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Thread: How would you treat this chord progression?

  1. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by cmp View Post
    The whole song is in Bm key from the beginning to the end. I've created and uploaded an example here:
    https://soundcloud.com/user-20088901/example
    (Please don't consider the quality of the recording or the playing because I'm just experimenting and everything is temporary)
    I arranged the track in a modern rock/metal style. The bridge starts at 0:14
    From 0:14 the progression is:
    G Maj | G Maj | b min | b min DMaj-AMaj/C# | G Maj | G Maj | b min | b min
    G Maj | G Maj | b min | b min DMaj-AMaj/C# | C Maj | C Maj | B7 | D7+/Bb
    I use a B natural minor scale throughout the track and until the C Maj chord, that I consider a Neapolitan bIIMaj and where in this case I use a Dmixo scale. The B7 is to my ears a V7/ii in D Mixo, so I find interesting the use of the Eminor harmonic scale. Final chord before the refrain is a D7+/Bb, where maybe a B double harmonic should sound interesting (but any advice is appreciated)
    I seems to me the tonal center of the song is B minor so its in the key of B minor. I dont think your playing a true B minor chord but more power chords with the emphasis of the B minor scale making the song in the B minor key(take in to account you have bassline can you let us know what you playing there?). Your D7aug with the Bb in the bass How you would anylaze that in figured bass, it sounds like your modulating to me. Also the B7 would be a V7/iv i the key of B harmonic minor. iv in bminor is e minor, so is you use a harmonic minor scale in the key of e minor your V you be major making it a V7/iv. Your C major chord dose seem like a Neapolitan chord (though this is new to me) but this seems like a mode change. You temporarily in B phyrgian mode so I would say your using the B phyrigian scale, which i identical to the D mixolydian scale, but the tonal center is around D. Your Tonal center is in B and you use a Phrygian II indicating your in phyrgian mode. Basically you just play a bII in any key and your borrowing from phyrgian mode, you dont have to play inversion.
    Last edited by QuintinPenola; Jan-06-2018 at 20:11.

  2. #17
    Senior Member EdwardBast's Avatar
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    No worries, I'm just trying to figure out where our thinking diverges. You seem to be starting with the premise that a sequence of chord symbols necessarily defines it within a given key. Well it might, but it makes a big difference whether the chord symbols represent complete triads as opposed to, for example, power chords. And it makes a big difference whether the voice-leading allows parallel fifths or whether it conforms to the independence of voices one expects in jazz or classical. And it makes a big difference whether one is adding other lines in a specific key. Three power chords in succession does not necessarily represent a chord progression of any kind. It often just creates a melodic line doubled at the fifth.

    Anyway, the point is that it helps to give more context when asking a question. If the progression is intended for a specific style, like metal, a style which carries its own norms for voice-leading and chord spelling, it is important to say that. Otherwise readers might take the question at face value and give you irrelevant readings. Like I did.
    Last edited by EdwardBast; Jan-06-2018 at 21:31.

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  4. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by QuintinPenola View Post
    I seems to me the tonal center of the song is B minor so its in the key of B minor. I dont think your playing a true B minor chord but more power chords with the emphasis of the B minor scale making the song in the B minor key(take in to account you have bassline can you let us know what you playing there?). Your D7aug with the Bb in the bass How you would anylaze that in figured bass, it sounds like your modulating to me. Also the B7 would be a V7/iv i the key of B harmonic minor. iv in bminor is e minor, so is you use a harmonic minor scale in the key of e minor your V you be major making it a V7/iv. Your C major chord dose seem like a Neapolitan chord (though this is new to me) but this seems like a mode change. You temporarily in B phyrgian mode so I would say your using the B phyrigian scale, which i identical to the D mixolydian scale, but the tonal center is around D. Your Tonal center is in B and you use a Phrygian II indicating your in phyrgian mode. Basically you just play a bII in any key and your borrowing from phyrgian mode, you dont have to play inversion.
    Yes, I we agree in most parts: our only divergence is the function of the B7 that I named as a v7/v in Gmajor (because the final D7 chord seems to modulate on Gmaj) while it can also be a V7/iv in Bmin if we consider that the whole track in that key. But that's only a detail
    Also, the Neapolitan chord is nothing else that a phrygian II
    I guess that the mystery has been solved

  5. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by EdwardBast View Post
    No worries, I'm just trying to figure out where our thinking diverges. You seem to be starting with the premise that a sequence of chord symbols necessarily defines it within a given key. Well it might, but it makes a big difference whether the chord symbols represent complete triads as opposed to, for example, power chords. And it makes a big difference whether the voice-leading allows parallel fifths or whether it conforms to the independence of voices one expects in jazz or classical. And it makes a big difference whether one is adding other lines in a specific key. Three power chords in succession does not necessarily represent a chord progression of any kind. It often just creates a melodic line doubled at the fifth.

