Chord progression where tonic chord does not appear at all
The trick is in determining what the tonic (or implied tonic) is.
The traditional way to define the tonic is with dominant harmony (
V I.) You could have a phrase that doesn't actually use a tonic chord, but if it ends with a convincing half cadence on the dominant, the tonic will be implied. Ex.
vi IV ii V.
If you want the ambiguity of no tonic within a diatonic context (which is what
Em7 F#m7 A A7 A6 Gmaj7 is, key signature of three sharps), then just play diatonic chords but avoid
A super common way to do that in a pop style is a vamp between relative major/minor, like
C. From those chords alone you can't tell which is tonic. Rhythm and melody could establish one of the other as "home" but strictly speaking the chords only can't. It could be
vi I or
Take this common progression
D A Bm G - the Axis of Awesome - it could be nominally labelled
I V vi IV, but it actually lacks a descending fifth progression (
V I) and so harmonically it doesn't strongly define a tonic/dominant relationship. You could pick any of those four chords and treat it as home.
Progressions like this lots of repetition - a groove - because they don't contain a progression to form a final cadence. You could say it avoids functional harmony and frees you up to put chords it just about any order you like.
So, I would say "yes, it happens alot." Avoiding
V I patterns is a device to eschew a clear tonic.