#1
So I recently was screwing around with Hey Joe - Jimi and I always just assumed it was E minor with the I chord substituted for a major or G major with the VI substituted.

But then I heard about this Firth-up progression and realized it was simply utilizing only major triads which are progressing up one 5th each chord root. The progression being C - G - D - A - E (G being a C's 5th, D being G's fifth, etc.)

So I'm basically reaching out to find more progressions such as these that move away from the traditional diatonic triads that make up the minor and major progressions. I've played with splicing chords and key changes, as well as taking notes from the harmonic and melodic minor scales, etc., but I've only gotten so far.

The idea of moving up fifths with major triads excited me as a way to mix things up. Can anyone recommend any books that focus on these other types of progressions? Or just provide feeback? The whole "traditional" diatonic progressions bore me at times. I picked up a jazz book that was helpful recently, but alot of it was over my head and geared towards pianists.
#2
I would suggest looking at a lot of jazz standards - especially the real standard standards - and analyzing their progressions (I have no books to suggest since I never learned through one, not to say that it's wrong in any way). You'll see a lot of things like 2-5-1s and 1-6-2-5 turnarounds and so on so forth. Then you can look at things like deceptive resolutions(the standard Lady Bird has one, for example) and tritone substitutions.
#3
Quote by Soccerguy
I would suggest looking at a lot of jazz standards - especially the real standard standards - and analyzing their progressions (I have no books to suggest since I never learned through one, not to say that it's wrong in any way). You'll see a lot of things like 2-5-1s and 1-6-2-5 turnarounds and so on so forth. Then you can look at things like deceptive resolutions(the standard Lady Bird has one, for example) and tritone substitutions.


"The Real Book". There's 3 volumes and between the three I would say there's at least 500 Jazz standards. This is the same book that the greats used to have (sometime called 'The Real Fake Book'). There was one on every stand. I think they're something like $25 a pop at the book store, but it's well worth it.

Plus, it's written in true 'jazz' fashion, which is good. i.e. Chord names above measures and only essential melodies and time signatures. It's all meant to be comped which is how jazz is meant to be played. I highly recommend
#4
Diatonic progressions aren't boring if they are played well. Music isn't just chords, you need a groove and a melody. If you just strum chords, all chord progressions are pretty boring.

But yeah, this kind of moving in fifths progressions are pretty common. For example Fly Me to the Moon is Am-Dm-G-C-F-Bdim-E-Am (i-iv-VII-III-VI-ii*-V-i). It moves in fifths (down) all the time. This kind of progressions are really common in jazz. The most basic jazz progression is ii-V-I and it's also moving in fifths. Though both of the progressions I mentioned were diatonic - other than the E major chord in Fly Me to the Moon (but again I don't see what's wrong with diatonic progressions).
Quote by AlanHB
Just remember that there are no boring scales, just boring players.

Gear

Bach Stradivarius 37G
Charvel So Cal
Fender Dimension Bass
Hartke HyDrive 210c
Ibanez BL70
Laney VC30
Tokai TB48
Yamaha FG720S-12
Yamaha P115
#5
Quote by MaggaraMarine
Diatonic progressions aren't boring if they are played well. Music isn't just chords, you need a groove and a melody. If you just strum chords, all chord progressions are pretty boring.

But yeah, this kind of moving in fifths progressions are pretty common. For example Fly Me to the Moon is Am-Dm-G-C-F-Bdim-E-Am (i-iv-VII-III-VI-ii*-V-i). It moves in fifths (down) all the time. This kind of progressions are really common in jazz. The most basic jazz progression is ii-V-I and it's also moving in fifths. Though both of the progressions I mentioned were diatonic - other than the E major chord in Fly Me to the Moon (but again I don't see what's wrong with diatonic progressions).


