Chords, Keys, Scales, Modes and Paramore, Pg1

I had a very intersting conversation with one of my viewers, Dave, and it had some pretty useful stuff so I posted it here. He was watching my video review of GuitarPro6 and had a question for me. This discussion covers how chords are named, and the concept of modes and key signatures. At first glance, The Only Exception by Paramore is just another basic pop-song. But, on further examination it uses some interesting modal ideas. Why not take a listen to the video while reading on?

Now onto the conversation! To help you follow along, I keep my responses in white, and put Dave's writing in yellow.

DAVE: I happened to come across your 3-part video series on Guitar Pro 6 and because I just installed a copy of GP6 I decided to watch. Nicely done! Thanks for the series as it quickly taught me a number of things about the program. But I do think there is a mistake in Part 3. You name a particular chord F#m11,#13. I believe that should be simply F#m13. The D# is the natural 13th or 6th of the chord....not #13 or #6 and since you don't need to mention the 11th when you are building a 13th chord that contains the 11th (or the 4th) I do believe the proper name is as stated above. What do you think?

ME: Thanks for the theory question and keeping me on my toes. F#m is the relative of A major, each of which has 3 sharps, F#, C#, and G#. Though, you will find D# in F# Melodic minor, it's not in F# natural minor- the scale from which the chord should be built. So, the 6 (or 13) should regularly be D, and a D# would be a raised degree. You are absolutely correct that if the 13 (or 6) were not an alteration, the 11th would not need to be included in the chord name. It's nice to know people with a sharp eye and a good grasp of theory are watching closely and willing to raise good questions... especially since I have made my share of mistakes in past writings. I think the chord name I originally gave was correct, but I'd be curious if you see it differently. Glad to hear you picked up a copy of GP6- it's excellent software. I find it a great practice tool and second to none for authoring tabs.

Read the next part here.