#1
As the title reads, how many cadences are in a chord progression?

Cadences are annoying me because they just don't seem to make sense in chord progressions with more than 2-3 chords.

I-V-I - authentic
I-IV-I - plagal
I-V - half
I-V-vi - deceptive

That's what I found on cadences. Now lets take a look at this chord progression.

ii>V-vi-iii-IV LOOP.

1. How many cadences are in the progression?
2. If this progression never resolved to the I chord then what key is it in and how would you analyze it? This specific progression sets the ii chord as the tonal center.
3. Is it possible for a chord progression to have no I chord?
#2
The problems with your premise:
- it's set up to make the relative major tonic when that can't be true. Certainly it's a deceptive cadence regardless, but it's a common feature of modern pop music to feature it that way and have it act as the strong cadence (Nightwish does this commonly).
- The tonal center is always i or I. It can NOT be ii. Tonal center and starting chord are different. (See off-tonic beginnings)

I wouldn't look too much into cadential motion in pop music, cadences are not a prominent feature as in the common practice period.
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#3
Cadences are taught in short chord progression because they are condensed example of normal chord progressions. On paper, all you need is the final two chords, since that's what a cadence is. But on an instrument, you need to have an established key, hence the added I chord at the beginning. But this is just a model. Keep in mind that we end progresses on cadences, but that doesn't mean every time you have a cadence you have to stop.

1. There's a deceptive cadence at V - iv, which is really pronounced because it breaks strong movement towards the tonal center that ii - V gives. Beyond that, it sounds confusing.

2. If the progression never resolves, then you've got a very confusing set of chords. Let's say that the chords are in the key of C: Dm - G - Am - Em - F. But wait, just saying it's in the key of C doesn't mean anything. If you're labeling a chord progression and there is no I, you've probably labeled it wrong. Rework the roman numerals to have any one of those chords as the I chord and you'll get a progression that doesn't make any sense. In G major, D minor and A minor the V is actually v, and only one of them has V - I movement. In E minor, the F#diminished is now an F major (which is a thing people do, but no anything like you have here). This progression has no definitive key because it's constructed poorly. There are no cadences and the chords aren't related to each other.

3. Yes, but that's pretty advanced stuff.
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#4
Quote by dannydawiz
ii>V-vi-iii-IV LOOP.
Is this one of your own, or one you found in another song, or just a random hypothetical example?
If it's a found one, what's the song? (I'd like to hear it in action)
Quote by dannydawiz

1. How many cadences are in the progression?
I agree about the deceptive V-vi move, but otherwise I agree with the others: cadential analysis of such a sequence is probably beside the point.
Quote by dannydawiz
2. If this progression never resolved to the I chord then what key is it in and how would you analyze it? This specific progression sets the ii chord as the tonal center.
How does it set ii as the key centre?
If indeed it does, then you should relabel the chords, as dorian mode:
i - IV - v - ii - III
However, to my ears, that doesn't establish the first chord as the key centre very clearly (if at all). (I don't quite agree with rockingamer2 that it's "confusing" - or rather it could be confusing in a good way! Depends. It could sound fine. I agree with him otherwise.)
A lot might depend on the duration of each chord. It's a 5-chord loop, so I suspect there is some variation in the harmonic rhythm, which will affect the aural weight of each chord.

If this is an intentional progression (not a random hypothetical) - and you think it sounds good as it is! - then we really need to hear it with whatever timing you have.
Quote by dannydawiz

3. Is it possible for a chord progression to have no I chord?
Yes, but it will sound restless if so. That can be a good thing, but it would be very unusual. Normally - in the absence of an obvious key chord - the ear will settle on one of the others as the most likely centre. We always instinctively search for a keynote in music, some kind of centre to which everything relates (although we can still enjoy music which teases our expectations in that way). Looking at a set of chords tells you nothing about the key centre; only listening tells you that.
Last edited by jongtr at Sep 15, 2015,
#5
Thank you everyone for replying. This chord progression actually does come from a pretty popular song. Although the chord progression is a bit different.

Instead of

ii>V-vi-iii-IV LOOP.

It goes

ii>V-vi-iii-IV
ii>V-vi-iii-IV-I

In this case, the progression does revolve to the one chord. However, the ii chord gets the strong beat which gives off a very Dorian vibe. I would presume that the cadence occurs during the ii-V-vi and the IV-I.

