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122

Part 3: Tunes
you play E G B, the E minor chord. Move up yet another key, and you play F A C-F Major. Keep mo up the scale and you play G Major, A minor, and B diminished. Then you're back on C, and ready to over agam. This type of chord building based on the notes of a scale is important, because we use the position wi scale to describe the individual chords in our chord progressions. In particular, we use Roman numeral through VII) to describe where each chord falls in the underlying scale. Uppercase Roman numerals are for major chords; lowercase Roman numerals are used for minor chords. To indicate a diminished chord. use the lowercase Roman numeral plus a small circle. To indicate an augmented chord, use the upperca e Roman numeral plus a small plus sign. Thus, within a major scale, the seven chords are notated as follows:
I

ii

iii

IV

v

vi

If you remember back to Chapter 2, each degree of the scale has a particular name-tonic, on. We can assign these names to the different chords, like this:
I

dominant, and _

ii

iii Mediant

IV Subdominant

V

Tonic

Supertonic

Dominant

Submediant

Leading Tone

Of these chords, the primary choTels-the ones with the most weight-are the I, Iv, and V These also are only major chords in the major scale-and often the only chords used within a song. When describing chord progressions, we'll refer to chords by either their Roman numerals or their theore cal names (tonic, dominant, and so forth). You can figure out which specific chords (C Major, D minor, and so forth) to play, based on the designated key signature. To make things easier, you can refer to the following table, which lists the seven scale-based chords for each major key signature.

Scalf-Basfd Chords
Key Signature C Chords

c

Dmin

Emin

F

G

Amin

Bdim

II
ii iii
IV

H
vi A#min

II
.. 0

V G#

VII

C#

B#dim

H
iii

H
IV

II
V

H
vi B~min

II
vii?

D~
J ~

D~

E~min

Fmin

G~

A~

Cdim

6
I

II
iii

H
IV

H
V

H
vi

IE::
vii
0

continues

Chaptfr 10: (nord Progressions 123 S(alf-Basfd Chords Key Signature D (continued) o Emin F~min G A Bmin C~dim Chords § IV E~ Fmin Gmin A~ H V B~ § vi Cmin ll== vii 0 Ddim ~~ I II I H iii F~min G~min § V B H vi C~min i vii 0 IV A E E D~dim H iii H V H vi Dmin II vii 0 Edim IV B~ F F Gmin Amin C II ii iii G~min A~min H V B i vi 1b vii 0 IV F# F~ C~ D~min E~dim _ G § H iii II IV C~ II V D~ i vi E~min ~ viio Fdim II iii II V 0 Emin it vi F#dim lvii 0 IV C G G Amin Bmin H B~min § iii Cmin H IV D~ i V E~ it vi Fmin i vii 0 Gdim § H iii i IV D V i vi L vii 0 continues .

C = V. fourth (C). it's easy to figure out the Roman numeral notation. subdominant. In the key of G Major.) Iv. If you've ever played any folk songs. the progression repeats-or Because you know that the G looks like this: I = ends with a final G chord. C. Iv.atinCJ a ProCJr. For the time being we won't pay attention to the underlying harmonic theory. and D = I. and D chords. It IV I V There-you've just written your first chord progression! . the tonic.ssi~n Let's see how you can use these Roman numerals to create a chord progression. This makes these the I. I mentioned earlier the popularity of the G. these chords happen to fall on the first (G).124 Part 3: Tunes (continued) Scale-Based Chords Key Signature A Chords A Bmin C#min D E F#min G#dim § ~ B~ B~ ii H iii § IV ft V § vi iL vii a Cmin Dmin E~ F Gmin Adim H ~ B B C~min i iii D IV i V D vi i vii a D~min E F~ G~min A~dim d - 0 I § iii D IV i V D vi i vii 0 C~ D~min Ebmin Fb Gb Abmin Bbdim 4~~"~~~~ 0 I i D iii i IV ft V i vi ft vii a Cr. you know that one of the more common chord progressions goes like this: G / / / C / / / G / / / o / / / (Naturally. and V chords-or more technically. we'll just concentrate on the mechanics of creating a progreSSIOn. and fifth (D) notes of the scale. and dominant.

