#1
Dear fellow UGers,

Since a week or three I finally started to learn myself some music theory.
Now I made this chord progression: Am, G, C, D

When I play this, it sounds cool. But when I check my theory this should be in the key of Em!

However, when I play an Em in it, it doesn't feel like the root note at all! It feels like Am is the root!
Am can't be the root because there is a D major in the progression so that automatically makes it in the scale of Em (or G for that matter)

Please help me, how is it possible that the root note does not sound like the root at all?
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#2
It depends on what else is going on at the moment, looking at this Id say its in G Major, but I dont know how it resolves, or what inversions you are using. It is also possible that it is in A minor, and the D is just an accidental. It all depends on where you go from here Id say.

Thom
#3
The funny thing is, Dm sounds awful in it! so it MUST be in Em right?

EDIT:

LOL, I was not playing an Am but an Esus4 / Asus2

So now it must be in Em right?

Progression = Esus4(orAsus2) / G / C / D
Mesa/Boogie Road King v1
Marshall JMP 2203 '78
Vox AC30 H2 Heritage HW
Fender Deluxe Reverb '65 RI
Gibson Les Paul Custom '57 Historic RI '05
Fender American Vintage '52 RI Telecaster '02
Fender American Vintage '62 RI Stratocaster '07
Last edited by RMB at Oct 13, 2011,
#4
i'd say it's g major, because the e doesn't have the minor 3rd to give it that pull. it all depends on resolution though, and i can't play it at the moment.

however, it's basically a I IV V with a iv in front of it from the looks of things in g major.
modes are a social construct
#6
But the G doens't feel resolving either!

Only the Esus4/Asus2 does!
Mesa/Boogie Road King v1
Marshall JMP 2203 '78
Vox AC30 H2 Heritage HW
Fender Deluxe Reverb '65 RI
Gibson Les Paul Custom '57 Historic RI '05
Fender American Vintage '52 RI Telecaster '02
Fender American Vintage '62 RI Stratocaster '07
#7
How do you play the rhythm? Harmonic rhythm can have a fair influence in determining where a progression resolves, even without an accompanying melody.
#9
Quote by RMB
Dear fellow UGers,

Since a week or three I finally started to learn myself some music theory.
Now I made this chord progression: Am, G, C, D

When I play this, it sounds cool. But when I check my theory this should be in the key of Em!

However, when I play an Em in it, it doesn't feel like the root note at all! It feels like Am is the root!
Am can't be the root because there is a D major in the progression so that automatically makes it in the scale of Em (or G for that matter)

Please help me, how is it possible that the root note does not sound like the root at all?


trust your ears, it's in A minor. The D is borrowed from the parallel Major.
shred is gaudy music
#10
I feel i get the most resolution from G and Am.

Can anyone else here the G in their heads once you play the D. As if it would be the perfect chord to end it on ?
#11
Quote by mrbabo91
I feel i get the most resolution from G and Am.

Can anyone else here the G in their heads once you play the D. As if it would be the perfect chord to end it on ?


Na. if you consider the entire progression, you should hear A as home. Just because the chords can be found in a key, doesn't mean you're actually in that key. For example, you could arrange those same chords in a way that would establish G as the tonic, such as G - Am - C - D.

If you compare both progressions you should hear the difference.

Am - G - C - D (i - VII - III - IV)

VS

G - Am - C - D (I - ii - IV - V)
shred is gaudy music
Last edited by GuitarMunky at Oct 13, 2011,
#12
I'm with funky munky.




Am feels resolved enough. Sometimes it's sound blatantly obvious it doesn't sound resolved, but here I don't find any problem.

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Last edited by xxdarrenxx at Oct 13, 2011,
#13
I don't hear an Am resolution at all, and I definitely don't see one. This screams out G to me. I can't help but hear the G C D as I IV V in G and to hear such a strong I-IV-V root movement and then a motion to Am (ii) just sounds mental. If you're looping the chords like that, then to me it doesn't really ever resolve to any one point, so it's tough to give a key. If you play the progression through and stop on the D, the landing point is almost invariably G to my ears. I cannot in any way hear the Am as anything but some sort of deceptive resolution.
#14
It's subjective I guess. What do you mean by deceptive resolution? I know that's a kind of cadence, but does it work on any other degrees other than V-vi?
#15
It doesn't have to be a cadence, it's just an unexpected resolution. The expected resolution would be D-G (V-I) but if it goes somewhere else (most commonly vi, but ii is not out of the question) it's deceptive. It's not wrong, it's just that it's by nature unresolved, ii even more so than vi.
#16
Ok thanks. Like I said, subjective.

TS, as mentioned earlier, personally I think it's an A minor progression, the D is borrowed from the parallel major scale.

If you want it to sound more resolved on A, then introduce a Tierce de Picardie.
#17
I'll probably get read out for not knowing musical theory as well as I should. But, technically, I don't believe the key is established, since the chord progression isn't actually resolved at all.