How would you analyze this progression though? I can't say that its in the key of Dorian and change the ii chord to a i chord can I?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l9Q7GISatW0
#6
^ Definitely does not have a dorian vibe to it. The whole song starts with the I chord. To me sounds like it's in Ab major. It actually has a pretty strong "major vibe" to it.

A lot of pop songs are based on 2-4 chord repeating progressions that are played throughout the whole song. Katy Perry's "Teenage Dream" is a good example. You could describe it as "lydian", but I think that's incorrect. It doesn't sound lydian at all. It uses two chords throughout the whole song (Eb major and F major). To me some parts of the song sound more G minorish and others sound more Bb majorish.

I also can't decide whether I hear "Get Lucky" as i-III-v-IV or iv-VI-i-VII.

So sometimes pop songs are a bit ambiguous when it comes to key. They don't always use clear cadences that would define the key.
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#7
Quote by MaggaraMarine
^ Definitely does not have a dorian vibe to it. The whole song starts with the I chord. To me sounds like it's in Ab major. It actually has a pretty strong "major vibe" to it.

A lot of pop songs are based on 2-4 chord repeating progressions that are played throughout the whole song. Katy Perry's "Teenage Dream" is a good example. You could describe it as "lydian", but I think that's incorrect. It doesn't sound lydian at all. It uses two chords throughout the whole song (Eb major and F major). To me some parts of the song sound more G minorish and others sound more Bb majorish.

I also can't decide whether I hear "Get Lucky" as i-III-v-IV or iv-VI-i-VII.

So sometimes pop songs are a bit ambiguous when it comes to key. They don't always use clear cadences that would define the key.


The tonal center of the song though is a minor i chord is it not? I mean the beginning of every phrase ALWAYS goes back to that i chord throughout the entire song. The only time Ab Major is actually used is during the cadence at the end of the second phrase and In the beginning like you said I suppose. This is what led me to assume it was a Dorian progression.

I listened to katy perrys song and I wouldn't know how to analyze that either... chord progressions that don't start on the I or i chord don't make any sense to me from an intellectual perspective because I never actually went to a real music school to learn how to interpret all of this stuff.

How can you say though that the Katy Perry song isn't in lydian if the phrase always returns to the I chord and the II chord is major as well?

Wouldn't lydian look like this?

I>II>iii>ivo>V>vi>vii

Same goes for Dorian.

i>ii>III>IV>v>vio>VII

Isn't a modal chord progression characterized by the tonal center of the music?
Last edited by dannydawiz at Sep 15, 2015,
#8
Quote by dannydawiz
The tonal center of the song though is a minor i chord is it not?
Not to my ears. I agree with Magg, I get a strong major key vibe from this song, and not only because it begins with a vamp on a major I.
The rest of the sequence sounds like an unresolving loop (save for the deceptive V-vi move).
If you genuinely think the Bbm sounds like the tonal centre (like it somehow resolves there from the Db each time), then I wouldn't say you were categorically "wrong". Hearing key centres is a subjective matter, although 99% of the time we'd all share the same subjective impression.

My question here is - why does it matter to you to analyse this song? What do you hope to gain from an "answer"?
Quote by dannydawiz

I listened to katy perrys song and I wouldn't know how to analyze that either... chord progressions that don't start on the I or i chord don't make any sense to me from an intellectual perspective because I never actually went to a real music school to learn how to interpret all of this stuff.
Right. Neither did I.
But I have read enough (and listened to enough) to know when that kind of interpretation would help make sense of a piece of music, and when it's either inapplicable or not worth it. Functional analysis often can be applied to pop/rock music, but often it's peripheral and doesn't really "explain" anything.

Certainly you need a strong aural sense of a key centre to begin assigning roman numerals to chords. In this case, I'd say that was Ab major. If it lacks a proper cadence (keeps looping round from IV to ii), so what?
Quote by dannydawiz
Isn't a modal chord progression characterized by the tonal center of the music?
Yes (at least in the simplest terms). The question is, what do you hear as the tonal centre?

