Chord Progressions Primer

THE MAJOR SCALE AND PROGRESSION THEORY
If you looked at Theory 1, you’ve seen how to chords are constructed. Now it’s time to put all these chords into action by exploring their relationship to each other. To vastly understate it, this is a complicated, or at least tedious, task. There are so many chords, the combinations of them are virtually unending. So we’ll start with the old standby, the MAJOR SCALE and how it affects chord progressions. Remember there are 7 notes in the major scale, made up of different intervals. Well, you can build chords on each of these notes. Some of them are minor chords, some of them are major chords, some of them are diminished chords. The fist chart you look at will be triad major chords, which are basically chords made up of the 1 - 3 - 5 notes of the major scale. So a C major triad would be C - E - G because C is the tonic, E is the major 3rd and the G is the perfect 5th of the C major scale. If it is a minor triad chord, simply flatten the 3rd. So a C minor triad would be C - Eb - G. Get it? The second chart you will look at in Major Scale Progression section is the 7th chord progression chart. This essentially is the same thing as the triad chord chart but many people use 7th chords to add interest or depth to the chords in their progressions. 7th chords add more personality, per se, to the mix. These chords follow the same pattern as the triad chart but we add some 7ths and flatted 7ths to the chords. You’ll see where to do this. Every progression chart in this Unit will follow the same format. So let’s go over how to read these things so you can learn all they have to offer you. = line 1: scale tones or intervals (in Roman Numerals) of the scale that the chords are being built upon 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th intervals = line 2: the significance of this tone, the position it holds in the key, we’ll talk about this later when we start looking at different progressions within the key

= line 1: flavor of the chord ... major, minor, diminished, dominant, whatever = line 2: the intervals that make up the chord for that scale tone = line 1: name of the chord in the progression or key, all of these chords will work in this key (which is chord I) = line 2: the chord notes that make up that chord in the progression, equivalent of the intervals above in red = line 3: chord example. This is simply 1 way to play the chords in the progression. In Theory 1, I show you all the places on the fretboard where you can play these chords. Any of those places will work.

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d B b .d# .e B b .a Em e-g-b F#m f# .g E e .d .g# .e .c# .b F# f# .g# .c# G g-b-d A a .g# .com .a F f-a-c Gm g .a .f# C#m c# .g# subdominant MAJOR 1-3-5 D d .e supertonic minor 1-b3-5 Bm b .c# G#m g# .c# .c# leading tone diminished 1-b3-b5 G#o g# .d# A#o a# .e .a .f# .g# D#o d# .gb .c# G#m g# .f# C#o c# .d# .b .f# mediant minor 1-b3-5 C#m c# .d Am a-c-e Bb a# .d# A a .a# E e .d .g# D#m d# .e Bm b .c theguitarsuite.a .g .a Em e-g-b F#o f# .TRIADS THAT CAN BE BUILT ON EACH NOTE OF THE MAJOR SCALE I ii iii IV V vi viio tonic MAJOR 1-3-5 A a .Bb .Bb G g-b-d Am a-c-e Bm b .e .gb .e C c-e-g Dm d-f-a Em e-g-b F f-a-c G g-b-d Am a-c-e Bo b-d-f D d .db .f# C c-e-g D d .c# .d .f C c-e-g Dm d-f-a Eo e .a .e .f# .f# .db .f# C#m c# .b submediant minor 1-b3-5 F#m f# .b F#m f# .b .a# .b .a dominant MAJOR 1-3-5 E e .

