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bVI-V-i-bIII

I discovered this progression various months ago when playing with a website that lets you make chord progressions (not one of those websites that create a progression randomly, a website where you make chord progressions), and after that I have noticed the progressions appear in some songs so I wondered if it had a name.

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It seems to start with the tail end of the Andalusian cadence, then resolving to the tonic, before continuing on to the bIII degree.

For instance we can loop this and then finally just end on the tonic.

bVI-V-i-bIII
bVI-V-i-bIII
bVI-V-i-i

That could be regarded as the bVI-V pickup or anacrusis, where the tune starts on the i tonic:

(bVI-V) i-bIII-bVI-V i-bIII-bVI-V i
pickup  ^ start of   ^ repeat     ^ end

It almost seems like a kind of variation on i-bVII-bVI-V, which is the Andalusian Cadence1. Does it have its own name?

The bVII is replaced by bIII, which gives it a rock/blues mood, but that Phrygian ending retains the Flamenco flavor.

i-bIII-bVI-V has come up in some questions on this site and is googleable.

The idea that this is an alteration of the Andalusian Cadence, has some support here which notes the possibility of a bIII chord substitution, with the bassline unchanged.

So that is to say if the original bass line (e.g. AGFE in A minor/E Phrygian) is prominently present, it meshes with this chord progression and emphasizes that relationship to the Andalusian.


  1. The Andalusian Cadence is also written IV-III-II-i, with respect to a Phrygian tonic, which makes sense in context of the musical culture and practice from which its name is derived.
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This is a modified ii-V and V-I progression.

bIII - bVI = modified ii-V in the key of bII
V-i = V-i in the tonic key

Thus, V/bII - V - i - II/bII.

There is no named progression ending on bIII.

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If the entire tune is based this progression (say, repeating over and over), it may be helpful to identify the tonic differently.

If the V is actually the tonic, then this is bIII - I - IV - bVI.

E.g. in A: C - A - D - F. Could be C - Am - Dm - F, and other possibilities. A bVI - I cadence could be added to target the A:

C C A A | D D F G | A ...

Now what is the name of that.

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  • Hello, sorry but I accidentally mispelled bVI as bVII, sorry for wasting your time but thanks for the answer lol
    – arcioko
    Jun 21 at 22:30
  • I see. You have like the tail end of an Andalusian cadence (bVI, V, I), then shooting off toward the bIII.
    – Kaz
    Jun 21 at 22:35
  • The Andalusian cadence is IV-III-II-i.
    – Aaron
    Jun 21 at 22:39
  • @Aaron Astute observation! But that formulation of it is expressed with regard to the Phrygian root that is being targeted; E.g. Am G F E. I'm using numbering w.r.t. Am. Anyway, that Wikipedia page covers it all.
    – Kaz
    Jun 21 at 23:01
  • That's fair — I've written about the same thing elsewhere on this SE — but that needs to be clarified in your post.
    – Aaron
    Jun 21 at 23:03

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