I don't know the Katy Perry tune, but here is a classic example of "rock lydian" (composed deliberately as such):
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SINl5JY7LhI
Last edited by jongtr at Sep 15, 2015,
#9
Quote by jongtr
Not to my ears. I agree with Magg, I get a strong major key vibe from this song, and not only because it begins with a vamp on a major I.
The rest of the sequence sounds like an unresolving loop (save for the deceptive V-vi move).
If you genuinely think the Bbm sounds like the tonal centre (like it somehow resolves there from the Db each time), then I wouldn't say you were categorically "wrong". Hearing key centres is a subjective matter, although 99% of the time we'd all share the same subjective impression.

My question here is - why does it matter to you to analyse this song? What do you hope to gain from an "answer"?
Right. Neither did I.
But I have read enough (and listened to enough) to know when that kind of interpretation would help make sense of a piece of music, and when it's either inapplicable or not worth it. Functional analysis often can be applied to pop/rock music, but often it's peripheral and doesn't really "explain" anything.

Certainly you need a strong aural sense of a key centre to begin assigning roman numerals to chords. In this case, I'd say that was Ab major. If it lacks a proper cadence (keeps looping round from IV to ii), so what?
Yes (at least in the simplest terms). The question is, what do you hear as the tonal centre?

I don't know the Katy Perry tune, but here is a classic example of "rock lydian" (composed deliberately as such):
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SINl5JY7LhI


I love Joe Satriani. That's a great example. I feel like the tonal center is overemphasized in that track. There's almost no harmonic movement going on really.

What I hope to get out of song analysis is the ability to incorporate the compositional techniques I hear into my own music.

After you write a lot of music though you start to notice yourself slipping into certain compositional patterns or tendencies I would like to say. One of those compositional tendencies for me I've noticed is always starting my themes on a IV chord. The other thing about writing music is often something will sound like crap and you aren't going to know why. The solution to that "why" problem to me is usually found by listening to other music that I like and analyzing everything from the mix, arrangement, chord progressions, elements and etc...

I am guilty of overanalyzing music to hell and when I don't know how to verbally put something into words it will bug me to the end of high heaven until I can find a way to make sense out of what I'm hearing.

One of the things that I don't know how to put into words are chord progressions that start on the IV chord which I do quite a lot. I don't know whether to interpret them as a IV chord in major or a VI chord in minor or a I chord in Lydian.

The track that I'm working features a chord progression that revolves around the IV chord. It starts on what would be the IV chord in major and yet it doesn't resolve to major. Instead, it has a bunch of deceptive cadences and pretty much always goes back to that IV chord.

I'm going to analyze them as if they were in minor only because the actually intro BEGINS on a i chord in the same way that clarity begins on a I chord.

This would be the A section

VI>VII>i
VI>VII>v
VI>VII>i
bVII?>VI? (Not to sure whether this is right...)

The thing is... this chord progression has no V chord aside from the one in the second phrase. And when the V chord does occur it doesn't resolve back to the i but instead back to the VI as a deceptive cadence I believe...

The B section is a little bit different.

VI>i>v
VI>VII>III
iv>i>v
VI>V

All of this talk of analysis is starting to make my head spin... I'm going to post the track up and let you guys give it a listen. Please ignore the bad arrangement since I haven't taken the time to finish arranging the B section. And ignore bad mixing as well since I still consider myself a novice.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CwAzWC_XM5M
Last edited by dannydawiz at Sep 15, 2015,
#10
^ That's in F#m. The progression is VI-VII-i. It's really common in Iron Maiden songs, it's almost like a cliche. Oh, there's one non-diatonic chord, B7/D#. That's the major IV chord which I would say is the most common non-diatonic chord in minor keys, at least when it comes to pop music. That's a chord that could give a song a "dorian vibe".

But really, you just need to use your ears. Which of the chords sounds like home? Don't look at the chords, listen to them. Trying to find ii-V-I's and all that is good, but the only way to really figure out the key is by listening. Well, of course there's a thing called tonicization, where you kind of visit another key for a short period of time. And that's when it would make sense to analyze parts of a song in a different key, even if it doesn't really sound like it's in that key.


