#1
I understand the basics of chord progressions, and a key has certain chords.

A while back someone had something that really helped me a lot. It was along the lines of

I chord - can go to any chord
II - can go to a I or a IV
III -can go to a V or a I

If anyone knows where this is, I have tried every search I could think of to relocate it.

Any help on where this was would be appreciated
#2
I guess you are talking about something like this:



Remember that these are not rules. These are just common practices. This doesn't mention all the possible chord changes.

You can also use non-diatonic chords and whatever sounds good.


There's a reason why I don't like this kind of charts, and it's because it kind of tells you what is right and what is wrong (when in reality there is no right or wrong - anything that sounds good is good). Well, that's really not what it tells, but people treat it that way. It just tells you how the chords are usually used (especially in common practice era music).

As jongtr said in another thread, people always come here asking questions like "why does this chord work here when it shouldn't" and stuff like that (well, nothing wrong with asking). And I would say that's because people read this kind of charts and treat them as rules.
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Last edited by MaggaraMarine at Sep 18, 2015,
#3
What Maggara said.

But, it's true: any chord can actually go to any chord if you so desire, and don't forget inversions.
Last edited by Elintasokas at Sep 18, 2015,
#4
Quote by sdbrit68
I understand the basics of chord progressions, and a key has certain chords.

A while back someone had something that really helped me a lot. It was along the lines of

I chord - can go to any chord
II - can go to a I or a IV
III -can go to a V or a I

If anyone knows where this is, I have tried every search I could think of to relocate it.

Any help on where this was would be appreciated
As described above, it's really about "common practices" - formulas that have come to be popular because they produce sounds that most people like (for whatever reason).

So, there is a classical chord movement (common in old-fashioned jazz too) which involves root movement in 5ths down (4ths up). That's what's happening in the central horizontal line in MM's diagram. We tend to think such moves sound "natural", "predictable", "expected". There's probably nothing natural about them at all, it's down to how often we hear them; but all that matters is that they sound that way.

So, you can take all the chords in a key (or rather from one diatonic scale) and arrange them in a cycle:
I-IV-vii-iii-vi-ii-V-I
Every root move is a perfect 5th down or perfect 4th up, and only one is the somewhat less than perfect diminished 5th or augmented 4th: IV to vii. But it still kind of works.
If you were to change the iii to a major chord, you'd have a common jazz/pop sequence (Fly me to the Moon, Autumn Leaves, I Will Survive). That's because the major III acts as V to the vi (eg E to Am in key of C). So you get the effect of flipping from the major key to the relative minor and back. (In fact the 3 tunes mentioned begin or end on the minor key tonic, and its the relative major that's the temporary move.)

The point here, as we're saying, is it's not a rule a song needs to follow. Not unless you want to sound predictable! (Imagine how boring music would be if every song needed to stay within one key...)

Any chord "can" go anywhere. There are various common and less common practices about how they move. One rule I've identified that might help you, which pretty much all chord changes seem to follow, in or out of key, is "voice-leading".
Chord changes tend to sound good if (a) they share at least one note, and/or (b) one or more of the notes in the chord moves by half-step to a note or notes in the next chord.
Shared notes are usually obvious, but half-step voice-leading isn't always. Eg, you might think that F-G is all whole step moves (and no shared tones). But the C in the F chord could go down to the B in the G chord.
It doesn't have to! It's just a possibility worth observing and paying attention to. Make both chords 7ths and you have a shared tone (F), and another half-step move (Eb to D). If the F is Fmaj7 (so both chords are diatonic to C major), then you have E>F.
Chords from different scales will also sound logical if connected in that way. Eg, F to Ab. One shared tone (C), one half-step move (A-Ab).

IOW, once you start seeing chord changes as a group of melodies moving in harmony, simultaneously (minimum of 3 melodies for triads, 4 for 7ths), the whole thing opens up. You can make sense of chord extensions, suspensions and alterations, as well as chords that don't seem to "belong" in the key. Look for the voice-leading. (Change the inversions or the shapes until you see it.)

But even that is not a hard and fast rule! Once in while - and not that rarely - we like a change that just jumps somewhere dramatic for no discernible reason. We'll want a chord that's just some nice-sounding bunch of notes that doesn't need to go anywhere at all.
Last edited by jongtr at Sep 18, 2015,
#5
Wow, thankyou guys......very helpful i appreciate the time you took, means a lot. I have always found it better to humble oneself and ask, then go through life pretending i knowthank you again
#6
^That attitude is going to get you very, very, far as an artist. Good job.
"There are two styles of music. Good music and bad music." -Duke Ellington

"If you really think about it, the guitar is a pointless instrument." - Robert Fripp
#7
jongtr : Thank you for the article if was extremely insightful, helpful and very well written.