2

I have the progression

C G Am G D G 

then

C G A#sus2  E F G Am

So this is suppose to be in C major from what I know the D is a secondary dominant since it resolves to the G(I suppose), but the A#sus2 and the E major is strange to me. So whats the theory behind this and how to apply them?

  • 2
    @MatthewRead It's true that there aren't laws that dictate how chords can be used, but why do you think question is based on a premise that there are? He states some terminology that describes use of the D - isn't it fair to assume that he wants to know some terminology that could be used to describe the A#sus2 - E? (I do think the question could be clearer - e.g. if it included notation, or a link to a recording - but putting on hold as opinion-based doesn't seem to put us on a path gaining to that clarification) – topo morto May 27 '17 at 7:13
  • 1
    That A#sus 2 (probably better called Bbsus2) could be Fsus4, which brings it back into the 'key'. – Tim May 27 '17 at 11:04
  • 1
    @MatthewRead - there are no laws; the OP is asking about theory, of which there's plenty. – Tim May 27 '17 at 11:06
  • 1
    @MatthewRead Sorry for the inconvenience....what I wanted to know that if there's chord borrowing from a parallel mode or using secondary dominants...to what can we relate the A#sus2 or the E ? – Jaafar Jumaa May 27 '17 at 17:54
  • 2
    Though... if you ask specifically about ♭Ⅶ → Ⅲ... then this is not quite a duplicate. – leftaroundabout May 27 '17 at 23:41
5

These two chords are Bb (bVII) and E (V/vi) in C major, so on the surface that doesn't make much sense, but let's take a detour:

The Neapolitan is the major chord at the bII position in a key, and it's a predominant chord that resolves to the dominant (V). This N - V resolution is very common in minor key classic music. E.g in E minor you might hear F/A - B7 - Em. The verse of this Schoolhouse Rock tune is i - N - V - i.

The relative minor of C is A minor, and it turns out, Bb and E is a fine N - V resolution in A minor! Now in both A minor and C major the E would typically resolve to Am, but V to bVI (E to F) is a very common deceptive cadence.

In general, squeezing in progressions from the relative minor (or other nearby keys) is a great way to spice up major key music.

  • That's a great observation, didn't occur to me! – leftaroundabout May 27 '17 at 23:44
  • +1 This is exactly it, Steve! I wonder if you'd be interested in fleshing out this answer a little bit to make it more clear? Showing exactly what the Neapolitan and dominant are, and when they're "in" what key? – Richard May 28 '17 at 0:10
  • There's something in this, although I don't think it addresses the question fully. The V/vi is all very well, but usually a secondary is followed by the target; not seeing that till 3 chords later. – Tim May 28 '17 at 9:59
  • I prefer to think of it as a standard modal 'V--VI--VII--I' following the Neapolitan. – Richard May 28 '17 at 13:03
  • @Richard See if my edit is an improvement – Steve Clay May 29 '17 at 22:49

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.