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Encyclopedia > Chord progression

A chord progression (also chord sequence and harmonic progression or sequence), as its name implies, is a series of chords played in order. Chord progressions are central to most modern European-influenced music and the principle study of harmony. Compare to a simultaneity succession. A chord change is a movement from one chord to another and may be thought of as either the most basic chord progression or as a portion of longer chord progressions which involve more than two chords (see shift of level). Typical fingering for a second inversion C major chord on a guitar. ... For other uses, see Music (disambiguation). ... Harmony is the use and study of pitch simultaneity, and therefore chords, actual or implied, in music. ... In music and music theory a simultaneity succession is a series of different groups of pitches or pitch classes, each of which is played at the same time as the other pitches of its group. ... A level (van der Merwe 1989, also tonality level, Kubiks tonal step, and John Blackings root progression) is a temporary modal frame contrasted with another built on a different foundation note. ...


Generally, successive chords in a chord progression share some notes, which provides harmonic and linear (voice leading) continuity to a passage. In the common-practice period, chord progressions are usually associated with a scale and the notes of each chord are usually taken from that scale (or its modally-mixed universe). In music, voice leading is the continuity between pitches or notes played successively in time. ... The common practice period, in the history of European art music (that is, what is popularly called classical music), encompasses those periods identified as Baroque, Classical, and Romantic. ... In music, a scale is a set of musical notes that provides material for part or all of a musical work. ...

Contents

Common progressions

The most common chord progressions, in the common practice period and in popular music, are based on the first, fourth, and fifth scale degrees (tonic, subdominant and dominant); see three chord song, eight bar blues, and twelve bar blues. The chord based on the second scale degree is used in the most common chord progression in Jazz, II-V-I. Popular music is music belonging to any of a number of musical styles that are accessible to the general public and are disseminated by one or more of the mass media. ... In music, see: Perfect fourth Augmented fourth or tritone The subdominant, and the chord built on the subdominant, is often simply called the fourth as it is the fourth scale degree. ... Fifth may refer to: One fifth, a quintile, or 20% of a certain amount The fifth in a series, or four after the first In the United States, the Fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution especially as in the expression Taking the Fifth. Fifth (Stargate), a robotic character in... In music or music theory a scale degree is an individual note of a scale, both its pitch and its diatonic function. ... The tonic is the first note of a musical scale, and in the tonal method of music composition it is extremely important. ... In music, the subdominant is the technical name for the fourth tonal degree of the diatonic scale. ... In music, the dominant is the fifth degree of the scale. ... A three-chord song is a song whose music is built around three chords that are played in a certain sequence. ... An eight bar blues is a typical blues chord progression, taking eight 4/4 bars to the verse. ... The 12-bar blues has a distinctive form in both lyrics and chord structure. ... In music or music theory a scale degree is an individual note of a scale, both its pitch and its diatonic function. ... For other uses, see Jazz (disambiguation). ... ii-V-I is a very common chord progression used in a wide variety of music genres. ...


As stated by Tom Sutcliffe on harmony.org.uk:

“… during the 1960's some pop groups started to experiment with modal chord progressions as an alternative way of harmonising blues melodies. . . . This created a new system of harmony that has influenced subsequent popular music.”
“The use of modal harmonies to harmonise the blues came about because of the similarity of the blues scale to modal scales . . . by experimentation with the possible uses of major chords on the guitar. This phenomenon thus probably derives from the characteristics of the guitar and the way it is used in popular music. This is also linked to the rise in the use of power chords.”

Sutcliffe’s hypothesis is that major chord combinations such as: I , bIII , IV, V and bVII cannot be explained in pure modal terms as, in this combination, these don’t exist in the usual modes. They have to be explained as a new harmonic system combining elements from the blues and elements from modality.


The circle of fifths progression is generally regarded as the most common progression of the common practice period, involving a series of descending perfect fifths that often occur as ascending perfect fourths. The circle of fifths makes up many of the most commonly used progressions, such as II6, V, I in major. In music theory, the circle of fifths (or cycle of fifths) is an imaginary geometrical space that depicts relationships among the 12 equal-tempered pitch classes comprising the familiar chromatic scale. ... In music the common practice period is a long period in western musical history spanning from before the classical era proper to today, dated, on the outside, as 1600-1900. ...


