em to Dm: Em -> D♯ -> Dm

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A chord progression doesn't have to all fit one scale. This one seems basically in D Dorian, with the E♭ a chromatic passing chord between Em and Dm. (I wonder why they named it D♯ instead of the more logical E♭? But same difference.)

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  • Yes, and because E♭ is part of D-Phrygian this doesn't actually leave D natural minor very far. In fact, D-Dorian, D-Aeolian and D-Phrygian are all supersets of the D-minor pentatonic scale. Jun 29 '20 at 9:41
  • Yes, you can justify any non-scale note by saying it's part of some other scale! Not sure it gets you anywhere though! Jun 30 '20 at 14:22
  • No, in general you can't, unless you make up a new scale name on the spot. Just for the 12-edo pitch classes it happens to always work because they are exhaustively covered by a composition of at most two diatonic intervals. Jun 30 '20 at 14:57
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One way to approach this would be to use D Dorian for the first three chords, then D# Lydian on the D# chord.

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Thinking of it as D dorian with a passing chord is a perfectly good approach, but theres actually some cool jazz theory going on too. ignore this if its overwhelming - jamming and listening are much more important :)

Major chords built on the flattened second of the scale can work a lot like a chord built on the 5th of the scale. (in this case, that D# Major could work like an A Major). Thats because of an idea from jazz harmony called a tritone substitution. I can explain how it works if you like, but i wouldnt worry too much. The interesting thing is that chords built on the 5th "push" towards the root, and make us want to hear the root chord (Dm) next. and because the D# is related to that 5th chord, it also pushes towards the root.

its a very common thing in lots of styles to put a chord built on the 2nd of the scale before a chord on the 5th of the scale. the 2 pushes towards the 5 just like how the 5 pushes towards the 1. this is called a 2-5-1 or ii-V-I. Sure enough, the chord before the D# is an Em, which is built on the 2nd of the scale. We've all heard that 2-5-1 progression thousands of times before, knowingly or not. and thats why the progression sounds satisfying - we can hear where it's "supposed" to go next.

a cool quirk of this one is that the 2 and the 5 are both from D major - so its a major 2-5 into a minor 1. It's like the Dm and the F are in D minor and the Em and D# are in D major! But it works just fine, because those keys are closely related.

Welcome to music Stack Exchange btw :)

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    Tts only really works with dominant chords - those which include b7. Without that, it cannot be tts. A contains A C# E, whereas D# contains D# Fx A#. Or have I overlooked something?
    – Tim
    Jun 29 '20 at 15:23
  • Presumably it's better written as Eb: Eb G Bb and b7 is Db=C#, leading note of D. That's what makes it function like V in ii-V-I. Jun 30 '20 at 8:47
  • I hear "tritone sub" when I hear the slidey chromatic root movement 2 - b2 -1. I think it's fair to say it has dominant function no? But I guess we all got different ears :) Jun 30 '20 at 18:19

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