a .f# Am7 a-c-e-g Bm7 b .e .b .f# .a .d -f Bmaj7 b .a .a# Emaj7 e .gb Amaj7 a .a .a iii7 mediant minor 7 1-b3-5-b7 C#m7 c# .d# A#o7 G#m7 F#7 f# .c# V7 dominant dominant 7 1-3-5-b7 E7 e .d# .e .e g# .f# .g# Dmaj7 d .g .f .g Cmaj7 c-e-g-b Dm7 d-f-a-c Em7 e-g-b-d Fmaj7 f-a-c-e G7 g-b-d-f Am7 a-c-e-g Bo7 b .a .g# .e .d vi7 submediant minor 7 1-b3-5-b7 F#m7 f# .e Gmaj7 g .g .c# .d# .b .b .d .g# .f# .Bb -c# Gmaj7 g .g# .b .a# C#m7 c# .f Am7 a-c-e-g Bbmaj7 a# .c# .f# .c# .d# .Bb .e G#m7 g# .e .c Fmaj7 f-a-c-e Gm7 g .b IV7 subdominant MAJOR 7 1-3-5-7 Dmaj7 d .f# .d# .b D#m7 d# -gb -a# -db Emaj7 e .e .Bb Dm7 d-f-a-c Eo7 e .a# .e .g# .f# A7 a .7 CHORDS THAT CAN BE BUILT ON EACH NOTE OF THE MAJOR SCALE I7 tonic MAJOR 7 1-3-5-7 Amaj7 a .c# .e .e .a Cmaj7 c-e-g-b D7 d .a .g Bm7 b .c .com .e .f# .d .g .gb .a C#m7 c# .f# .a C#o7 c# .g# .a .b .g# B7 b .a .d# F#m7 f# .db .b .gb a# .c# .c# .d .g# .f# .b D#o7 d# .d .d .db .c Em7 e-g-b-d F#o7 f# .d# theguitarsuite.b .ab C7 c .f .c# .d .e vii7o leading tone 1/2 dim 7 1-b3-b5-b7 G#o7 g# .b .d .g# ii7 supertonic minor 7 1-b3-5-b7 Bm7 b .c# Em7 e-g-b-d F#m7 f# .

Bb F f-a-c Gm g .d Ao a .c Go g .e Cm c .f# C#o c# .eb .f .g .c# G g-b-d A a .db .f# C c-e-g D d .d .ab Eb eb .Bb .f# .f Dm d-f-a Eo e .TRIADS THAT CAN BE BUILT ON EACH NOTE OF THE RELATIVE MINOR SCALE i tonic minor 1-b3-5 Am a-c-e IIo supertonic diminished 1-b3-b5 Bo b-d-f III mediant MAJOR 1-3-5 C c-e-g iv subdominant minor 1-b3-5 Dm d-f-a v dominant minor 1-b3-5 Em e-g-b VI submediant MAJOR 1-3-5 F eb .g D d .c .c .f Cm c .eb .g .g Dm d-f-a Eb eb .Bb VII leading tone MAJOR 1-3-5 G g-b-d Bm b .d .g .Bb .Bb .ab .eb .d .Bb F f-a-c theguitarsuite.g Db d-f-a-c Eb eb .eb Bbm a# .Bb Gm g .d Ab eb .com .ab .d Am a-c-e Bb Bb .g .d .f# .g .g Do d .a .f Cm c .c G g-b-d Am a-c-e Bm b .a Em e-g-b F#m f# .f C c-e-g Em e-g-b F#o f# .Bb Fm f .Bb Bb Bb .a Fm f .c# .Bb .g .c Gm g .db Ab ab .d .a .eb Bb Bb .e .

db .Bb F#o f# .e Bb Bb .ab .f# Cm c .Bb F+ f .db .c# Gm g .e .g Do d .b . 1-3-#5 C+ c .g .d A a .Bb .db Ab+ ab .d .c G+ g .Bb .Bb Gm g .c# G g-b-d A#o a# .d .a Eb eb .g .f# -a# Em e-g-b F# f# .e Cm c .d .a Fm f .b leading tone # diminished 1-b3-b5 G#o g# .f# C#o c# .a .d# Am a-c-e B b .eb Bb+ Bb .ab Eb+ eb .d# .b .d Ao a .f# .TRIADS THAT CAN BE BUILT ON EACH NOTE OF THE HARMONIC MINOR SCALE i tonic minor 1-b3-5 Am a-c-e IIo supertonic diminished 1-b3-b5 Bo b-d-f III mediant MAJOR aug.e .f C c-e-g Db d-f-a-c Eo e .Bb Bo b-d-f Dm d-f-a Eo e .g# iv subdominant minor 1-b3-5 Dm d-f-a V VI submediant MAJOR 1-3-5 F f-a-c #VIIo dominant MAJOR 1-3-5 E e .c .f# C c-e-g D#o d# .c .c theguitarsuite.g D d .g D+ d .com .g .f C#o c# .a .eb .d Bm b .ab .g# .f .a .c# .a# .Bb .e Bbm a# .eb .e .g .B Fm f .g Em e-g-b F#o f# .f# .g .c Go g .c G g-b-d Ab eb .

