Progressions

Progression - Moving from one thing to another. Musically - this could be referring to a tone, chord, scale, mode, key, or interval progression to name a few. What are the rules necessary to dictate these progressions? There really aren’t any “rules”. You may however use various elements of “music theory” and or cultural conventions to guide and or describe your harmony as well as dissonance.

The various charts throughout this site supply a wealth of progression ideas. Included in this modest section are useful interval progression diagrams and a full modal analysis of a 1-4-5 progression in the key of C. What follows here is a brief list of common progressions and structural devices.

 

Common Progressions
[m=minor 7=7th chord b=flat]
Basic: 1 4
Classic: Rock 1 b7 4
Doo Wop: 1 6m 4 5
Flamenco: 1m b7 b6 5
Folk: 1 5
Jazz: 2m 5 1
Pop Rock: 1 2 4 1
Ragtime: 1 67 27 57
Rock & Roll: 1 4 5
Rock Ballad: 1 6m 2m 5

 

Basic Blues
The history and amount of variations on this simple progression is profound. Expermiment with the provided progressions in a variety of modes, especially minor ones. Also use 7th chords to signify a bar change or liberally throughout.
Basic: 1 4 1 5 1
8 bar: 1 5 4 4 / 1 5 1 5
12 bar: 1 1 1 1 / 4 4 1 1 / 5 4 1 5
12 bar quick: 1 2 1 1 / 4 4 1 1 / 5 4 1 5
16 bar blues - 1 1 1 1 - 4 4 1 1 - 5 4 5 4 - 5 4 1 1

 

Vamps
A simple repeating 2 chord progression played at the beginning or end of a section or song.
For example: 1 6m or 1 b7.

Cadences
A particular series of intervals or chords that ends a phrase, section, or piece of music.
Authentic: 5 1
Half: any cadence ending on 5
Plagal: 4 1 Minor Plagal: 4 4m 1
Deceptive: 5 to any scale other than 1

 

 

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