Well I'm trying to write a song and the chord progression is D, Bm, G, A. What I'm not sure about is that I'm trying to do a walk down from B to G with A and G#, but G# isn't in the D scale, so I'm not sure if that's wrong or not. Basically, I'm asking if all the chords need to be in the D scale and it's wrong to have a G# chord in the mix. EDIT: I have B, D, Gb, B, back to Gb, D going in the right hand and I want two triads in the left going during Gb and D in the right before hitting the G chord.

  • We might need more details to answer your question. Do you have a way to write out what you are trying to do and edit your question to include it?
    – Andrew
    Feb 2, 2015 at 0:33
  • Not necessarily wrong i think. I imagine your walk down would also involve Bb which is not on that scale either. However, with your progression above i would have no problem in going straight from Bm to G. Bm is the vi chord of the D scale, and G is IV in the same key. vi can go straight to IV, and sometimes they can substitute for each other.
    – mey
    Feb 2, 2015 at 2:35
  • Thanks for the answers, I edited to make it a bit more specific in what I want to do with it, but I want a 2-chord walk down to G (not including G). If that's not possible, I guess I'll just go straight to G instead.
    – Luke
    Feb 2, 2015 at 4:26

4 Answers 4


It is a very good idea to play with notes that don't belong to the current key, especially if you are moving towards the base note of the next chord. By playing the G#, you'll create a kind of tension which is resolved by finally moving to the G. Such cadences are very common in Anglo-Saxon music -- in fact our music revolves heavily around such tension-and-release patterns.

By the way, you might want to forget that things can be "wrong". Of course, there are things that obviously sound bad, but if something sounds good to you, there's nobody who'll tell you that you shouldn't play it. As many people say: once you know all rules in music, it's time to start breaking them. :-)


Often, there are not rights and wrongs in music. Technically, lots of things can be explained, but the basic premise has to be - if it sounds good, then it's o.k. A G# chord is not in the key, true, but it fits what is called a tritone substitution, nearly. Make it a G#7 and it's there. Music often uses a one semitone move to resolve itself. So, it's alright. And it sounds good, too.

That Gb in your song will be an F#, as D contains #s already, and another 'black note/key' should try to match. It's easier for readers, too.


Most excellent responses from Lee and Tim. You can indeed musically explain any pile of notes. That helps you to better understand what you have created, and might help you find the next note or chord. Theory does not tell you what you can't do.


At the end of the day you should do what resonates with you. A lot of the time, some of the coolest and most interesting sounds/chords come from stepping outside normal scales. I recommend you explore new possibilities, because you might find something awesome which you might wanna use in the future; don't limit yourself. If you really have to, you can also change it back in the future if you think it sounds strange.

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