#1
Alright, I've got a progression here that I can't figure out.

It's A, C, G, D, A, G, D, A.

What key is this in, and why/how does it work?
#4
It works because the progression itself is in A minor, but instead of you going to the complete tonic chord, you make the I chord minor by raising the third (C) a half step (C#). This concept is used in some formal compositions, but usually used at the end of a piece. It's called a picardy third. It's part of the borrowing technique.

The mind wants to shift back to the tonic, and you do, because you play the A chord. But instead of A minor like the rest of progression feels, it goes to A major.
#6
Quote by acoustic_guy7
It works because the progression itself is in A minor, but instead of you going to the complete tonic chord, you make the I chord minor by raising the third (C) a half step (C#). This concept is used in some formal compositions, but usually used at the end of a piece. It's called a picardy third. It's part of the borrowing technique.

The mind wants to shift back to the tonic, and you do, because you play the A chord. But instead of A minor like the rest of progression feels, it goes to A major.



Starting to make more sense, I originally missed out on the fact that Am and C were relative chords. Oops.

What about the Dmajor though, shouldn't that also have been minor? My best guess is that works because it's the 5 chord of the G chord that comes directly before it, or am I totally missing the mark?
#7
Quote by icronic
Starting to make more sense, I originally missed out on the fact that Am and C were relative chords. Oops.

What about the Dmajor though, shouldn't that also have been minor? My best guess is that works because it's the 5 chord of the G chord that comes directly before it, or am I totally missing the mark?


You're right on about the D major. D major is the V/V of C major, the relative major of A minor. Another example of this would be the progression Dmajor, A major, E major. In that case, (if it's a mini-modulation) you would analyze that by I, V, V/V.
#8
If acoustic_guy7 is right, this is the first time Ive actually seen picardy thirds applied (other then in specific studies)
#9
Yeah I wouldn't view it as a Picardy Third though.

I assume we have all heard of the cycle of fifths and know how to build progressions from it. (Here all we have is a nice cycle of fourths progression.

A root movement down a fourth (or up a fifth) is called a plagal progression. It has a pretty cool sound. Repeating this over and over is simply riding the plagal train. Here we start with an A which establishes a sound we initially expect to be our tonic. A movement to the C (the bIII) is a nice rocky choice of chord and sets up nicely a plagal movement to the G followed by another to the D and yet another to the A before repeating again from the G to the D to the A.

The sound structure at work here is not "diatonic" and I don't believe trying to explain it as such is very useful. It is simply moving around the cycle of fourths (or backwards around the cycle of fifths).

This triple then double plagal movement helps reinforce the A major as the tonic chord.

If you want to see some other examples that makes great use of this idea of a repetitive plagal movement check out Jimi Hendrix - Hey Joe (C G D A E).

The Eagles also make great use of the plagal movement in Hotel California but they don't just jump on and ride the cycle like Hendrix or the TS progression above. They kind of use repetitive single plagal movements where each individual plagal movement involves a pair of chords one whole step down from the last. So the Bm to F# is a plagal movement then we move down a step for our second plagal movement from A to E, then down again we get the G to D.

So you could try to explain the progression as a diatonic progression with borrowed chords but I believe it is more easily understood as a trip round the cycle of fourths and an example of the nice sound the plagal movement can give you as an alternative to the perfect (down by fifth) movement.

So in this light the A is not a picardy third of any type. The key is A major. However we are targeting the A major with a cycle of fourths progression which sees us move from IV - I going back one more step in the cycle gives us bVII - IV - I and one more step back in the cycle gives us bIII - bVII - IV - I. This is the core of TS progression. The use of the bIII chord and bVII challenges our major quality but the A major sounds at home in the progression and resolved.

If we took this cycle back again one more step we would get bVI - bIII - bVII - VI - I - Hey Joe.

It is major but Jimi shows how nicely this can sound with the blues scale and challenges major/minor ideas.
Si
Last edited by 20Tigers at Dec 24, 2008,
#10
Quote by 20Tigers
Yeah I wouldn't view it as a Picardy Third though.

I assume we have all heard of the cycle of fifths and know how to build progressions from it. (Here all we have is a nice cycle of fourths progression.

A root movement down a fourth (or up a fifth) is called a plagal progression. It has a pretty cool sound. Repeating this over and over is simply riding the plagal train. Here we start with an A which establishes a sound we initially expect to be our tonic. A movement to the C (the bIII) is a nice rocky choice of chord and sets up nicely a plagal movement to the G followed by another to the D and yet another to the A before repeating again from the G to the D to the A.

The sound structure at work here is not "diatonic" and I don't believe trying to explain it as such is very useful. It is simply moving around the cycle of fourths (or backwards around the cycle of fifths).

This triple then double plagal movement helps reinforce the A major as the tonic chord.

If you want to see some other examples that makes great use of this idea of a repetitive plagal movement check out Jimi Hendrix - Hey Joe (C G D A E).

The Eagles also make great use of the plagal movement in Hotel California but they don't just jump on and ride the cycle like Hendrix or the TS progression above. They kind of use repetitive single plagal movements where each individual plagal movement involves a pair of chords one whole step down from the last. So the Bm to F# is a plagal movement then we move down a step for our second plagal movement from A to E, then down again we get the G to D.

So you could try to explain the progression as a diatonic progression with borrowed chords but I believe it is more easily understood as a trip round the cycle of fourths and an example of the nice sound the plagal movement can give you as an alternative to the perfect (down by fifth) movement.

So in this light the A is not a picardy third of any type. The key is A major. However we are targeting the A major with a cycle of fourths progression which sees us move from IV - I going back one more step in the cycle gives us bVII - IV - I and one more step back in the cycle gives us bIII - bVII - IV - I. This is the core of TS progression. The use of the bIII chord and bVII challenges our major quality but the A major sounds at home in the progression and resolved.

If we took this cycle back again one more step we would get bVI - bIII - bVII - VI - I - Hey Joe.

It is major but Jimi shows how nicely this can sound with the blues scale and challenges major/minor ideas.


Yeah, I think it could go either way. But I do like your explanation better than mine.