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Thread: How would you treat this chord progression?

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    Default How would you treat this chord progression?

    Hello everybody,
    I need some help in understanding a chord progression that I wrote by ear for the bridge of a song.
    It sounds pretty familiar to me, anyway I can't understand "why" and the theory behind it.
    Chords are taken, at the beginning, from the key of B minor (natural):
    G Maj | G Maj | e min | e min DMaj-AMaj/C# | G Maj | G Maj | bmin | bmin
    G Maj | G Maj | e min | e min DMaj-AMaj/C# | C Maj | C Maj | BMaj | D7
    Now, of course the first line is a classic: I Maj | vi min | I Maj | iii min
    In the second line, instead, there's a chromatic descent from AMaj/C# to CMaj, that leads to a modulation.
    Also, the BMaj sounds like a B7 to me.
    How should I treat the C Maj | B Maj | D7 part? It doesnt' sound as a modal interchange to me.
    Please help, thanks

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    Senior Member EdwardBast's Avatar
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    Answering your question requires crucial bits of information you have left out: Where does the final D7 go? What modulation to what key? What is the voice-leading (how do the individual lines in the chords move) in the portion you have singled out? As it stands, everything seems easy to explain in G major, with the B chord borrowed from the relative minor and the A chord either V6/V or a result of linear voice-leading. But like I said, you haven't give enough information. We actually need to see notes and more of the progression.
    Last edited by EdwardBast; Jan-04-2018 at 14:25.

    Your frogs make me shudder with intolerable loathing and I shall be miserable for the rest of my life remembering them.
    — Mikhail Bulgakov, The Fatal Eggs

    When a true genius appears on the earth, you may know him by this sign, that all of the dunces are in confederacy against him.
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    Quote Originally Posted by EdwardBast View Post
    Answering your question requires crucial bits of information you have left out: Where does the final D7 go? What modulation to what key? What is the voice-leading (how do the individual lines in the chords move) in the portion you have singled out? As it stands, everything seems easy to explain in G major, with the B chord borrowed from the relative minor and the A chord either V6/V or a result of linear voice-leading. But like I said, you haven't give enough information. We actually need to see notes and more of the progression.
    Hello and thank you for your reply
    Yes, forgot to mention that the D7 resolves back to Gmaj.
    Honestly I've found your answer a little confusing: the A chord is of course the V7 of the initial key (Dmaj or Bmin).
    The chords that I couldn't explain in a functional analysis are the last three: C Maj | BMaj | D7.
    This morning I thought a little more about that C Maj: it could be seen as a borrowed chord from the the D mixo scale, but I unconsciously heard it in first inversion thus producing an E Neapolitan chord (in the initial b minor key, it's a CMaj). This chord can then be intended as a pivot chord that modulates to D mixolidyan where B7 is the secondary dominant V7/ii. I also edited the progression altering the D7 chord (D+) so that I can add a Bb (A#) in the bass line and make a chromatic descent from C# to Bb

    In conclusion, the second line of the progression can be rewritten as:
    G Maj | G Maj | e min | e min DMaj - AMaj/C# | C Maj | C Maj | B7 | D7+/Bb
    Where:
    Key: D maj (B min)
    GMaj: is the IV in D
    e min: is the ii in D
    Dmaj: is the I in D
    AMaj/C#: is the V7 in D
    CMaj: is a bIIMaj in D (Neapolitan chord, in theory it should be in its first inversion form, but I leave a C at the bass for a chromatic stepwise motion). CMaj is also a pivot chord that modulates to Gmaj (Dmixo)
    B7: is the secondary dominant V7/vi in Gmaj
    D7+/Bb: is the V7+ in Gmaj

    Do you think this could be a correct analysis?

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    Senior Member EdwardBast's Avatar
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    The analysis is incorrect.

    The key of the whole thing is G major, not D major. There is no modulation. Each phrase starts on G and after the final D7, which is V7 in G major(!), it returns to it. The first inversion A major chord occupies one beat and has no harmonic significance. It is presumably a linear phenomenon, but since you haven't shown the voice-leading, it is hard to characterize it any further. But it certainly doesn't function as a V chord in D major.

    The Neapolitan chord in D major would be E-flat, not C. The C chord is just the IV chord in G major.