"D" really isn't the tonic of either of the two key choices. So, how is this finished?

"D" Major is the fifth of "G", so being as corny and sentimental as I am, I'd likely play Dsus4, back to G, call it G major, and be done with it.

I'm sort of at a loss to figure out why Em is even in contention as a key, since it doesn't get played. If somebody wants to throw it into the next 4 bars, I might consider it.... Well OK, "E" is the third of "C" Major, and the fifth of Am. So that makes it the tonic? I don't theenk so.

Just to throw something else out there, the more beaten track in the key of G might be, Am, D, to G. The resolution is much more clear cut.
Last edited by Captaincranky at Oct 13, 2011,
#18
With examples like this the key center definitely is not particularly strongly established, especially with there being no real cadence anywhere in the progression.

The D at the end particularly is what's throwing things off here. It could be seen as a V chord in G major, but it doesn't resolve to G. Going with it being in A minor, which is my intuition, the D chord could be seen as borrowing from the parallel major, but if that's the case it's being used in a context in which the key center hasn't been clearly established yet, thereby creating ambiguity.

I find it interesting that these kind of debates over what key a chord progression is in often occurs when people give examples of chord progressions (or *fragments* of one) that, IMO, don't particularly flow well (or are explicitly written by people who are not very familiar with standard manuevers of harmonic movement), or the progressions at least have some inherent ambiguity about them because of the way it is structured, and they are shown in a way that is divorced from any broader musical context which would already clearly indicate the key for us.
Last edited by Brainpolice2 at Oct 13, 2011,
#19
A lot of different views hmmm;

Shall we discuss how come some people feel it's G while others find it Am?

I have a theory, but if you don't participate in a normal discussion then ignore my post.

Alright

D - Am or rather IV - i is been used quite often in the past few decades.

- So what - Miles davis purely relies on this in the form in a Dorian vamp
- David gilmour used this movement as well with Pink Floyd.


We can agree also that ever since medieval times that perception of dissonance and interval has changed.

For example: It used to be that Major 3rds were dissonant, and look at today's music. Without it basically 90% of music since the classical period would be "incorrect".

Style/perception changes, and I believe that because this movement is used so often it's just adjusted to our hearing. Likewise some people here find G to be the better ending. Maybe you haven't heard enough of said IV - i to find this an appealing movement (to end with).

My personal view is (going on a limb) that it might be a deception of a regular plagal cadence (IV - I becomes IV - i). It has happened with tierce the picardy (which Mdc brought up few posts back) suggested in a (arguably) similar deceptive way.

It can also be that we subconsciously find a root movement to be satisfying enough where this shares the same movement as a regular plagal cadence.

Once again this is my view. I just want to philosophize this matter, cause I'm not interested in a "truest answer".

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Last edited by xxdarrenxx at Oct 13, 2011,
#20
Quote by Brainpolice2
With examples like this the key center definitely is not particularly strongly established, especially with there being no real cadence anywhere in the progression.

The D at the end particularly is what's throwing things off here. It could be seen as a V chord in G major, but it doesn't resolve to G. Going with it being in A minor, which is my intuition, the D chord could be seen as borrowing from the parallel major, but if that's the case it's being used in a context in which the key center hasn't been clearly established yet, thereby creating ambiguity.
The example given of a "chord progression" is incompletely resolved, and as such, (IMHO), only represents part of a larger whole. It is most appropriate to be placed second, (four bars), of an eight bar turnaround. Some of my potential candidates for the first 4 bars include: G, Em, C, G or G, C, G, C....You get the idea.

Quote by xxdarrenxx

We can agree also that ever since medieval times that perception of dissonance and interval has changed.

For example: It used to be that Major 3rds were dissonant, and look at today's music. Without it basically 90% of music since the classical period would be "incorrect".
What many people fail to acknowledge, is that said perceptions of interval, consonance, and dissonance, attach themselves to Western European culture and convention. They're almost part of our genetic memory.

Differences of perceptual harmonic relationships certainly exist into the present, when the music of other cultures is examined.

So what to do? I suggest buying a big bag of weed, and heading to India!

Listen, it worked for George Harrison.....

Somebody mentioned Pink Floyd in association with this chord progression. "Wish You Were Here" is the best example I could think of, which represented the 4 chords, (G, C, D, Am), utilized in the key of G major: http://tabs.ultimate-guitar.com/p/pink_floyd/wish_you_were_here_ver4_tab.htm

As such,the Am resolves directly to G, and is a bit more clear cut in establishing the key.
Last edited by Captaincranky at Oct 13, 2011,
#21
What many people fail to acknowledge, is that said perceptions of interval, consonance, and dissonance, attach themselves to Western European culture and convention. They're almost part of our genetic memory.

Differences of perceptual harmonic relationships certainly exist into the present, when the music of other cultures is examined.

So what to do? I suggest buying a big bag of weed, and heading to India!

Listen, it worked for George Harrison.....