Why the Katy Perry song is not in Eb lydian is simply because Eb doesn't sound like the tonic. It's not our home chord, even though it always comes back to it. The tonic doesn't have to be the most common chord in the progression. It's just the chord that sounds like home. I really can't explain it any other way. I kind of feel pull towards some other direction, but not Eb. That's why Eb is not the tonic in the Katy Perry song and I wouldn't say it's in Eb lydian.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=98WtmW-lfeE

In the Joe Satriani song the tonic is way more obvious. Notice how the chords don't change that often.. It does start with a strong lydian vibe, but as the song progresses, it kind of loses some of it. The first time when it doesn't sound like lydian is when the bVI chord is played at around 1 minute. So it's not purely in lydian, it just has lydian sections in it.


The difference is, in the Katy Perry song I hear tension that kind of "wants" to resolve (but doesn't), and in the Joe Satriani song I don't hear that. Well, that's how I hear it.

Actually in the beginning of the Katy Perry song the guitar is playing what sounds like Bb major and Bbsus2 chords (actually they are just dyads: Bb-D and Bb-C). But when the bass comes in, it plays Eb and F which turns the chords into Ebmaj7 and Fsus4 (and actually between the Eb and F bass notes there's also a G, but that doesn't really change the chord).

It's kind of strange and pretty ambiguous. But it just doesn't sound like lydian to me. Actually, now that I think of it, the vocal melody emphasizes Bb pretty strongly.

I would say the song is in Bb major, even though the chord doesn't really appear in the song (other than in the very beginning). You could end the song with a Bb major and it would sound like home. The way it ends now sounds kind of open.
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Last edited by MaggaraMarine at Sep 15, 2015,
#11
Quote by MaggaraMarine
^ That's in F#m. The progression is VI-VII-i. It's really common in Iron Maiden songs, it's almost like a cliche. Oh, there's one non-diatonic chord, B7/D#. That's the major IV chord which I would say is the most common non-diatonic chord in minor keys, at least when it comes to pop music. That's a chord that could give a song a "dorian vibe".

But really, you just need to use your ears. Which of the chords sounds like home? Don't look at the chords, listen to them. Trying to find ii-V-I's and all that is good, but the only way to really figure out the key is by listening. Well, of course there's a thing called tonicization, where you kind of visit another key for a short period of time. And that's when it would make sense to analyze parts of a song in a different key, even if it doesn't really sound like it's in that key.


Why the Katy Perry song is not in Eb lydian is simply because Eb doesn't sound like the tonic. It's not our home chord, even though it always comes back to it. The tonic doesn't have to be the most common chord in the progression. It's just the chord that sounds like home. I really can't explain it any other way. I kind of feel pull towards some other direction, but not Eb. That's why Eb is not the tonic in the Katy Perry song and I wouldn't say it's in Eb lydian.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=98WtmW-lfeE

In the Joe Satriani song the tonic is way more obvious. Notice how the chords don't change that often.. It does start with a strong lydian vibe, but as the song progresses, it kind of loses some of it. The first time when it doesn't sound like lydian is when the bVI chord is played at around 1 minute. So it's not purely in lydian, it just has lydian sections in it.


The difference is, in the Katy Perry song I hear tension that kind of "wants" to resolve (but doesn't), and in the Joe Satriani song I don't hear that. Well, that's how I hear it.

Actually in the beginning of the Katy Perry song the guitar is playing what sounds like Bb major and Bbsus2 chords (actually they are just dyads: Bb-D and Bb-C). But when the bass comes in, it plays Eb and F which turns the chords into Ebmaj7 and Fsus4 (and actually between the Eb and F bass notes there's also a G, but that doesn't really change the chord).

It's kind of strange and pretty ambiguous. But it just doesn't sound like lydian to me. Actually, now that I think of it, the vocal melody emphasizes Bb pretty strongly.

I would say the song is in Bb major, even though the chord doesn't really appear in the song (other than in the very beginning). You could end the song with a Bb major and it would sound like home. The way it ends now sounds kind of open.


This to me seems like the perfect explanation. What you're saying makes absolutely 100% complete sense. "The tonic doesn't have to be the most common chord in the progression. It's just the chord that sounds like home"

I've spent the majority of my adolescence analyzing chord progressions as if they were in a major key until I finally decided to fix it by using the proper roman numerals. The VI-VII-i really is the most common cliche chord progression in my opinion. Even more so than the I>IV>V>I progression, at least in the music that i've always listened to.

