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I've started listening to a specific genre of music which has its roots in Japanese Future Funk. In a lot of these songs I'm listening to, there seems to be a very common chord progression during the break in the middle of the song. I personally think this progression sounds very good, and as a music creator of sorts myself, I want to learn to construct these chords. The problem arises in when I can't seem to figure out the chords or even the notes that make them up. I can get the top and bottom notes, but I can't hear out the middle notes.

My question is does someone know this chord progression? Could you explain how these chords are constructed, and is there a common name for it?

I've provided examples below, but in case a link goes dead, the progression seems to be some sort of 7th progression with the bass and top note stepping down in half steps.

Examples:

  • Learn to Fly - FKJ

  • Porter Robinson - Sad Machine

    at 1:16

There are more examples, but these are what I can remember!

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    In the FJK track, you mean at about 1:28? – topo morto Apr 2 '18 at 21:03
  • Yep! @topo morto – duper51 Apr 2 '18 at 22:38
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We call this technique planing.

Typically in tonal music, chords move fourths, fifths, and other skips. Only in a few instances do chords move by step, and very rarely do chords move by minor second. Furthermore, these chords are often different qualities.

But around the turn of the twentieth century, composers starting moving a single chord quality up and down by step, and we call this technique planing.

As far as I can hear, in the top example, the composer just planes minor seventh chords:

enter image description here

It begins with a Cm7, then progresses through a C♭m7 (=Bm7), B♭m7, and then a D♭/E♭ to briefly switch to the subdominant A♭.

The second example is similar.

We could also explain this in tonal ways: the C♭m7 is really similar to an augmented sixth chord that then proceeds to a dominant (the B♭m7), but typically a blatant move by semitone using the same quality chord is just understood as planing.

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