I am having trouble understanding a pop song verse progression that I came across.

Please see the following screenshot of the sheet music:

enter image description here

Here are the two main things I notice:

1) The first "phrase" (Am F F/E Am7 Cmaj7 Em) is harmonically more dense than the latter (Am F C Em); and

2) These are two different chord progressions played back to back in the same verse--yet they are not different sections.

I love the way it sounds and I am wondering if this has a name or if there is any theory that indicates how to construct such a chord progression. Do the nuances of the "first" progression have any harmonic function in terms of leading us to the "second"?

Any insight on this progression is appreciated!


1 Answer 1


I think these would be called passing chords. The first verse is Am F F/E Am7 Cmaj7 Em, and it contains Am F C Em. So I think the main progression would be Am F C Em, and the first verse is just adding a little and varying the harmonic rhythm to create more movement (i.e. by adding F/E and Am7 between the F and C chords).

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