I am soloing over a chord progression of A,D, and C#m. A G# note fits all but the D chord. Can I still hit the G# note when playing a D chord?

It sounds good to me but I'm not sure. Musically, does this logic make sense?


Most of the time, if it sounds good to you it's okay. If it sounds good to the band, that's even better. If it sounds good to the audience, that's the best.

But you don't know until they hear it!

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Technically what's happening is the G# over an A chord gives Amaj7, over the C#m is just a 5, within the chord, and over the D makes a b5, as in blues. So yes it'll do the job. As Matthew says, if it sounds good, it usually is.Ears are so good at this skill. I wouldn't just hold that note while the 3 chords are being played consecutively, although it will work. Probably better to reference G# over each in turn - if the chords are, indeed, in sequence.

One can make ANY note fit ANYWHERE with a bit of skill and ingenuity, so give others a try. Your ears and those of the audience will be the best judges.

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  • What is a 'b5'? A lowered fifth? In case that's what you meant, a G# in D Major is actually a #4 (following the assumed notation - a fourth with a sharp). If that's not what you meant, could you explain that? Otherwise, +1. – 11684 Jun 19 '14 at 18:40
  • A b5 just happens to be the same note as a #4.So technically the G# would be a #4, BUT it sounds like a b5 as in Ab.I'm guessing (how else?) that the OP is a guitarist, and tends to think # rather than b, but at the end of the day, the effect is still the same, a bluesy feel to that note in that situation. So, #4 or b5, same end product:sounds good. – Tim Jun 19 '14 at 19:38
  • It depends on the temperature. But even if you play in equal temperature the function is still different (and if you are playing an instrument on which you can intonate - like the guitar - you may choose to adjust, because equal temperature is slightly off pitch.) – 11684 Jun 19 '14 at 19:41
  • @11684 I think you mean temperament? – Joshua Taylor Jun 19 '14 at 19:44
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    @11684 No worries. I saw the first use of temperature, and was thinking "ooo, cool blues, hot jazz, etc.", but then it kept appearing. :) – Joshua Taylor Jun 19 '14 at 19:46

I really love melodies that incorporate that pitch interval (7 half steps, tritone, diminished 5th, whatever you want to call it) as a leading tone, especially when used this way in a major key song. As Tim pointed out, it's probably best used with some movement as opposed to just holding it out over the chord structure. For example, a rising pattern like G# A E evokes a feeling of overcoming some obstacle. Depending on the mood of the rest of the song, it can be very powerful.

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Don't let music theory dictate what would sound good and what doesn't. If every musician played by the rules we would not have Jazz, Blues, Rock etc. Everything would sound boring. Majority of listeners don't know what notes you are playing, they just want something that sounds good.

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