The tonic is emphasized a lot in the melody like you said. I can definitely hear how you're saying it doesn't sound like home. It's almost like the chord progression tricks you with a constant deceptive cadence by always going back to the IV chord instead of resolving to the one chord.

How about this song?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5e1DBLXnjeQ

v>VI>VII>i

Even though the chord progression always goes back to that v chord the actual song is in G minor and not D phrygian correct?

Two last questions though...

1. In regards to cadences... Where would it be located in this progression?

2. Some chord progressions don't have a V chord such as the cliche VI VII i progression. Why is it however that I feel as if the VII>i is still a cadence? Does every cadence need to be a V chord or can the VII chord also be used?
#12
The melody in the chorus of that Katy Perry song mostly outlines the tonic triad over the IV-V chord progression. Same kinda thing is in "Call Me Maybe." Pretty cool effect with lots of tension!
#13
We have continually said that cadences don't matter as much outside of the common practice period. Stop.

Also, the chords are Bb/D Eb F Gm in the Madeon. F->Gm is the closest thing to a cadence there is, but it's weak, thus there is a bit of key ambiguity between Bb and Gm.
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lots of flirting with the other key without confirming. JUST LIKE THEIR LOVE IN THE MOVIE OH DAMN.
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you're acting like you have perfect pitch or something
#14
A cadence is made up of the musical cues that indicate the end of a musical phrase, section, or piece of music.

The harmonic cadences are one part of the puzzle. There are also melodic and rhythmic cadences as well.

To find the cadence look how the musical phrase, section, or piece of music ends. That's your cadence.

The authentic cadence, the plagal cadence, the deceptive cadence and all the other types of harmonic cadences that you find in all the text books are the most common and well understood cadences. But that doesn't mean all cadences must fit neatly with the text book examples of those cadences. One could take the view that all harmonic cadences are simply variations of those cadences anyway.

So as was mentioned earlier. Don't just look for V-I's everywhere - listen. Identify the phrases and sections of the music. Consider what cues exist in the music that tell you that the musical phrase has concluded. (pay attention to harmony, melody, and rhythm)

Once you do this you will be in a position to better understand what all the I-V-I, I-IV-I stuff is actually trying to tell you when it comes to cadences.
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#15
Quote by 20Tigers
A cadence is made up of the musical cues that indicate the end of a musical phrase, section, or piece of music.

The harmonic cadences are one part of the puzzle. There are also melodic and rhythmic cadences as well.

To find the cadence look how the musical phrase, section, or piece of music ends. That's your cadence.

The authentic cadence, the plagal cadence, the deceptive cadence and all the other types of harmonic cadences that you find in all the text books are the most common and well understood cadences. But that doesn't mean all cadences must fit neatly with the text book examples of those cadences. One could take the view that all harmonic cadences are simply variations of those cadences anyway.

So as was mentioned earlier. Don't just look for V-I's everywhere - listen. Identify the phrases and sections of the music. Consider what cues exist in the music that tell you that the musical phrase has concluded. (pay attention to harmony, melody, and rhythm)

Once you do this you will be in a position to better understand what all the I-V-I, I-IV-I stuff is actually trying to tell you when it comes to cadences.


Would you mind referring me to a good resource on this topic.

I can sit here and pick your guys brains all day but you guys have lives. The only resources that I've looked into only refer to cadences as being harmonic and not melodic/rhythmic. The fact that i'm hardly grasping even 1/3rd of it all makes it all quite baffering.
#16
Quote by NeoMvsEu
We have continually said that cadences don't matter as much outside of the common practice period.


I'd tend to agree with this.

Cadences are almost more a point of form than harmony. It's not that certain chord changes create a cadence, it's that they are found at cadences. And cadences, in terms of form, are the ends of phrases. You can have a V - I that isn't a cadence, if it's in the middle of a phrase.

And importantly, a progression is, strictly speaking, only a series of chords that move from tonic to predominant to dominant overall (or tonic to dominant). A pattern of chords that does not progress through the key in that way is considered a sequence.

