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chord progression

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by Thunder_chops, Oct 31, 2013.

  1. Thunder_chops


    May 13, 2013
    Hello all. I have been trying to understand chord progression and i feel like I have one piece of the puzzle missing!

    I understand the whole roman numeral system ( e.g. I - major, i - minor) in relation to intervals and the upper/lower case of the letter dicatates whether they are major or minor, and that the flattended 3rd makes a major a minor but have a few questions to clear things up.

    If I am playing a minor chord progression, say i -vi - VII, is this 'pattern' based on a major scale or a minor scale? Also, do I use a minor scale to produce the desired appegios ONLY on the minor chord (in this case i & vi) to add flavour to the guitar and conversely do I ONLY use major scales on the major chords in a minor chord progression?

    Also, same question for major chords, e.g. in the cord progression I-vi-IV-V, Do i use the minor scale on the vi?

    I hope this question makes sense? I feel I've nearly grasped it but just want to be sure before I start really applying myself.

  2. You can build a chord of each of the 7 notes in a scale. The chord that is produced depends on the notes in the scale. Eg

    C D E F G A B C = Cmaj = I

    C D E F G A B C = Dm7 = ii

  3. Bainbridge


    Oct 28, 2012
    It's all part of the same key. For example, in E major, E A F#m B7 is I IV ii V7, and they are all part of the E major scale. You don't jump around from E major to A lydian to F# dorian to B mixolydian. Same thing if it was i iv ii° V7 in E minor: they're all part of the same tonality. The third of the V chord is raised, as per stylistic convention, but the D# in that chord has a relationship to the tonality of E; it's not some standalone thing.
  4. I'll answer it this way. We play the notes of the chord, if the chord is major it'll have a major 3rd, as you said, and if minor there will be a b3 involved. A diminished chord will have a b5 involved, etc. Now how many of the notes get played depends upon the song, i.e. sometime we pound out roots and then at other times we use all of the chord's tones in our bass line.

    If we are in the key of C and have a I-vi-IV-V progression the I chord would have these notes; C, E & G. The vi would have the A, C & E notes - notice vi is a minor chord and I used the C instead of the C# for my 3rd scale degree, i.e. The major A scale has a C# in it so I flatted the 3rd scale degree making this chord minor. Short answer to your question we play the notes of the chord - major chords will have a "spelling" of R-3-5 and minor chords will have a "spelling" of R-b3-5. You asked about playing in minor scales -- if you were playing in Am instead of C your progression would look like this i-VI-iv-v and here you would play the notes of each chord. The "i" is now minor and takes a R-b3-5 spelling, which is still A, C & E.

    Now back to the IV chord, it's a major chord and it's notes would be F, A & C. And for the V chord, it's also another major chord so would have the G, B & D notes. Now if it was a G7 chord it's notes would be G, B, D & F -- not F# as a dominant seven chord has a flatted 7th.

    You have your Roman numbers down correctly, the above explains the difference in a major and minor chord.

    Hope that was clear. Just in case.......

    Bass Patterns based upon the Major Scale box.

    Major Scale Box. 
    G|---2---|-------|---3---|---4---| 1st string
    E|-------|---R---|-------|---2---|4th string
    Basic Chords
    • Major Triad = R-3-5
    • Minor Triad = R-b3-5
    • Diminished Chord = R-b3-b5

    7th Chords
    • Maj7 = R-3-5-7
    • Minor 7 = R-b3-5-b7
    • Dominant 7 = R-3-5-b7
    • ½ diminished = R-b3-b5-b7
    • Full diminished = R-b3-b5-bb7

    This may help; http://www.smithfowler.org/music/Chord_Formulas.htm

    Little more. How to use all this.

    I use the major scale box and think in scale degrees (R-3-5-7) The I is found within the box at the R. The IV is found within the box at the 4, etc. OK that out of the way. So I'm pounding out roots and feel that I would like to add a 3 or a 5 into my bass line. Where will the 3 and 5 be relative to the root I've been playing? Look at the box. The 3 is always up a string and back one fret from the root. The 5 is always up a string and over two frets from the root. So if you want to add a 5 to your bassline you will find it up a string and over two frets from that root you've been pounding. Visualize the box and the box will always puts the right note under your fingers.

    Note name to place the box then scale degree for the notes within the chord. Or put another way Roman numbers for the chords and Arabic numbers (1, 2, 3, etc.) for the notes within the chord.

    Have fun.
  5. Thunder_chops


    May 13, 2013
    Thank you so much, I think I did have it down properly, perhaps I just didn't explain. My mental block was thinking about a minor scale and it's strcuture as opposed to thinking about the flattening of the 3rd (and 7th if your gonna get fruity) to make it minor.

    I am right in thinking that I don't just have to play R, 3rd, 5th though and can use the other notes to spice it up a bit? I do know that the R, 3rd & 5th are the ones to focus on though.

    Do you guys tend to always work from the major scale and adjust it to minor? Is this the easier way??
  6. As to major or minor. I play Country and Praise those styles are mostly major. In our Country gig book of over 200 songs only one is in a minor key.

    So yes I think major. Back to your question, I think what you will find is scale degrees are written in major and then adjusted to minor. For Example:

    • Major Scale = R-2-3-4-5-6-7 Home base
    • Natural Minor Scale = R-2-b3-4-5-b6-b7 Major scale with the 3, 6 & 7 flatted.
    • Harmonic Minor Scale = R-2-b3-4-5-b6-7 Natural minor with a natural 7.
    • Melodic Minor Scale = R-2-b3-4-5-6-7 Major scale with a b3.

    Major modes
    • Ionian same as the Major Scale.
    • Lydian use the major scale and sharp the 4 - yes, it’s that simple.
    • Mixolydian use the major scale and flat the 7. Change one note.....

    Minor Modes
    • Aeolian same as the Natural Minor scale.
    • Dorian use the Natural Minor scale and sharp the b6 back to a natural 6. Change one note.
    • Phrygian use the Natural Minor scale and flat the 2. Again change one note.
    • Locrian use the Natural Minor scale and flat the 2 and the 5. OK here you have to change two notes.
  7. Thunder_chops


    May 13, 2013
    You guys are great, thank you so much. Honestly don't understand why this couldn't be explained as easily elsewhere on the internet.

    No doubt I'll be back with more Qs but til then...adios! :bag:

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