According to our chart. which creates the following alternate progression: I vi ii V I This. let's pick IV Then. you can create a pleasing chord progression by following the order suggested by this chart. vii" I ii. the next chord is a return to the tonic. Or if you have a vi chord. Any chord rv V. I u III Lead to These Chords .126 Part 3: Tunes Chordbading Rfffrfncf These Chords . but this time we'll use the vi chord as the second chord. vi can lead to either ii or IV. Because I leads to chord.. let's go up one scale note and insert the ii chord after the I. we can leave the rest of the progression intact. This means if you have a iii chord. because IV can lead to eithe I. According to the chart. doesn't it? Let's try another example. V. and so on. we'll pick Vas the next chord-which leads us back to I as our final chord. of course. The entire progression looks like this: I ii v I When you play this progression in the key of C. you follow it with either a ii or IV chord . when played in the key of C... Let's return to that progression. because V always leads to I. with the I chord. V. iii Although there are exceptions to these rules. we'll start with the tonic... results in these chords: C I I I Am I I I Dm I I I G I I C I I I . you get the following chords: C I I I Dm I I / G I I I C I I I Sounds good. VI IV V vi vii? I. We'll start. you get the following chords: C I I I Am I I I F I I I G I I I C I I I You should recognize that progression as the chords that drove thousands of doo-wop tunes in the 1950s and 1960s. The entire progression looks like this: I vi IV v I When you play this progression in the key of C. Let's put together some of these combinations. or vii".. Again. or vii". V. IV I. and make an alternate choice for the third chord-ii instead of IV Because ii also leads to V. ii leads to either Iv. you follow it with either a ii or a vi chord. vii? u. We'll pick V Then.

it looks like this: F / / / c / / / . You could probably see this cadence coming. -. The obvious choice is the V chord. and vi. and a measure each of IV and V Or you could play three measures of one. and in the key of C looks like this: G / / / C / / / Tip The V-I progression can be enhanced by using the dominant seventh chord (V7) instead of the straight V This progression is notated V7-1. Or you could play two measures of I. and then relieve that tension. This IV-I progression is called a plagal cadence. the number of beats or measures allotted to each chord isn't set in stone. Iv. Let's pick iii. which is also a good chord with which to start our phrase. and vii°. and you use these chords: Em / / / Om / / / G / / / c / / / (ndinCJ a Phrasf When you come to the end of a musical phrase-which can be anywhere in your song. and L Let's pick ii. even in the middle of your melody-you use chords to set up a tension. Because in most cases you want the final chord to be the tonic (1). This feeling of a natural ending is . you get the following progresSIOn: I iii ii v I Play this progression C / / / Pretty easy. ow we pick a chord that leads to the ii. you find that three chords can lead to the 1: Iv. and there are some accepted chord progressions you can use to provide this feeling of completion. For example. This progression is notated V-I. Consulting the Chord Leading Reference table..called cadence. V. and then two beats each of IV and V It all depends on the needs of the song-and helps provide an almost infinite variety of possible chord combinations. so that's what we'll use. you could play the I-lV-Vprogression with a single measure for each chord. ~ You can also work backward from where you want to end up-your final chord. Now we pick a chord that leads to the iii. the choices are ii. iii. Let's pick I. which is relieved when you move on to the I (tonic) chord. in the key of C. isn't it? in the key of C. the choices are I. all you have to do is work through the options that lead to that chord. from the chord leading shown in the table named Chord Leading Reference earlier in this chapter. lagal (adence A slightly weaker ending progression uses the IV (subdominant) chord in place of the V chord. ow we have to pick a chord to lead to V. the choices are I and vii°. When you put all these chords together.Tip When you're playing a chord progression. Perfect (adence The most common phrase-ending chord progression uses the V (dominant) chord to set up the tension. There's no better way to get back home (1) than through the dominant chord (V).

and vi-V being the most common. especially in the middle of a melody. ii-V. V-vi. you're setting up an unresolved tension. it isn't nearly as strong as the perfect V-I cadence. However. you should be able to create your own musically sound chord progressions. Note In classical music theory. and you can get to the V chord any number of ways-I-V. and even tack on another I-Vat the end to wrap things up with a perfect cadence. insert an extra I between the IV and the V. and D on your guitar. in the key of C: C / / / C / / / F / / / G / / / . C. IV-V. In the key of C. men!" -. You can leave out the Iv. look like this: V·IV: V·vi V-ii: V-V?: G G F / Am / / / / / / / G G Dm / G? / (ommon (hord Progressions Given everything you've learned about chord leading and cadences. In this progression. but then move to any type of chord except the tonic. There are many different variations on the I-IV-V progression. let's take a look at some of the most popular chord progressions used in music today. just in case you get stuck. V-ii. an inter' rupted cadence is more often called a deceptive cadence. In these instances. This type of ending progression is called an impeifect cadence. yo might want to use a plagal cadence in the middle of your song or melody. You can't get any more popular than the old I-IV-V progression. you might want to end on a chord that isn't the tonic.128 Part 3: Tunes Although this is an effective cadence. and save the stronger perfect cadence for the big ending. For that reason. you use a V chord to trick the listener into thinking a perfect cadence is on its way. You also can vary the number of beats and measures you devote to each chord. V-Iv. and V-V7 progressions all are interrupted cadences-and. "Dig those crazy changes. One example ofI-IV-V in a four-measure phrase might look like this. I-IV-V ~ ~ Definition Jazz musicians sometimes refer to chord progressions as chord changes-as in. these progressions look like this: I·V: ii·V: IV·V: vi·V: C / / / Dm / F / Am / / / / / / / G G G G Interrupted Cadence Even less final than an imperfect cadence is an ending progression called an interrupted cadence. in the key of C. This is the progression (in the key of G) you're playing when you strum the chords G. typically by ending on the V (dominant) triad. Imperfect Cadence Sometimes.

