#1
Can someone give me an example of chords used in this progression, i dont understand the bVI, bIII, bVII - what do i flatten :\
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#2
Quote by iruka2998
Can someone give me an example of chords used in this progression, i dont understand the bVI, bIII, bVII - what do i flatten :\
The Roman Numerals refer to the diatonic chords positioned within the tonality. The fact that they're all large numerals means all of the chords in this progression are major.

To decipher this, pick a tonality at random. For the sake of simplicity, we'll choose C major.

The sixth (VI), third (III) and seventh (VII) chords in the key of C major are A major, E major and B major. (Please note: those chords are NOT diatonic to C major, because the diatonic sixth and third chords are both minor, and the diatonic seventh chord is diminished.)

The flat sign (b) in front of the numerals tells us to lower the root of the indicated chord by one half-step.

The interpretation of these symbols in the key of C Major is:

bVI = Ab major
bIII = Eb major
bVII = Bb major

It just so happens that all of the resulting chords contain the flat as part of their name, but this will not always be the case. For example, in the key of C# the bVI chord would be A major.

I hope this answered your question. If not, keep asking!
gpb
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#3
yeah thanks thats what I needed to know
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Last edited by iruka2998 at Feb 3, 2008,
#4
This is weird. In my thread, I got different replies (I asked about a progression similar to this, which had the bloody 'b' sign before the roman rumeral!).
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#6
If we're talking C major here, then why not just write it in the key of Eb major as

vi - IV - I - V

?
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#8
Quote by bangoodcharlote
What?


i - bVI - bIII - bVII

is the same as

vi - IV - I - V

in the first progression's tonic relative major. It's much simpler.
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#9
Quote by Muphin
i - bVI - bIII - bVII

is the same as

vi - IV - I - V

in the first progression's tonic relative major. It's much simpler.
You've missed the point entirely. The purpose of the Roman numerals is to:

1. identify a tonal center
2. identify the function(s) of the chords orbiting that tonal center

The three chords listed in the original post (bIII, bVI and bVII) serve very, very different functions from the chords you listed (vi - IV - I - V). By the way, I'm still pondering the addition of that fourth chord.

In any case, any chord or chord progression can serve many different functions, depending on the tonal center and the other chords orbiting that center.

I hope I haven't confused you. If I have, please ask again and perhaps someone else can do a better job of explaining this point.

gpb
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#10
You shouldn't write in Eb major because it's in C minor
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#11
The flats can arguably be excluded in this case. The roots of the chords ( bIII, bVI, and bVII) are not flattened scale degrees of the minor scale (which evidently is being used), but they are flattened scale degrees of a major scale (which is what we ussually base intervals off of). Some people will include them and others wont. Generally a minor tonic will make people assume a natural minor, and thus the b signs can be arguably unnecessary for this progression.

A simplified answer is that, flats or sharps preeceding the numerals refer to the entire chord being moved up or down one semitone.
#12
Quote by isaac_bandits
The flats can arguably be excluded in this case.
I must respectfully disagree. A III chord is quite a different thing from a bIII chord. Play them and prove it to yourself. Better yet, have your keyboard player play a III chord while you play a bIII chord. I hope you'll agree that these are different chords.
The roots of the chords ( bIII, bVI, and bVII) are not flattened scale degrees of the minor scale (which evidently is being used), but they are flattened scale degrees of a major scale (which is what we usually base intervals off of).
This is almost perfectly correct. I would only point out that interval evaluation is always based on the major scale.
Some people will include them and others won't. Generally a minor tonic will make people assume a natural minor, and thus the b signs can be arguably unnecessary for this progression.
Your assumption is that, because there are flat signs associated with the Roman numeral notation, we must be talking about a minor scale. You can only make an assumption like that if you can verify the key signature. Without a signature, as in this example, I just don't think you can make that assumption.
A simplified answer is that, flats or sharps preceding the numerals refer to the entire chord being moved up or down one semitone.
This statement is 100% correct.
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#13
Quote by gpb0216
I must respectfully disagree. A III chord is quite a different thing from a bIII chord. Play them and prove it to yourself. Better yet, have your keyboard player play a III chord while you play a bIII chord. I hope you'll agree that these are different chords.


Of course in a major scale these will sound much different. (Emaj vs. Ebmaj). However when playing minor, some people feel that, due to the minor scale's third degree allready being flattened that there is no reason to include the flats as the third degree in C major is allready Eb, so why indicate that again?

Others will argue that as we always base our intervals off the major scale, we must assume a iii or III chord means it is built of a scale degree a major third above the root note, and therefore we must include the flat symbol in order to clarify that we are playing on the minor third of the minor third, rathering than playing on a major third while in a minor scale.

Either way, the flat sign preceeding the third degree (or sixth, or seventh) will do no harm, as if one were to assume that when playing minor we use III the flattened third scale degree. Then if they see a bIII, they will take Eb, and play the flattened note which shares the diatonic degree as it, which would still give them an Eb. To the peole who think this way, the bIII in a minor scale will sound the same as writing natIII in a major scale.

However, to those of us that assume a major third scale degree when we see the III, the preceeding flat sign is needed..

Is there a way I can type a natural sign?
#14
Quote by isaac_bandits
Of course in a major scale these will sound much different. (Emaj vs. Ebmaj). However when playing minor, some people feel that, due to the minor scale's third degree allready being flattened that there is no reason to include the flats as the third degree in C major is allready Eb, so why indicate that again?