    Your frogs make me shudder with intolerable loathing and I shall be miserable for the rest of my life remembering them.
    — Mikhail Bulgakov, The Fatal Eggs

    When a true genius appears on the earth, you may know him by this sign, that all of the dunces are in confederacy against him.
    — Jonathan Swift

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    "How should I treat the C Maj | B Maj | D7 part? It doesnt' sound as a modal interchange to me.
    Please help, thanks "

    The C maj to B maj is just a chromatic motion. When you say you hear the Bmaj as a B7, that isn't surprising. The B7 has an A natural, which is in the key, and the A# is not, so really a B7 would be a better choice, but then you have the line B-A#-A hidden inside that progression as it is written, so if that chromatic motion is what you were after, then B maj is the chord to use

    The key is to look at the voice leading. If you spell all those chords you will see the chromatic motion everywhere. Looking at the chord names "Cmaj, Bmaj, D7 " doesn't really tell you anything. It is the voice leading that makes everything work

    the most practical way to look at that B chord is that it is just a passing chord that is a result of the voice leading. Functional harmony is just one way to describe and talk about polyphonic voices that are in motion, but if you have a progression that doesn't really make sense, just spell the chords and look at the voice leading

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    Quote Originally Posted by EdwardBast View Post
    The analysis is incorrect.

    The key of the whole thing is G major, not D major. There is no modulation. Each phrase starts on G and after the final D7, which is V7 in G major(!), it returns to it. The first inversion A major chord occupies one beat and has no harmonic significance. It is presumably a linear phenomenon, but since you haven't shown the voice-leading, it is hard to characterize it any further. But it certainly doesn't function as a V chord in D major.

    The Neapolitan chord in D major would be E-flat, not C. The C chord is just the IV chord in G major.
    The correct progression is: G Maj | G Maj | B min | B min DMaj - AMaj/C# | C Maj | C Maj | B7 | D7+/Bb
    (my fault, I wrote E min rather than B min)
    The key is surely B min, not G Maj. It can also be a little deceptive because, as I wrote, this is a the bridge section of a song and not the main theme. Also, the D7 resolves on G Maj only for a little time before going back to Bmin.

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    Quote Originally Posted by EdwardBast View Post
    The analysis is incorrect.

    The key of the whole thing is G major, not D major. There is no modulation. Each phrase starts on G and after the final D7, which is V7 in G major(!), it returns to it. The first inversion A major chord occupies one beat and has no harmonic significance. It is presumably a linear phenomenon, but since you haven't shown the voice-leading, it is hard to characterize it any further. But it certainly doesn't function as a V chord in D major.

    The Neapolitan chord in D major would be E-flat, not C. The C chord is just the IV chord in G major.
    The correct progression is: G Maj | G Maj | B min | B min DMaj - AMaj/C# | C Maj | C Maj | B7 | D7+/Bb
    (my fault, I wrote E min rather than B min)
    The key is surely B min, not G Maj. It can also be a little deceptive because, as I wrote, this is a the bridge section of a song and not the main theme. Also, the D7 resolves on G Maj only for a little time before going back to Bmin.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Nate Miller View Post
    "How should I treat the C Maj | B Maj | D7 part? It doesnt' sound as a modal interchange to me.
    Please help, thanks "

    The C maj to B maj is just a chromatic motion. When you say you hear the Bmaj as a B7, that isn't surprising. The B7 has an A natural, which is in the key, and the A# is not, so really a B7 would be a better choice, but then you have the line B-A#-A hidden inside that progression as it is written, so if that chromatic motion is what you were after, then B maj is the chord to use

    The key is to look at the voice leading. If you spell all those chords you will see the chromatic motion everywhere. Looking at the chord names "Cmaj, Bmaj, D7 " doesn't really tell you anything. It is the voice leading that makes everything work

    the most practical way to look at that B chord is that it is just a passing chord that is a result of the voice leading. Functional harmony is just one way to describe and talk about polyphonic voices that are in motion, but if you have a progression that doesn't really make sense, just spell the chords and look at the voice leading
    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?

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    Senior Member EdwardBast's Avatar
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    The progression you have written is definitely in G major. B minor makes no sense whatever as the key.