I didn't mean to say they were boring. I poorly articulated what I was trying to say. I understand there is alot more to the composition to music than just the progressions themselves. I just wanted to get my point across that I was looking to find others avenues other than the traditional diatonic progressions. My understanding is that Jazz breaks alot of the traditional rules, but can be an extremely daunting genre to enter into from the perspective of someone who generally does not play jazz.
#6
Note: Magara Marine is talking about what is typically called a "chain of fifths" or "cycle of fifths" progression. In this kind of progression (e.g. E A D G C) is a root movement down a perfect fifth (or up a fourth).

The progressions as found in Hey Joe and that the TS mentions specifically are known as fourth progressions. The reason for this is that you usually work toward the tonic. Thus if you approach the tonic by a movement "up a fifth" you are coming from the sub dominant or IV chord to the tonic I.

With that said the basic idea between them is all the same. I only mention it in case the TS notices that the difference in his example and some of the other examples given.

CYCLE OF FIFTHS AND CYCLE OF FOURTHS PROGRESSIONS
Cycle progressions are common. The simplest are the cycle of fifths and cycle of fourths progressions. The whole idea starts from the simple cadence. A V-I move sounds resolved and is a great part of what makes the chord sound like home.

The power of the V-I movement was wonderful, people loved it. Eventually it was asked "what happens if we precede that V chord with a chord that has a root a fifth above that?" The answer was a II V I, or if you want to stay diatonic ii V I.

This II V I was even better as it really compounded the effect. The II-V move would on it's own would see the II act as a dominant, or V chord of the V chord. This it is the V of V or V/V and we have what is known as a "secondary dominant". (A secondary dominant is any chord that is not the dominant or tonic chord of the key serving as a dominant chord in some capacity.)

The next immediate question is what happens if we just continue to extend this progression out by preceding each chord with a chord a fifth above (or a fourth below). The logical conclusion of this line of enquiry is a complete cycle of fifths progression that cycles through all 12 notes of our 12 tone system with 12 V-I movements:
C - F - Bb - Eb - Ab - Db(C#) - Gb(F#) - B - E - A - D - G - C...etc

One particularly beautiful aspect of the cycle of fifths progression is that it is tonally ambiguous. That is there is no clear sense of hierarchy among the chords as each chord gravitates toward the next in an endless loop. To create a tonic or home chord all you need to do is stop on whatever chord you want to be your tonic.

With the last hundred years or so of popular music being quite keen on the IV I cadence the same effect is achieved by working backwards through the cycle of fifths to create a cycle of fourths progression as used in the song Hey Joe made famous by Hendrix.

SOME WAYS CYCLE PROGRESSIONS CAN BE USED

USE IN DYNAMIC HARMONY
The tonal ambiguity, and pleasing sound of these cycle progressions makes them excellent for returning to the tonic chord from far away. We could think about a progression as containing two parts. A static harmony and a dynamic harmony. The static harmony is the tonic harmony that "sets the scene" and provides the stable home of a progression. The dynamic harmony provides a sense of moving away from and then back toward the home.

Viewing harmony in this way can give us an approach in our thought process regarding the creation of effective harmonic progressions.

With the static harmony we might ask things like: how long is the static harmony?; and in the case of a prolonged static harmony: how do we prevent the static harmony from sounding stale or becoming boring?

In regard to the dynamic harmony we are primarily concerned with two questions: 1)How do we move away from the tonic; and 2)How do we get back to the tonic.

The cycle of fifths (or fourths) can be an answer to either of these questions. We can use the cycle of fifths to move away from the tonic to any chord we want...or we can use the cycle of fifths to get back to the tonic from just about any chord.

As an example, if we find we have followed our ear into some wonderful but exotic and unfamiliar harmonies and all of a sudden feel we are starting to lose a sense of tonic and/or find ourselves unsure of how to get back to the tonic, a cycle of fifths can often be exactly what we need. Not only can it get us back to the tonic chord but it is such a familiar harmonic movement that it can provide a very nice contrast against the more experimental harmonies that might have preceded it.

KEY CHANGES
The fact that any of the chords in the cycle of fifths can act as a tonic is also very useful when changing keys. If we need to change to a distant key we can use the cycle of fifths as a convincing and smooth way to get from one tonal centre to another.