Others will argue that as we always base our intervals off the major scale, we must assume a iii or III chord means it is built of a scale degree a major third above the root note, and therefore we must include the flat symbol in order to clarify that we are playing on the minor third of the minor third, rathering than playing on a major third while in a minor scale.

Either way, the flat sign preceeding the third degree (or sixth, or seventh) will do no harm, as if one were to assume that when playing minor we use III the flattened third scale degree. Then if they see a bIII, they will take Eb, and play the flattened note which shares the diatonic degree as it, which would still give them an Eb. To the peole who think this way, the bIII in a minor scale will sound the same as writing natIII in a major scale.

However, to those of us that assume a major third scale degree when we see the III, the preceeding flat sign is needed..
I've read your post several times and can only conclude you're confusing analysis notation with performance notation. I know of no one who uses Roman numerals to notate performance. If you do, or know someone who does, more power to you. That does not change the fact that the primary and overwhelming use of Roman numeral notation is for musical analysis. I submit that, this being the case, the flats, sharps, plus (augmented) and degree circle (diminished) signs are mandatory. I also submit that the large numerals (e.g., III) will always designate a major or augmented chord, and that the small numerals (e.g., iii) will always designate a minor or diminished chord.

As a side note, those of you using Roman numerals to notate performance would probably be better served by the so-called "Nashville Number System" or something similar.

All the best,
gpb
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- Dr. Thomas Fuller (British physician, 1654-1734)
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#15
Quote by gpb0216
I've read your post several times and can only conclude you're confusing analysis notation with performance notation. I know of no one who uses Roman numerals to notate performance. If you do, or know someone who does, more power to you. That does not change the fact that the primary and overwhelming use of Roman numeral notation is for musical analysis. I submit that, this being the case, the flats, sharps, plus (augmented) and degree circle (diminished) signs are mandatory. I also submit that the large numerals (e.g., III) will always designate a major or augmented chord, and that the small numerals (e.g., iii) will always designate a minor or diminished chord.

As a side note, those of you using Roman numerals to notate performance would probably be better served by the so-called "Nashville Number System" or something similar.

All the best,
gpb


This all makes alot of sense. Thanks

Can you explain the Nashville Number System please? I have never heard of it.
#18
Thats what I thought when I read it. I've never heard of it before either. You might find something usefull in the related links if you want to read them.
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#19
Just stumbled across this while trying to find the same answer myself & thought I'd share the answer I found:

The "b" doesn't signify a flat in this case, it's denotes that this is a 'borrowed chord'.

Borrowing chords is the process of using chords from the parallel (not relative) minor, which is the minor scale that shares the root note with the major scale (i.e. C major & C minor; or A Major & A minor)

This means that in the key of C Major, bIII would be Eb (the "b" is actually a flat this time ) because it is the third diatonic chord of the C minor scale. EbMaj7 can also be used in this case.
#20
^ No. The b definitely does mean flat. The bIII chord is always a semitone lower than the diatonic iii chord of the key. Same with bVI and bVII. If the key has sharps in it, you flatten the sharp which results in natural. For example the bIII chord in the key of E major would be G major. Why not Gb major? Because the key signature has a G# in it, so you just flatten it once which makes it a G natural.

You need to remember that scale degrees don't care about note names. The b3 scale degree is always the b3 scale degree, even if we are in the key of F double sharp major. In F double sharp major the b3 scale degree would be A#. Same with bIII chord - it is the chord built on the b3 scale degree. It's just the interval between the chord's root note and the tonic. Major scale has a major third, so b3 means a minor third. Minor third from F double sharp is A#, so A# major would be the bIII chord in the key of F double sharp major. (Of course the key of F double sharp major would make no sense in real life.)

There are also sharpened non-diatonic chords. The most common is #IVm7b5 chord. It is a m7b5 chord built on the sharpened fourth scale degree of the major scale. If the fourth scale degree is already flat, for example in F major it is Bb, you just sharpen the flat which makes it B natural.


Sharpen a flat note and it becomes natural. Flatten a sharp note and it becomes natural.
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Last edited by MaggaraMarine at Jan 6, 2016,
#21
Quote by Muphin
If we're talking C major here, then why not just write it in the key of Eb major as

vi - IV - I - V

?


In the Key of Eb it would still be bVI, bIII, bVII .. that is the function of Roman Numerals they notate scale degree and chord quality.. NOT chord names
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#22
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#23
Quote by gareth486
Just stumbled across this while trying to find the same answer myself & thought I'd share the answer I found:

The "b" doesn't signify a flat in this case, it's denotes that this is a 'borrowed chord'.

Borrowing chords is the process of using chords from the parallel (not relative) minor, which is the minor scale that shares the root note with the major scale (i.e. C major & C minor; or A Major & A minor)

This means that in the key of C Major, bIII would be Eb (the "b" is actually a flat this time ) because it is the third diatonic chord of the C minor scale. EbMaj7 can also be used in this case.


a borrowed chord from what key??

In minor keys (Ami) the chords are: i ii III iv v VI VII = Ami Bmi CMA Dmi Emi FMA GMA

it is NOT a bIII in the minor scale--Roman Numerals are NOT chord names but scale degrees and qualities within a given key--thus they can be transposed to any key and will remain the same
play well

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Last edited by wolflen at Jan 6, 2016,