Noob question: note choices

I am playing liturgical music (light/lively pop). My music is standard notation ( for the singer) with chords. I am just getting comfortable with arpeggios…
The key is Dm and my chord progression is Dm F C G. for each chord I’m playing root-3rd-5th. Everything is cool until I get to the G chord.
Noob question: The 3rd of G is B and not in the key of Dm. do I:

  1. play G-Bb-D (making the chord a Gm)
  2. play G-C-D (root-4th-5th)
  3. play G-B-D (cause those are the chord tones for G)
  4. Tom, you are over thinking it and are too f’n compulsive.
    thanks for your input.

I think you are perfectly safe playting a B. My in person teacher sometimes gives me lyric sheets with chords, and instructs me to ignore the minors. Treat it as a D.

That being said, I’d be tempted to play a Bb; those half steps are very bluesy and I’m partial to that. Try out both and see what sounds good to you.


Or you could just do root-fifth for the last bar. That would work well and resolve nicely to boot.

The key of Dm (F) has one flat, Bb.

The G chord is not in the key of Dm either, Dm is: Dm, Edim, F, Gm, Am, Bb, C.

Dm, F, C and G are though included in D dorian. (Dm, Em, F, G, Am, Bdim, C)

If they’re playing a G, play tones that go with G.

I’m a noob also however I believe that you can simply play the notes contain in G, if for whatever reason you don’t like how R-3-5 sound in G then play it differently :man_shrugging: Like someone said stick to R-5 or even just roots or maybe a fill of sorts or whatever fits the tune (I understand why it bothers you that R-3-5 doesn’t work in G, I’m kind of the same mentality but over the last year learning bass I’ve figured that we have to just go with it sometimes)

The problem is that as @sshoihet said, the key of Gmaj should technically not be in a Dm progression; Gm is, but not Gmaj.

So, to stay purely diatonic, he should play Bb and not B.

However, the G might have been in the progression on purpose, be it actually D Dorian mode and not Dm, or even just to resolve to a major chord on the last bar. While this would be anharmonic with the overall progression this might be an intended effect.

So, to be safe in both cases, root/fifth is definitely safe there either way, and would be a good thing to go with. I would let other instruments cover the third in that case regardless; my instinct for that one would be to have the bass maining the root note.

Another option is to find out if this piece is actually in D Dorian and not Dm, in which case G-B-D is just fine.

But, YMMV. Lots of different ways that could go.

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Here we go again with modes, modes, modes. :rofl: :rofl: :rofl:

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Hey, it’s not MY progression :rofl:


Noob question? :laughing:


The easiest solution would be to shake up that 1-3-5 routine and play 1-1-5 or 1-5-8 or something similarly “safe” for the G chord.


Yeah, I still think this is the best bet.

Another option might be to alternate, something like

1-3-5 / 1-5-1 / 1-3-5 / 1-5-1

that nicely plays both a major and minor third where appropriate, accenting the chords; it also shakes things up a bit, and solves your problem in the end


Ah, yes, sorry, you had that covered already :grin:


You had a good idea though so I riffed on it in the edit :rofl:


It’s like a group improvisation :wink:


Whatever you do do not frustrate yourself with any music theory outside of what is taught in the B2B course. Additional theory will come in time.

Just have fun. :+1: :+1: :+1:


The chord notation has power over the key signature.
You have to play to the momentary chord.
Key signature / the key of a song is a general sketch - like telling people - “most of the stuff in here will be, pretty much, close to these 7 notes… ish… unless it isn’t.”

And - as @joergkutter and @howard said - root and fifth (or root, fifth octave) are your bestest friends.

Everyone here has basically covered everything - but I wanted to make the different priority and power of the chords and the key signature clear.

Hope it helps!


If it sounds good, it is good. Music theory isn’t mandated regulation


Play the arpeggio of the chord no matter the key.