This started when TuneBat had several different guesses as to what key "The Choice Is Yours" by Black Sheep is in. There is basically only one bassline through the whole track, and little else, so I picked out the notes: G A# B C D Eb. Putting those into an online scale finder tool yielded zero results, even with all the uncommon scales turned on.

So, is it using a similar scale with one or two notes reaching outside of it? If so, how could I tell which are the outliers? Is it an example of dissonance? I apologize; I have basically no music theory knowledge.

  • The core issue is that the notes in a piece -- including its bass line -- need not stick to one scale or key. The linked question, as well as others on this site, addresses that aspect of music. Listening to the linked recording, I'd put the piece in Bb major, with the bass line containing "blue notes". – Aaron Feb 25 at 20:21
  • Where do you listen a B? – musicamante Feb 25 at 20:34

Your question is basically an transcription/basic analysis question which is supposed to be off topic.

But, a few points about scales might help work on this yourself.

Starting with this G A# B C D Eb, my first question is whether A# is appropriate. Let's examine that first.

If we omit a few notes... G x x C D x ...we get a very strong basis for a G tonic, all three tonal degrees - tonic, subdominant, dominant - are present.

Things like that online scale finder aren't very good, because they don't analyze, and your really need to analyze to answer a question like this. It isn't necessarily deep analysis, but some judgement is required.

A good topic to look into is scale degrees. Those are names like tonic, supertonic, mediant, etc. There are tonal and modal scale degrees. If you understand them you have a good basis for understanding major/minor scales, modes, and functional harmony.

Next, with a G tonic, the Eb is a modal degree for a possible minor scale of some kind.

If G is the tonic, and the Eb suggests minor, then A# doesn't make much sense in terms of common key signatures and scales. If we consider it a Bb, then we could write the line as G Bb B C D Eb.

The question becomes then what is going on with Bb and B natural? It's hard to say without either transcribing and analyzing to get the chords. But, the simplest explanation is the B natural is a chromatic passing tone between Bb and C. If the B natural moving to C is part of a G chord moving to a C chord you could say the B natural is a temporary leading tone.

Given only the notes G Bb B C D Eb then G minor is a reasonable key/scale to identify. The seventh note of the scale is "missing" in that line so the matter isn't totally clear.

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