Sequences of chords, and the relationship of one chord to the next

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55
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10answers
2k views

How do professional accompanying musicians (seem to) figure out songs instantly?

Sometimes, when I'm watching any TV show which has a live hired band for accompanying and they have a musician guest, the host will ask for them to sing something on spot (that wasn't really planned), ...
40
votes
4answers
8k views

What are some chord substitutions for a I-IV-V blues progression?

I was watching a video of SRV and one of the things that really stood out was the fact that he seemed to have a different iteration of the I-IV-V turnaround - and made it look/sound effortless. Any ...
20
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3answers
3k views

What are some common jazz chord progressions?

What are some common progressions for Jazz improvisation? I have been playing with ii-V-I and variations -- what are some others? Is the answer here just to really dig through standards until I've ...
17
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4answers
8k views

How to turn any (pop) song into a jazz song?

Quite often there are pop songs wich get covered in a jazz style. These covers are seen from youtube to tv. Now I tried doing something like this, with for example Bad Day by Daniel Powter. It's ...
17
votes
1answer
659 views

Are there any machine-readable databases of chord progressions available?

I'm interested in doing some linguistics-inspired computational musicology on chord progressions and am wondering if there are any freely available databases of chord progressions. Obviously, I could ...
15
votes
4answers
915 views

Why do these progressions sound good?

I have always wondered why these progressions sound so exiting. I don't really know how the I-IV-things work, so I'll just write the chords. An explanation of what's really going on would be much ...
15
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3answers
754 views

How to algorithmically find a chord progression for an infinite arbitrary melody?

My question is primarily about this piano performance: ...
14
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3answers
2k views

How can I generate nice-sounding random chord progressions?

I'm trying to write a computer program to generate simple random chord progressions. Is there a way of ranking chords based on how nice they will sound after the previous ones? Any advice would be ...
13
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4answers
1k views

C#m in Am chord progression

I was listening to this song; ...
13
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1answer
200 views

Help me understand this progression

A friend showed me this progression: G7, F#m7b5, B7, Em7, A7, Dm7, G7, CMaj7, Cm7, Bm7, Bdim7, Am7, Ab7, Bm7, Bb7, Am7, Ab7 For the most part, I understand that at its heart it is built on a I vi ii ...
12
votes
5answers
970 views

Why is IV-iv-I an effective chord sequence in a major key?

An example of this is the song Nobody Home by Pink Floyd. The last line of the intro is, in a C major key: F Fm C % I think this sounds great, and in fact I often use such passages when ...
12
votes
6answers
931 views

How to improvise a walking bass line

When improvising or writing a walking bass line the bass note (usually the root of the chord) is played on the chord change, but how do you choose the other notes for a walking bass line? Is there a ...
12
votes
6answers
493 views

My ear is not very well trained - what can I look for as easy hints when trying to identify a ii-V-I progression in blues music?

I'm looking to learn how to better analyze music I am listening to, and I'm having problems identifying ii-V-I progressions, especially when they're the basis for improvisation. What are some hints or ...
11
votes
2answers
546 views

How to interpret a switch from Em (Aeolian) to Bm?

I'm self taught, so I know just a few things on scales and modes, some probably wrong. So the other day I was composing a new song. I believe it starts in E minor, as I was playing over the Chords Em ...
11
votes
1answer
289 views

What are some good/interesting ways to exit a circle of fifths section?

Circle of 5ths is in tons of chord progressions, sounds nice and 'easy', etc. But if you keep going on it the song can sound unreasonably predictable. What are some good ways to use a little bit of ...
10
votes
4answers
329 views

Guide-lines for creating a simple chord-progression?

I am working on a computer program that generates a simple melody, based on a simple chord progression of four chords taken from the 7 triads of the C Major scale. The program is also supposed to ...
9
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4answers
529 views

What is a secondary dominant chord?

What is a secondary dominant chord? What's the theory behind them? How are they used in composition?
9
votes
5answers
1k views

How to make songs with chords that don't belong in a scale?

