So, i've recently found a few chord progressions that i can't understand theory wise:
Key: C major
I-bVII-F-I
C-Bb-F-C

Key: F major
I-IV-bIII-bVI
F-Bb-Ab-Db

How do these flats appear in the keys, in which they are not supposed to? Im a beginner and english is not my first language so no complex stuff while explaining.
Well the first one I'd say looks like C Mixolydian rather than C Major. Basically, the C Mixolydian scale has the degrees 1 2 3 4 5 6 b7, as opposed to the Major scale which has the degrees 1 2 3 4 5 6 7.

Second one, are you sure it's F Major? Cause it looks like F Minor to me.
sig goes here
The book where i found the progression says its F major. Might be a mistake? Does the C mixolydian relate to the C major?
Quote by Flameseeker
So, i've recently found a few chord progressions that i can't understand theory wise:
Key: C major
I-bVII-F-I
C-Bb-F-C

Key: F major
I-IV-bIII-bVI
F-Bb-Ab-Db

How do these flats appear in the keys, in which they are not supposed to? Im a beginner and english is not my first language so no complex stuff while explaining.

The key is chosen to best describe the general properties of a song. The first
looks to resolves to C. If that were the primary root, even if the progressions
suggests you use another scale -- in this case maybe C mixolydian from the key
of F -- it would likely still be written for the key of C. There is no "mixolydian key."

The second one might be a bit strange to call F major, but perhaps this is all
refering to the context in which is was written -- you may not be describing the
whole story.
Quote by Skater901
Second one, are you sure it's F Major? Cause it looks like F Minor to me.

It can't be a minor key if there's a major tonic chord. However, the bIII and bVI could be explained as being borrowed from the parallel minor.
Or you could Play the second one as power chords, add some palm mutes and scratches and you have an instant grunge anthem.

(sorry for my lack of usefullness)
Quote by Eirien
It can't be a minor key if there's a major tonic chord.

Picardy third.
Yeah, but doesn't the minor chord have to be used at some point aswell?
No, though I can't recall an example where it's not. I thought you were referring to any time a major tonic chord occurs; I'm pretty sure I misunderstood you.
Yeah I didn't word it great, but I don't know much about picardy thirds so I didn't consider them.
Quote by Eirien
Yeah I didn't word it great, but I don't know much about picardy thirds so I didn't consider them.

And thanks to me you now know nothing more about them.
These are chord progressions (to clarify things). The beginner book i found those says its basic progressions to practice. While practice is good i still dont understand how in C major a Bb major chord apears. And the Ab and Db in F major. Another progression that seems weird to me in E minor: Em-G-A-Am
This is a good example of pitch axis theory. Pitch axis theory states that you can switch between parallel scales (F Major, F Lydian, F Dorian) without sounding too weird.

So far, this one seems most clear to me. Would like to findout more. An article maybe?
Quote by Flameseeker
So far, this one seems most clear to me. Would like to findout more. An article maybe?

There's something on Wiki that does a good job of explaining, but I'll give you the basic idea.

Pitch axis theory is actually pretty simple to understand; think of anything that rotates around an axis. The purpose of the axis is to serve as a base around which other things can move while it remains constant. The axis with pitch-axis theory is a specific note, and the chords on top of that one note are changed, and can suggest different tonalities and/or modes. For example, a type of pitch axis progression with a root of D:

D7-Dm11-D9-Dmaj7

Something like that would be an example, but another thing to keep in mind is the effect the switching is going to have. The less movement (in terms of different notes) you have in the chords, the smoother and less jarring it's going to be.

Again, this is a basic rundown, hope it helped.
Quote by quinny1089
Picardy thirds occur at the end of a minor section - where a major tonic triad is used to enhance the resolution - it certainly isnt the case in this progression.

I know, but this is astray from my point. I was just addressing the "cannot be minor if there's a major tonic chord" bit just as a general observation.
Quote by quinny1089
But the idea of Pitch axis theory relies on a common root for the chords?
Consider what I said a corollary or sub-theory, then.

