#1
Here's the progression in action:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9UhGVEzW6O4

The chords (with the capo / barred chords) go
C minor (C, Eb, G), i
F minor (F, Ab, C), iv
Eb major (Eb, G, Bb), III
D7 (D, F#, A, C) II7
and back to C minor

Now what's confusing me is the D7 that replaced the "usual" ii diminished chord, as it's using two out of scale notes

for reference:

C, D, Eb, F, F#, G, Ab, A, Bb
C, D, Eb, F, __, G, Ab, __, Bb < C minor

What's going on here?
Last edited by Elo01 at May 27, 2014,
#2
^ It's a non-resolving secondary dominant chord. Usually a D7 in the key of C minor would lead to G7 chord. But here it's left unresolved.

You don't need to stay inside of C minor scale to be in the key of C minor. G7 chord is really common in C minor and it uses B instead of Bb.

But to understand this, I would suggest learning about chord functions.
Quote by AlanHB
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#3
Quote by MaggaraMarine
^ It's a non-resolving secondary dominant chord. Usually a D7 in the key of C minor would lead to G7 chord. But here it's left unresolved.

You don't need to stay inside of C minor scale to be in the key of C minor. G7 chord is really common in C minor and it uses B instead of Bb.

But to understand this, I would suggest learning about chord functions.


So it's kind of like a chromatic passing note? The D7 is the "passing chord" / "approach chord" to G7? Either way, thanks, I'll look chord functions up
Last edited by Elo01 at May 27, 2014,
#4
Quote by Elo01
So it's kind of like a chromatic passing note? The D7 is the "passing chord" / "approach chord" to G7? Either way, thanks, I'll look chord functions up

Yeah, kind of. It's actually a short modulation to G. The D7 funtions as the dominant chord for G which is the dominant chord of C.
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
Yeah, kind of. It's actually a short modulation to G. The D7 funtions as the dominant chord for G which is the dominant chord of C.


Aw **** yeah

"Maybe it's somehow switching to a different key?" was one of my guesses
#6
Alright, I think I understand how secondary dominants work

What still bugs me though is the change from Eb to D7. I guess this is subjective, but when the D7 is played it doesn't really sound "out of key" to me.

I can't think of any explanation why the change from Eb to D7 doesn't sound terrible, I actually really like that progression. There are no shared notes and I'm pretty sure that the III usually doesn't pull to the ii

Edit:
Eb major (Eb, G, Bb), III
D7 (D, F#, A, C) II7

It's definitely the move from Eb major to the A note in D7 that makes it sound so special.
The progression still feels like the original progression if the D7 is replaced with just the A as a single note
Last edited by Elo01 at May 27, 2014,
#7
Quote by Elo01
I can't think of any explanation why the change from Eb to D7 doesn't sound terrible, I actually really like that progression. There are no shared notes and I'm pretty sure that the III usually doesn't pull to the ii

It doesn't sound terrible because it's a difference of 1 half-step in all the notes of the chords (with the exception of the C note in the D7). So, from Eb to D7, we move the notes like so:
 
Eb -> D
G  -> F#
Bb -> A


Then, we also have the C in D7, and C is the note that the key resolves to. So, the ear already recognizes C as "home". It's automatically a safe note.

Make sense?
Last edited by crazysam23_Atax at May 27, 2014,
#8
Huh. So do I just have to accept that the raised 6th / A is a chromatic note that provides additional color?
I was hoping that there was some kind of pattern / explanation as for why the raised 6th is so essential / defining for this progression. Something similar to raising the 7b in minor scales to get that leading note

Edit:

wait a minute. Is this just a case of chord borrowing? Is it borrowing the II from C Lydian?
Last edited by Elo01 at May 27, 2014,
#9
Quote by Elo01
Huh. So do I just have to accept that the raised 6th / A is a chromatic note that provides additional color?
I was hoping that there was some kind of pattern / explanation as for why the raised 6th is so essential / defining for this progression. Something similar to raising the 7b in minor scales to get that leading note

Errrmm...kind of. The A in the D7 chord is the 5th. See, any 7th chord is constructed thusly: 1 (root), 3 (major 3rd), 5 (perfect 5th), & b7 (minor 7th). The A is our perfect 5th in D7. It just so happens that the A is one step below the Bb in our Eb chord.

I really would consider chord progression by examining the interactions between the chords, not whether certain notes are (or aren't) part of the scale of C minor. You need to consider each chord together, not each note of the chords individually.


But, yes, the A and the F# sort of do act to provide color.

Edit:

wait a minute. Is this just a case of chord borrowing? Is it borrowing the II from C Lydian?
I wouldn't call it borrowed from C lydian. I would say D7 is a non-diatonic chord in the key of Cminor.

To put it simply, non-diatonic means that a chord is not constructed using just the notes of the key signature. So, in this case, the key signature of Cminor is: C, D, Eb, F, G, Ab, & Bb. The notes of the D7 chord are D, F#, A, & C. Only 2 of our notes in D7 are diatonic; therefore, the chord is NON-diatonic.

