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#1
So I've been fooling around in Amaj, and decided to write a chord progression with a chromatic descending run of sorts in each chord, something like this:

A - AM7 - A7 - D - Dm - A - B7 - E


But I don't actually get how (or why) it works, is it because of secondary dominants or are they just "accidents" while still in the key of Amaj?
#2
I don't know a whole lot about theory, but try looking at what notes are in the chords, and how they may relate to one another.
The notes in A maj are the 1, 3 and 5 notes of the A major scale: A, C#, and E;
While the notes in Amaj7 are the 1, 3, 5, and 7th notes of the A major scale: A, C# E and G. Finally an A7 chord is the 1, 3, 5, and b7 (flat seventh) of the A major scale, A, C#, E and G.

Hopefully this helps. You're "expanding" upon your A major triad chord, with the Amaj7 and A7 that you are playing. In the latter two chords, you still have your A major chord "core"

I really hope this makes some sense as it is my first time giving advice on theory. Also, I find this link is good for a short explanation of the theory behind chords: http://www.guitar-chords.org.uk/
Caution:
This post may contain my opinion and/or inaccurate information.

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#3
Quote by gonzaw
So I've been fooling around in Amaj, and decided to write a chord progression with a chromatic descending run of sorts in each chord, something like this:

A - AM7 - A7 - D - Dm - A - B7 - E


But I don't actually get how (or why) it works, is it because of secondary dominants or are they just "accidents" while still in the key of Amaj?


Pretty much. Without getting into too much detail, it's a variation on a I - IV - V in A major. The out-of-key notes are considered accidentals, and should be considered when soloing over them.
And no, Guitar Hero will not help. Even on expert. Really.
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#5
Quote by gonzaw
How does the B7 fit into the I-IV-V ?

The B7 is a dominant of the next harmony, E.

What you're essentially doing is instead of leading to V with the same old subdominant, you're stirring it up a little by using a secondary dominant instead to get to V.
#6
Quote by Xiaoxi
The B7 is a dominant of the next harmony, E.

What you're essentially doing is instead of leading to V with the same old subdominant, you're stirring it up a little by using a secondary dominant instead to get to V.


Oh, right; so it was about secondary dominants after all...

So basicly it's:

I-I-I-IV-IV-I-V/V-V with some accidentals (in the chromatic run) right?
#7
The main thing holding your progression together is the descending chromatic line starting on A and moving down to D#.

There really isnt anything acting as a secondary dominant in your progression. Maybe A7 to Dm, but thats not really important

EDIT: I take that last part back. B7-E-A is definitely V/V V I
Last edited by chantastic at Oct 4, 2011,
#8
Quote by gonzaw
So I've been fooling around in Amaj, and decided to write a chord progression with a chromatic descending run of sorts in each chord, something like this:

A - AM7 - A7 - D - Dm - A - B7 - E


But I don't actually get how (or why) it works, is it because of secondary dominants or are they just "accidents" while still in the key of Amaj?


I-IM7-I7(V of IV)-IV-iv(from parallel minor, or hinting at iidim7)-I-II (V of V)-V-I (presumably)

you could also look at that return to A major as going to chords IV-V-I in E major, depending on which way you want to resolve it. if you want to resolve back to A, try using E7, see if you like it. either way is fine, but how you play over that will determine where it resolves.
#9
Quote by gonzaw
So I've been fooling around in Amaj, and decided to write a chord progression with a chromatic descending run of sorts in each chord, something like this:

A - AM7 - A7 - D - Dm - A - B7 - E


But I don't actually get how (or why) it works, is it because of secondary dominants or are they just "accidents" while still in the key of Amaj?

Have you thought about putting the descending chromatic notes as the high voice. You could then re-harmonize and come up with some cool non diatonic chords.
#10
A - AM7 - A7 - D - Dm - A - B7 - E


i see this as several keys...A the A7 to D then the Dmi could be seen as a "church cadence" back to A which now could be seen as a IV chord of E...making it a IV V I in E...

these type of changes are common with many standards..using chord cycles -circle of fifths/fourths...playing on top of these chords becomes fairly easy with a new key rather than altering the solos in just one key...the points of resolve become clearer - phrasing, melodic direction are much easier to establish..

wolf
#11
Quote by WalrusNutFart
It's pretty simple actually. The A, Amaj7, A7 can be explained as a chromatic walk down from, A to G# to G. Just imagine that as one big A major chord. Then the D, Dm is also quite simple. There is a chromatic walk down from F# to F to E. Also, when there is a minor IV chord after a major IV, it carries a lot of movement and wants to go to the I chord, which it does in this case. Then the B7 to E is just a V/V going to V, so the B7 is a secondary dominant. This is really just a variation of a basic blues turnaround. Hope that helps.