Since modern pop music doesn't approach form or harmonic development like traditional classical music, it's hard to apply the concepts unless they're used overtly. But I think it's fair to analyze modern "progressions" like traditional sequences: not necessarily meant to resolve cleanly to the tonic, but follow a clear pattern, such as voice root movement.
#17
Quote by dannydawiz
This to me seems like the perfect explanation. What you're saying makes absolutely 100% complete sense. "The tonic doesn't have to be the most common chord in the progression. It's just the chord that sounds like home"
Correct.
The only issue - for anyone with an analytical bent! - is: what makes any particular chord "sound like home"? Especially if it isn't the most common chord?
Most pop/rock composers - I'd bet - don't really care about such questions. They're happy to either establish a key centre by actually using one chord more often - that's the easy way - or to not have an obvious key centre at all. Or to be aware of what the home chord would be, but to deliberately avoid resolving to it.
Quote by dannydawiz

I've spent the majority of my adolescence analyzing chord progressions as if they were in a major key until I finally decided to fix it by using the proper roman numerals. The VI-VII-i really is the most common cliche chord progression in my opinion. Even more so than the I>IV>V>I progression, at least in the music that i've always listened to.
Yes: I>IV>V>I is not that common in rock music, because the perfect cadence (V-I) is not much favoured. The IV-I (plagal) is much preferred, and you will find I-V-IV-I more often than I-IV-V-I. (Play them both and it should be obvious which one sounds cooler...)
Some people like the IV-I sound so much they'll string a whole load together. So bVII-IV-I is an old rock cliche, and occasionally you'll even hear bVI-bIII-bVII-IV-I (although the classic example, Hey Joe, can be interpreted other ways).

VI-VII-i is probably the most common cadence in a minor key, but again you'll find it used to resolve to major, ie bVI-bVII-I relative to a major tonic.
IOW, the "rock major key" is happy to include chords from the parallel minor (it happens in other kinds of music too, but rock has a special affinity for it). Call it mode mixture or modal interchange if you like: the idea that a composition can use chords from any scale or mode with the same keynote (parallel modes).
It's as if the unaltered major key is too "bright" for rock tastes (and V-I too cheesy). They don't want to go wholly to minor all the time, but like to darken the major key by flattening the 7th at least, and sometimes the 3rd and 6th too (while retaining a major tonic chord).

The simple term for VI-VII-i (such as F-G-Am) is an "Aeolian cadence". (There's a famous John Lennon quote, after hearing that classical critic William Mann had identified "aeolian cadences" in Beatles songs. Lennon was bemused (and amused) and replied "they sound like exotic birds!" That's how much he knew or cared about theory! Didn't harm his songwriting particularly...)

BTW the reverse sequence, i-VII-VI-V is known as an "Andalusian cadence", because it's common in flamenco. (And also popular in pop/rock.)
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Andalusian_cadence
Quote by dannydawiz

How about this song?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5e1DBLXnjeQ

v>VI>VII>i

Even though the chord progression always goes back to that v chord the actual song is in G minor and not D phrygian correct?
Yes, for two reasons:
1. G minor (aeolian) is a more familiar sound, and (therefore) a stronger mode, than D phrygian. So G sounds more "like home" than D.
2. The first chord is not actually v (Dm). It's Gm or maybe Gm7 - with a D bass. You can clearly hear a Bb in the melody.

Reason #2 is obviously more significant . If the first chord really was Dm, it might sound a little less resolved on Gm, but I suspect you'd still hear Gm as the "goal" of the progression.
Quote by dannydawiz

Two last questions though...

1. In regards to cadences... Where would it be located in this progression?
The last pair of chords, VII-i. A "modal cadence" (aeolian in this case).
Quote by dannydawiz

2. Some chord progressions don't have a V chord such as the cliche VI VII i progression. Why is it however that I feel as if the VII>i is still a cadence? Does every cadence need to be a V chord or can the VII chord also be used?
No. V-I and IV-I are classic major key cadences. Minor keys have V-i (major V) and iv-i.
A cadence to the tonic chord that features a b7 scale degree (ie from a major VII or minor v) is commonly (maybe not always correctly!) called a "modal" cadence.
They are tonally weaker than the classic "key" cadences, but that's just fine for pop/rock/R&B composers. Open-ended grooves are often what's required, and a V-I cadence tends to kill a groove stone dead.

So, bVII to I in a major key (very common in rock!) is "mixolydian" - if you like. The song itself probably won't be entirely mixolydian (it will probably have a major V elsewhere), and you could interpret the chord as "borrowed from the parallel minor". But mainly it comes from just flattening the 7th of the scale (because it sounds cool! bluesy, man!) and then building a chord on it.