Somebody mentioned Pink Floyd in association with this chord progression. "Wish You Were Here" is the best example I could think of, which represented the 4 chords, (G, C, D, Am), utilized in the key of G major: http://tabs.ultimate-guitar.com/p/pink_floyd/wish_you_were_here_ver4_tab.htm

As such,the Am resolves directly to G, and is a bit more clear cut in determining the key.


True, but with the internet, everyone plays pseudo Raga and has heard japanese gamelan. Not to mention the pseudo eastern influences in pop music.

Also medieval times are western, and who would of thought that the same heretic tritone could be adopted as a #4 in Lydian or such important enharmonic b5 role in jazz?

The borders of music have crossed a long time ago, and especially with guitar players who play instrumental (both professional and on youtube) have explored countless harmonic and melodic possibilities as well as sound possibilities.

Also the Pink floyd thing was in the same post by me.. Long night?

The "Re-incarnation of Plato" Award 2009
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#22
Quote by Captaincranky
The example given of a "chord progression" is incompletely resolved, and as such, (IMHO), only represents part of a larger whole.


Well the tonic is Am. if you play that progression and end on Am. You will have completely resolved it.


Quote by Captaincranky


It is most appropriate to be placed second, (four bars), of an eight bar turnaround. Some of my potential candidates for the first 4 bars include: G, Em, C, G or G, C, G, C....You get the idea.


The given progression used the chords/functions appropriately and is not all that uncommon.

Quote by Captaincranky

Somebody mentioned Pink Floyd in association with this chord progression. "Wish You Were Here" is the best example I could think of, which represented the 4 chords, (G, C, D, Am), utilized in the key of G major: http://tabs.ultimate-guitar.com/p/pink_floyd/wish_you_were_here_ver4_tab.htm


Same chords different context and key. The progression for wish you were here utilizes more than those 4 chords, and in a way that clearly points to G as being the tonal center.
this is much different than the progression given by the TS.
shred is gaudy music
Last edited by GuitarMunky at Oct 13, 2011,
#23
Quote by GuitarMunky
Well the tonic is Am. if you play that progression and end on Am. You will have completely resolved it.
And this is because the posted chord progression, Am, G, C, D ends on Am.....?

You're quite right, of course. albeit a dark folky resolution. (That doesn't mean I don't like it).

Now you've gone and made me feel all nostalgic. Like the way I get while listening to "REO Speedwagon's, "Take it on the Run". Yeah I know, it's a strange association. Don't know why it popped into mind. Maybe I'll go try to figure out what key America's "Sandman" is in.
Last edited by Captaincranky at Oct 13, 2011,
#24
Quote by Captaincranky
Now you've gone and made me feel all nostalgic. Like the way I get while listening to "REO Speedwagon's, "Take it on the Run". Yeah I know, it's a strange association. Don't know why it popped into mind. Maybe I'll go try to figure out what key America's "Sandman" is in.

Great!
#25
I would say the progression is in g major but the tonic because of the opening chord in A. If you try A Dorian which is the same as Gmajor you may find some resolution to your question. Remember that the Dorian scale is 12b3456b7 and that a natural minor scale is 12b345b6b7. The difference being that 6th. Your chord progression can be analyzed in several different ways however you may find that the tonic will still lead back to A. I can't think of any examples that actually do this off the top of my head.
#26
Quote by Requim13
I would say the progression is in g major but the tonic because of the opening chord in A. If you try A Dorian which is the same as Gmajor you may find some resolution to your question. Remember that the Dorian scale is 12b3456b7 and that a natural minor scale is 12b345b6b7. The difference being that 6th. Your chord progression can be analyzed in several different ways however you may find that the tonic will still lead back to A. I can't think of any examples that actually do this off the top of my head.
Ignoring the technical side of the issue, which after all, we seem to get bogged down in badly, the issue is one of emotional resolution.

IMHO, the chord progression Am, G, C, D, is both incomplete, and nothing new anyway.

Several opinions exist as to key, but the fact is, the key can't be determined, because the progression doesn't resolve, technically or emotionally.

If you pick up a guitar and strum your way through this chord sequence, then return to Am, you get dark and ominous resolution. That's not unpleasant by any stretch, and is quite suitable for many topics, from hurricanes to hurt. And yes, at that point, the key would be Am. It very much sounds like a country folk invention.

I mentioned America's, "Sandman" earlier, since it is in Am, but also has the excursion to "D" major. This song gives an example of what was mentioned earlier, the D major is obviously "borrowed" for the related major scale.

I realize that America's "Sandman", is well before the time of most people here. However it is in Am, conveys a sense of desperation and lost opportunity, then resolves to Am.

Am & F major are the prevalent chords but, the Dm chord, (which theoretically is part of Am), is never played in the song.

The OP suggests that, "Dm doesn't sound right, but it is in the key". Which tells us simply, you don't have to use every chord in any given key, just because it's on the chart. And many, many songs don't, (use every chord in the key).