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I've been listening to Persona 4 soundtrack by Shoji Meguro recently, and soon got hooked on a song called "Your Affection". It's a J-pop song whose catchy chorus intrigued me with a seemingly uncommon chord progression. (But given that I'm pretty much an amateur music lover who mostly listens to pop songs with a single I-IV-vi-V progression throughout, this might be biased haha).

According to this website (https://www.hooktheory.com/theorytab/view/shoji-meguro/persona-4---your-affection), the song is in B major, and the chord progression is:

iim7 - I6 - vim7 - V43/IV

iim7 - viim7b5-V7/vi - vim7 - V43/IV

iim7 - I6 - IVmaj7 - iii

iim7 - V7 - I - I

I googled the progression in each phrase without much finding. In general, I'm interested in if this is some variation of a popular progression (it gives me a lot of VI-I and II-V-I cadence vibe though), how the chords work together, and how they fit into the melodies.

In my limited understanding, The only thing obvious are the II-V-I cadences (viim7b5 - V7/vi - vim7 and iim7 - V7 - I) that make perfect sense, especially in the closing phrase. I also find it interesting that progressions like vim7 - V43/IV - iim7, with the G# - A (off the scale) - G# note playing, create nice tension/dissonance (and given the similarity between iim7 and IV, the resolution feels nice too), and that the comparison of the endings of each phrase, from V43/IV to iii to I, with the A - A# - B note chromatically ascending, gives a smooth resolution when we look at the bigger picture. Howver, I don't study music professionally, so I wonder if there are any underlying theories (that I miss) that summarize the techniques used here and explain why the progression sounds so amazing.

Thanks! ^_^

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    You should consider that most pop music doesn't have an "actual" key (at least, considering the aspects regarding the major/minor modes and their tonal center). They often "circle around" a tonal mode, and sometimes they don't even use its fundamental, if not for a very small amount of time. We are also often bound to the concepts of "chorus", which has a major (pun intended) role in the overall harmony, and from what I can hear this is clearly an example: in the "chorus" we're clearly in B+, but if there were no bass there (or no chorus), we could even consider being in Eb-. Jan 9 at 4:20
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    «They often "circle around" a tonal mode [...] if not for a very small amount of time» -> this is actually true for most of tonal music: the tonic harmony is actually used much less than others. The point is that a lot of pop music focuses on few harmonic functions (usually alternating between the same chords that are part of subdominant and dominant harmonic roles), which makes "statistically" different the actual role of the fundamental scale in the overall music piece. In the given example, we assume that it's in B+ because: 1. it's in the chorus; 2. the bass potentially changes the harmony Jan 9 at 4:29
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Listening to the recording, I think the analysis on the hook theory site is automated, which means it is good as a guide but it's not the only way to view this progression.

What you're hearing is probably the strong ascending bass movement against the static melody note. The melody sits on the root note (B, in B major here) and the bass moves scalewise from C# to D# to E. This is a cool sound and is widely used. Not quite the same, but the best example I can think of at the moment is "Here There and Everywhere" - anyway it's a strong bass movement.

The underlying theory for this specific part - a strong, moving bass against a relatively static melody is a good effect. The ii moving to I6 also creates a nice counterpoint as the melody stays the same, the bass rises and the middle voices drop. This is called voice leading and is something you can study in texts on counterpoint.

The other interesting progression is bars 5 and 6. IIm, IIm with the seventh in the bass, then a minor ii-V-I into chord VI. This is common in many jazz progressions too (e.g. The Days of Wine and Roses).

To me it seems to be all functional harmony in terms of chords - my advice would be to treat automated analysis tools like hook theory as a good starting point, but then try to perform your own analysis too to see what makes the most logical sense. The chords progressions used here are common in jazz standards, so learning a few of those would also be a good idea. I recommend John Elliot's "Insights in Jazz" for this.

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