Another confusion chord progression.

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almann1979
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Another confusion chord progression.

Post by almann1979 » April 28th, 2012, 5:22 am

I stumbled on this progression on the Internet and have been playing around with it.

G B7 Em G7 C Cm G

I can see these chords are not all in the same key, and I can also see that the G7 should lead nicely to the C, and that the B7 could lead nicely to the Em.

But I can't make sense of a progression having a C and a Cm?

Also, to me, it sounds very pleasant going into the G7 right through to the end of the progression. I'd like to know what is going on here so I can adopt the ideas in my own writing?

Thanks
Al
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tinsmith
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Re: Another confusion chord progression.

Post by tinsmith » April 28th, 2012, 5:26 am

It sounds familiar to me....

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almann1979
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Re: Another confusion chord progression.

Post by almann1979 » April 28th, 2012, 5:32 am

Yeah, I just googled the words melodic chord progression, and it came up. I'm not sure what songs it is in
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dhodge
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Re: Another confusion chord progression.

Post by dhodge » April 28th, 2012, 8:21 am

It's somewhat a musical tradition at this point to go from the IV to the minor IV to the I chord (C to Cm to G in this case) to end a musical phrase. Tom will know the whys and technical names for it but I'll chip in what observations I can.

If you were to take the entire chord progression you have and make it generic, it would look like this:

I (G) - V7 of vi (B7) - vi (Em) - I7 (G7, which, technically, you could call "V of IV" if you prefer) - IV (C) - mIV (Cm) - I (G)

If you think about how musical phrases end, the strongest cadence is V to I or V7 to I. It's also called a "perfect cadence" in music theory. The reason here is that both V and V7 provide strong leading tones back to the root chord. In the key of G, "V" would be D ("V7" is D7) and the F# note of the D or D7 leads strongly to the key center of G, since it is a half-step from G. D7 gives you two different half-step leading tones - F# to G and C to B - which makes a lot of people hear the V7 to I as a stronger resolution.

The "plagal cadence" (IV to I) while certainly pleasing, doesn't come across as strong even though it has a single leading voice (C going to B). Maybe it's because the G is a note of both chords. Anyway, one way of making the IV to I stronger is to go from IV to "mIV" to I (in this case C to Cm to G). Doing so gives you a leading tone from the E of the C chord to the Eb of the Cm and finally to the D of the G chord. Your ears pick up instantly on the switch from C to Cm and then you have two leading tones in the Cm chord to bring about a stronger resolution to G (both C to B and Eb to D) even though G stays constant in both chords.

In this progression, you've got a lot of leading tones and double-leading tones from chord to chord and they are obviously being effective dragging your ear around if you're finding it pleasant:

G to B7 (G to F# and D to D#)
B7 to Em - (F# to G and D# to E)
Em to G7 (E to F)
G7 to C (F to E and B to C)
C to Cm (E to Eb)
Cm to G (C to B and Eb to D)

Because you've got so many leading tones from one chord to the next, the possibilities for strong melodic lines in both lead playing and bass playing are fairly abundant.

For whatever it may be worth, you'll find lots of examples of the minor IV in music. John Lennon used it a lot ("Nowhere Man" comes immediatley to mind). It's a great way to create a drastic change and still be able to resolve to your tonal center. Beginning a song's bridge section with the minor IV (think "For My Lady" by the Moody Blues) is also a tried and true method to start a song's bridge with a bit of a bang.

Hope this helps.

Peace

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almann1979
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Re: Another confusion chord progression.

Post by almann1979 » April 28th, 2012, 8:36 am

Thanks David, that makes a lot of sense.

So, in a nutshell, if I want to replicate this, I can go from a major chord to a minor with the same root, as long as it is the fourth. This should resolve back nicely to my I chord?

I also find what you say about using chords with leading tones into the next chord very interesting. I had never really thought about chord progressions that way, but I might analyse a few of my favorites and see if this is common to those also.

Thanks again.

Al
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Re: Another confusion chord progression.

Post by dhodge » April 28th, 2012, 8:57 am

Glad to help, Al.

I probably should have spelled things out a little better, but it's not always the IV chord where this will work. For instance, if you were in the key of G, one possibility would be to go from G to A (or A7) and then go to Am (or Am7) to G instead of the "normal" D (or D7) to G. This progression gets used a lot, too, as does a variation of it - G to A to C to G.

And using the minor of the V chord is also very striking, say G to Dm to C to G. As I mentioned, Tom can probably give you a lot more of the "whys" but essentially, at least to my ears, it's basically about leading tones.

Looking forward to hearing how you adapt these ideas to your playing.

Peace

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Re: Another confusion chord progression.

Post by Alan Green » April 28th, 2012, 9:07 am

almann1979 wrote:I stumbled on this progression on the Internet and have been playing around with it.

G B7 Em G7 C Cm G
What's your bass player doing whilst you play the chords?

If you strip out the individual notes in each chord, you come up with a couple of good chromatic sequences. I like this one best:

D (part of the G chord), D# (in B7), E (in Em), F (in G7), E (in C), Eb (in Cm) back to the D (in G)

Don't forget that Eb is D#. Using Cm after the C major chord avoids using the B7 again to get the semitone step down.

Alternatively, and not so clever, is this descending sequence

B (part of the G chord), A (in B7), G (in Em), F (in G7), E (in C), Eb (in Cm) and finish on the D (in G)
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almann1979
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Re: Another confusion chord progression.

Post by almann1979 » April 28th, 2012, 9:14 am

Thanks David, the reason I am exploring different chord progressions is that, at the moment, when I try to write something, my mind is set in "I am in x key, and so can only use y chords".

As a result, a lot of my chord progressions sound the same and have gotten boring to my ears, so the more little tricks like this I can learn and use, the less board I will be with what I play.

If I ever write something worth listening to I will post it :D

Thanks again
Al

Alan thanks for the response, that idea of chromatic movement is also very interesting. At the minute my bass player isn't playing anything as I never share what I write with the band, we are covers only.

However, you guys have given me two great ideas to work on ( and in double quick time too :D )
1 being aware of leading tones in chord progressions, and
2 looking for chromatic movement


Thanks :D
"I like to play that guitar. I have to stare at it while I'm playing it because I'm not very good at playing it."
Noel Gallagher (who took the words right out of my mouth)

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tinsmith
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Re: Another confusion chord progression.

Post by tinsmith » April 28th, 2012, 5:22 pm

Hesitation Blues has the C Cm type thing with F Fm...

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