# Progressions?????

shapertakh
Registered User
Joined: 07/10/06
Posts: 18
06/14/2007 9:37 pm
hi,

Ill come straight to the point........im confused regarding chord progressions and on how to make one!!! ive been able to understand all the theory that goes behind in determining chords out of a particular scale such as for a major scale its kinda like

I ii iii IV V vi VII*

now i found these so called formulae at a website

1,4,5,1
1,2m,3m,4,5,1
1,3m,4,5,1
1,2m,5,1
1,3,4,2,1
1,b7,4,1
1,b3,4,1
1,4,b3,b7,1
1,6,2,5,1
6m,4,5,6m
1,6m,2m,5,1
1,b7,b3,4,1
1,b3,4,b7,1
1,5,b7,4,5,1
1,4m,b3,b7,1
6m,1,2,4,6m

Although i do seem to understand these formulae to some extent but i cant understand the FLEXIBILITY associated with a particular progressional formula.....heres where the confusion is;

1. Do we actually need to STRICTLY follow such formulae or is it ok to strum out any sequence of chords? (i.e chords avaliable for a particular key and scale)

2. If these formulae do hold true, do we simply plug in the respective chords in the exact sequence or is there any other SCIENCE associated to it?

3. Can we imply multiple formulae for a single progression??? (if true then again whats to be done about the sequence and order of chords :confused: )

PLEASE HELP ME OUT OF THIS CONFUSION REGARDING CHORD PROGRESSIONS AND ON HOW TO MAKE ONE!!!! if you have any good reading material or links plz let me know..........but id love to have my 3 questions answered first before i jump into any more theory cuz i think ill only end up more confused if i go on like this!!!!

so kindly help me out of my confusion id be grateful,

Shapi
Julian Vickers
Registered User
Joined: 05/23/02
Posts: 557
06/14/2007 9:57 pm
Hi there.

Chord progressions that sound great often, but not always follow a few guidelines. One of the big ones is that chords often are seen to move up in fourths (or down in fifths, it's the same thing)

For example, the common ii V I progression.

Dm7 - G7 - Cmaj7

the Dm7 moves up a perfect fourth to the G7 and then the G7 moves up a perfect 4th to the Cmaj7

Many common progressions are based on the ii V I progression, often replacing some chords with common tone substitutes. For example, it is possible to replace the Dm7 for a Fmaj7, as it shares three of the same notes, including the 3rd and 7th. The Cmaj7 could also be replaced by an Am7 or an Em7.

One of the other main things to consider when constructing a chord progression is where the cadences lie. A cadence is essentially a resting point in the music, like a satisfying end. The most common type of harmonic cadence is the full cadence, which occurs whenever a V chord goes to a I chord. You may have noticed for example when playing in the key of G, when you play a D7, it is satisfying to resolve it to a Gmajor.

There are other types of harmonic cadences such as the half cadence, wherein the IV chord goes to the I chord. You will notice this in the common I V vi IV chord progression.
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jlacharite
Registered User
Joined: 11/07/05
Posts: 36
06/15/2007 4:09 pm
Forget sequences and standard chord progressions because they've all been used a thousand times and leave little on the originality side of things. An excellent excercise would be to learn new chord scales based on the minor scale and melodic minor, then arbitrarily extract some of those chords (and this can be done with major chord sequence you already know) and play them in some sort of sequence. another idea is look into modal chord progressions as this will take you in a whole new direction. Try and be creative and you'll avoid a rut as well as keep your playing interesting. You obviously understand the theory now apply it your own way with respect to chords and you'll begin to develop your own style as opposed to sounding like a thousand other guitarist. Remember you can play any 2 or 3 or 4 chords together and they form a progression, it just depends on how "musical" it sounds to you. Avoid the tried and true and carve your own path that would be my advise. To see what I mean check out "The Mahavishnu Orchestra", now that is taking chords into a new direction.

