(Cmaj7 -> F#m7(9) -> B7(13) -> Em7 -> A7 -> Dm7 -> G7 -> Cmaj7)

I get the B-E-A-D-G-C part, it's just 2-5-1's. However, what's the logic behind Cmaj7-F#m7-B7? It's not tritone subs/backdoor progression, but it sounds so good! Any help will be very appreciated.

  • 2
    The F#m is also part of 2-5-1.
    – Tim
    Oct 25, 2020 at 13:39

4 Answers 4


If you understand the progression ii-V7-I and the principle of secondary dominants (e.g. D7 is dominant of the dominant=V7/V7, am7-D7=ii7-V7/V) then you will see the logic of a extended chain of (ii7-V7)-functions along the circle of fifths: dm-G7->C em-A7->D (dm) f#m-B7-> E (em)

(the particular chords can have any extensions of course)


If you see logic in the B-E-A-D-G-C part - each root being the dominant of the next - why is adding the dominant of B to the front of it a problem?

It's not a complete cycle of 5ths. That would be C-F-B♭-E♭-A♭-D♭-G♭/F♯-B-E-A-D-G-C.

Why does it sound good to jump straight from C to F♯? Mostly because of what happens afterwards. If you'd stuck on the F♯ it wouldn't have been BAD, but it wouldn't have been particularly functional. But the whole progression is supremely functional - you can't get much more functional than a 'cycle of 5ths' bass line!

This is a very common progression. Sometimes we soften the shock of the jump to F♯ by using the nearer-to-diatonic F♯m7♭5 chord.

It's also interesting to note that a ii-V-I progression is so strong that you can jump into one literally ANYWHERE. Which is how 'Giant Steps' gets away with it.


Key of C major Tonic Cmajor [Subdominant/Dominant/,tonic] of Eminor7 ( tonicization) The Emin7 begins a Tonic/ tonic / subdom/ dom/ tonic 3 6 2 5 1

Its a very vanilla progression ( but nice still)

The progression has tonicization of Eminor While existing in C major

If you take out the tonicization of Eminor7 you have a vanilla C major progression

Cmajor / Emin7/ Amin7/ Dmin7/ G7/ Cmaj7

( tonic/ tonic/ tonic/Subdom/ dom/ tonic)

  • Tonicization adds a exclamation point to a function.( where as modulation pulls to another area ) here is example in KEY of C major of tonicization. Fmaj7 is Subdominant function so ypu can tonicize to emphasis on the subdom with [ Gmin7/C7/Fmaj7] compared to plain Fmaj7 , another is Dmin7 thats a Subdominant in C major ypu can tonicization by ( Emin7b5/A7b9/Dmin7) instead of just plain Dmin7
    – MMJ2020
    Oct 29, 2020 at 15:16
  • Key of C major ex tonicization cmaj7 [ Dmin7/G7/Cmaj7] Dmin7 [ Emin7b5/A7b9/Dmin7] Emin7 [ F#min7b5/,B7b9/Emin7] Fmaj7 [ Gmin7/C7/Fmaj7] G7 [ Amin7/D7] Amin7 [ Bmin7b5/E7b9/Amin7] Bmin7b5 ( C#min7b5/F#7b9/Bmin7b5] to tonicize each chord in a Key means you never leave the key its just emphasizing the function of the chord like a exclamation point in a sentence does in English.
    – MMJ2020
    Oct 29, 2020 at 15:21

The complete cycle of fifths has six perfect fifths and one diminished fifth (or enharmonic equivalents). Starting with C-F# moves the diminished fifth from F-B to C-F#; it's a fairly common procedure.

  • Do you mean that during the F#m7 chord, the interval C-F# should fit in the picture somehow? I get that starting from the Cmaj7 chord we can assume it sounds like we're "in C major" and so B-F is OK, but I don't understand what you're saying about C-F#. To me it sounds like the F#m7 chord could be extended to F#m11 with a B as the 11th and C# as 5th, but a C note is out of the question there. Oct 25, 2020 at 20:35
  • The normal bass line is C-F-B-E-A-D-G-C (root progression though all chords in root position sound good.) The signal that it's in C is the D-A-G bass; sometimes the D is associated with a D-minor chord; the quality of the chords is subordinate to the root movement. The point is that one root change has to be a diminished fifth (perhaps implemented as an augmented fourth), otherwise, one would have a 12-note pattern of roots with essentially equal tonal standing. The tritone shortcuts down to 7 notes. See Rogers handout on harmonic sequences (on the net.)
    – ttw
    Oct 25, 2020 at 21:28
  • This isn't a complete cycle, just half of one. See my answer.
    – Laurence
    Oct 29, 2020 at 15:27

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