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Chord Progressions....

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by Chili, Mar 8, 2008.

  1. Chili


    Mar 8, 2005
    hey, i would like to know more chord progressions, i think i have the basic concept of it now, i know the Blues progressions, 1, 4, 5, but how do you know if its minor or major? Is that something you have to just listen for?
    Also how do Modes work with them? if i'm playing the Blues chord progression, lets say in A major, A would be Ionian, but how would you know what modes to play over the other 2 chord changes? it woulnt just be following the modes along the Major scale would it? so D would be Lydian and E would be Mixolydian?
    Where could i learn some differant progressions?
  2. DocBop


    Feb 22, 2007
    Los Angeles, CA
    Every song has a chord progression so start with songs you already know. Write out the chords. Figure out the key then you can number the chords basic from that.

    A basic theory book will explain all this in detail. Simply put you take a scale like a major scale. Then you harmonize the scale by stacking the notes of the scale in thirds the way basic chords are built. Then figure out the type of chords from stacking the notes created. Last you number the chords based on the scale degree the root note is. Also use Roman numerals that is the standard in theory.

    So C major scale C, D, E, F, G, A, B, C
    Harmonize it. C Ma7, Dmi7, Emi7, FMa7, G7, Ami7, Bmi7b5, CMa7
    Analysis I=CMa7, II=Dmi7, III=Emi7, IV=FMa7, V=G7, VI=Ami7, VII-Bmi7b5
    (some schools will use lower case Roman numeral for minor chords)

    So with that someone could tell you were playing a II V I in C major and you know to play Dmi7, G7, CMa7.

    This process can be done to any scale or mode.

    There are books on common chord progressions, but most people learn them by analyzing the songs they already know. As you learn sophisticated songs you learn more types of chord progressions. Now for a beginner in theory and someone who plays Rock some songs don't fit the diatonic harmonized major scale. Power chords allow you go anywhere because you are tossing out the 3rd. Then many songwriters use chords that require more advanced theory to hang a label on the chords. Things like a song in C major that has Ab and Bb chords in the song. The Ab and Bb come from something in theory called Parallel keys and Modal Interchange. In simple terms your song is in C major, but you borrowed chords from C minor the parallel key. Later you will find most chord progression use strong or common root movement of chords. As a bass player you become familiar with strong root movements, that is how you can anticipate where a song is going even if you never played it before.

    So start with what you already know because your ear knows the sound already. Get a book on theory and start learning the labels theory puts on things so you know what to call things. Then as you learn more songs you will expand your knowledge of chord progressions.
  3. The_Orlonater


    Jun 6, 2007
    Great post, but since the chords in the C major scale would be.

    Cmaj7 Dm7 Em7 Fmaj7 G7 Am7 and Bmi7 b5.
    Let's say in any mode of C, how would you know what chords there are.
    In Major it's, I=Maj,II=Minor,III=Minor,IV=Major,V=Dominant,VII=Minor, and VIII=Diminished you can say.

    How would you figure out the chords for any mode like Phygrian,Dominant,Aeolian(Minor),Lydian,Mixolydian,Locrian, and Ionian(Major).

    I'm just curious too, why are the chords like that in Major?
  4. From what I know, the modes and chords work together diatonically, so you would have chord I: Ionian, II: Dorian, III: Phrygian, IV: Lydian, V: Mixolydian, VI:, Aeolian, and VII: Locrian. As stated before, I is Major, II is Minor, III is Minor, IV is Major, V is Dominant, VI is Minor and VIII is diminshed.

    Hope that helped, and made some sense.

  5. The_Orlonater


    Jun 6, 2007
    It didn't help me...

    Anyway, maybe I'm bad at clarifying. For example,

    If we broke up a C Lydian mode.

    C D E F# G A B

    (Lydian mode is basically your major scale, except the fourth degree is sharp.)

    1, 2, 3, #4, 5, 6, 7. = Lydian formula

    How would you find out the chords for that scale?
  6. Oh right, I thought you were asking a much simpler question. I do apologise...

    Personally, I'd assume that it would be G major, as it has the one sharp (F#) and Lydian is the fourth mode.

    This then leads me to assume that the chords for C Lydian would (diatonically) be the same as G major, but starting on the 4th, or the C. This means we get...

    Cmaj7, D7, Em7, F#m7b5, Gmaj7, Am7, and Bm7

    This may be wrong, but the arpeggios of each of those chords fit into C Lydian, and therefore and G Major. If I've completely confused you or if anyone else has any thoughts on this, please shoot me a PM, and I'll do my best to clarify.