j
ChristopherSchlegel
Guitar Tricks Instructor
Joined: 08/09/05
Posts: 8,410
06/15/2007 5:49 pm
Originally Posted by: shapertakhim confused regarding chord progressions and on how to make one!!![/quote]
First let's distinguish between two things:

1. a chord progression
2. a series of chords played one after another
Originally Posted by: shapertakh
1. Do we actually need to STRICTLY follow such formulae or is it ok to strum out any sequence of chords? (i.e chords avaliable for a particular key and scale)[/quote]
Yes of course you can play whatever chords you want in any order. But it depends upon what you want to achieve. More on that below.
[QUOTE=shapertakh]
2. If these formulae do hold true, do we simply plug in the respective chords in the exact sequence or is there any other SCIENCE associated to it?

The science you are after with this question is called Functional Harmony
[QUOTE=shapertakh]
3. Can we imply multiple formulae for a single progression??? (if true then again whats to be done about the sequence and order of chords :confused: )

Start by asking "Why do we bother to change chords at all in a song? Why not simply use one chord all the way through?" It's possible to do, after all - and some songs, pieces of music actually do this. The main reason to change chords and use more than one in a song is to provide variety and thereby make the music sounds as if it going somewhere - hopeful somewhere purposeful.

In order to understand how changing chords can suggest motion in music we need an overview of Functional Harmony.

Building a chord on each note of the major scale results in the standard series of major and minor chords that are identified by Roman numerals:

I - ii - iii - IV - V - vi - vii dim - I

Each of these chords has a specific function as follows:

Tonic - I
Intermediate - iii, VI (can also serve as substitute for I in deceptive cadence)
Sub-dominant - ii, IV
Dominant - V, vii diminished

Baroque, Classical, Romantic & Modern music - all follow this basic outline of Functional Harmony regarding chord progressions:

This can be reduced to:
Tonic, Dominant, Tonic
Dominant, Tonic
Tonic, Intermediate, Dominant, Tonic
Tonic, Sub-dominant, Dominant, Tonic

Notice the primary goal is always the proper cadence: Dominant, Tonic.

It is also possible to prolong the progression, for example:

Tonic, Intermediate, Tonic, Sub-dominant, Intermediate, Dominant, Tonic.

Notice the goal remains the same. It is of course possible to avoid using the Dominant - Tonic resolution in a song (or part of a song). This is a useful effect in it's own right. It can make the music sound more open-ended, or ongoing. Or even restless or wandering, due to not having a proper resolution as a "resting point" or end goal.

From there you need to understand the concept of applied dominant. If you are in C major, you can construct a chord progression such as:

I, iii, ii, V, I
(being: C maj, E min, D min, G7, C maj)

In order to "fill out" the piece, make it more beautiful, richly complex & "prepare for the arrival" of the E min from the C maj you can do this:

I, ii of iii, V of iii, iii...& so forth
(being: C maj, F# min, B7, E min...)

So you have deviated from pure C major, and are temporarily in the key of E minor but only long enough to prepare for its arrival, then you return to key of C major.

Notice the concept remains the same, though. The reason we use different chords is to provide variety & interest. And the reason we play certain chords in certain orders is to provide (or avoid) a sense of goal directed motion in the music.

Hope this helps.
Christopher Schlegel
Guitar Tricks Instructor

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Weslaba
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Posts: 657
06/15/2007 10:27 pm
Bravo. Very Well explained. I actually understood a theory post! :D
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shapertakh
Registered User
Joined: 07/10/06
Posts: 18
06/17/2007 12:19 pm
Thanks alot to all of you for making me understand.....its pretty clear to me now.......once again thanks alot.....though ill be definately getting into trouble as i progress further but for the time being all is well.......till the time a stumble again you guys stay alive or i wont learn :)

thanks

shapi
la'guit
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Joined: 10/21/07
Posts: 51
10/25/2007 11:10 pm
i cant follow any of this lol
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