I did this progression taking said chromatic walk into account. The thing is that I didn't know if they were just accidentals or if they changed the functionality of the chords (which seemed like it if my ear isn't lying to me).

Quote by wolflen
A - AM7 - A7 - D - Dm - A - B7 - E


i see this as several keys...A the A7 to D then the Dmi could be seen as a "church cadence" back to A which now could be seen as a IV chord of E...making it a IV V I in E...

these type of changes are common with many standards..using chord cycles -circle of fifths/fourths...playing on top of these chords becomes fairly easy with a new key rather than altering the solos in just one key...the points of resolve become clearer - phrasing, melodic direction are much easier to establish..

wolf



This is basicly what confuses me. Does it modulate or not?

Quote by gavk
I-IM7-I7(V of IV)-IV-iv(from parallel minor, or hinting at iidim7)-I-II (V of V)-V-I (presumably)

you could also look at that return to A major as going to chords IV-V-I in E major, depending on which way you want to resolve it. if you want to resolve back to A, try using E7, see if you like it. either way is fine, but how you play over that will determine where it resolves.


It does resolve back to A just with E. In fact, making it E7 kind of ruins the sound to me (again, I don't know why)

Anyways, so I followed this progression with:

A - AM7 - E7 - A - D - A - E - A

I had G#dim instead of E7, but since that felt the function of the dominant (to resolve) I added the E (never knew if you could have a viidim-I resolution without it functioning "that much" as the dominant)
#12
It's been hundreds if years since anyone wrote a real Bach chorale. Things are written every day that are not easily described with roman numerals. Don't get caught up on the fact that your progression is in the category that doesn't fit with with 4 part analysis

The progression really is chromatically based, with a tonal idea at the end (closing the tritone implied by the chromatic line). In this regard your progression is actually a giant V7-I, which is actually just as valid an interpretation as any other.

The purpose of pointing that out is not to offer another opinion on what the function of your chords is, but rather to point out how pointless it is to try and analyze your progression in strict 4 part harmony
#13
Quote by chantastic
Things are written every day that are not easily described with roman numerals. Don't get caught up on the fact that your progression is in the category that doesn't fit with with 4 part analysis


Really? This progression? .... Really....??
#14
Quote by gavk
Really? This progression? .... Really....??


Really. The chords dont follow traditional functions at all, which is why everyone whos posted in this thread has had a different opinion
Last edited by chantastic at Oct 5, 2011,
#15
Quote by gonzaw
So I've been fooling around in Amaj, and decided to write a chord progression with a chromatic descending run of sorts in each chord, something like this:

A - AM7 - A7 - D - Dm - A - B7 - E


But I don't actually get how (or why) it works, is it because of secondary dominants or are they just "accidents" while still in the key of Amaj?


If I were looking at this, I'd see that the first 3 chords, are Tonally around A Major.

The A7 to D marks a Tonal change of Key to the D, which I'd see as a Tonal D center progression Major to Minor, but with D as the tonal center. The A would indicate the V of the D and I'd expect a return to the I.

At this point, I feel it's okay because you have moved by step to the B7 - which is fine, because that indicates another key change, but I might have considered an F#m7 between the A and the B7. The B7 makes an easy and effective final V-I to E.

The progression would go through 3 tonal Key changes, as I would read this: A, D and E. You modulated 2 times.

Even if it goes back to A as you say, the E served 2 functions. For the B7 to the E - its a resolution to E. Its not until you play the A following the E, that the function of the E has changed from a resolution to a V-I cadence.


Best,

Sean
Last edited by Sean0913 at Oct 5, 2011,
#16
I was thinking kind of the opposite to you Sean.

Rather than adding an extra chord in between the A and B7, another option would be, after the Dm, to strengthen the cadence, add a cadential 6/4, remove the B7 and play an E7.