    Anyway, the point is that it helps to give more context when asking a question. If the progression is intended for a specific style, like metal, a style which carries its own norms for voice-leading and chord spelling, it is important to say that. Otherwise readers might take the question at face value and give you irrelevant readings. Like I did.
    Ok, I'll try to give more information next time, even if very often I just start with just some chords and build the rest only after I fully understand their function in the musical context

  6. #20
    Senior Member EdwardBast's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cmp View Post
    Ok, I'll try to give more information next time, even if very often I just start with just some chords and build the rest only after I fully understand their function in the musical context
    Yes, but what you should bear in mind is that what you are doing is not "fully understanding" their function, you are making choices to define their function. There is not one right solution, some essence waiting to be understood, there are several possibilities you are choosing among. To "understand their function in the musical context" there has to actually be a context. You create that context by your choices and it could go wildly different ways. In short, you thought you were asking a music theory question, but you were actually asking a musical composition question.
    Last edited by EdwardBast; Jan-07-2018 at 16:49.

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  7. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by cmp View Post
    Yes, I we agree in most parts: our only divergence is the function of the B7 that I named as a v7/v in Gmajor (because the final D7 chord seems to modulate on Gmaj) while it can also be a V7/iv in Bmin if we consider that the whole track in that key. But that's only a detail
    Also, the Neapolitan chord is nothing else that a phrygian II
    I guess that the mystery has been solved
    Hmmm th would make sense to me if in G mjor because your resoving to the D7 chord. I belive you have to reslove secondary dominats back to V in the original key, but why is it we cant break this rule. I'd have to hear happens after the B7/D7 to fully see if your modulating, but to my ear it sound like you changed key completely, I would have to say now your playing a V7/VI in the key of b minor, I belive you can play 2 secondary dominats simultaneously back to back, but this would mean you next chord would have to be an F chords, which im sure isnt the case. seems like your breaking rules,

  8. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by QuintinPenola View Post
    Hmmm th would make sense to me if in G mjor because your resoving to the D7 chord. I belive you have to reslove secondary dominats back to V in the original key, but why is it we cant break this rule. I'd have to hear happens after the B7/D7 to fully see if your modulating, but to my ear it sound like you changed key completely, I would have to say now your playing a V7/VI in the key of b minor, I belive you can play 2 secondary dominats simultaneously back to back, but this would mean you next chord would have to be an F chords, which im sure isnt the case. seems like your breaking rules,
    After the B7 and D7+ chord the track goes back to a Gmaj chord, the first chord in the refrain, that is in Bmin natural/harmonic. So, no modulation.
    If I understand correctly, you are saying that I'm breaking the rules because the B7 chord (let's say the secondary dominant V7/iv in B phrygian) should resolve to an emin chord before going to D7+?
    In other words, the example progression (second line) should be:

    G Maj | G Maj | b min | b min DMaj-AMaj/C# | C Maj | C Maj | B7 | Emin D7+/Bb

    Is that what you mean?
    Well, in my original example, B7 was intended to resolve deceptively to another dominant chord.
    Anyway I am curious to try adding the Emin as a resolution to B7 and see how it sounds

  9. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by cmp View Post
    After the B7 and D7+ chord the track goes back to a Gmaj chord, the first chord in the refrain, that is in Bmin natural/harmonic. So, no modulation.
    If I understand correctly, you are saying that I'm breaking the rules because the B7 chord (let's say the secondary dominant V7/iv in B phrygian) should resolve to an emin chord before going to D7+?
    In other words, the example progression (second line) should be:

    G Maj | G Maj | b min | b min DMaj-AMaj/C# | C Maj | C Maj | B7 | Emin D7+/Bb

    Is that what you mean?
    Well, in my original example, B7 was intended to resolve deceptively to another dominant chord.
    Anyway I am curious to try adding the Emin as a resolution to B7 and see how it sounds
    Your B7 chord is a V7/iv i B minor(harmonic minor or B phrygian is fine) so you not breaking any rules its correct. But instead of resloving to the iv (thanks for correcting me) you play another secondary dominant.I think this is ok and checks out. Your V7/VI in b minor also resloves to VI Gmajor so that is resolving correctly acording too classical theory. You playing an Augments D7 chord so mabey that is breaking the rules Ive never got to that point? but its stll a dominat chord so i guess your theory checks out.
    Last edited by QuintinPenola; Jan-07-2018 at 22:55.

  10. #24
    Senior Member philoctetes's Avatar
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    G major is the Phrygian mode of B. Nothing distant there, I can play B minor on a G diatonic harmonica... [retreating back to cave, after edits, dragging foot, retrieving more coffee]
    Last edited by philoctetes; Jan-08-2018 at 17:49.

