I've got a chord progression that I'm trying to write out in roman numerals and I've realised that I don't really know how to notate chords that don't fit into the key that the progression's in. The progression I've got (with each chord last for 1 bar, overall 12 bars) is:

Gm--Amaj--Gm--Amaj
Dm--Emaj--Dm--Emaj
Fm--F#m--Gm--Amaj

The first 8 bars basically look like vamps (with 5-8 being a fifth higher than 1-4) and the last 4 bars the chords move almost chromatically upwards to return to the I chord (the section of the song that follows the above section starts again on a Gm) - the chords are voiced higher and higher as the progression goes on so that the final Gm/Amaj chords are voiced a whole octave higher than the first ones.

Like I said, it's the out-of-key chords that I'm unsure how to notate, my attempt was:

i--II--i--II
v--bVII--v--bVII
vii--#vii--i--II

If any of this is wrong (I'm assuming some of it is), I'd greatly appreciate someone correcting me and explaining what it is I did wrong and how to do it right.

Cheers.
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It's hard to determine without a melody. There's almost certainly at least 1 key change in there.
I will use my own progression to illustrate the idea, because I cannot 100% tell the key of ur song with having all the factors.

I will start of by making this clear;

Upper case (ie I chord) = Major
Lower case (ie i chord) = minor

Say I have this progression

C (2 bars)- G (2 bars) - A#(2 bars) - F(1 bar) - G (1 bar)

The key is C Major;

In numerals it would be;

I - V - #VI - IV - V

The VI indicates it's based of the Am chord which naturally occurs in the key.

The chord becomes major, hence the vi becomes VI, it's an A#, so it becomes #VI.

I'm not 100% sure if it's correct, cause I haven't wrote stuff down like this in a while.

Any elaborators in MT on this?

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Darren, I would notate the A# as a Bb. This is because instead of #VI, the cord becomes a bVII, which suggests that it is a borrowed chord.
Last edited by the white baron at Aug 21, 2009,
If it helps I can write out what melody notes occur over each chord (and indicate which ones occur on strong and weak beats), but I don't imagine it'll change much - the melody generally uses the root note of the chord on the first beat and ends up holding either the root or third over the third beat. 7ths are the main passing tone, the odd 5th is used - so it's not a highly complex melody (which is why I said I imagined it wouldn't change anything, but obviously I'm open to correction).
Quote by Ed O'Brien
“It’s not genius. It’s just that if you want something good to come out of something, you have to put in a lot of effort. That involves a lot of hard work, and a lot of blood, sweat and tears sometimes.”

http://urbanscarecrow.bandcamp.com/
Quote by Damascus

Gm--Amaj--Gm--Amaj
Dm--Emaj--Dm--Emaj
Fm--F#m--Gm--Amaj

iv V iv V
i II i II
iii #iii iv V

That's what that seems like to me. It sounds like it resolves to Dm. The Amaj in the beginning and the end is just the V in the minor key, and the II is just... there. That's what I hear.
I agree with timeconsumer09. Seems like Dm the whole time to me.
Quote by timeconsumer09
iv V iv V
i II i II
iii #iii iv V

That's what that seems like to me. It sounds like it resolves to Dm. The Amaj in the beginning and the end is just the V in the minor key, and the II is just... there. That's what I hear.

Quote by Eastwinn
I agree with timeconsumer09. Seems like Dm the whole time to me.

Yeah, I just tried that and ending it on the Dm did sound like it resolved. Cheers, guys.

It seems to make a lot more sense, as there's a 13th 'bridging' bar at the end of that section where the bass/guitar hold the Amaj chord and a synthesiser arpeggiates an A7 chord downwards, starting with the G and moving down G-E-C#-E...ending on the V7 is a lot more typical, as far as I know.

What made me think that it was in Gm was that almost all the other sections of the song are centred around Gm - the intro is based entirely around a simple riff using a G5 chord and the sharpend fifth, the chorus is the same instrumentation with singing over it, the outro consists of a riff using a Gm chord, Dm7 and a Cadd9...

...I'm currently talking to a friend of mine who's studied classic piano (they know their stuff, but are a little rusty) and they're trying to explain to me that it resolves better to the Dm, but could still be in Gm 'if you want' - given that 'the key is determined by the notes at any given time'. I can't say I'm fully with them, as I always assumed that the key of any song/section was determined by what the tonal centre of that song/section was - i.e., what it resolved to. Not that you didn't have freedom as to what to end the section/song on, just that the key was something you couldn't choose.
Quote by Ed O'Brien
“It’s not genius. It’s just that if you want something good to come out of something, you have to put in a lot of effort. That involves a lot of hard work, and a lot of blood, sweat and tears sometimes.”

http://urbanscarecrow.bandcamp.com/
To me it sounds like

iv V iv V in D minor The V resolves here (even though it's a key change)

iv V iv V in A minor the V doesn't resolve here

You could label the last line iii #iii iv V but it never resolves.

To me the chords don't really function as anything in particular, and the "progression" is not consistent with common practice. But if you have to label in it roman numerals... the iii #iii iv IV analysis is as good as any.
shred is gaudy music
Last edited by GuitarMunky at Aug 21, 2009,
Quote by GuitarMunky
To me it sounds like

iv V iv V in D minor The V resolves here (even though it's a key change)

iv V iv V in A minor the V doesn't resolve here

You could label the last line iii #iii iv V but it never resolves.

To me the chords don't really function as anything in particular, and the "progression" is not consistent with common practice. But if you have to label in it roman numerals... the iii #iii iv IV analysis is as good as any.

Well I was just saying it resolves after the iii #iii iv V if you play the Dm afterwords. But no, there is really no resolution in that entire thing.
Quote by timeconsumer09
Well I was just saying it resolves after the iii #iii iv V if you play the Dm afterwords. But no, there is really no resolution in that entire thing.

Right if it went to Dm at the end .... at least the iv V would be functional / consistent with common practice. The iii to #iii thing..... still as good analysis as you could have for a progression like this. (that I can think of anyway)
shred is gaudy music
Quote by the white baron
Darren, I would notate the A# as a Bb. This is because instead of #VI, the cord becomes a bVII, which suggests that it is a borrowed chord.

I'd agree with doing that.

However both a #VI and a bVII can both be considered "borrowed", only the bVII would be borrowed from the parallel minor which is a much more similar key than anything which contains the #VI, which results in less "non-diatonic" (Well sounding diatonic, but labelled enharmonically, so that that they require accidentals) and is thus more elegant.