A - Amaj7 - A7 - D/F# - Dm/F - I6/4 - E7/D - A/C# (I - I - I7 - IVb - ivb - I6/4 - V7d - Ib)

The inversions help to maintain stepwise motion in the roots as well as the other voices.

-5----
-5-5-5-7-6-5-3-2
-6-6-6-7-7-6-4-2
-7-6-5-7-7-7-6-2
-7-----9-8-7-5-4
-5-5-5---

Quote by gonzaw
So I've been fooling around in Amaj, and decided to write a chord progression with a chromatic descending run of sorts in each chord, something like this:

A - AM7 - A7 - D - Dm - A - B7 - E

There is a slight element of modal interchange in this progression as you're borrowing Dm from the parallel minor scale. The B7 is a secondary dominant from the key.

Yes, accidentals in A major.
Last edited by mdc at Oct 5, 2011,
#17
Quote by Sean0913
If I were looking at this, I'd see that the first 3 chords, are Tonally around A Major.

The A7 to D marks a Tonal change of Key to the D, which I'd see as a Tonal D center progression Major to Minor, but with D as the tonal center. The A would indicate the V of the D and I'd expect a return to the I.


Well, for one it doesn't feel that the A7-D indicates a key change to me. I mean, it just feels like it functions as the subdominant in A rather than tonic in D. Taking only the progression A-AM7-A7-D-A seems to be solely on A major (unless it's a subtle key change, although I don't really feel it).

At this point, I feel it's okay because you have moved by step to the B7 - which is fine, because that indicates another key change, but I might have considered an F#m7 between the A and the B7. The B7 makes an easy and effective final V-I to E.


Yeah, adding the F#m7 adds something to it, although since it doesn't follow the "1 chromatic step down for each chord" formula I may leave it for later (as some variation of the progression).

The progression would go through 3 tonal Key changes, as I would read this: A, D and E. You modulated 2 times.

Even if it goes back to A as you say, the E served 2 functions. For the B7 to the E - its a resolution to E. Its not until you play the A following the E, that the function of the E has changed from a resolution to a V-I cadence.


Best,

Sean


It doesn't really feel like it modulates to E major, it just seems like a half cadence in A major to me (the progression in fact continues, I posted the rest some posts ago).
But since I don't really understand the function of secondary dominants (in relation to the tonic) I don't really know if that's true or not.


Quote by mdc
I was thinking kind of the opposite to you Sean.

Rather than adding an extra chord in between the A and B7, another option would be, after the Dm, to strengthen the cadence, add a cadential 6/4, remove the B7 and play an E7.

A - Amaj7 - A7 - D/F# - Dm/F - I6/4 - E7/D - A/C# (I - I - I7 - IVb - ivb - I6/4 - V7d - Ib)

The inversions help to maintain stepwise motion in the roots as well as the other voices.

-5----
-5-5-5-7-6-5-3-2
-6-6-6-7-7-6-4-2
-7-6-5-7-7-7-6-2
-7-----9-8-7-5-4
-5-5-5---


But that kind of changes the progression entirely (and doesn't complete the chomatic run).

If I wanted said B7-E to be a half-cadence, then it isn't needed to "strenghen" the cadence right? It's just meant to be like that as it marks the end of a phrase but not a period, right? Or am I talking bullshit again?

There is a slight element of modal interchange in this progression as you're borrowing Dm from the parallel minor scale. The B7 is a secondary dominant from the key.

Yes, accidentals in A major.


I don't know why but the Dm to me just feels like the IV with an accidental.
I mean, if I just play:

A - AM7 - A7 - D - D - A - B7 - E

It "feels" like the same progression, so it would mean that the functions of the chords would not change, so the Dm would still be the IV (with accidentals) in A major

A - Amaj7 - A7 - D/F# - Dm/F - I6/4 - E7/D - A/C# (I - I - I7 - IVb - ivb - I6/4 - V7d - Ib)


In my progression all chords are in the 1st inversion, but only the D, Dm, A (second one), B7 and E are in octave voice (or whatever it's called).

EDIT: Also, you kind of missed the E in that E7/D
Wouldn't that make it G#dim? Although it still functions as the dominant, I don't know if it can be considered an authentic cadence (since it isn't exactly the dominant).