CYCLE OF FIFTHS OR FOURTHS AS A SPRINGBOARD
Another way to use the cycle of fifths is to introduce variations or extend the ideas beyond a straight cycle of fifths or cycle of fourths progression.

HOTEL CALIFORNIA - THE EAGLES
A simple example of this would be a variation of the cycle of fourths progression in the song Hotel California. The chords in the verse of this song are Bm F# A E G D E F#. You'll note of course that this isn't a straight cycle of fourths progression. So let's look at it a little bit.

A cycle of fourths from B would be B F# C# G# D# A# etc.. But what if were to arrange the chords over a melody (or line of lyrics) that started on one chord and ended on the next. We would then have arranged our cycle of fourths into a two chord pattern that repeats a whole step higher on each line...
B F#
C# G#
D# A# etc.
Note how each line could be viewed as it's own IV-I change repeated a whole step above the last. Now what if instead we repeated the IV-I progression a whole step below the last line?
Then we get the following root movement...
B - F#
A - E
G - D etc.
And we have the start of Hotel California. So why does it then change after the D it's E F#? That's not a IV I. But if you recall before that when we are dealing with a dynamic harmony we need to figure out how to get back to our tonic? Well that's what is going on here.

The Eagles have used a variation of a cycle of fourths progression to get away from the tonic and now they need to find a logical way back from the D chord to the Bm. Preferably in two chords so they can have a total of eight nice even chord changes that they can repeat and it leads back onto itself.

They know that V-I is powerful pleasant and firmly establishes the tonal centre so F# to Bm sounds great. To make that work all they need is a chord that will smoothly take them from D to F#. The obvious choice is to fill in the gap with an E chord to create.

The point though is that you can see the repetitive use of IV-I movements each a whole step below the last (instead of a whole step above which would have made it a standard cycle of fourths progression).

What if instead we took our IV-I movement and repeated it a minor third below? What would happen then?

Well let's say we want four chords and to end up on a chord with the root B. Knowing our target allows us to work backwards. We precede this with a chord one that has a root a perfect fourth above it so an E chord.

This would give us an E to B root movement (a down a fourth root movement.) If these are the last two of our four chords then preceding them with G-D would produce a IV-I pattern (G to D) that is repeated a minor third below (E - B).

Incidentally having a look at the chorus for Hotel California we can see exactly that...
G D
Em Bm
G D
Em F# (note this time around it's an F#. That's so we get that V-I lead back into the verse which starts on Bm).

So we can see how Hotel California is pretty much built on variations of that cycle of fourths progression.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Yyy4yaVwsv0

...continued
Si
#7
WRONG WAY - SUBLIME

Another song that uses a pattern type progression is Wrong Way by Sublime.
In order to look at this properly I'm going to break the verse down into 6 sections each four lines long.
Here there are two chords to each line. The first group of four lines repeats E-D over each line. (E D E D E D E D)
So this is just a chord followed by a second chord a whole step below. Repeat 4x.

The next group of four lines is the pretty much same pattern repeated except all the roots are a perfect fourth below the first pattern (with the exception of the last chord which goes up a minor third instead of down a whole step...A G A G A G A C. (A is perfect fifth below E, and G is a perfect fifth below D).

The next two groups of four lines repeats the same pattern as found in the first two groups but UP a whole step respectively. So this time it's F# E F# E F# E F# E followed by B A B A B A B D.

The final two groups of four lines repeats the same pattern again with exactly the same chords as found in the first two groups. (ED and AG)

The chords of this song make much more sense when understood as a repeating pattern than when trying to be understood as any kind of diatonic harmony.

In this way it is related to the cycle of fifths progression, and we can possibly find a further connection with the cycle of fifths if we single out the root note of the first chord of each group of four lines...
E..A..F#..B..E..A

Is the F# B E A a cycle of fifths or just a coincidence?