I've always wondered how come there can be a chord progression with some chord that doesn't belong in the particular scale... Moreover, how can it be possible that this progression is in any key at ...
9
votes
4answers
802 views

How to interpret this chord notation?

How do you interpret this couple of notations? In Bar 2, Fm / Ab, what does the slash do? Do I play either chord or both? In addition, in Bar 3, what does the /9 mean?
9
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3answers
311 views

How would you describe F G A chord progression?

I like the sound of F G A chords progression on a guitar, three major bar chords. Do these chords fit any scale? Am with an added 3 in it? Does it make it a 6-7-1 progression? When I solo over this ...
9
votes
1answer
375 views

Is i-V a stronger progression than I-V?

I'm just starting to learn a little music theory (in connection with learning to play the ukelele), and I repeatedly see I-V as basically the strongest chord progression (in whatever sense "strongest" ...
9
votes
5answers
409 views

Looking for letter-based chord identification algorithms, and related literature

I'm searching for chord recognition algorithms that will assign a chord name(s) to a group of notes, and related literature. Sometimes known as reverse chord identification, where you feed notes to ...
8
votes
4answers
195 views

Can Imaj7(#5) resolve to I?

I am reconsidering the chord progression of a song I wrote. The problem is that the chord progression both begins and ends on a C chord; the first bar and the last two bars (out of sixteen bars) are C ...
8
votes
1answer
623 views

What is this called? Why is it allowed?

"Golden Train" by Justin Nozuka (YouTube link below) is in the key of Ab major. However he uses a Cb major chord throughout the song, which is not in the key of Ab major. It sounds good and works ...
8
votes
2answers
843 views

Why play out of scale notes as part of a chord?

So, I'm learning 'Stray Cat Strut' right now and came across something I'm not sure I understood. I have to say, I've only just begun to learn theory, so maybe that's why. Anyway, as far as I can ...
8
votes
4answers
1k views

Uses for augmented chords in composition

I've been studying for music theory for many years and I enjoy just writing little chord progressions and melodies to see what certain progressions sound like and how interesting I can make them. The ...
8
votes
3answers
684 views

Why does this key change work?

In the song 'Respect' by Aretha Franklin which is a fairly simple progression in Bb major the saxophone solo part of the song seems to make a key change to the key of Em. I don't understand why this ...
8
votes
2answers
3k views

Ic-V-I perfect cadence progression SATB part writing rules

I am studying Music at AS-level - we have to harmonise a soprano line (in any style we wish I believe) with the alto, tenor and bass parts. One possible perfect cadence I have been taught is the ...
8
votes
1answer
160 views

What is the theory behind a chord progression like E, Bm, C#, A#, G and B?

I was playing the chords from Pyramania by The Alan Parsons Project. In the verse from 0:17 the chords are E, Bm7, E, Bm7, C#, A#, G, B. I get the first four chords, E and Bm7 fit in the same scale. ...
8
votes
1answer
274 views

When was the deceptive cadence introduced?

Bach used the Deceptive Cadence as early as his Passacaglia and Fugue in C minor, BWV 582, which dates to the early 18th century. Are there earlier uses? A definitive answer may be impossible, but I ...
7
votes
2answers
173 views

Can any diminished chord be used as V anywhere?

I've been playing with diminished chords as 'V' in ii-V-1 progressions. I often use one of the three diminished chords in a ii-V-1 progressions - I sharp the 5th note of the scale and hang a ...
7
votes
2answers
272 views

In chord progressions, how can I refer to a chord that's out of the scale?

I'm training a music that is most on the G Major scale.. But then there's a B chord. As B is not on the G Major scale, how can I refer to it when I'm writing the chord progression? EDIT My guess is ...
7
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2answers
723 views

“Andalusian cadences”: How are they commonly heard?

The "Andalusian cadence" I-bVII-bVI-V is commonly heard as a repeated figure in Flamenco music as well as many pop songs, e.g. "Hit the Road, Jack": ...
7
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3answers
108 views

Minor subdominant in a major key

I was listening to the song "go all the way raspberries" in "Dark Shadows." I sorta figured out the song by ear on my guitar and I was a little confused. It is in the key of A and uses D minor. Here's ...
6
votes
6answers
532 views

Is there any theory to decide a set of plausible chords per measure where a whole melody of a song is given?