Quote by quinny1089
I'm adamant its just a modulation, where the tonic has shifted to Db via the perfect cadence.
I could go with a modulation, but to Ab, not Db. Think about what I said earlier. Over F and Bb, you would play the F major scale since that is the scale implied. Over Ab and Db, you would play the "F minor scale," except over Ab and Db, it's the Ab major scale.

In conclusion, there are a lot of ways to think about the progression.
Quote by bangoodcharlote

In conclusion, there are a lot of ways to think about the progression.

+1

I see it possibly as I - IV in F and then I - IV in Ab
shred is gaudy music
Quote by GuitarMunky
I see it possibly as I - IV in F and then I - IV in Ab
I think that would be the classical interpretation of it. However, in modern rock, it's not so uncommon to make hyrbid chord progressions containing chords from the root's major scale and parallel minor scale, meaning that, in an F major progression, Ab and Db wouldn't be such weird chords (this is explained by pitch-axis or at least my corollary). Since the mix-and-match of major and minor scale tones is a bluesy idea, the use of the F blues scale or minor pentatonic would be appropriate over that entire progression. That would be the modern rock approach, which is why I bring up this idea of pitch axis.

PS-We're not arguing.
Quote by bangoodcharlote
I think that would be the classical interpretation of it. However, in modern rock, it's not so uncommon to make hyrbid chord progressions containing chords from the root's major scale and parallel minor scale, meaning that, in an F major progression, Ab and Db wouldn't be such weird chords (this is explained by pitch-axis or at least my corollary). Since the mix-and-match of major and minor scale tones is a bluesy idea, the use of the F blues scale or minor pentatonic would be appropriate over that entire progression. That would be the modern rock approach, which is why I bring up this idea of pitch axis.

PS-We're not arguing.

right, well essentially, its the same thing in terms of soloing over it. 1st 2 chords are in a key, the next 2 chords are in another.

I don't have much experience with pitch axis, isn't the bass note consistent as the chords change.

Thats what I remember hearing about it, but its been awhile.

(and no im not arguing.... just conversing)
shred is gaudy music
Last edited by GuitarMunky at Jul 20, 2008,
Quote by GuitarMunky
I don't much about pitch axis, isn't the bass note consistent as the chords change?

Yes, exactly.
Quote by :-D
Yes, exactly.

OK

Im looking up some examples now. Its seems like with pitch axis, you have this common bass note, and then you change the harmony as it would be if the chord was in a different key.

At least from what im seeing, I would say the F Bb Ab Db example is not pitch axis, but maybe im missing something.

I see the F maj - f minor concept that BGC is getting across, but I don't hear it that way. I hear it as 2 chords in a key, and then the same relationship played up a minor 3rd.
shred is gaudy music
Quote by GuitarMunky
Thats what I remember hearing about it, but its been awhile.
Standard pitch axis theory would be Dm7 D7 Dmaj7 D, denoting D Dorian, D Mixolydian, D Lydian, and D Ionian. I take my idea a step further and say the root note is associated with a scale rather than a chord.

F Bb come from F Ionian.
Ab Db come from F Aeolian.

The pitch is still F, but you're changing the scale off of which chords are based, rather than individual chords.

A fanous example of this type of pitch axis is "Hotel California." The progression is Bm F# A E G D Em F#7.

Bm comes from B Aeolian
F# comes from G harmonic minor
A comes from B Aeolian
E comes from B Dorian
G comes from B Aeolian
D comes from B Aeolian
Em comes from B Aeolian
F#7 comes from B harmonic minor

This is extremely common. Even my favorite progression, Am G F E7, uses this theory. The first three chords come from A Aeolian, while the final chord comes from A harmonic minor.

"Song 2" in my profile heavily uses this concept.
Quote by bangoodcharlote
Standard pitch axis theory would be Dm7 D7 Dmaj7 D, denoting D Dorian, D Mixolydian, D Lydian, and D Ionian. I take my idea a step further and say the root note is associated with a scale rather than a chord.

