#1
How would you guys analyze this chord progression?
i thought it sounded really cool, but can't figure out what's going on theory wise lol
If I play Amin7, C#min7 to Cmaj7, it sounds funky and i like it lol
is it just viewed as a chormatic movement?
Last edited by enloartworks at Oct 13, 2016,
#2
I dunno, it could be many things:
- Like borrowed from the iii from the parallel major of A minor
- In terms of how it acts, it is how you say as a chromatic lead to the Cmaj. You could in this case see it as a very lax tritone sub (not a proper one, but if you bend the rules, swapping a Gmaj6 will do it)

More context would be nice.
Last edited by GoldenGuitar at Oct 14, 2016,
#3
Yeah needs more context. Function is really defined by what comes after.

The only precedent I can think of off the top of my head is "What a Wonderful World". It's in F, and part of it goes Am7 Dm7 Dbmaj7 Gm7, so iii vi bVI ii.

Moving up to the major third in a minor key (A to C# aka Db) is pretty unusual, and sort of begs for a stepwise resolution. Cm or Dm (I like Cm better). The tritone resolution like "wonderful world" is also pretty cool.

When you get into chromatic, out of key stuff, the focus is more on voice leading than root movement. Tight voice leading makes good harmonies no matter what the analysis yields. It usually boils down to some variation of a more "normal" progression, just with lots of window dressing.
Last edited by cdgraves at Oct 13, 2016,
#4
Quote by cdgraves
When you get into chromatic, out of key stuff, the focus is more on voice leading than root movement. Tight voice leading makes good harmonies no matter what the analysis yields. It usually boils down to some variation of a more "normal" progression, just with lots of window dressing.


Agree on this. When I write more chromatic tight voice leading I end up losing track of what the chords and their functions are and start thinking more about the individual notes and how they're interacting. Usually turns out pretty neat, and as you said, after the fact I can come up with chord names and look at some of the function and figure out what it boils down to.


For the chord progression in question - it sounds like part of a chord progression, like it's wants to go somewhere next. A simple example would be to go to B after the Cmaj7 and then repeat. Or you could go up to D and see where that leads you, or wherever you want really. As it stands if you just repeat those 3 chords it sounds like it's constantly resetting without ever getting where it's going. Nothing wrong with that, just depends on what you want to do with it.
#5
Could view this as playing around between A Dorian/A Aeolian (Am7, Cmaj7) and E maj (C#m7). Very ambiguous. Melodically, chord tones seems to work best to support this.
https://soundcloud.com/jerry-kramskoy-1
#6
Quote by enloartworks
How would you guys analyze this chord progression?
i thought it sounded really cool, but can't figure out what's going on theory wise lol
If I play Amin7, C#min7 to Cmaj7, it sounds funky and i like it lol
is it just viewed as a chormatic movement?
You realise your question is different from your topic heading? In the latter you say Dbmaj7, in the post you say C#m7.

The answer is much the same, however. It's all down to the voice-leading, which works whichever of those two middle chords you use.
I.e., obviously it's "chromatic movement", which doesn't tell you anything - but then what else is there to tell? . That's how the voices lead, and that's how and why it works.
Voice-leading can be diatonic or chromatic, and it "works" (ie sounds logical) as long as the chromatics lead to chord tones. The "outside" makes sense when led back "inside". And it tends to work best when one or two other tones are shared from chord to chord, as happens here.

However, which of those chords you choose would make a difference to theoretical analysis, because then you're into terminology and concepts.
So, both C#m7 and Dbmaj7 are "chromatic mediants" in relation to Am (a movement of a 3rd to a root note that is out of key).
In terms of C major, you could say Dbmaj7 was "borrowed from the parallel phrygian" (C phrygian), ie "modal interchange".
The C#m7 is not explainable that way, but the fact that all three chords share an E note is significant. It helps to link the sequence, while the other voices shift by half-step,

Personally I think I prefer the C#m7, because Dbmaj to Cmaj7 is a little too clunky, every voice moving down a half-step. (Still, it's not an uncommon move, to use a phrygian bII chord in place of a tritone sub (Db7). I can think of Girl From Ipanema for a start.)
#7
Would also analyze as C#m7 because it fits the function better to transition from C#-E-G#-B to C-E-G-B than from Db-Fb-Ab-Cb.

Liking the E major comment (relative major, V of Am), because this could possibly serve as a deceptive cadence. Also another piece of evidence to support C# instead.

Needs more context. Harmony is a simplification of all the notes into a representation that makes time and dynamics less important. All parts of music are important in analysis, though it's easier to focus on harmony.
#8
Thanks for the replies guys. Im not too familiar with voice leading anf its meaning. Any one care to explain? Im guessing its how tones from one chord move to the next chord?
#9
Right, voice leading is the connection of each separate note to each other between chords

Some possible ways to voice lead Am7 - C#m7 - Cmaj7:


1
A - B  - B
G - G# - G
E - E  - E
C - C# - C

2
C - B  - B
G - G# - G
E - E  - E
A - C# - C

Not ideal with the parallel fifths, but at least it illustrates the closeness of the notes to each other and how they move within the chords.
#10
Voice leading means looking at each note in a chord as a "voice" and then moving your chords such that individual melodies are formed. It's a bit easier to see on a staff than on an instrument. The use of voice leading with chords is why some rhythm parts sound more melodic than others.

We call individual notes in chords "voices" as a matter of tradition when analyzing harmony. Back in the 18th century choir music was still big, so chords in the music had to spelled out with multiple people's voices. The singers weren't always that great, so it was best to write parts that were simple and melodic, without a bunch of big intervals. When that approach was taken with a whole choir, the effect was of melodically leading each voice through the harmony.
#11
Quote by enloartworks
Thanks for the replies guys. Im not too familiar with voice leading anf its meaning. Any one care to explain? Im guessing its how tones from one chord move to the next chord?
Exactly. You can see (as well as hear) it working on your fretboard when you play a chord sequence in the same position on the neck - assuming your chords are all different shapes. Think of each string as a "voice" (like you have a six-person choir under your fingers), and you'll see that - usually - some notes stay the same as you change chords, and others move up or down by a fret or two.
That's normally the maximum that any chord tone actually needs to move: a whole step up or down - although sometimes you'd choose bigger moves form dramatic effect.
But mainly you want to think of your "choir" as being very lazy, or maybe not very gifted: they really don't want to move any more than a whole step, and staying on the same note will suit them just fine.
Of course, shared tones make for strong affinities between chords, and half-step moves make for strong "tendencies" - tensions that help drive a sequence forward. That's where chromatic moves can come in, to spice up diatonic changes.
Last edited by jongtr at Oct 16, 2016,