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Thread: Progression - help to identify it

  1. #1
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    Progression - help to identify it

    Hello my friends

    I haven't been here for a while but I haven't forgot you.

    I need help to identify what's going on here. This is something I came up with but, although it sounds good, it seems a bit strange harmonically.

    Progression.jpg

    It seems the key is C but all those sus2 are puzzling me.
    And what about the last chord? How should I call it?

    Thank you

  2. #2
    Registered User JonR's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rbarata View Post
    Hello my friends

    I haven't been here for a while but I haven't forgot you.

    I need help to identify what's going on here. This is something I came up with but, although it sounds good, it seems a bit strange harmonically.

    Progression.jpg

    It seems the key is C but all those sus2 are puzzling me.
    And what about the last chord? How should I call it?

    Thank you
    Seeing as there is an F# and no F, the pitch collection is G major or E minor. But there's no real indication of either G or E as keynote, as tonal centre. But (after the F#) the C in bar 3 doesn't feel like a key chord either.
    That's not a problem - it all sounds good. You could easily - if you wanted - establish C as key centre in some other way (by an earlier or later set of changes), and the F# would then be a kind of "lydian" chromaticism.

    The last chord is Am7 (no C, but that's implied by the context). Alternatively, you could call the whole 4th bar "Em/A", which avoids the issue of the missing C: there's no real sense those are two different chords, just two partial voicings of the same chord.
    Likewise, bar 2 could be seen as two partial voicings of an Em9 chord (although the 2nd one is a plain G major triad, G/B).

    Any reason why you've tabbed that 2nd chord in bar 2 where you have? It's much more playable in context as:

    ---
    -3-
    -0-
    ---
    -2-
    ---
    Last edited by JonR; 01-26-2012 at 12:53 PM.

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    Hi John, thanks for the reply

    Seeing as there is an F# and no F, the pitch collection is G major or E minor. But there's no real indication of either G or E as keynote, as tonal centre. But (after the F#) the C in bar 3 doesn't feel like a key chord either.


    When I say the key is C, I don't have any theoretical explanation to support it. That's what my ears are telling me. But this song is dubious about it. Before, I was jamming with my guitar on the top of it and at that time the key seemed to be D. But, like that F# "contradicting" the key of C, the same goes for the C tones in bars 1 and 3 in the key of D (should be C#).

    That's not a problem - it all sounds good. You could easily - if you wanted - establish C as key centre in some other way (by an earlier or later set of changes), and the F# would then be a kind of "lydian" chromaticism.


    I believe one good technique would be to emphasize (or use only) CMaj scale tones in the melody, especially those that are missing in the chords.

    The last chord is Am7 (no C, but that's implied by the context).


    Probably it was that context that made me ear the key as C.

    Alternatively, you could call the whole 4th bar "Em/A", which avoids the issue of the missing C: there's no real sense those are two different chords, just two partial voicings of the same chord.
    Likewise, bar 2 could be seen as two partial voicings of an Em9 chord (although the 2nd one is a plain G major triad, G/B).
    I could see that I was looking too much for the "specifics" in the song (i.e., chord by chord). So, I didn't noticed all those partial voicings.
    So, resuming, if we think of C as the key, we have Em in bar 2 and Am in bar 4. Their functions would be IIIm and Vm (???).
    The Vm doesn't make sense so I will try to change the key to Em. In this case they would be Im and IVm and everything fits nicely.

    But, what about the chords in bar 1, for example?

    I see them both as sus2 chords: Csus2 and Gsus2.

    I have a book called "The Chord Cookbook Compendium", by Matthieu Brandt, and it says the following about the sus2 chords: "The chord is major nor minor and can be played as a replacement for both types of chords".
    Considering this, and still in the key of Em, I could think of them as the VI Maj and III Maj.

    The same could be applied to bar 3: Csus2 and C5 (together can be seen as the VI Maj in the key of Em). And the G Maj chord in bar 2, could be seen as, again, III Maj in the key of Em.

    What do you think about this line of thought? Am I fantasyzing too much?

    Any reason why you've tabbed that 2nd chord in bar 2 where you have?


    Well, I haven't worried too much about it, to be honest. That's how the notation software wrote it.

  4. #4
    Registered User JonR's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rbarata View Post
    When I say the key is C, I don't have any theoretical explanation to support it. That's what my ears are telling me.
    It does sound like a key chord the way you've written it in the 3rd bar, with that D coming down to a repeated C note. It's only the F# in the previous bar which contradicts that - and maybe not enough to pull it towards a "G" key feel (because you don't have a clear G chord anywhere).
    And the final bar, an Em triad with A bass, doesn't sound resolved.
    So - just looking at these 4 bars, they start with C and have a good resolution to C in bar 3.
    The F# - then - should give it a lydian flavour, but the sequence seems unsure that you actually want C as key chord. (Bar 3 sounds very positive, but bar 4 is vague and ambiguous.)
    Quote Originally Posted by rbarata View Post
    I believe one good technique would be to emphasize (or use only) CMaj scale tones in the melody, especially those that are missing in the chords.
    Yes, exactly.
    To confirm it as C major (rather than C lydian) you would also need to remove the F# in bar 2; or make it part of some logical functional move. (Eg, you can have D or D7 in key of C, if it's a "secondary dominant" moving to the G chord. But that would need a substantial rewrite, and it wouldn't be the same tune any more! It could also be a passing chromaticism, but then it would need to move up a half-step to a G.)
    Quote Originally Posted by rbarata View Post
    So, resuming, if we think of C as the key, we have Em in bar 2 and Am in bar 4. Their functions would be IIIm and Vm (???).
    Em would be IIIm yes - if you take out that F# - and Am is VIm (not Vm).
    Quote Originally Posted by rbarata View Post
    The Vm doesn't make sense so I will try to change the key to Em. In this case they would be Im and IVm and everything fits nicely.
    Yes, if you want, but VIm is no problem in C major. It's that F# on the Em that's the problem.
    (The fact it ends on Am takes away from the C tonic sound in bar 3, but that's OK if you go back to the beginning, and eventually end the tune on the C.)
    Quote Originally Posted by rbarata View Post
    But, what about the chords in bar 1, for example?
    I see them both as sus2 chords: Csus2 and Gsus2.
    Correct.
    Quote Originally Posted by rbarata View Post
    Considering this, and still in the key of Em, I could think of them as the VI Maj and III Maj.
    Yes. Call them either "VI" and "III" or "bVI" and "bIII" - the "Maj" is not necessary.
    Quote Originally Posted by rbarata View Post
    [SIZE=2][FONT=Helv]What do you think about this line of thought? Am I fantasyzing too much?
    I wouldn't say "fantasizing" at all. You're thinking right (except for that "Vm" for Am). You just need to decide what sound you want, and then understand how to name it theoretically (if you want to name it).
    There's nothing wrong with the piece as it is; unless there's something else you're trying to achieve.
    Quote Originally Posted by rbarata View Post
    Well, I haven't worried too much about it, to be honest. That's how the notation software wrote it.
    Get rid of that software! It's crazy. (It made some even more crazy translations in the longer version with the melody you posted on theory board. I'm sure you'll spot them if you look...) Or just get it to display without the tab line at all, if you can. We only need notation to assess the images here.

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