#1
Just a thought:

Often, someone posts a chord progression and asks what key it's in.

Often, the answer given is to 'listen to where it resolves'.

This is good advice. It works.

But can theory determine the point of resolution without needing someone to listen to the progression?

If not, what more information is needed other than the chords and their sequence?
#2
But can theory determine the point of resolution without needing someone to listen to the progression?


Yes.

If not, what more information is needed other than the chords and their sequence?


If it's obvious, eg, there's a big V-I slapping you in the face, then you don't need more info.

If there's a tricky chord which could function various ways, then the specific voicings would help a lot.
#3
It's not that "tension/resolution" theory (i.e. functional harmony, I'm assuming?) is lacking, it's that a lot of pop music doesn't really follow it all that closely. We're inundated with modal practise and we just don't know it. Weak cadences where the leading tone is flattened all over the place, subdominant progressions and the like, all of that is modal in a sense (please no modal noobs come in here thinking that I'm suggesting you learn the ionian mode instead of the major scale). Basically, non-functional things that we've come to lump in with functional harmony.

Although, I agree to an extent that "listen to where it resolves" can be bad advice. I was in liam's thread yesterday and playing through the progression he posted and I could hear it resolving on almost any of the chords depending on how I played it. In that case there was a song to go with it, but a lot of times it's just a progression without context and it can be difficult to assess that.
#4
Quote by Jehannum
Just a thought:

Often, someone posts a chord progression and asks what key it's in.

Often, the answer given is to 'listen to where it resolves'.

This is good advice. It works.

But can theory determine the point of resolution without needing someone to listen to the progression?

If not, what more information is needed other than the chords and their sequence?


After a while you can recognize concepts visually, for instance if you see an A7 going to D, you can say that based on the theory it's likely to be a V7 to I in D. It's natural to develop that sort of familiarity with the concepts after experiencing them over and over.

That said, music is an aural art. If you truly want to understand the concepts presented in music theory, you have to be able to recognize them aurally.
shred is gaudy music
Last edited by GuitarMunky at Dec 13, 2011,
#5
So you're asking how do you determine what key its in or where it should resolve to?
Knowing the key , a song will almost always resolve on the tonic (Chord I) but can also resolve on the 3rd or 6th chord to create a different sound. If you establish which key its in it should resolve on them ultimately. To end a phrase , chords 'pull' to each other due to close or common notes within them. For example if there was a chord progression that ended on a Dsus2 (D E A) then a good chord to play afterwards may be an A Major (A C E) due to the common A and E and also the close D-C. If you take the time to look at the individual notes in a chord it can become fairly obvious where should move to. I personally love using Sus chords because they are neither major or minor so they create a bit of tension so when you resolve with the next chord that tension is eased and they can also be used practically anywhere.
If you're talking solos/melodies , again , the 1st 3rd and 6th notes of the scale are still 'resting points' in the phrase while the others are used to create suspense and stuff.
I'm no musical genius or anything so someone may want to double check some of this lol.
Hope it helps!