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So I have a chord progression in the key of G like

E7 D7/F# E7/G# Am

I know there's an element of tonicization here but explain the F# in between please? What am I missing? Thanks

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This is simply an A minor progression. The A Melodic Minor scale is:

A B C D E F# G# A

So, seeing a progression of:

E G# B D - E7

F# A C D - D7/F#

G# B D E - E7/G#

A C E A - Am

or whatever the exact voicings may be, is very understandable and common. Whether or not the piece modulated from G Major to A Minor, I could not say.

  • Don't think so though. Seeing as secondary dominants apply here, it is an A major progression: A B C# D E F# G# I do know that the norm is, if your target is Am, you can choose either of these: E to Am E7 to Am E/G# to Am E7/G# to Am Just don't get the theory why the F# in between. – tjvg1991 Dec 14 '17 at 1:39
  • @tjvg1991 I am not sure why you are saying that it is an A Major progression when the defining note of the A Major triad is missing (C#) and the A Major chord is missing. Either way, the F# is the 6th degree of the A Melodic Minor scale, as noted here: basicmusictheory.com/a-melodic-minor-scale – DougRisk Dec 14 '17 at 19:21
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If this is in the Key of G the D7 chord is the V (fifth) chord. D7/F# means that you are playing F# in the bass of the D7 chord. F# is the 3rd of the chord, and the 7th in the key of G (i.e. it is diatonic to the key). hope that helps.

  • I get that. Why I don't get is why the F# when transitioning from E to Am. – tjvg1991 Dec 14 '17 at 1:45
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    There are two things going on here. The chords and the bass line. The chords are E7 D7 E7 Am. The bass line is just an ascending line - E F# G# A. The composer could have just given the chords but wanted to specify the ascending bass line so it is given with the chords. The F# is the 3rd of the D7 chord and the composer wants that chord played with the 3rd in the base to get the ascending bass line. This will give a very different feel than having all roots in the bass. Hope that helps. – b3ko Dec 14 '17 at 2:49

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