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I watched a video lesson on the Floyd Cramer style and the teacher said that resolutions of C7-G (I7-V) is no good. We have to use resolutions of C7-F (I7-IV). Why would that be?

It was supposed to be a common thing in at least modern music. As far as I know a chord progression of I7-V would be ok. This is all about resolutions and not progressions.

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  • Whether or not it's "good" is entirely dependent on context and artistic intent. C7-G could be considered a deceptive cadence. Also, your roman numerals are incorrect. In the key of "G", C7-G would be IV7-I. In F, V7-I. Jul 10, 2015 at 22:21

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The reason why C7-F (I7-IV) sounds good, is because the C7 is the V7 of F. So, the C7-F wouldn't exactly be I7-V, but V7-I in F.

The reason C7-F might not sound that good is the above. The C7 has E, which is the leading tone that leads to F. The ear wants to go there. But if you like the sound of C7-G, there is no law against it. It is an unexpected resolution.

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  • In addition to the leading tone, you need to remember the role of the 7th. The 7th always wants to lead downwards. So, the Bb would want to lead to "A", the third of F major. Moving chromatically up to "B" would be an interesting move. Jul 10, 2015 at 22:22
  • @jjmusicnotes we should point out the role you mentioned is the role of the minor 7th. The major 7th could go both up and down. Jul 10, 2015 at 22:38
  • Yes absolutely - apologies; I thought it was evident given the chord spelling. It's good to be careful. Jul 11, 2015 at 0:53
  • "The reason C7-F might not sound that good is the above." Is that supposed to read "C7-G?"
    – Bladewood
    Jan 19, 2020 at 2:41
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When you talk about resolutions, you always have to look at how the notes move. Let's first look at C7 to F which can be looked at as I7 to IV, but most people would be more tempted to look at is as a tonic-dominant relationship (V7 to I).

 
C  -> C or G if root
E  -> F
G  -> F or A
Bb -> A

There are certain features about this that are very desirable. First off, the tritone between E and Bb resolves inward to a 3rd going to F and A respectively with the 7th resolving downward. The C is a common tone in both chords which is always good for resolution and voice leading purposes. Last but not least, the E resolves upward in a leading tone like manner, giving a strong pull to F as tonic and completing the resolution and making F sound very much like it belongs as the next note and feels like the "home" chord.

Now let's look at C7 to G:

 
C  -> D, B, or G if root
E  -> D
G  -> G
Bb -> B

This one has some of the features as the other, but there are very important distinctions. There is a common tone between the two chords, and the tritone also resolves into a consonant interval, but the seventh resolves upward chromatically which is rather odd and doesn't really fit with the idea of resolution. Also we do not have the same leading tone resolution as we did in the previous two chords.


In conclusion, we can say for sure that C7 to F is has a stronger resolution than C7 to G, but that doesn't necessarily mean it is "bad". In fact in the standard 12 bar blues both C7 to F7 and C7 to G7 is used for an effect that make blues rather distinctive, just you would not feel the C7 to G7 as a very strong resolution, but it doesn't have to be. Just like with anything else in music listen, learn, and realize how and when to use each.

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  • don't you think there is a difference between chord resolutions and chord progressions? In the 12 bar blues form you mentioned we have chord progressions. That's how I understand it.
    – user20754
    Jul 12, 2015 at 21:13
  • @Hank every time you change chords there is some kind of resolution whether it's strong or weak. They are not the same, but you can't have one without the other and chord professions are typically how you discuss resolutions.
    – Dom
    Jul 12, 2015 at 21:19
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I7 - V is not functional, not necessarily "bad". Who's to tell you what is good and bad? 7ths are introduced to create greater demand for resolution (because of the augmented 4th between the 3 & 7 of the chord). Technically speaking, I7 does not exist; it is V7/IV i.e. it is the dominant of IV. In tonal music, it is all about function and voice leading.

The "I7" may be followed by a viio7/ii (#Idim7) for instance. In this case, voice leading is the primary consideration. The "I7" is merely preparation for the more dissonant diminished seventh. The "I7" forfeits its function and the viio7/ii becomes the functional chord (assuming it leads to ii).

In popular music, anything goes, consequently there is little to gain from trying to make sense of "rules". Do whatever you like the sound of.

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