EDIT2: Well, I guess then it's an authentic cadence with substitution, but still it isn't as strong as the previous authentic cadence.
Last edited by gonzaw at Oct 5, 2011,
#18
Quote by gonzaw
So I've been fooling around in Amaj, and decided to write a chord progression with a chromatic descending run of sorts in each chord, something like this:

A - AM7 - A7 - D - Dm - A - B7 - E


But I don't actually get how (or why) it works, is it because of secondary dominants or are they just "accidents" while still in the key of Amaj?



It's in A Major (no modulations):

I - I7 - V7/IV - IV - iv - I - V7/V - V

Don't think of secondary dominants as "just accidentals", but rather consider their function in the role of the overall progression. The fact that this chord progression uses harmonic relationships that are consistent with common practice is a big part of why it "works".
shred is gaudy music
Last edited by GuitarMunky at Oct 5, 2011,
#19
This nothing more than a straight chromatic line...

||: A-G#-G-F#-F-E-D#-E :||

The cool thing is, the line is so strong that the tonality is of the Tonic chord is irrelevant.

You can play it in Major like you do:

A - AM7 - A7 - D - Dm - A - B7 - E

Or Minor:

Am - Am/M7 - Am7 - D7(or Am6) - Dm(or Amb6 or F) - Am - B7 - E

That way it's really nothing but "Am" with aV/V at the end of the progression to turn it around to V back to I.

You can look at it similarly in A Major too:

A - AM7 - A7 - A6 - Aaug - A - B7 - E (again nothing but A with a V/V in the turn around)

You can also see this pretty clearly from the stand point of "/" chords... or "in the bass" chords:

A - A/G# - A/G - A/F# - Asus4/F - A/E - B7 - E

Nothing be "A" until the turn around.

Last edited by MikeDodge at Oct 5, 2011,
#20
Gonzaw, I would defer what it sounds and feels like to you, because I would not presume to have such a perspective. If you say it doesn't feel like a change to D, then I'll go with that. But, a V - I in D is A7 to D.

When I posed my 2 second analysis, I just eyeballed this, I didn't actually play it, but I don't see that my reasoning is way off (unless you argue function as a part of the context, in which I would agree, but if I were developing a quick improvisation approach to this progression, that might be how I look and organize my approach), it depends on how you see and organize it (and hear it yeah) But I was going off tonal centers and Diatonic thinking (or not).

But because I didn't play it, I did not pay attention or think to consider the harmonic function. I looked at letters, saw a lot of V-I, and went from there - in a 2 second analysis.

If someone says that tonally it functions as a piece in A and the outside chords, functionally are still reinforcing that tonal center in A, I'd have no argument against that. I'd also accept your half cadence if the progression ends on the V.

Best,

Sean
Last edited by Sean0913 at Oct 6, 2011,
#21
Quote by gonzaw
But that kind of changes the progression entirely (and doesn't complete the chomatic run).

If I wanted said B7-E to be a half-cadence, then it isn't needed to "strenghen" the cadence right? It's just meant to be like that as it marks the end of a phrase but not a period, right? Or am I talking bullshit again?

Nah man, you ain't talking bullshit! I didn't realize your intention was to mark the end of a phrase, so yes, by all means stick with the imperfect cadence.


EDIT: Also, you kind of missed the E in that E7/D
Wouldn't that make it G#dim? Although it still functions as the dominant, I don't know if it can be considered an authentic cadence (since it isn't exactly the dominant).

EDIT2: Well, I guess then it's an authentic cadence with substitution, but still it isn't as strong as the previous authentic cadence.

It can't be an authentic cadence unless all the chords are in root position, and yes my E7/D voicing would be better suited to G#dim. Which would make it a leading tone IAC.

Having said that, as mentioned earlier your intention was to mark the end of a phrase, so stick with what you got.
#22
Quote by chantastic
Really. The chords dont follow traditional functions at all.


...sure....
#23
The A7 is a secondary dominant leading to D. Then you have the common IV iv I trick with the A acting as a pivot chord to get to E major by a V I cadence.

If you end on an E7 and use good voiceleading the B7 could be viewed as V/V, but the absence of a 7th in the E chord doesn't give a convincing resolution to A as a tonic.
#24
Quote by griffRG7321
The A7 is a secondary dominant leading to D. Then you have the common IV iv I trick with the A acting as a pivot chord to get to E major by a V I cadence.