    Hope this helped,
  7. The_Orlonater


    Jun 6, 2007
    Ahh, I get what you're saying. I can take any mode and if has the same notes as a certain major scale then it'll be the chords of that major scale? Thanks, just for another trick how about C Phygrian?

    C Db E F G Ab Bb C
  8. The_Orlonater


    Jun 6, 2007
    Omfg, anyone?!
  9. What scale do you think it is?

    Even though C phygian is its own scale C Db Eb F G Ab Bb, its in the key of Ab Major.
  10. The_Orlonater


    Jun 6, 2007
    Thank you ,but is there an easier way to figure out the mode's alternative major scale.

    Like you said C Phyrgian = Ab Major
    Is there an alternative to figuring that out instead of counting all those notes
  11. Earthday


    Sep 22, 2005
    New Hampshire
    Just remember the order of chords in a major scale (maj7 m7 m7 maj7 Dom7 m7 mi7b5)

    So sticking with the C Major example, the chords in C major starting on the I are: Cmaj7 Dm7 Em7 Fmaj7 G7 Am7 and Bmi7 b5.

    So if you're playing A Aeolian (aka, A Minor), you are playing the same notes as the C major scale, just starting on an A. Therefore, the chords will be the same as those in the C major scale, just starting with the A. So Am7 Bmi7b5 Cmaj7 Dm7 Em7 Fmaj7 G7.

    A good thing to know would be the order of the modes. That way, say if you were playing in G dorian, you would know that dorian is the second mode, therefore the major scale it is based on must be the note in G dorian one interval lower than G. That note is A, so G dorian is the same as A major. As another example, you could be playing in F Myxolydian, know that Myxolydian is the fifth mode, therefore the note in F myxolydian 4 intervals below F, which is Bb, is the parent major scale.

    If you're looking for a shortcut beyond that, you won't find one. You have to be able to figure out what the parent scale of any mode is. A good way to learn would to play all the modes in each key, one key at a time, going through the cycle of fifths. This will expose you to the order of the modes and the patterns involved with them, as well as the key signatures and notes in every key. Once you really understand the concepts, you won't need a shortcut.
  12. The_Orlonater


    Jun 6, 2007
    This may seem dumb, but...what exactly is an interval...

    I sometimes mess up on theory :crying:
  13. The_Orlonater


    Jun 6, 2007
    "The number of degrees between F and B for example is 4, therefore the interval is a fourth." from Wikipedia.

    Earthday you were off by a bit :smug:

    Or maybe I'm wrong...?
  14. Earthday


    Sep 22, 2005
    New Hampshire
    That's a very detailed and worthwhile read. But basically what I mean when I say interval is the distance between notes within a scale. Assume the notes of the scale you are playing in are the only ones that exist, and that the distance between each note along the scale is 1 interval. In C major, C to D would be an interval. C to F would be 3 intervals. D to E would be one interval.

    You can/should go deeper into the subject and learn about specific intervals. It's also really handy to be able to recognize specific intervals. Here's a cool trainer: http://www.musictheory.net/trainers/html/id90_en.html
  15. The_Orlonater


    Jun 6, 2007
    Of course I should! For a 14 year old who's been playing a year and a half ,or 5 months. I want to progress faster and smash all the theory into my head as fast as possible. I like bass. :bassist:
  16. Earthday


    Sep 22, 2005
    New Hampshire
    I'm not sure of the context, but I'd say the article is wrong. F to a Bflat would be a forth. F to a B would be a tritone (aka flat fifth) an interval you won't find used very often.

    Also, perhaps Scale Degrees is the word I should have been using rather than Intervals.
  17. The_Orlonater


    Jun 6, 2007
    Oh yeah, Earthday about your tricks finding the parent major scale of a certain mode, what exaclty did you mean by F-Bb is 4 intervals? What kind of intervals?
  18. The_Orlonater


    Jun 6, 2007
    Oh, nevermind. 4th scale degree. Now I get it, you just confused me the word interval. Stupid me.
  19. Earthday


    Sep 22, 2005
    New Hampshire
    Well take an F major scale. F, G, A, Bb, C, D, E.
    Bb is the forth note of the scale. So F to Bb is a forth. F to G would be a second, because G is the second note of the scale.

    So if you knew that Lydian is the 4th mode of the major scale, you would know that Bb Lydian is the same as F major because Bb is the 4th of F in F major. If you knew that Dorian was the second mode of the major scale, you would know that G Dorian is the same as F major, because G is the second of F major.

    If you're playing in Bb Lydian and want to know what major scale is its parent, if you knew that Lydian was the 4th mode, then you know whatever note the mode starts on is also the 4th of the parent major scale, so you could simply count down.

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