(The notes indicated with a (p) are passing tones. . the C in measure 3. or fifth note of the underlying chord. and E for your melody. In this example. You'd be surprised how many melodies fit with the I-IV-V progression! • The main notes in the melody (typically the notes that fall on the first and third beats of a measure) are the first. the "home" note in the melody is the tonic note of the underlying key. or a note held over several measures. work with the notes A." Note . remembering that melodies almost always end on the I chord. you'll find a melody forming in your head. • Make sure you're in the right key. not a passing tone. If no natural melody occurs. • Try to simplify the melody by cutting out the passing and neighboring tones (typically the shorter notes.B~ Part 3: Tunes Chord Writing Tips When it comes to fitting a chord progression to an existing melody. the main notes you have left often will suggest the underlying chord. In most cases. and have half the song decoded fairly quickly. • Chord changes generally fit within the measure structure. you can base your tune on a specific chord progression and compose a melody that best fits the chords. (So if you have a long whole note. Writing a MflodV to a Chord Progrfssion You don't have to start with a melody. third. While you don't want to work totally mechanically. beat 4 is technically an anticipation. You then can figure out the cadence leading to the I. An anticipation is. the slower the tempo. • Generally. which means you're likely to see new chords introduced on either the first or third beat of a measure. the more frequent the chord changes. you only have to figure the notes and write them down. there are some basic approaches you can use. if this type of natural melody comes to you. Take a look at these tips: • Stay within the notes of the chords-at least for the main notes in the melody. If you prefer to work this way. C. In many cases.. it helps to get a good feel for the chord progression before you start writing the melody.ression-note the heavy use of chord notes in the melody. an "eager" note-a note from the next chord that is sounded just a little earlier than the chord itself.) • Work backward from the end of a melodic phrase. c c F G c ~i§~~~~~n~~~ 1st (p) 3rd (p) 5th 3rd 3rd 1st (p) 5th (p) 1st A simple melody for the popular J-JV-V chord pr0f!. here are some tips to keep in mind: • Try some common chord changes first. . Play the chords again and again on either a piano or guitar.) . If you're holding an A minor chord in a specific measure. or the notes not on major beats). in effect. it's time to roll out the theory. expect to find several different chords played behind that single note. ~.

urrcisrs Exercise 10-1 Write the following chords in the key of F. if your chord progression goes C-Am-F. or G to Fto D. I wish there were a more complete set of rules for adding a melody to a chord progression. Conversely. • The most common chord progressions include I-IV-V. chord of the underlying scale. for example. I-ii-IV-V. you'll figure out your own rules for writing melodiesand develop your own melodic style. I-vi-IV-V. and repeat that rhythm throughout the melody. fill in the gaps with passing tones. Now that you know all about chord progressions. IV-I-IV-V. notated by a Roman numeral (uppercase for major. For example. So you can base your melody around the C note. The best way to hone your skill is simply to work at it-playa lot of chord progressions. but we're getting into an area that is more art than science. and practice writing different types of melodies over the chords. I-vi-ii-V. for example. For example. realize that these chords have one note in common-the C. lowercase for minor). Over time. when you're writing to a V7 chord. you might want to pick three notes (one from each chord) that flow smoothly together-E to F to G. Th~bast You N~~d Know to • Every note of the scale has an associated chord. • Use notes that emphasize the quality of the underlying chords. or I. I-vi-ii-V7-ii. and u-v-r.Chaptfr 10: Chord Progressions 135 • Try to find a logical line between the main notes in different measures. IV iii vi V? iiim? 1M? V . v Exercise 10-2 ii vi IV iii V7 vii 0 IVM? iim? Write the following chords in the key of D. • The final chords in a progression-the ones that ultimately lead back to I-are called a cadence. • Once you pick your main tones. I-IV-V-N. • Chord progressions naturally lead back to the tonic. I-V-vi-N. if your chord progression goes C-F-G. the V chord naturally leads to the 1. and repeat some of the exercises with specific chord progressions in mind. • Every chord naturally leads to at least one other chord. • Come up with an interesting rhythmic motif. I-ii-N. turn back to Chapter 8. emphasize the tension by using either the root or the seventh of the chord in the melody.