Here's some stuff on modal cadences (I won't swear to the authority of any of these - the idea is just to give you some more thoughts ):
http://www.aprlmusic.com/?p=13812&lang=en
http://www.freejazz.ca/theory-harmony-analysis/modal-cadences-glen-halls.pdf
http://www.jazzguitar.be/forum/theory/22308-modal-cadences-modal-interchange.html

cadences in general (scroll to "half cadence"):
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cadence_(music)
#18
^ Well, there are plenty of I-IV-V-I rock songs. Rock and Roll All Nite and Blitzkrieg Bop are two to come to my mind right now. But yeah, there are a lot more common progressions in rock. That's definitely not the most common one.

You could argue that many AC/DC songs are actually I-IV-V-I songs. For example Hell's Bells. You could analyze the verse as the I chord and the pre-chorus as the IV and V chords. Then the chorus is the I chord again. There are more chords than that, but that's the basic structure. Same with Sin City and Jailbreak. It's a pretty generic "AC/DC structure". Well, Back in Black has it reversed, and it's more of a I-V-IV-I song, same with Moneytalks, so I guess it works both ways.

Oh, and You Shook Me All Night Long is a I-IV-V-I song - that's the verse progression.


But yeah, you are right.


Edit: Two more came to my mind - Twist and Shout, and Fool in the Rain. Oh, and La Bamba, which is basically the same thing as Twist and Shout.
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Last edited by MaggaraMarine at Sep 16, 2015,
#19
Isn't it ironic that a bunch of hardcore music theory nuts are struggling to analyze a Katy Perry song (given that her music goes more for being catchy and fun than being complex)? I guess her music isn't as simple as it appears. I also consider her music to actually be good or at least a guilty pleasure (seriously she's actually very talented). What key would you guys say Teenage Dream is in anyway?

I guess songs like this have an odd tonality. It's hard to find a key but not atonal either. Got anymore good examples of chord progressions/cadences that are like this?
"I don't know what you're trying to suggest. There's no shame in taking what you need to hold your position!"

Super Buu (DBZ) on assimilation (it could also apply to blues guitar and guitar soloing in general).
#20
The ones who say that music is simple to understand don't understand it at all and only hear the structure and straightforward drum beat without the harmonic details. (Granted, there are simpler songs like "Truly Madly Deeply" (Savage Garden); however, pop music is often more complex than we admit.)

I mentioned tonal ambiguity, and that has been increasingly common in pop music, not just "Teenage Dream" but also other songs:

https://youtu.be/fAGNF8XEq18

(ignore the lack of suspension resolution, at least the roots of each chord are true) Outside of the bridge (and particularly in the chorus), the chord progression G#m-E-B-F# is ambiguous between B and G#m as tonal center.

They're both related keys, but due to the lack of traditional cadential strength, there's ambiguity.
Glad to cross paths with you on this adventure called life
Quote by Jet Penguin
lots of flirting with the other key without confirming. JUST LIKE THEIR LOVE IN THE MOVIE OH DAMN.
Quote by Hail
you're acting like you have perfect pitch or something
#21
^ Yeah, that's one of the most common progressions in pop music. In some songs it sounds more majorish and in other songs it sounds more minorish.
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
#22
To expand on that idea of ambiguous tonal centre in pop songs...

https://youtu.be/r83_iyO4rhI

In "Instant Crush" by Daft Punk the verse section consists mostly of a 4-bar loop, but each time the verse section begins, it starts on the third bar.

Bbm - Ab - Gb - Ebm
The chord progression is fairly weak anyway and loops well. It almost sounds like guest vocalist Julian Casablancas came in on the wrong cue. I'd believe it, but another song on the same album does a similar thing.

https://youtu.be/D6uK3eO7WT0

Lose Yourself to Dance is a 4-bar loop the whole way through. Ebm - Gb - Bbm - Ab.
The first two bars of the song are just bass and drums and the groove comes in on the third chord. For the first part of the song, it sounds like a different chord progression. To my ears at least.

Just a way to squeeze a cool moment out of a chord progression. Weak and unstable chord progressions suit pop and dance music really well cause they loop really well without creating any big climax. Music can become exhausting if its climaxing all the time.

