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Thread: Em Am Dm Chord Progression

  1. #1
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    Em Dm Am Chord Progression

    While noodling around on my guitar and ukulele I "discovered" the Em Dm Am Chord Progression which I very much like.
    I believe this is a I VII IV progression. Is that correct?
    Any ideas about this progression?
    Did somebody discovery it before me?
    Just curious.
    Thanks.
    Last edited by EMudgeSr; 02-06-2015 at 08:40 PM.

  2. #2
    Registered User JonR's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by EMudgeSr View Post
    While noodling around on my guitar and ukulele I "discovered" the Em Dm Am Chord Progression which I very much like.
    I believe this is a I VII IV progression. Is that correct?
    Any ideas about this progression?
    Did somebody discovery it before me?
    Just curious.
    Thanks.
    On the face of it, it's v-iv-i in A minor - that's how it sounds to me - but if Em really sounds like the central "home" chord to you, then yes it's i-vii-iv (in E phrygian, to be precise). But it's important that Em "sounds like i". Just starting with Em doesn't make it that. If it sounds finished on Em, then you can call it the key chord. (Probably Em would need to be heard for quite a lot longer than the others to have that effect.)

    As for originality, those 3 chords must have occurred in sequences 1000s of times (in key of A minor, or A aeolian mode). But it would be pretty unusual for Em to be the main "home" chord - not unheard of, but definitely unusual.

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    It depends on how things proceed. It could be iii,vi,ii in C major ii,v,I in d minor. To make it a i,vii,iv sequence, the i must be confirmed as the tonic somehow. Perhaps somewhere in the piece a B major or B seventh could be played. Were the note d# to be used, it would become a (perhaps temporary) leading tone and help mark the e minor as a tonic.

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    Thanks for the insight.

    What I would usually do is something like 2 or 3 bars of Em
    followed by a couple of bars of Am
    then Em for a couple more bars
    the a bar of Dm
    then back to Em etc
    or something like I IV I VII I ..... I IV I VII I

  5. #5
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    Thanks, I really haven't gotten beyond the 3 chords so I will explore Bmaj B7 and d# and see what 'sounds' right to my ear.

  6. #6
    Registered User JonR's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by EMudgeSr View Post
    Thanks for the insight.

    What I would usually do is something like 2 or 3 bars of Em
    followed by a couple of bars of Am
    then Em for a couple more bars
    the a bar of Dm
    then back to Em etc
    or something like I IV I VII I ..... I IV I VII I
    Right - that sounds roughly like a blues structure, with Dm as the surprising chord (to my ears). Certainly, if you do keep returning to Em in that way, it's going to sound like the tonal centre, so a phrygian I-IV-VII makes sense.

    As ttw says, using Bm or B7 in place of Dm will give you a much more orthodox "E minor key" sound. Not necessarily "better" of course - but you should try it to hear the difference.

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