  11. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by cmp View Post
    Generally I just look at the chords quality and try to find the relationship between them, trying to find each one's function in the musical context.
    I honestly never used a voice leading approach in functional analysis, sounds pretty interesting.
    Any advice? Is there some resource I can read about that?
    you should have more than one tool in your tool box, that is for sure.

    One of the first places to start is simply being able to spell chords quickly. When someone says "D flat minor 7 aug 5" you should not have to think in order to come up with the notes Db, Fb, A, Cb. This is also how you know what the important notes in a melodic line are, so its an important skill to aquire.

    So a great exercise for spelling chords is to take a single key, "C" for this example, and then spell the major7, minor7, half diminished, dominant 7, and diminished 7 based on the note "C":

    C E G B
    C Eb G Bb
    C Eb Gb Bb
    C E G Bb
    C Eb Gb Bbb

    now spell them from the 3rd:

    E G B C
    Eb G Bb C
    Eb Gb Bb C
    E G Bb C
    Eb Gb Bbb C

    then spell them from the 5th and then the 7th. Write this down on paper by hand. The action of writing by hand on paper helps to commit this to memory. Do one key a day for 12 days and you will never have trouble spelling chords again. Everyone I ever showed this exercise to told me that after a few days they saw the pattern and never had any more trouble spelling chords

    the other thing to learn about is the basic rules of counterpoint. Fux's "Graddus" is just as good a resource today as it was when it was first published and its available on Amazon for dirt cheap. Pick up a copy and check it out.

    Piano players have to know about voice leading, so there are a lot of book out there for pianists, especially for jazz pianist, and you might find one that you like even if you don't play piano. Books about vocal and choral arrangement would also be a gold mine of material. I guess what I'm saying is voice leading is voice leading and while there might not be a lot written specifically for your instrument, there are a lot of resources out there in piano and vocal arranging, and you might find one that really speaks to you and that you can read to learn the basic principles.

    so good luck and when you run into things that just don't make sense, always remember that the reason things aren't working out nice and clean is that music is hard and tricky

    if it wasn't, anybody could do it and then I'd be out of work

  12. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by philoctetes View Post
    G major is the Phrygian mode of B. Nothing distant there, I can play B minor on a G diatonic harmonica... [retreating back to cave, after edits, dragging foot, retrieving more coffee]
    even better than that, B minor is a strait substitute for a G maj. The median and submedian substitute directly for the tonic, always.

    the reason is that the chords share so many notes, which shouldn't surprise anybody since these chords are stacks of thirds

    Gmaj 7 = G BD F#
    Bmin7 = B D F# A (G maj 9 omit root)
    Emin7 = E G B D (G maj 6)

    all of these chords would be able to function as a tonic in the key of G

  13. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by EdwardBast View Post
    The progression you have written is definitely in G major. B minor makes no sense whatever as the key.
    Ah, but as Nate notes above, B minor seventh (B-D-F#-A) can be sounded at the same time as a G major, and sound fine…because it can be seen as a substitute for a G major seventh. I have used this effect in a song before, where one guitarist plays his typical open G, and at the same time the other guitar plays a barred B minor 7 on position II.

    It works because the F# of the Bm7 is also the major seventh of a G Maj 7.

    The two chords share three common notes: B-D-F#-A and G-B-D-F#, sharing B, D, and F#.

    So, by this, the B minor is really a G maj7, and thus reinforces the key. The B minor could be treated as a G major, and go or resolve anywhere that a G would.

    This shows how the ear is more important than theory. Always listen.
    Last edited by millionrainbows; Jan-09-2018 at 21:26.

  14. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nate Miller View Post
    you should have more than one tool in your tool box, that is for sure.

    The action of writing by hand on paper helps to commit this to memory. Do one key a day for 12 days and you will never have trouble spelling chords again. Everyone I ever showed this exercise to told me that after a few days they saw the pattern and never had any more trouble spelling chords

    the other thing to learn about is the basic rules of counterpoint. Fux's "Graddus" is just as good a resource today as it was when it was first published and its available on Amazon for dirt cheap. Pick up a copy and check it out.
    Thank you for your advice. I can spell chords but I have to think a little on it, so I think this kind of exercie could help me not only in composition but also in my improvisation.

    I'm interested also in counterpoint even if I'm not a piano player. I'll definitely take a look at Fux's Graddus

  15. #29
    Senior Member JeffD's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by EdwardBast View Post
    Yes, but what you should bear in mind is that what you are doing is not "fully understanding" their function, you are making choices to define their function. There is not one right solution, some essence waiting to be understood, there are several possibilities you are choosing among. To "understand their function in the musical context" there has to actually be a context. You create that context by your choices and it could go wildly different ways. In short, you thought you were asking a music theory question, but you were actually asking a musical composition question.
    Well said. Is what i was thinking.
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