I'm not suggesting that it was thought out this way either, but one way to get there would be okay so we got this repeating chord pattern in E then A to kick off the verse and want to end the verse with E and A but we want something different in the middle to break up the monotony...where can we go? Well B leads into E and then to complete our pattern it would be preceded by F#.

So even if it was instinctive in it's construction we can still see a link back to the cycle of fifths progression there. Although I don't think there is ever actually a V-I chord change in the song.
www.youtube.com/watch?v=uLifSFBs_Lk

SUBSTITUTIONS
There was another song that I can't remember the name of by Muse that was based on a cycle of fifths. I can't remember the song but I remember the chord progression because it was so awesome.

In the song they start on the tonic and move through a cycle of fifths progression. However they come to the same question that we asked before...once we have moved away from the tonic, how do we get back convincingly.

Most songs you don't want a complete cycle of fifths since it's just too long, just part of one up to 6 chords is pretty good. So in this song they solved the problem of getting back to the tonic by way of a chord substitution.

In particular they used a tritone substitution. The idea behind the tritone sub is that aside from the down a fifth root movement, one important aspect of a V7-I resolution is the fact that the V7 chord contains a tritone between the major third and minor seventh degree of the chord.

In G7 (G B D F) for example the major third is B and the minor seventh is F. These notes create a tritone interval between them. The tritone is a dissonant interval (try playing B and F together on your guitar). So when we change from G7 to a C chord these two notes move a half step toward each other (B up to C and F down to E) to create a Major third in the chord of C (C E G).

The idea behind a tritone substitution is that there is another dominant seventh chord that uses this same tritone. Only this time the F is the major third and the B(or Cb) is the minor seventh. This chord is Db7 (Db F Ab Cb). This dominant seventh chord is usually found in the key of Gb as the dominant seventh chord. In this key the F moves up a half step to Gb and the Cb moves down a half step to Bb to become form the root and third of the Gb tonic.

However, because the Db7 chord shares the same tritone as the G7 chord when we are in the key of C we can substitute a Db7 chord in place of a G7 and retain a lot of the same resolution.

Thus instead of V7-I we could use a tritone substitution to get bII7-I. In the key of C that would be Db7-C in place of G7-C. The resolution is still strong, though not quite as strong as the G7-C because it lacks that down a fifth movement.

So how does this relate back to our cycle of fifths? Well remember that our cycle of fifths is a series of V-I root movements? Well this means that we can actually substitute one of our V-I movements with a bII-I move instead.

Working this out let's say our target is C. Preceding this would be G (let's make it a G7) so we have G7-C. (We aren't going to substitute this G7 though...because it is a cycle of fifths we want the absolute strongest possible resolution into our tonic chord so we'll wait a step).

Preceding the G would be a chord a perfect fifth above that which is D. Let's make that one a D7. So we now have D7 G7 C. A nice strong progression.

NOW we are going to apply our tritone substitution to the D7 chord. This will give us an Ab7 chord*. So our progression is Ab7 G7 C

And we continue back with a straight cycle of fifths to get a cycle of fifths progression that starts and ends on C but doesn't need 12 chords to get there by using a nice tritone substitution. C F Bb Eb Ab7 G7 C

I'm not a huge Muse fan (I don't dislike them either) but I credit them with this progression it is really quite elegant.

*wait...why Ab7? I thought you said Db7?? Well if you're thinking this then I've definitely gone way too fast for you. A tritone sub is a bII7 in place of a V7. In this case the chord being replaced is D7 which is a V7 to G. If G is the tonic the bII7 would be Ab7. Thus a tritone sub for D7 is Ab7. Another way to work out tritone subs is the root of the chords are a tritone apart. So D to Ab is a tritone. G to Db is a tritone. F to B is a tritone, so in the key of E, B7 would be V7 and F7 would be the tritone substitute.

As we have done here it is quite common to use tritone substitutions on secondary dominants.

TONAL AMBIGUITY AND OTHER CYCLE PROGRESSIONS
One of the beautiful things about pattern based progressions is that they can create a sense of tonal ambiguity. That is they can be used to create a sense of either a shifting tonic (as in the cycle of fifths where each chord could act as a tonic) or a sense of no real tonic.