I know my question looks similar to many other questions. But, please be patient with me. I'm writing this question because I can't find any appropriate answer although I have searched for it for a ...
6
votes
2answers
1k views

What does it mean when progression is resolved?

I saw this text inside a very basic piano workbook in which I'm not sure what the author means by using "resolve". Progression #1: C-F-G-F-C NOTE: This 4 bar progression resolves back to C ...
6
votes
4answers
144 views

When to use different scale modes over chord progressions?

I know my major/pentatonic/blues scales pretty well, and I can apply it pretty fluently when playing over 1-4-5-min6 chord progressions, but I find that when I try to improvise over more ...
5
votes
2answers
312 views

How is 12-bar blues harmonically possible?

How is 12-bar blues harmonically possible? Cmaj scale doesn't really have a C7 - F7 - G7. Is it done by borrowing chords from other modes? There seems to be a C7 in C mixolydian, F7 in C dorian and G7 ...
5
votes
3answers
674 views

Nashville numbers in major vs minor keys

Some songs refer to their key as specifically major or minor, but others use both the major and relative minor as key centers, in an even enough proportion where it can be hard to say whether the I ...
5
votes
3answers
267 views

Composing a song in Cm with major chord substitutes

I am composing a song in Cm with a very basic chord progression of I-IV-I. So, normally, in Cm, that would be Cm7-Fm7-Cm7, but I am actually playing Cm7-F7-Cm7. First of all, why does this work? This ...
5
votes
2answers
847 views

What is this chord (spelled 2nd, 4th, 5th) and how is it used?

For the piano/composers: I compose music for the piano in my spare time, and one particular chord that has caught my attention (as one that I like a lot) is the D-F-G chord in C Major. I have seen ...
5
votes
5answers
625 views

How long should each chord in a chord progression be played?

For example I am making a 16 bar chord progression for a verse of a song and choose to use the I , IV , V chords of a major scale.. How can I put these chords in a nice rythm so they sound good and ...
5
votes
1answer
137 views

In jazz, what is a chord family?

In the jazz context, what is a chord family? How is the concept used in improvisation, chord substitution, and re-harmonization? Which are the families and their members? I've seen chords divided in ...
5
votes
1answer
323 views

Breakdown of Ray Charles' “swinganova” style?

In the liner notes to Ray Charles' collected country and western recordings, there is a section on how the popularity of bossa nova beats led him to come up with the more soul-accented version in his ...
5
votes
2answers
462 views

Composing chord progressions for samba

I know that there are questions on samba chords, samba rhythm, samba shapes and samba melody but, as far as I am aware, this site does not have a question about the tonality and harmony of samba ...
4
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1answer
348 views

What's so special about III ?

Take a C major scale, and pick each other note, starting from each note C-D-EF-G-A-BC-D-EF I: C E G = C ii: D F A = Dm iii: E G B ...
4
votes
4answers
245 views

How to analyze music outside of common practice harmony?

I'm familiar enough with common practice harmony, its rules and methods for diatonically harmonizing the scale, tonicizing scale degrees and modulating into new keys. But these tools seem to lose ...
4
votes
3answers
420 views

Musical Harmony: When to use more than three chords

I understand that I, IV, and V chords in both major and minor keys are common chords that make up a good progression. I understand that those 3 chords cover all the notes diatonic to the key that we ...
4
votes
4answers
403 views

I-IV-V blues progression

I'm currently learning a 12 bar blues rhythm and am getting confused by it. The solo is played over the A minor pentatonic scale. And the underlying chord progression is A - D - E. But isn't this ...
4
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5answers
52 views

Playing the Ukulele besides singing

I love the ukulele, and I just bought one. The problem is I cannot sing, and I don't really want to. It seems as though there are not a lot fingerpicking songs and most songs just have the chords. ...