#1
I am trying to get a feel for how chord progressions work. I have seen those diagrams of how chords flow together. Reason I ask is that some good songs do not seem to follow that trend and that's a backwards way of generating your own progressions. Is it worth spending the time to attach roman numerals in songs within the key? How would you analyze something like a Beatles songs such as a Day in the Life with some chords out of key or is analysis not too useful there?
#2
The Roman numerals are the same as your scale degrees. So III chord means that it's the major chord built on the scale degree a major third away from the tonic. So simply if it's a minor third away from the tonic (for example Eb major chord in C major), it's a bIII chord (b in front of the Roman numeral means minor). If it's a major chord, you use capital letters and if it's a minor chord, you use lowercase letters. So the diatonic chords in a major key are I, ii, iii, IV, V, vi and vii diminished. And in minor key i, ii diminished, bIII, iv, v, bVI and bVII.

Learning about chord functions is important and it makes recognizing the chord progressions you hear a lot easier. Because then it doesn't matter what key you are in. It also helps you understand chord progressions better.
Quote by AlanHB
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#3
Quote by MaggaraMarine
The Roman numerals are the same as your scale degrees. So III chord means that it's the major chord built on the scale degree a major third away from the tonic. So simply if it's a minor third away from the tonic (for example Eb major chord in C major), it's a bIII chord (b in front of the Roman numeral means minor). If it's a major chord, you use capital letters and if it's a minor chord, you use lowercase letters. So the diatonic chords in a major key are I, ii, iii, IV, V, vi and vii diminished. And in minor key i, ii diminished, bIII, iv, v, bVI and bVII.

Learning about chord functions is important and it makes recognizing the chord progressions you hear a lot easier. Because then it doesn't matter what key you are in. It also helps you understand chord progressions better.


I understand all of that. You harmonize whatever scale you are working in with thirds to build triads or quadads(is that a word? 4 note chords)

Just wondering if there is more theory worth both learning relating to the movement of chords in a progression or is it really not necessary because you want to just get a feel of how to create your own as an art?
#4
Quote by sweetdude3000
I am trying to get a feel for how chord progressions work. I have seen those diagrams of how chords flow together. Reason I ask is that some good songs do not seem to follow that trend and that's a backwards way of generating your own progressions. Is it worth spending the time to attach roman numerals in songs within the key? How would you analyze something like a Beatles songs such as a Day in the Life with some chords out of key or is analysis not too useful there?



If you familiarize yourself with the pattern of major and minor chords in a major key, I IV, V are major, ii, iii and vi are minor, you will start hearing them that way in songs. Then key changes, transposition etc is a breeze because you have learned the changes in a song by their relationship (the progression) to one another instead of just trying to remember that the C chord in the chorus is followed by G or whatever the case may be.

Also, any anomalies, that is, chords that don't typically 'belong' in the key you're in, will SOUND like anomalies and will become as easy to identify as that black sheep in a pasture of white Eventually you will hear more and more nuance but start with the 3 major and 3 minor chords of any major key and relearn a few songs strictly by number (relationship) . You will start hearing the 'numbers' all over the place. Good luck

edit: yeah! to what MaggaraMarine said
Last edited by P_Trik at Jun 13, 2013,
#6
Quote by sweetdude3000
I am trying to get a feel for how chord progressions work. I have seen those diagrams of how chords flow together. Reason I ask is that some good songs do not seem to follow that trend and that's a backwards way of generating your own progressions. Is it worth spending the time to attach roman numerals in songs within the key? How would you analyze something like a Beatles songs such as a Day in the Life with some chords out of key or is analysis not too useful there?


Well, the best way to approach this is to start with understanding simple concepts, like a V-I cadence, and slowly adding concepts and building out your knowledge from there. When you hear stuff like "two leads to five leads to one" it's true, but that's just the most basic level of how those chords can be used.

With that Beatles song, there's a lot going on, particularly because there's a lot of the Beatles' characteristic tonal ambiguity. But start by noticing what's pretty straightforward: you could look at the verse as being pretty much just in G major (Chords: G, Bm, Em, C, D) with an F major thrown in there - an the bVII is a well-known substitution for the V chord.

The middle section, after the orchestra, is in E major, again, with the heavy use of the bVII - in this case the D major chord. Just think of that as a substitute for the V and, again, it makes lots of sense.

You see a few interesting bits in the second orchestra section, for example the A major chord, but that's a pretty straightforward secondary dominant, although it's only sort of loosely functioning since it doesn't head straight towards the D (although it's not non-functioning completely since it does sort of point you in that direction).

The best book I've seen to help you wrap your head about this - and I'm not just recommending this because you asked about a Beatles song - is "Songwriting Secrets of the Beatles" by Dominic Pedler. It might be the best book on music theory ever written.

The bVII and the II are probably the two most common non-diatonic chords, so they're really not that surprising to see in this song.
#7
Quote by HotspurJr
Well, the best way to approach this is to start with understanding simple concepts, like a V-I cadence, and slowly adding concepts and building out your knowledge from there. When you hear stuff like "two leads to five leads to one" it's true, but that's just the most basic level of how those chords can be used.

With that Beatles song, there's a lot going on, particularly because there's a lot of the Beatles' characteristic tonal ambiguity. But start by noticing what's pretty straightforward: you could look at the verse as being pretty much just in G major (Chords: G, Bm, Em, C, D) with an F major thrown in there - an the bVII is a well-known substitution for the V chord.

The middle section, after the orchestra, is in E major, again, with the heavy use of the bVII - in this case the D major chord. Just think of that as a substitute for the V and, again, it makes lots of sense.

You see a few interesting bits in the second orchestra section, for example the A major chord, but that's a pretty straightforward secondary dominant, although it's only sort of loosely functioning since it doesn't head straight towards the D (although it's not non-functioning completely since it does sort of point you in that direction).

The best book I've seen to help you wrap your head about this - and I'm not just recommending this because you asked about a Beatles song - is "Songwriting Secrets of the Beatles" by Dominic Pedler. It might be the best book on music theory ever written.

The bVII and the II are probably the two most common non-diatonic chords, so they're really not that surprising to see in this song.


Awesome explanation! Thanks that put things more in perspective for me. I'll check out that book you mentioned. I did pick up on the secondary dominants cycle in the song. Interesting details
#8
Take a look at this.


http://0.tqn.com/d/np/music-theory/160-1.jpg


What you see here is the "Chord Ladder". Its a visual aid that helps you see how chords function within a progression. It's all about tension and resolution.


One thing you always need to be aware off is that the V7 chord and the diminished VII want to resolve.

so you want to resolve the progression back to the root? Use either V7 or VII


In the key of C the-

V7=G7
Vii=B diminished

try playing G7 to C or Bdim to C. It should be the musical equivalent of "amen".


This gets way deeper. I Think you should research both Classical and Jazz Harmony. You will learn about things that will open up your musical world.