So i've started new in music theory and i'm guessing the chords to this neo oriental song and i've noticed that the chord progression goes like: Gm - F - Bb - D(hammer on G note (Dsus4))

and it seemed weird to me how a D major sounded good with this F major progression because i know that F major scale has a Dm not a D so can anyone explain ?

here's the song if you're wondering :

  • 3
    It's not in F Major - it's in G minor. Playing a D major chord in the context of a G minor progression is not weird at all. Nov 5, 2021 at 16:29
  • @BrianTHOMAS Thank youuu didn't pay attention to that my bad! i'm still new to all of this, and i certainly didn't know we can use foreign chords in a certain key! so thank a loottt!!! Nov 5, 2021 at 16:35
  • It's really great that you're listening hard and picking out the chords out! Keep going! Nov 5, 2021 at 16:43
  • Just what was it that directed you to key F? That needs understanding!
    – Tim
    Nov 5, 2021 at 17:06
  • @Tim well there was a Gm an F major and a B major so i thought it may be an F major scale cause i still didn't learn minor scales Nov 5, 2021 at 21:54

3 Answers 3


Basically, its not an F major progression. It's a Gm one! That puts the D chord right into its place as the dominant of Gm. Gm's relative is B♭, and all the chords fit in with that idea.

But, in any case, don't be surprised if a 'foreign' chord appears in any sequence. It happens all the time, but we seem to learn early on in theory that only certain chords must be used in a key. Wrong!!!

  • ohhhh!! sorry for my stupidity didn't think it's a Gm xD i'm still new to all of this, thanks a lootttt!!!! Nov 5, 2021 at 16:34

(Note: the premise of the question was incorrect, but in the spirit of clarity and aid for future readers, I want to answer the actual stated question. There's nothing worse than finding your exact question online and then not finding an answer, so hopefully this will prevent that.)

Any time you see a major chord in an unexpected place—like a D-major chord in F major, where you would normally expect a D-minor chord—see if you can understand it as a temporary dominant of something else.

In other words, D major is the dominant (V) of G minor. So more often than not, a chord like D major in an F-major environment is functioning as a V of that G minor. We label it a "V/ii" (spoken "five of two"), because ii in F major is G minor, and D major is the dominant of that ii chord.

If this D-major chord comes immediately before (or even after) a G-minor chord, then it's functioning as a V/ii.

In more rare instances, this D-major chord might not do that; it might go, for instance, to a IV chord. This is relatively uncommon, but it's typically not functioning as V/ii in these instances, but rather as a modified VI chord. Some would also call this a "chromatic mediant" of the tonic.


...because i know that F major scale has a Dm not a D so can anyone explain ?

If you work from the scale/chord idea, or think that chord must remain diatonic, or that being "in a key" mean purely diatonic music... a lot of harmony will elude you.

Try thinking in terms of chord relationships and be aware that common progressions can be either chromatic or change key/scale.

In this progression I think you want to recognize two things:

  • there are two possible dominant chord relation ships, F major as the dominant of B♭ major and D major as the dominant of G minor
  • there is a possible relative major/minor relationship between G minor and B♭ major.

Of course you probably want to know: what key is it in? In this case it is G minor. The important things to understand about that are: being in a key doesn't necessarily mean all the chords are diatonic (in the sense that the chords all fit into one key signature), and other facts like melody and phrasing provide clues to figuring out what key music is in. Process-wise you want to find what tone is the tonic, the "home" tone of the melody. In this song melody and phrasing make clear G is the tonic, and then the details of the chords make clear the mode/key is minor. It's in G minor.

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