Another way to use pattern based progressions is if you use thirds. If you cycle through chords using a repeating down a minor third progression you will have a progression four chords long. And it will use one of the following three combination of root notes...
1. Db Bb G E
2. Ab F D B
3. C A Gb Eb
note: I'm using enharmonic spellings for some of these as A to Gb for example is an augmented second not a minor third but the result is the same = three semitones

Similarly if you used a major third cycle then you would have one of four progressions
1.A C# E#
2.F# A D
3.G B D#
4.G# C E

both of these types of progressions are very tonally ambiguous but you could get some interesting uses our of them.

There a so many more things you can do in working out pattern based progressions that seem to show a complete disregard for any kind of diatonic adherence but still sound good.


Apart from these pattern type progressions a cycle of fifths can also be used as a kind of chord flourish. One immediate example of this is in the song Nobody Home by Pink Floyd. Following video at 1:20
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4QcJPAa787c
Si
#8
Quote by MaggaraMarine
Diatonic progressions aren't boring if they are played well. Music isn't just chords, you need a groove and a melody.

Yes, definitely. Also including some additional tones and movement makes comping sound great! Of course playing simple root position triads at a steady rhythm is boring.
#10
Quote by 20Tigers
SUBSTITUTIONS
*wait...why Ab7? I thought you said Db7?? Well if you're thinking this then I've definitely gone way too fast for you.
I gotta admit, this got me too for a moment, until I remembered you were keeping the G7 for the strongest resolve back home... phew!

Was their track "plug in baby?" the only song I remember from this band... just not my thing.
Last edited by tonibet72 at Apr 7, 2014,
#11
Quote by tonibet72
I gotta admit, this got me too for a moment, until I remembered you were keeping the G7 for the strongest resolve back home... phew!

Was their track "plug in baby?" the only song I remember from this band... just not my thing.

It's definitely not Plug In Baby. I'm pretty sure it's the one I posted above.
#12
Quote by sickman411
@20Tigers: Was it this?
[Muse - Unintended]


Yeah that was it. Thanks.

Granted, they don't actually use the dominant seventh version of the chord, but the root movement is still there and the end result is pretty much the same... E A D G C B7 E.

The full explanation of the tritone sub is in my earlier post. The simplified version is "you can substitute a dominant chord with a chord that has a root note a tritone away from the original".
Si
#13
20Tigers gave a pretty comprehensive post, but as far as other types of harmony that stray away from traditional use of diatonic chords (I'd venture to say that secondary dominants/secondary leading tones, while nondiatonic chords, only function to push a diatonic harmony ahead), look up the [John] Coltrane sequence. This is most notable in his songs Countdown and Giant Steps. I'd rather not explain it in detail because there are better sources on it that could more aptly explain it than me, but it's basically a substitution for traditional ii - V - I progressions that involve major chords all a major triad apart (their roots forming an augmented triad). Countdown is a reharmonization of a Miles Davis tune called Tune-Up, which is just several ii - V7 - I progressions, using this technique.
#14
Quote by aCloudConnected
20Tigers gave a pretty comprehensive post, but as far as other types of harmony that stray away from traditional use of diatonic chords (I'd venture to say that secondary dominants/secondary leading tones, while nondiatonic chords, only function to push a diatonic harmony ahead), look up the [John] Coltrane sequence. This is most notable in his songs Countdown and Giant Steps. I'd rather not explain it in detail because there are better sources on it that could more aptly explain it than me, but it's basically a substitution for traditional ii - V - I progressions that involve major chords all a major triad apart (their roots forming an augmented triad). Countdown is a reharmonization of a Miles Davis tune called Tune-Up, which is just several ii - V7 - I progressions, using this technique.

I'm confused. The use of nondiatonic chords fucntions to push a diatonic harmony ahead...isn't that a contradiction.

