im quite new in music theory and i really dont understand what he is doing here. is he changing the key after every chord? he talks about c minor being the root note. after that he switches to c# which would be off the key? what kind of chord progession is this? does it have a name? i have a really hard time figuring out what is happening here :( it sounds so good tho!

thanks for helping!

2 Answers 2


He is doing this:

Cm Db => Fm Gb => Bbm Cb => Ebm Fb => ...

What I hear is a continuous modulation up in perfect fourths. The chords Cm Db Fm can be heard in the key of F minor. The F minor chord is then re-interpreted as the Vm chord of the next key (Bbm) etc. So what you have is

Fm:  Cm Db Fm
Bbm:       Fm Gb Bbm
Ebm:             Bbm Cb Ebm

@MattL already pointed out the three chord pattern.

With Roman numerals the basic harmonic template is v VI i. That's a minor v. The chords are diatonic, but technically non-functional. I only mention this as a kind of progression. When chords are treated non-functionally you can use unconventional root progressions that aren't like familiar patterns such as ii V I, and they can sound pretty cool with a more drifting feel.

Then a harmonic pattern is repeat by transposing you can call it a harmonic sequence. Sequences can be either diatonic or chromatic. In this case the sequence is chromatic and shifts into different modes.

Instead of having a more common name like turnaround ii V I or substitution ii bII I you could call this kind of progression...

A diatonic, non-functional, sequential progression.

That is a mouthful, but it really does describe the kind of progression.

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