25

This is a very common concept known as the Neapolitan chord. In short, the Neapolitan chord is typically a major chord built on the lowered second scale degree; you'll occasionally see/hear it called the ♭II. It's also commonly in first inversion, so you'll also occasionally hear it called the "Neapolitan six(th)," the "six" indicating the figured bass ...


9

Root progression by descending third like I vi IV ii is a standard thing in classical and pop music. I think you should not consider it a retrogression. Technically harmonic retrogression means not following the functional flow of pre-dominant, dominant, tonic. The descending thirds progression is all pre-dominant in that sense. If it continues to a dominant,...


9

The "Neapolitan chord" answer deserves to be the accepted answer, but I'd like to add another use for Bb in Amin. The bII can be used as a tritone substitution for the V, and particularly the V7. In Amin, for example, E7 resolves to Amin (or Amaj, but here Amin) basically because E7 has G# and D, but Bb7 also has Ab and D (assuming G# and Ab are the same ...


6

Another angle to approach this from: If you really want to play a certain chord change, say I-IV, but you find it too "slow" or plain, perhaps the key lies not in more complicated harmony, but in better arrangement. I assume you have your own preferences that lead you to that particular chord change. If you feel something is too slow or plain, try adding a ...


2

There's plenty of things that can be done (and ii goes to V/v pretty well without any intermediate transitions and is a very common progression in jazz), which also kind of depend on whether the piece is in major or minor. These are some of the more "complex" progressions I use: Major: ii → vii° → iii → (vi) → IV → V iii can be followed by ii, with the ...


2

A few historical tidbits on European music, since that seems to be partly what the question is after. First, there's a lot of misunderstanding about modes and how they were used in medieval music. Prior to the 16th century, the modes we call Dorian, Hypodorian, Phrygian, etc. were almost exclusively used to classify chant melodies which were monophonic, ...


2

The chord sequence C - Bb - F (or variations on it) is common in modal music where the scale more often uses the minor 7th. It's also a frequent element of rock music, for example in the song Can't get enough of your love. The relative major/minor relationship between C major and A minor should be clear, of course.


1

In addition to the other answers, there is a more general concept of full tone and semitone chord movement in chord changes in general. This is frequently employed as a major triad or one of its inversions. Often, the bass note sometimes is and sometimes is not a part of the harmonic triad. You also often see the inverse of this, where only the base note ...


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).


1

Here is my 2 cents on this topic after some research (serendipitous research in a sense). Perhaps nowhere in Western music is there such a thing as Dorian #7. However, in Carnatic music there are modes that are equivalent to the Western modes with raised 7ths (more correctly, major 7ths). To understand this better would require a deep excursion into ...


1

Bach often harmonized chorale melodies that are in the Phrygian mode in the relative minor key, ending on the dominant. An example is the passion chorale (usually sung in English with the words "O Sacred Head Now Wounded"; also sung by Simon and Garfunkel). The melody is in E Phrygian, but the harmonization may be analyzed as A minor ending on the dominant....


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