minor seventh.I.~ Ddim I."0 D I. Turn here when you want to write a chord but don't know how! C C. major seventh. ). minor ninth. augmented. dominant seventh.ndi Thf (Omplftf Idiotls (hord Referen(e Here it is: everything you've ever wanted to know about creating chords.&1'0 Dmin e" D ~j7 D~min7 D~7 fr II Ir &1'0 11'" WI I. for each degree of the scale.. but didn't know where to ask (or something like that .!:!!ln 3ft. major ninth. the next few pages present.to DM9 1.1 "IIF D~M9 I Ii'" 1. minor.. In any case. the notes and guitar tabs for the following types of chords: major.App.I'~O I'~O D7 m I'· II D9 '. diminished.&I~. and dominant ninth.t~ Dm9 I I 4iD 0 I 1'0 i if!fj DMaj7 Dmin7 I I ~~~ I ijJ I'" ~mr lO 0 ~ m .~:jO 1. Cdim Caug CI 7 Cmin7 C7 CM9 I Ir I ~~i "i ddim C~aug fr Ii'" I dMaj7 C~min7 d7 fi c~ m Cm9 I a ~~ dm9 C9 ~ dmin i ~~i1 I ~~I dM9 I ~mr e" II Ir Ir WI tar I'" D~m9 C~9 WI D~9 '_#dJ D~ D~min ~~11l ~lli Ii~~Ii ~ D~dim D~aug "III 1.

o===!H F~dim • F~aug G~aug FMaj7 Fm9 I 0 I I 1m "I'D 1 6fr I'D F~7 0 F~M9 1."0 .4fr. ~~~§ ~~~~§~~~§ G Gdim ~~~I ~~tl ~~tl ~~~I ~tl= ~t~1 ~ GMaj7 Gmin7 G7 I I It 1m GM9 17fr I G9 .(1 I'fr 14ft 1.1'0 3f 1m 1 &1 ' "~D l.I."Il Ir I "1..1'0 F~Maj7 F~min7 mm G~ 11 G~min ~mr I G~dim ~~§ Gaug I I It G~Maj7 G~min7 G~7 1I2fr 17f' F~m9 G~m9 I G~9 mm 11 Gmin Wl4f' I G~M9 ..~~§ E Emin F Fmin WI 11 WI 14ft Ii II I 1m 14f' I ~~~§ ~~~§ ~§ ~~i ~~hi~tm ~~I ~~tl ~tg E~ E~min E~dim E~aug E~Maj7 E~min7 E~M9 Edim E~7 E~m9 E~9 Ii Ii ~mr 4ii § ~§ if i#!§ Faug EMaj7 Emin7 E7 EM9 Em9 I Ii ii 1m ~ 15f' E9 B F9 I Fmin7 ij F7 ~I FM9 ~ IJgg tI I'~ F~9 .to A~min7 1'1. I 11 & If I I I 3 § A~ ~§ A~min ~~§ A~dim I§ A~aug ~ I 1m 1'& I ~I I ~I I !I'fr "to A~7 . lI'fr A~Maj7 . ~ e I ~mr H F~ Fdim "0 F~m "I."1'0 1.tGn "b~D A~M9 A~m9 A~9 9 . Gm9 .256 Appen~ix A .

1.m I ~§ ~ B Bbdim Bb7 Ir I'" It ~~~§ ~~§ &~ Baug 1m &1 &tl BMaj7 Bmin7 11 tl B7 m Bbm9 & &1 &tl ~I BM9 Bm9 B9 II'" I Bb9 Bmin Bdim Itlmlilmle § Cbaug CbMaj7 Cbmin7 C~7 Ii II It I mI I ~ I. b ~ttt IIb ~t1l .0 IzIz H I IIIztIt I~.The Complete Idiot's Chord Reference A Amin Adim Aaug AMaj7 Amin7 A7 AM9 251 =p Bb I I H Bbmin Ir I I I I Iz~ II IIOfr I'fr Am9 A9 0 Bbaug BbMaj7 Bbmin7 ~ 1l==ttt BbM9 .~ Ij.~ ~O ~O 1.~ I.j.