If you end on an E7 and use good voiceleading the B7 could be viewed as V/V, but the absence of a 7th in the E chord doesn't give a convincing resolution to A as a tonic.


You're saying that a V - I isn't convincing because it lacks a 7th?


Do you think the lack of 7th makes it resolve somewhere else or something? I don't get where you're coming from.


I would say that It's V/V regardless of having a 7th in it or not. You don't need a 7th to have a "convincing" resolution back to I. V - I is a strong enough resolution.

And proper voiceleading is not required to consider the B7 V/V.
shred is gaudy music
Last edited by GuitarMunky at Oct 6, 2011,
#25
Quote by mdc
Nah man, you ain't talking bullshit! I didn't realize your intention was to mark the end of a phrase, so yes, by all means stick with the imperfect cadence.


It can't be an authentic cadence unless all the chords are in root position, and yes my E7/D voicing would be better suited to G#dim. Which would make it a leading tone IAC.

Having said that, as mentioned earlier your intention was to mark the end of a phrase, so stick with what you got.



I was taught that any V-I is an authentic cadence.
If both chords are in root position, take place in a strong beat and the tonic is in octave voicing (it has the tonic as leading voice), then it's perfect; otherwise it's imperfect...

Yes in this case it's imperfect (it's not in root position), but still it would be an authentic cadence right? What else could it be?

Quote by griffRG7321
The A7 is a secondary dominant leading to D. Then you have the common IV iv I trick with the A acting as a pivot chord to get to E major by a V I cadence.

If you end on an E7 and use good voiceleading the B7 could be viewed as V/V, but the absence of a 7th in the E chord doesn't give a convincing resolution to A as a tonic.



If I use E7, it doesn't sound the same (sounds like shit), so maybe it does modulate to E after all

Yet it still resolutes to the A in the next phrase


Damn it, how the hell is one supposed to analize chord progressions? This makes no sense!!
#26
Quote by gonzaw


If I use E7, it doesn't sound the same (sounds like shit), so maybe it does modulate to E after all

Yet it still resolutes to the A in the next phrase




well like you just said, it resolves to A in the next phrase. It's a fairly typical A Major chord progression that uses some altered chords (also in a typical way).



and not having the 7th in the V chord weakens the resolution, but it doesn't change the overall context. It's still the V chord. (unless you take it somewhere else, but at this point you've said it resolves back to A).
shred is gaudy music
Last edited by GuitarMunky at Oct 6, 2011,
#27
Quote by gonzaw
I was taught that any V-I is an authentic cadence.
If both chords are in root position, take place in a strong beat and the tonic is in octave voicing (it has the tonic as leading voice), then it's perfect; otherwise it's imperfect...

Yes in this case it's imperfect (it's not in root position), but still it would be an authentic cadence right? What else could it be?

Apologies, it was a typo on my side. It is a IAC, but not a PAC. But who cares?! Your'e not using G#dim anyway which renders it hypothetical.
#28
Quote by GuitarMunky
You're saying that a V - I isn't convincing because it lacks a 7th?


Do you think the lack of 7th makes it resolve somewhere else or something? I don't get where you're coming from.


I would say that It's V/V regardless of having a 7th in it or not. You don't need a 7th to have a "convincing" resolution back to I. V - I is a strong enough resolution.

And proper voiceleading is not required to consider the B7 V/V.


V - I is a strong resolution

V7 - I is a stronger one

The A B7 E progression sounds like a modulation to E. If you had A B7 E7, that would sound more convincing going back to A, without the E7, the B7 to E sounds stronger than the E- A.
#29
Quote by griffRG7321
V - I is a strong resolution

V7 - I is a stronger one



Like I just said..

Quote by GuitarMunky


and not having the 7th in the V chord weakens the resolution, but it doesn't change the overall context. It's still the V chord. (unless you take it somewhere else, but at this point you've said it resolves back to A).



Quote by griffRG7321

The A B7 E progression sounds like a modulation to E. If you had A B7 E7, that would sound more convincing going back to A, without the E7, the B7 to E sounds stronger than the E- A.


It's not an A B7 E progression. It's....

Quote by gonzaw

A - AM7 - A7 - D - Dm - A - B7 - E





Context matters.