By contrast, the other chords are diatonic, because they are constructed solely of notes from the key signature. These are "safe chords". They will always work in relation to the tonic (aka "home", the chord the piece resolves to).
Last edited by crazysam23_Atax at May 27, 2014,
#10
You don't really borrow chords from lydian to minor (there's always an explanation that makes more sense than borrowing from lydian to minor). You could say that if the song was in a major key, the major II chord could be borrowed from lydian. But usually major II chords are always secondary dominants, and sometimes, like in this case, unresolved secondary dominants. V of V is one of the most common secondary dominants.

And why Eb-D7 sounds good? One explanation could be a tritone substitution for A minor (if D7 is the V chord, A minor is the ii chord - it's used a lot in jazz).

If we were in the key of G minor, Eb-D7 (VI-V) would be really common. And we actually kind of modulate to G. As I said, secondary dominants are really short modualtions. The Eb chord is in both keys and that's why it works. It's a predominant chord.
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
Last edited by MaggaraMarine at May 28, 2014,
#11
Listen to everything Crazysam said. He's dead on. And, don't look at anything borrowing from Lydian... Sam and Maggara are correct - it doesn't work that way. There's no pattern, there's understanding harmonic function and voice leading, and understanding that off notes provide contrast and thus interest against a tonal center. Novices see everything as relating to every note in the scale. That begins and ends at diatonic harmony, but after that we let it go and see the big picture, and just look at how things fit together.

Best,

Sean
#12
Yeah, I'm starting to realize that I'm approaching this whole thing completely wrong. My background is computer science, where everything can be explained by clear patterns and strict rules, with cause and effect relations

I guess it all boils down to the voicing of the chords. The "mood" is mostly created by the G >Ab > G > A movement / melody of the "highest" (excuse my lack in music theory vocab) voices of the chords on the high e string

I'm trying to understand how Darren Korb originally came up with this progression, hence my urge to understand the patterns / rules behind it so I can follow his thinking process.

Is it possible that he first came up with the G >Ab > G > A melody, thought it sounded cool and then built chords with appropriate voicings around that? What was most likely his process for coming up with this progression? Did he think "hey let's use a secondary dominant here to modulate to G, except we never resolve to G"? Is it just about messing around until you find something that you like?

Quote by MaggaraMarine

If we were in the key of G minor, Eb-D7 (VI-V) would be really common. And we actually kind of modulate to G. As I said, secondary dominants are really short modualtions. The Eb chord is in both keys and that's why it works. It's a predominant chord.


Alright, so the Eb is the submediant in G, which is followed by the dominant, which is pretty common
So it's not only the D7 that modulates to G, but actually the entire Eb>D7 thingy? The Eb is "preparing" the listener / makes the transition to the D7 smoother as it's a shared chord between Cminor and G


Arrrrrgh there are way too many factors
Last edited by Elo01 at May 28, 2014,
#13
Quote by Elo01
Yeah, I'm starting to realize that I'm approaching this whole thing completely wrong. My background is computer science, where everything can be explained by clear patterns and strict rules, with cause and effect relations

Hey, I just graduated with a comp sci degree.

Anyway, there are patterns. There are no strict rules though. The only rule of music is "If it sounds good, it is good!" But see...music is an aural art. Your ears hear things, and we use music theory to describe what happens (what the ears hear).

I guess it all boils down to the voicing of the chords. The "mood" is mostly created by the G >Ab > G > A movement / melody of the "highest" (excuse my lack in music theory vocab) voices of the chords on the high e string

I'm trying to understand how Darren Korb originally came up with this progression, hence my urge to understand the patterns / rules behind it so I can follow his thinking process.

Is it possible that he first came up with the G >Ab > G > A melody, thought it sounded cool and then built chords with appropriate voicings around that? What was most likely his process for coming up with this progression? Did he think "hey let's use a secondary dominant here to modulate to G, except we never resolve to G"? Is it just about messing around until you find something that you like?

It is possible he wrote the G -> Ab -> G -> A line.

Although, it may just be that he had the chords and decided they sounded good together. Different composers do different things. Some just play until they hear something that sounds good. Others don't even play until they have written the chords or notes. There's no "correct" way to write music.
#14
Maybe the guy who did the progression just heard it in his head. You don't need to think. You can just play what you hear if you have a good ear. When I write music, I usually don't try different theoretic stuff. I come up with melodies/progressions/drum beats/basslines/guitar riffs/whatever parts in my head and write them down/record them. I know what I'm doing of course but the sound comes first, then theory.

So maybe he didn't think. He just came up with a cool sounding progression. If he had thought about it, I think he would have resolved the secondary dominant (because that kind of seems more "correct", even though there's no right and wrong in music).

The thing is, many rock songwriters don't know lots of theory. They just write what they feel. Some come up with more original sounds, some come up with more traditional sounding stuff. But the thing is not to overthink. It's good to understand what you are doing. But there's no point in overthinking it before you even come up with anything. Just listen to the sounds. Music is all about sound.
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
Last edited by MaggaraMarine at May 28, 2014,
#15
I second what these guys said.

What may have happened, is he wrote a line, felt it sounded different from typical lines, and liked that, but he also could hear some great ideas to use with it, and that gave him more "musical mileage" to the degree that he could use it in the song.

Best,

Sean