This endless looping quality can make an infinite earworm out of a tune, or a dancefloor filler that never ends. If there's no end point then it's just gonna keep circling in your mind and you're gonna sing it all day.

These tricks rely on avoiding obvious cadences.
#23
To NeoMVsEu, my point was that pop songs generally aren't thought of as complex and don't seem that way at first glance (at least when compared to say a classical piece or artists like Steve Vai, Joe Satriani, Meshuggah, ect). In reality, they can get quite complex and confusing when analyzed (or played as fingerstyle guitar). I'm still curious what key "Teenage Dream" is in at this point.

To Declan87, Daft Punk generally makes really good electronic/Dance music. It's hardly surprising that they have examples of ambiguous tonality. It's an interesting topic isn't it?
"I don't know what you're trying to suggest. There's no shame in taking what you need to hold your position!"

Super Buu (DBZ) on assimilation (it could also apply to blues guitar and guitar soloing in general).
#24
Quote by RonaldPoe
my point was that pop songs generally aren't thought of as complex and don't seem that way at first glance (at least when compared to say a classical piece or artists like Steve Vai, Joe Satriani, Meshuggah, ect). In reality, they can get quite complex and confusing when analyzed (or played as fingerstyle guitar).

Pop music layering is subtle and usually not focused at making theoretically interesting pieces. However, the harmonic/melodic/rhythmic combinations that result are often theoretically interesting. (But not always. Again, see Savage Garden's "Truly Madly Deeply". Love SG though.)

I'm still curious what key "Teenage Dream" is in at this point.

Why are you focused on finding out the key when the key doesn't exist under broken presuppositions?

"The" (and by extension "what" for a singular entity) assumes the existence of one and only one of said entity. However, ambiguity vacillates between two possible keys.

It's more likely to be B-flat in intent, but the entire song functions as an extended predominant to dominant function. It never resolves. Thus, there is a case for the song to actually be in G minor.

I'd think about making a weird vocal line manipulation to accentuate the ambiguity in the current version, but my speakers are a whiles away and my headphones died this week, so if I'm doing that it'll have to wait until tomorrow.
#25
Quote by RonaldPoe
To NeoMVsEu, my point was that pop songs generally aren't thought of as complex and don't seem that way at first glance (at least when compared to say a classical piece or artists like Steve Vai, Joe Satriani, Meshuggah, ect). In reality, they can get quite complex and confusing when analyzed (or played as fingerstyle guitar).
They are usually simple harmonically, which is usually the main interest of music theory.
Pop music is usually more about rhythm, and simple chord loops - with ambiguous key centres - help maintain a hypnotic sense of never-ending groove. Resolution is not required! Only just enough harmonic variety to stave off boredom, to vary the harmonic colour - sometimes to follow a simple hook melody, or just to give some colour to a rap vocal.
Applying classical harmonic theory to such stuff is usually a waste of time - but you're quite right that that very difficulty is in itself interesting. We need different concepts to frame it.
Quote by RonaldPoe

I'm still curious what key "Teenage Dream" is in at this point.
Why? What difference would it make? Would you understand it better if you could identify a key?

That's not to say there isn't an implied tonal centre, although it's weak (and I'd say deliberately so). Part of the appeal of music with ambiguous tonality is how it teases our instinct to look for a keynote. Some part of our brain is waiting for a stable resolution, and when it doesn't come it keeps us listening, even though the music is simple otherwise.
IMO, if a clear functional cadence was part of the sequence, the simplicity of the loops would then quickly get tedious. We'd want different sections, choruses, bridges, modulations, whatever.

I'm thinking of a more old-school sequence like Dylan's Knockin' On Heaven's Door. It's a 4-bar loop: |G-D-|Am---|G-D-|C---|; and the melody is also a simple repeating motif. But the fact it never ends on the tonic keeps it turning around to the beginning. And then of course as it hits the G the loop is off round again.
Not to mention how the V resolves to Am and then to C - two deceptive cadences.
(Of course, he stole it from Neil Young's "Helpless", which is an even simpler two bar loop, |I-V-|IV---| - equally effective, for the same reason. Naturally, lyrics and melody are the main focus of attention, but the unresolving chord loop is critical to its effectiveness. IMHO that is .)
Last edited by jongtr at Sep 19, 2015,