Common progressions used in contemporary popular music

  • i - flatVII - flatVI - flatVII : e.g 'Don't Fear The Reaper' (Blue Oyster Cult) (first chord can be major)

Twelve bar blues is a chord progression, typical of blues and later influenced musics. ... The 50s progression is a chord progression (ie sequence of chords) used in Western popular music. ... This article is about the band Green Day. ... Simple Plan is a pop-punk band from Montreal, Quebec, Canada—all five members are French-Canadians who were born in the province of Quebec. ... The title given to this article is incorrect due to technical limitations. ... The title given to this article is incorrect due to technical limitations. ... No Woman, No Cry is a reggae song made famous by Bob Marley and the Wailers. ... This article is about the reggae musician. ... This article is about the band. ... This article does not cite any references or sources. ... This article is about the Irish rock band. ... Let It Be track listing Dig It (5) Let It Be (6) Maggie Mae (7) Let It Be is a song written by Paul McCartney (credited to Lennon/McCartney), released by The Beatles as a single in March 1970 and later the same year as the title track of their... The White Album, see The Beatles (album). ... {{Infobox musical artist | Name = | Img = SwitchfootConcert1. ... Imogen Heap (IPA: [1]) (born December 9, 1977) is a Grammy-nominated English singer-songwriter from Essex, most famous for her work as part of Frou Frou and for her 2005 solo record Speak for Yourself. ... This article is about the band Green Day. ... The Ramones (L-R, Johnny, Tommy, Joey, Dee Dee) on the cover of their debut self-titled album (1976), cementing their place at the dawn of the punk movement. ... For other uses, see Offspring (disambiguation). ... For other uses, see Offspring (disambiguation). ... For other uses, see Offspring (disambiguation). ... Linkin Park is a rock band from Agoura Hills, California. ... 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Sum 41 is a Canadian Rock band from Ajax, Ontario. ... Please note, the cranberries are not actual cranberries. ... Eagle-Eye Lanoo Cherry (born 7 May 1971, in Stockholm, Sweden) is an American-Swedish musician. ... Anberlin is an alternative rock band hailing from central Florida that was formed in 2002. ... The Smashing Pumpkins (circa 1995) left to right: James Iha, DArcy, Billy Corgan and Jimmy Chamberlin. ... Small Faces album cover Faces were an early 1970s rock band formed in 1969 from the ashes of The Small Faces after Steve Marriott left to form Humble Pie; new members Ron Wood (guitar) and Rod Stewart (vocals) (both from The Jeff Beck Group) joined Ronnie Lane (bass), Ian McLagan... The White Album, see The Beatles (album). ... Generally speaking, a diminished chord is a chord which has a diminished fifth in it. ... Lynyrd Skynyrd, 1973 Lynyrd Skynyrd is an American Southern rock band, described by All Music Guides Stephen Thomas Erlewine as the definitive Southern rock band, fusing the overdriven power of blues-rock with a rebellious, Southern image and a hard rock swagger. ... George Ivan Morrison OBE (generally known as Van Morrison) (born August 31, 1945) is a singer-songwriter from Belfast, Northern Ireland. ... The Beatles appeared on The Ed Sullivan Show in 1964 as part of their first tour of the United States, promoting their first hit single there, I Want To Hold Your Hand. ... “Rolling Stones” redirects here. ... Bachman-Turner Overdrive (BTO) is a Canadian rock group from Winnipeg, Manitoba that enjoyed a string of hit albums and singles in the 1970s. ... 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The US edition of The Animals self-titled debut album. ... Blue Öyster Cult is a psychedelic/heavy metal band probably best known for their 1976 single (Dont Fear) The Reaper from Agents Of Fortune, 1981 single Burning For You from Fire of Unknown Origin, and appearing on the Heavy Metal movie soundtrack with Veteran of the Psychic Wars which...

