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Chord Progressions?

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by Bayonet, Jan 9, 2012.

  1. Bayonet


    May 10, 2011
    I wanted to understand chord progressions and i searched at google,but the wikipedia page is quite confusing and i can't understand much of it.for example they use roman number like I and V, i think it refers to the chords right? it states that V is the dominant,i know a lot of chords patterns from Bass for dummies i read but i can't grasp chord progressions.Could anyone point me to the right direction?

    Also,sorry for my not-so-decent english i'm not a native english speaker.
  2. odin70


    Dec 26, 2007
    Can you play a c major scale?

    The notes are c,d,e,f,g,a,b

    The chords in the key of c are: c,dm,em,f,g,am and bmb5 (1,2,3,4,5,6,7)
    So roman number five is (in the key of c) g
  3. mambo4


    Jun 9, 2006
    Yes, Roman numerals are always chords (in music)

    1.) Roman numeral chord progressions always refer to a key center, and how that chord functions within a given key.
    2.) The key consists of the 7 notes of a major scale, so you get 7 roman numerals.
    3.) Roman numeral I is the chord built on the first note of that scale, ii the second note of the scale, and so on to vii.
    4.) usually Capital numerals refer to Major chords (I, IV,V), lower case refer to minor chords.(ii,iii,vi,vii) (but not always -people vary)
    5.) Most often the scale being referred to with roman numeral chords is a Major scale, but Minor scales harmony also turns up.

    for more info, Paging Maclom Amos...
  4. Thanks Mambo. Chord progressions --- why are they important, what do they do?

    The chord progression moves the song along. For a song to be interesting we need the story (or melodic phrase) being told to move from (I) rest, to tension (IV), to climax (V7), then resolve and return to (I), rest. That I-IV-V7-I chord progression does that and has been used in a zillion songs because those three chord will also.............

    ...........harmonize the melody being played over them. They do this by sharing some of the same notes, i.e. if the melody line and the chord line share some notes - harmony happens. So it's a balancing act between movement and harmony and the chord progression you decide upon dictates if this will happen. Right now just trust the songwriter that he/she has figured all this out for you. Just follow the chords shown on the sheet music.

    Now for the magic. Each key has three major chords, three minor chords and one diminished chord. If you want a major sound you use major chords as your primary chords - yes as Mambo pointed out a major chord progression can have some minor chords - for color - but, the structure chords will be major. AND the I IV V chord have every note in the I tonic scale in their makeup SO those three chords are going to harmonize any major scale you use.

    Now we could get into relative minor chord progressions and those minor chords would also contain every note in the relative minor scale - but let's not go there right now.

    So what is important about a chord progression? It moves the story along and harmonizes the melody.

    If you follow the chord progression and play those chord's individual notes one note at a time (notes R-3-5-7 for example) you lay down the beat and accent the harmony those chords are giving to the song.

    Is there more. Sure, you asked about the Roman numbers and what is a V dominant chord. Here is a little more.....
    The tonic chord is the name of the scale, i.e. C scale's tonic chord is the C. That is the tonal center of the progression. A progression can start with the tonic I chord - does not have to - but, the melodic phrase, verse, etc. should end with the tonic chord, i.e. resolve back to rest and bring closer.
    The forth chord in the key or IV chord is a sub-dominant chord. It's task in life is to move to a dominant chord.
    The fifth chord in the key or V chord is the dominant chord. A lot of time you will see the V chord having a b7 note added to it and this makes it the dominant seventh chord (G7) when you added the seventh you increased tension and it now wants to move to the tonic I chord RIGHT NOW.

    Let's look at some fake chord sheet music and see how the chord progression does what I was talking about"
    Key of C -- C is the I, F is the IV and G is the V chord.
    (I)             (V)        		
    Happy birthday to you
    Happy birthday to you
                       (V)   (IV)
    Happy birthday to dear name
    (IV)    (I)    (V)  (I)
    Happy birthday to you
    Each lyric word gets one note.  Hap-py and Birth-day get 2 notes each
    Sing the lyrics under your breath - let the lyrics get the beat going for you.
    I always want two notes for na-me, up to you. 
    Is there more? Yes, but, that's enough for now. Ask specific questions.
  5. Bayonet


    May 10, 2011
    Wow thank you very much.Now i think i understood it :)
    So,i do have a question if you don't mind,i remember that i saw in a Ramones video someone commenting that it was similar to Misfits last caress because of the chord progression that punk songs use is always like that(it was what made me search for it),so for one genre there are usually more common chord progressions?if so,where i can find these? i want to be able to write some music one day haha

    After reading that a few times i got everything,so,changing the subject,if i know how the song's chords go what should i play? the roots or could i play the whole chords?or make something up with the notes from the the chord?I'm not entirely sure how this works :s
  6. You are correct there are hundreds of chord progressions, however each genre does seem to have their favorite four or five.

    Country, Pop and Rock
    I IV V I
    I V I IV V7 I
    I vi IV V7 I

    Then Jazz revolves around ii V7 I. Look up some of your favorite songs and see what has been used. Google, Chords, "name of the song"

    Have fun.
  7. Bayonet


    May 10, 2011
    Thank you very much,i'll start looking right away :)
  8. You are on the right track. Happy Birthday works best with just roots. Autumn Leaves works best with a full chord tone (R-b3-5-b7). Start with just roots, if you have room think about adding the 5, still have room the 8 is a safe bet. Beyond that insert the correct 3 and or 7.

    Sing the song under your breath, the lyrics will let you know how many notes are going to fit.

    Have fun.
  9. mambo4


    Jun 9, 2006
    I knew Malcom would deliver!
    Kudos to ya for constantly posting such useful, fundamental info.

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