    Every standard classical theory text considers voice-leading as an essential element in determining function or lack thereof. Many inverted forms of standard triads occur primarily as linear events. Some chords have no real harmonic function at all, they are just the result of linear motions — like the A/C#. One really can't do a proper, thorough analysis just looking at letter symbols for chords. There just isn't enough information.

    Your frogs make me shudder with intolerable loathing and I shall be miserable for the rest of my life remembering them.
    — Mikhail Bulgakov, The Fatal Eggs

    When a true genius appears on the earth, you may know him by this sign, that all of the dunces are in confederacy against him.
    — Jonathan Swift

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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.

    Every standard classical theory text considers voice-leading as an essential element in determining function or lack thereof. Many inverted forms of standard triads occur primarily as linear events. Some chords have no real harmonic function at all, they are just the result of linear motions — like the A/C#. One really can't do a proper, thorough analysis just looking at letter symbols for chords. There just isn't enough information.
    I insisted on a Bmin because C sounds awfully in that part.
    You could see that as a G lydian if you'd like to think it in a major mode.
    I know what's voice leading, but I never used it as an approach in functional analysis, maybe because I studied mostly on jazz books.
    How do you use it when you have to analyze a progression in which you have only the chords, for example in a jazz standard?

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    What key is this in from beggining to end??can you post and audio example to hear. Also is this on guitar?? I think if you want more info you should score it. If you fimilar with a the staff and the notes its shouldnt take to long or be to hard. Write it out on staff paper "first" (write all accidentals as you think of it) then you can go to NoteFlight and score with their program for free. Also use you ear when you in noteflight its more reliable. Now G major and B minor are realted (all keys are realated) but that is distant. Keep in mind you using the B minor key signiture. Also you play a A major is that a VII in first inversion?

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    Quote Originally Posted by cmp View Post
    I insisted on a Bmin because C sounds awfully in that part.
    You could see that as a G lydian if you'd like to think it in a major mode.
    I know what's voice leading, but I never used it as an approach in functional analysis, maybe because I studied mostly on jazz books.
    How do you use it when you have to analyze a progression in which you have only the chords, for example in a jazz standard?
    We hear the progression differently. For me the C chord is one of the few changes that doesn't sound lame! It sounds just like a normal subdominant.

    When I am playing something from my "Real Book" and am confused about the significance of a chord symbol, I listen to performances of it to see what's up. Or I sit at the piano and find configurations of the chords that make it sound good — that is, I noodle with the voice-leading until it works. But playing jazz is just an occasional hobby for me, for when my saxophone wielding friends visit.
    Last edited by EdwardBast; Jan-06-2018 at 15:28.

    Your frogs make me shudder with intolerable loathing and I shall be miserable for the rest of my life remembering them.
    — Mikhail Bulgakov, The Fatal Eggs

    When a true genius appears on the earth, you may know him by this sign, that all of the dunces are in confederacy against him.
    — Jonathan Swift

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    Quote Originally Posted by QuintinPenola View Post
    What key is this in from beggining to end??can you post and audio example to hear. Also is this on guitar?? I think if you want more info you should score it. If you fimilar with a the staff and the notes its shouldnt take to long or be to hard. Write it out on staff paper "first" (write all accidentals as you think of it) then you can go to NoteFlight and score with their program for free. Also use you ear when you in noteflight its more reliable. Now G major and B minor are realted (all keys are realated) but that is distant. Keep in mind you using the B minor key signiture. Also you play a A major is that a VII in first inversion?
    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)

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    Senior Member EdwardBast's Avatar
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    Jeez man! If there was a bass part and treble part in a different scale didn't you think that might be relevant to an analysis? Why ask for an opinion based on a third of the information?

    Your frogs make me shudder with intolerable loathing and I shall be miserable for the rest of my life remembering them.
    — Mikhail Bulgakov, The Fatal Eggs

    When a true genius appears on the earth, you may know him by this sign, that all of the dunces are in confederacy against him.
    — Jonathan Swift

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    Quote Originally Posted by EdwardBast View Post
    Jeez man! If there was a bass part and treble part in a different scale didn't you think that might be relevant to an analysis? Why ask for an opinion based on a third of the information?
    Sorry, I don't understand...What information do you think that I omitted? The guitar solo and the bass scales involved?
    If so, that's just because it came after, I started with the chord progression only and nothing more, in the context of a Bminor song

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