If I were to refer to the "A7 - D" progression (taken from this overall progression, but presented as THE context), I would actually be changing the context.

try this...
play that progression a couple of times (or even once), then end on A. Sound resolved?
shred is gaudy music
Last edited by GuitarMunky at Oct 6, 2011,
#30
Quote by GuitarMunky
well like you just said, it resolves to A in the next phrase. It's a fairly typical A Major chord progression that uses some altered chords (also in a typical way).



and not having the 7th in the V chord weakens the resolution, but it doesn't change the overall context. It's still the V chord. (unless you take it somewhere else, but at this point you've said it resolves back to A).



But this time making it a 7th chord changes the "feel" (don't know how else to put it) of the E chord. If it's just B7-E-(A), then it does feel like the progression wants to resolve to A, but it's still pretty much consonant. Making it a B7-E7-(A), adds too much dissonance and tension so it tears down the whole "happy melancholical" feel of the progression.

I also get the feeling that having E7 makes it just so that it wants to resolve to A, but having the E makes it as the E itself is some kind of (partial) resolution, which sounds better in this context.
I don't know if this is because of the B7 or because of the nature of V and V7.
#31
Quote by gonzaw
Making it a B7-E7-(A), adds too much dissonance and tension so it tears down the whole "happy melancholical" feel of the progression.

Totally agree with that.

I don't know if this is because of the B7 or because of the nature of V and V7.

I think it's the latter. If you replaced the B7 with B, it wouldn't make much difference, but adding the b7 to E definitely does.
#32
Quote by gonzaw
But this time making it a 7th chord changes the "feel" (don't know how else to put it) of the E chord.

Well yeah, there is more tension in the dom 7th chord.

Quote by gonzaw

If it's just B7-E-(A), then it does feel like the progression wants to resolve to A, but it's still pretty much consonant. Making it a B7-E7-(A), adds too much dissonance and tension so it tears down the whole "happy melancholical" feel of the progression.


well, the feeling you get from it is subjective. if you feel one chord better expresses your idea than the other, you should choose it. From a theory standpoint though it's still all in A, regardless of whether or not you choose to have a V7 or a V.

Quote by gonzaw

I also get the feeling that having E7 makes it just so that it wants to resolve to A, but having the E makes it as the E itself is some kind of (partial) resolution, which sounds better in this context.
I don't know if this is because of the B7 or because of the nature of V and V7.


well sure there is a resolution from the V/V to the V, but that doesn't change the function of the V in the overall context. b7 or not, E is the V of your progression as stated in the OP.
shred is gaudy music
#33
Quote by GuitarMunky



It's not an A B7 E progression. It's....




Really? I thought I'd intentionally not notice the start of the chord sequence and base my answer on that

I'm not going to give you the satisfaction of carrying this on.

Quote by GuitarMunky

And proper voiceleading is not required to consider the B7 V/V.


And yes it is, I'll edit this post later with an example.
Last edited by griffRG7321 at Oct 6, 2011,
#34
Quote by griffRG7321
Really? I thought I'd intentionally not notice the start of the chord sequence and base my answer on that


I'm not going to give you the satisfaction of carrying this on.


You did present it that way.


Quote by griffRG7321



And yes it is, I'll edit this post later with an example.



it should be the exact same chord progression, but with poor voice leading that makes the B7 something other than the V/V
shred is gaudy music
Last edited by GuitarMunky at Oct 6, 2011,
#35
Quote by GuitarMunky
It's in A Major (no modulations):

I - I7 - V7/IV - IV - iv - I - V7/V - V

Don't think of secondary dominants as "just accidentals", but rather consider their function in the role of the overall progression. The fact that this chord progression uses harmonic relationships that are consistent with common practice is a big part of why it "works".


This.

The A7 works as the subdominant's dominant... the minor IV degree is very commonly used to lead back to the I degree... as for the B, it works as the dominant's dominant... and the E is the V degree, no modulation there, just the dominant chord
#37
Quote by liampje
I just want to know if OP likes metal.


..and if he needs a new amp....
Quote by AlanHB
It's the same as all other harmony. Surround yourself with skulls and candles if it helps.
#40
Quote by gonzaw
Not necessarily,...why?

I see alot of chromatic movements :p.
Well metal isn't the only genre that makes use of that.
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