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Guitar Tricks Instructor
Joined: 08/09/05
Posts: 8,406
Guitar Tricks Instructor
Joined: 08/09/05
Posts: 8,406
03/18/2013 2:16 am
Smoke On The Water is in the key of G minor (relative major is B-flat major). The 2nd mode of B-flat is C dorian. So, all those notes are part of the same home key.

B-flat major (ionian)

C dorian

D phrygian

E-flat lydian

F mixolydian

G aeolian (relative minor scale)

A locrian

So, G minor (Aeolian) & C dorian are just different fretboard patterns of B-flat major. Make sense?

It's also important to remember that modes have two different purposes:

1. Sometimes they are only the same notes in a different fretboard position or pattern.
2. Other times, they create different sounds. But this depends upon the music you play them over & usually changing the key.
Originally Posted by: brenoazziHow about the note Db and chord Db5 ? It´s a b5 (diminished fifth).

The flat 5th or "blue note" is an ornamental note that you can use anytime you desire the sound of it. The idea here is that you can play any chromatic passing tone note (a note "between" the normal scale notes) to add drama to a melody or lick.

It adds drama or flair because you are temporarily delaying the arrival of the target note, the note after the flat 5th. In the case of the main riff, the Db5 is a flat 5th that delays the arrival of the C5, the 4th.

There is a brief moment of G dorian in the song, however! It's in the vocal harmony that Gillian sings when he does the chorus & sings, "Smoke!" he sings an E natural to make the chord a C major. Then, he immediately changes it to an E-flat & C to harmonize with the A-flat chord, "Wa-ter!".

This is a neat moment also because the A-flat is functioning as a tritone substitution of the dominant chord D (V) returning to the tonic chord G (i).

This tutorial covers his style:

These lessons mention tritone substitutions.

Hope this helps!
Christopher Schlegel
Guitar Tricks Instructor

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