d# A a .Bb Gm g .c# G g-b-d A a .e .g .c# .g Em e-g-b F#m f# .b F# f# .f# .ab Eo e .e .g Dm d-f-a Eb+ eb .e Bo b-d-f C#o c# .Bb .a Eo e .d .d Bm b .g .c .a .b .ab .f# C#o c# .d Am a-c-e Bb+ Bb .f# -a# E e .com . 1-b3-b5 F#o f# .e .g# .db .g# D+ d .e B b .f# .c Gm g .a# .f# .a .eb Bo b-d-f Dm d-f-a Em e-g-b F+ f .f# C#m c# .d A#o a# .TRIADS THAT CAN BE BUILT ON EACH NOTE OF THE MELODIC MINOR SCALE i tonic minor 1-b3-5 Am a-c-e ii III mediant MAJOR aug.c #VIIo supertonic minor 1-b3-5 Bm b .e .a .d .eb .c theguitarsuite.b .B F f-a-c G g-b-d Ao a .d Ab+ ab .f# subdominant MAJOR 1-3-5 D d .f# C c-e-g D d .f C c-e-g Do d .db .Bb .d .c# G+ g .a .b leading tone # minor dim 1-b3-b5 G#o g# .g D#o d# .Bb F#o f# .b .g . 1-3-#5 C+ c .g# .c .c# .f .e Cm c .c# G#o g# .g# IV V #vio submediant # minor dim.d# .a dominant MAJOR 1-3-5 E e .e Bb a# .a Fm f .

6-1 . 4.. 5-7 .. Don’t worry about it.. theguitarsuite. why not and how do I figure out how they relate? Answers: 1. how to create those chords and the intervals that make up those chords and keys. 4. 5-6 . play the sequence in order 1-2-3-4-5-6-7 play it again breaking them up 1-2 . 2-3 . 4-6 . Adding a 7th will add fullness to the chord and is often done in jazz music. Progressions jump around.. some of the chords seem out of place or awkward.com .. 4-5 . 7-2 create your own combinations and take notes in the Journal on the following page. The important thing for you to understand is the relationship certain chords have with one another. 2-4 . The charts above simply tell us what chords work in what key. 4. There may be ones that you prefer and can go back to frequently to add some variety to your playing. EXERCISES FOR THE CHORD SCALE CHARTS 1. They are called moveable chords.. 2..6-7 . 3-5 .. What the deal? Can there be 7th chords in the minor scales? Progressions don’t sound like that. First of all.. When you add chords to them. these two scales are not what we are used to hearing anyway...... This answer kind of goes along with the answer to number 4. 3-4 . After the moveable chord forms we’ll talk about the progressions themselves and different ones that lend themselves to a more natural feel... There are so many chords how can I remember all of these? The melodic and harmonic minor chord scales don’t sound right. We rarely here a progression in order. 3..COMMENTS: At this point probably a few questions arise. the same rules apply to the minor scales and any other scale as to the major scale. Absolutely... 3.. Some of them are awkward and rarely used. When we look at the Circle of 5ths you’ll understand how to figure out what key you’re in by what chords are being played. They go from 2 to 5 to 1 or whatever. There are ways to remember the chords. 2.. I didn’t put them in the charts because I think it’s a good idea to explore as many fingerings as possible. After this question / answer session I’ll give you moveable forms. 3. 2.. 7-1 (these are cadences) now mix them up a bit 1-3 .. 1... they mix with each other.

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