And the Coltrane changes...diatonic? I don't see how that's possible.
Si
#15
So I got a private message from a user who wanted to discuss the post by aCloudConnected and my admitted confusion toward it. They didn't post it here though as they were not sure of what they were saying and were afraid of the backlash that would ensue if they got something wrong. They had the impression that there were some users here that seem to prowl the forum looking for anything they can rip apart in order to boost their own egos and knock people down more than want to help; that want an argument to win more than they want a meaningful and intelligent discussion.

I guess that's something that I can take on board as a moderator.
=====
Anyway here is an edited version of what was said...
...after reading your reply to aCloud's post... perhaps it might have been a simple misunderstanding of words posted by aCloud...

I dunno, whatcha think?...

Quote:


Quote by Posted by 20Tigers


I'm confused. The use of nondiatonic chords fucntions to push a diatonic harmony ahead...isn't that a contradiction.

And the Coltrane changes...diatonic? I don't see how that's possible.


Hi umm... as you may know, my theory is pretty limited, but i'm gonna risk having a sort of crack at this one...

okay so 2 things:

(granted i'm not entirely up with the proper music lingo) but i'm thinking what aCloud might mean is:
by inserting(?) a non-daitonic chord into a progression... instead of just going to the next say diatonic chord in the progression, we the listener/player would have to remain temporarily outside (harmonically?) of the standard/diatonic(?) sequence for the extra bars until the music arrives at the next diatonic chord (and subsequent harmonies that might typically accompany that move/change)...

In otherwords pushing the otherwise diatonic chord (and harmony) ahead... as a kind of figure of speech... so to speak?

arghh... it went a lot better in my head, (shame I can't give an actual example)... Hellll Nooo i've only just grasped the bldy concept (well at least I think I have?)... sorta!

ie: Dm7-Ab7-G7-C... maybe??
ie: v7/V - weird - V - I...sorta thing... could that be on the right track?

That's what I was thinking aCloud was getting at?... but my example might mean something entirely different to you based on what those chords mean to you (due to my lack of theory knowledge, you might have to look at my example a little laterally and not so literally) of course weird just a bad way of saying *non diatonic chord*

and 2ndly:


"...as far as other types of harmony that stray away from traditional use of diatonic chords... (I'd venture to say that secondary dominants/secondary leading tones, while nondiatonic chords, only function to push a diatonic harmony ahead), ...look up the [John] Coltrane sequence..."


This explanation was pretty tough to wrap my head around but I think I get what this guy was saying, and the advice that aCloudConnected's message was intending for the thread starter.

If we look at the Coltrane changes we see what appears to be a non diatonic harmony. However, upon closer examination the non diatonic chords are a kind of substitution/extension for what is essentially a purely diatonic harmony. (ii V I)

Hence although the there are plenty of nondiatonic chords present the harmony is, at heart, an elaboration of a straight diatonic harmony.

So through this lens I would understand aCloudConnected's message to be along the following lines:
While the thread starter might be bored with straight diatonic harmony it pays to keep in mind that even some the most wildly non diatonic harmonies arise from explorations of simple diatonic harmony. If you're bored with diatonic harmony, rather than abandoning them use them as a starting point from which you can grow new harmonic ideas.

Maybe?

===
EDIT
Wait a minute.. reading the post again I think I completely misunderstood.
I think he was describing secondary dominants and secondary leading tones as essentially diatonic. Then giving Coltrane as an example of other kinds nondiatonic harmony. Not actually proposing that Coltrane's harmonies were diatonic.

OK I'm an idiot.
Si
#16
http://ic.pics.livejournal.com/narannestudy/30497936/309/309_original.jpg

some circle of fifths progressions (if you go the other way in the circle of fifths, you get notes a fourth apart from each other!)
Jordu (bridge : G7, C7, F7, Bb7, Eb7, Ab7, Dbmaj7 etc)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GslhRUBgXNI

Perdido (bridge: D7 D7 G7 G7 C7 C7 F7 F7)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X8gCmtkuVgk
#17
Another circle of fifths progression, though not all Major chords..."I Will Survive"
Si