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I've heard that there are old books with chord progression charts that tell you which chords are likely/plausible to come after a given chord. A music teacher said there are charts that can get quite large.

One example I know of is Walter Piston's Harmony book, but the chart in the early chapter was quite small, and very basic/diatonic.

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I'm not sure about an old chart that shows chord progressions. The ones you might be thinking of are mostly found in new textbooks, like this one from MusicTheory.net:

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But you may be interested in Schoenberg's "Chart of Regions" from his Structural Functions of Harmony:

enter image description here

Here's a smaller, minor version of the chart:

enter image description here

And here's a colorized version of the original, almost as a type of heatmap:

enter image description here


Keep in mind that the charts will change depending on how "old" you mean. If you're looking for a chart with Roman numerals, for instance, you won't get one until at least the 19th century, since it wasn't until Vogler and Weber came along ca. 1800 and began using Roman-numeral notation.


There are other types of geometrical structures that show relationships between chords, like the Tonnetz:

enter image description here

The triangles create triads; the bold triangle C E♭ G, for instance, is a C minor triad. But something like the Tonnetz focuses more on distance between chords than on actually creating harmonic progressions. But the Tonnetz does lead towards something we call neo-Riemannian theory, where the notion of progression (through "transformations" like P, L, and R) is something a bit different:

enter image description here

  • Cool, did Weber or Vogler have charts? – minusatwelfth Apr 22 '17 at 17:21
  • I know of at least one from Weber, but again it's less about progressions and more about relationships between keys (not chords). I'm not sure about Vogler. – Richard Apr 22 '17 at 17:25
  • What about neo-riemmanian theories? – minusatwelfth Apr 22 '17 at 18:29
  • Good question; a lot of neo-Riemannian theory is based on the Tonnetz at the bottom of my answer; I'll add more right now. – Richard Apr 22 '17 at 18:31
  • Awesome. Can I ask where that last chart, and first chart was from? – minusatwelfth Apr 22 '17 at 18:38

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