Rewrite rules

Steedman (1984) has proposed a set of recursive "rewrite rules" which generate all well-formed transformations of jazz, basic I-IV-I-V-I twelve bar blues chord sequences, and, slightly modified, non-twelve-bar blues I-IV-V sequences ("Rhythm changes"). It has been suggested that this article or section be merged with Generative linguistics. ... The term well-formed, when used by itself, can refer to: A formula in logic: see WFF The way in which an HTML tag has been used in web page design: see well-formed tag This is a disambiguation page — a navigational aid which lists other pages that might... In music, a transformation consists of any operation or process that a composer or performer may apply to a musical variable (usually a set or tone row in twelve tone music). ... In jazz, rhythm changes are a modified form of the chord progression of George Gershwins song I Got Rhythm, which form the basis of countless (usually uptempo) jazz compositions. ...


The original progression may be notated as follows (typical 12-bar blues): (Redirected from 12 bar blues) Twelve bar blues is a typical blues chord progression, taking twelve 4/4 bars to the verse. ...

 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 I/ I/ I/ I// IV/IV/ I/ I// V/ V/ I/ I 

Where the numbers on the top line indicate each bar, one slash indicating a bar line and two indicating a phrase marking, and the roman numerals indicating the chord function. Important transformations include

  • replacement or substitution of a chord by its dominant or subdominant:
 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 I/IV/I/I7//IV/VII7/III7/VI7//II7/V7/I/I// 
  • use of chromatic passing chords:
 ...7 8 9... ...III7/bIII7/II7... 
  • and chord alterations such as minor chords, diminished sevenths, etc.

Sequences by fourth, rather than fifth, include Jimi Hendrix's version of "Hey Joe" and Deep Purple's "Hush":

 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 bVi, bIII/bVII, IV/I/I//bVI, bIII/bVII, IV/I/I//bVI, bIII/bVII, IV/I/I// 

These often result in Aeolian harmony and lack perfect cadences (V-I). Middleton (1990, p.198) suggests that both modal and fourth-oriented structures, rather than being "distortions or surface transformations of Schenker's favoured V-I kernel, are more likely branches of a deeper principle, that of tonic/not-tonic differentiation." Aeolian harmony (Björnberg 1985) is harmony or chord progression created from chords of the Aeolian mode: Im, bIII, IVm, Vm, bVI, and bVII. There are common subsets including: Im-bVII-bVI, Im-IVm-Vm, and blues minor pentatonic derived chord sequences such as I-bIII-IV, I-IV, bVII... In Western musical theory a cadence (Latin cadentia, a falling) is a particular series of intervals (a caesura) or chords that ends a phrase, section, or piece of music. ...


Sources

  • Middleton, Richard (1990/2002). "Studying Popular Music". Philadelphia: Open University Press. ISBN 0-335-15275-9.
  • Steedman M.J., "A Generative Grammar for Jazz Chord Sequences", Music Perception 2 (1) (1984) 52-77.

See also

The passamezzo moderno (modern half step) was one of the most popular harmonic formulae in the Renaissance period, divides into two complementary strains thus: I|IV|I|V||I|IV|I-V|I|| (Middleton 1990, p. ... A three-chord song is a song whose music is built around three chords that are played in a certain sequence. ... Tonality is a system of writing music according to certain hierarchical pitch relationships around a key center or tonic. ...

External links

  • Google spreadsheet [1] of hundreds of 3 chord songs
  • Guitarz Forever's Three Chord Progressions For Guitar website
  • Tom Sutcliffe's Chord Progressions in Tonal Music explains how chord progressions work in relation to musical phrases
  • Harmony.org.uk explains the use of modal harmony in popular music and its origins
  • Hot Fret's Chord Progression Generator a useful tool for building chord progressions.

  Results from FactBites:
 
Chord Progression Glossary (4402 words)
Chord names identified by the note which is the root of the chord where this note is described by its alphabetic name.
Polarisation of chord progressions can be shown to increase considerably once non-functional chords (passing chords, appoggiatura chords, auxiliary chords) are eliminated from the analysis thus supporting the idea that these types of chords are non-structural in nature.
The chord on the first degree of the scale), II the supertonic chord (the chord on the second degree of the scale) and V the dominant (the chord on the fifth degree of the scale).
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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