I'm writing a song and suddenly I noticed I'm singing a C♯ over an F major chord. It sounds good (I suppose), but I'm a bit worried about the tension.

I know it's common to sing the minor third over a major chord, but here I'm in between the fifth and the sixth of the F major scale.

This is occurring over a very simple progression: B♭ - E♭ - F - B♭. The style can be said to be blues and/or maybe a bit jazzy...

Any thoughts?

  • 4
    What's the context of that chord? What's the chord progression around it? – Von Huffman Jan 8 at 20:45
  • I'm voting "needs details" because with no context, any number of reasons as to why this (subjectively) sounds good exist. – user45266 Jan 8 at 23:48
  • What kind of genre are we dealing with? Those are notes from the F/A augmented scale, they would sound "good" in jazz/blues. – Pyromonk Jan 9 at 0:54
  • Thank you all for the answers. It is a very simple progression: Bb Eb F Bb. – Raymond Jan 9 at 1:46
  • It can be said that is a blues, a bit jazzy maybe... – Raymond Jan 9 at 1:48

Given your progression, it seems like it could be an F augmented leading to the B♭ rather than just F. F+ is F A C♯. That C♯ leads nicely to the M3 of B♭ (D), while the A of the F+ leads chromatically the same way (up) from A to B♭.(As far as the harmony is concerned).

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Given the note progressions you provide (F-A-C-C# and B♭-E♭-F-B♭), I would argue that your piece is in either of those:

  • B♭ melodic minor: B♭ C D♭(C#) E♭ F G A (ascending) | B♭ C D♭(C#) E♭ F G♭ A♭ (descending)
  • B♭ harmonic minor: B♭ C D♭(C#) E♭ F G♭ A

As opposed to F major. Both scales are good for jazz and blues (I would recommend harmonic minor personally, but that's a matter of taste). It is unclear whether the entire work is in B♭ or if you're just modulating to it for a single section following the Circle of Fourths (because F is followed by B♭ on the Circle).

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  • If this is the true explanation, then the note the OP has called C# is in fact D♭. We'd need more context to be sure which is true. – Rosie F Jan 13 at 9:28
  • @RosieF, I agree. I have used sharps and flats "freely" ("conventionally") as they would normally be used (to my knowledge) in a piece with no predefined accidentals (sharps for C, F and G; flats for A, E and B). Given I am providing examples of specific scales, they should indeed be more uniform. Thank you for noticing. – Pyromonk Jan 13 at 12:58

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