F Bb come from F Ionian.
Ab Db come from F Aeolian.

The pitch is still F, but you're changing the scale off of which chords are based, rather than individual chords.

A fanous example of this type of pitch axis is "Hotel California." The progression is Bm F# A E G D Em F#7.

Bm comes from B Aeolian
F# comes from G harmonic minor
A comes from B Aeolian
E comes from B Dorian
G comes from B Aeolian
D comes from B Aeolian
Em comes from B Aeolian
F#7 comes from B harmonic minor

This is extremely common. Even my favorite progression, Am G F E7, uses this theory. The first three chords come from A Aeolian, while the final chord comes from A harmonic minor.

"Song 2" in my profile heavily uses this concept.

Would it be fair to say its your own version of pitch axis?

Im not so sure the dudes from the eagles were thinking that way. More likely they have a traditional theory background at most.

Hotel California is basically a sequence of i - V ( I - V)
shred is gaudy music
Quote by bangoodcharlote
It's a corollary.

so its your own personal theory based off of what you learned about pitch axis.

Thats cool. No offense, but Im not sure I would subscribe to the concept.

Most of what you said can be described with traditional theory. Your "favorite" progression for instance is a standard i - VII - VI - V7 progression.

Anyway, I don't mean to offend you. its fun to theorize and think of ideas like this. I just think this may be a case of making more out of something than is necessary.

Thats my take on it anyway.
shred is gaudy music
Last edited by GuitarMunky at Jul 20, 2008,
Quote by GuitarMunky
Most of what you said can be described with traditional theory. Your "favorite" progression for instance is a standard i - VII - VI - V7 progression.
But where do those chords come from?
Quote by GuitarMunky
so its your own personal theory based off of what you learned about pitch axis.

Thats cool. No offense, but Im not sure I would subscribe to the concept.

Most of what you said can be described with traditional theory. Your "favorite" progression for instance is a standard i - VII - VI - V7 progression.

Anyway, I don't mean to offend you. its fun to theorize and think of ideas like this. I just think this may be a case of making more out of something than is necessary.

Thats my take on it anyway.

Yeah, my understanding of pitch axis is that the bass note remains constant throughout the progression as shown here http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pitch_Axis_Theory

Otherwise you could say most minor key songs use pitch axis theory, which is a bit of a stretch imo.
The little I have learned about Pitch Axis theory led me to believe the root note is constant and typically the bass (but not necessarily). However I am learning more through this discussion than any of my previous encounters with it.

I can understand how the chords used in this progression F Bb Ab Db can be described in terms I-IV in F major then I-IV in Ab major.

I can also understand it as a switch between parallel modes from F Ionian to F Aeolian And described as I IV bIII bIV.

The way my mind works (which admittedly is chaotic at times) the second description says more to me.

Both descriptions recognise that their are two distinct parts to the progression chords.

Thinking in terms of I-IV in F major then I-IV Ab major describes clearly where the strength of the chord progression comes from namely an up by a fourth movements between two major chords in each part. This doesn't do much for me in explaining why in Ab Major. It doesn't seem to link the two parts together. It also doesn't say much about where the tonic lies.

Thinking of this as a I-IV-bIII-bVI progression switching between F Ionian and F Aeolian appeals to me much more, solely for the way it clearly states F as the tonic throughout the progression. the two up by fourth relationships can still be seen and it also links the two parts of the chord progression through a whole step down from IV - bIII.

By the way I also think it's fun to theorize and think of ideas. Personally I think that's the best path to truly understanding - anything.

Cheers.
Si
So what is the tonic if not F?

Also why call it I-IV in F then I-IV in Ab and not V-I in Bb then V-I in Db? Doesn't V-I tonicize the root better than I-IV?

Despite all that I still here F as the most stable chord to end this progression on.
Si