#1
The song is Unintended by Muse, and although simple at first glance it really boggled me on how this progression works.

(1, 5, 3)
E (E B G#/Ab)
Am (A E C)
D (D A F#)
G (G D B)
C (C G E)
B7 (B F# D# A)


All notes used:

E F# G Ab A B C D D#

But I vaguely remember some V7 rule wich had something to do with that D# so I think that might be an accidental.

E major and our scale:
E F# G# A B C# D#
E F# G Ab A B C D

wich leads to:
1 2 b3 b4 5 b6 b7

and that cannot be correct really cause no mode fits on top of it (although I haven't looked through every scale concievable because there should be an easier answer.

The question is: how can this progression sound so good, what is the theory behind it? If so, between wich keys does it modulate?


Excuse my poor spelling (language and musical-wise), I'm not a native speaker and I'm fully selftaught.
#3
Each succeeding chord shared a note from the last chord and the last chord is a fifth of the first chord.
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#5
Quote by eXero

E (E B G#/Ab)
Am (A E C)
D (D A F#)
G (G D B)
C (C G E)
B7 (B F# D# A).
Each chord, except between the C to B7, is moving to the next chord by 7 semitones, which is usually the strongest type of movement. I fail to see how this is mind boggling?

Due to the progression, the melody is free to resolve in a number of places and is free to change key in a number of places. This is a useful progression.

To tell what key it is technically in, one would need to look at the melody (or bass line or a counter melody if it has one) and the rhythm for context as it could be in E, Am, D (unlikely), G or C due to the chord progression alone.
        ,
        |\
[U]        | |                     [/U]
[U]        |/     .-.              [/U]
[U]       /|_     `-’       |      [/U]
[U]      //| \      |       |      [/U]
[U]     | \|_ |     |     .-|      [/U]
      *-|-*    (_)     `-’
        |
        L.
#6
Quote by demonofthenight
Each chord, except between the C to B7, is moving to the next chord by 7 semitones, which is usually the strongest type of movement. I fail to see how this is mind boggling?

Due to the progression, the melody is free to resolve in a number of places and is free to change key in a number of places. This is a useful progression.

To tell what key it is technically in, one would need to look at the melody (or bass line or a counter melody if it has one) and the rhythm for context as it could be in E, Am, D (unlikely), G or C due to the chord progression alone.
Did you mean 5 semitones by any chance?

This progression is full of circle of fourths movement, meaning each chord moves up a fourth. Like demon said, it's probably the strongest type of movement out there and most western music is built on it.

As for key, I'd have to put my bets on G. Most of the chords are diatonic to G minus the B7 and the E. A major or dominant mediant is very commonly used to resolve to the submediant.
#7
Quote by grampastumpy
Did you mean 5 semitones by any chance?

This progression is full of circle of fourths movement, meaning each chord moves up a fourth. Like demon said, it's probably the strongest type of movement out there and most western music is built on it.

As for key, I'd have to put my bets on G. Most of the chords are diatonic to G minus the B7 and the E. A major or dominant mediant is very commonly used to resolve to the submediant.

A perfect fourth is seven semitones.
Quote by thsrayas
Why did women get multiple orgasms instead of men? I want a river of semen flowing out of my room to mark my territory.

You can play a shoestring if you're sincere
- John Coltrane
#9
A perfect fourth is 5 semitones.

1 = minor second
2 = major second
3 = minor third
4 = major third
5 = perfect fourth
#11
Obviously you're right.
It's late and i just got back from vaccation give me a break.
Quote by thsrayas
Why did women get multiple orgasms instead of men? I want a river of semen flowing out of my room to mark my territory.

You can play a shoestring if you're sincere
- John Coltrane
#12
Quote by 7even
Obviously you're right.
It's late and i just got back from vaccation give me a break.


Ha, don't worry man we all make mistakes, especially over little things like this. No hard feelings :-p
#13
*sigh of relief*

Wow, I thought I was having some colossal brain lapse or something. It's alright dude, no big deal.
#15
Quote by grampastumpy
Did you mean 5 semitones by any chance?
Actually, I did But you know, an inverted perfect fourth is a perfect fifth which is actually 7 semitones.
        ,
        |\
[U]        | |                     [/U]
[U]        |/     .-.              [/U]
[U]       /|_     `-’       |      [/U]
[U]      //| \      |       |      [/U]
[U]     | \|_ |     |     .-|      [/U]
      *-|-*    (_)     `-’
        |
        L.
#16
Quote by demonofthenight
Actually, I did But you know, an inverted perfect fourth is a perfect fifth which is actually 7 semitones.


Actually you were right. This type of progression is referred to as a "circle of fifths" rather than as a "circle of fourths" because each chord acts as the dominant to the next; circle of fifths better describes this tonic/dominant relationship between the chords. In other words, it's a big long chain of perfect cadences, which is why this progression sounds good. The C major chord is the odd one out, as there is no tonic/dominant relationship between it and B7. It acts as a predominant: it helps to prepare the cadence, and the falling semitone in the bass is a strong movement.

The tonal centre of the progression is E: the B7 (V7) at the end resolving onto E (I) in the next phrase gives this much away. However, this is an odd phrase because the rest of the phrase has more in common with E minor than E major. So I'd say that this progression was in E minor, but uses the tonic major chord instead of the tonic minor. This is a little bit like a Tierce de Picardie, but because it recurs all the time, it distorts the sense of tonality, rather than just sounding pretty, as is the case with the Tierce de Picardie. Also, the vocal melody tells us that the song is in E minor.

The other way of looking at the E major chord is by taking A as the tonic for the first two chords of the phrase, and E for the rest of the phrase. The E major therefore acts as a secondary dominant, a dominant to a degree other than the tonic, V7/IV in this case. Rather than this being a modulation from A minor to E minor, people refer to this as a tonicization or inflection, because it does not last longer than a phrase.

Hope that helps.
#17
^Good point, not sure why I automatically assumed upward motion. o_O You're right, it's essentially a chain of perfect cadences.
#18
I thought a perfect cadence is a movement of fifths. I guess it's the same as the movement of fourths.

What kind of cadence is where the new chord shares two notes from the last chord?

When I was playing around with the triads I came up with this, from C to C:

xx555x - C
xx545x - Em
xx543x - G
xx343x - Bdim
xx323x - Dm
xx321x - F
xx221x - Am
xx201x - C

Is that a movement of thirds?
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#19
Quote by OldRocker
I thought a perfect cadence is a movement of fifths. I guess it's the same as the movement of fourths.


Yes, a perfect cadence is a movement of fifths. Of course moving down a fifth is essentially the same as moving up a fourth, but it is a movement from V to I.

I may have been a little misleading in my description of a circle of fifths progression: although it acts and sounds like a chain of perfect cadences, but the only cadence occurs at the end. In fact, that's what a cadence is.

That progression you gave is a movement of thirds, I suppose, but that doesn't really mean anything: it's a non functional progression.
#20
Yea, I realized that but like I said, having fun with the triads.

Another friend told me it was a stepping method and some songs used 'em like a I-iii-V-vii. One I can think of is the Monkees "I'm your stepping stone."
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