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Chord progressions that don't ... progress

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Chord progressions that don't ... progress

Postby jellyjim » Fri Mar 03, 2017 4:03 pm

Bear with me on this one ... I might be chasing my tail!

So I'm looking for, or interested in the idea of, chord progressions that DON'T have an overly strong sense of progression.

A I IV V for example is a pretty definite thing. It's a very clear journey.

I'm thinking about how can you get a sense of movement - harmonically speaking - that is subtler or more ephemeral and more importantly maintains interest. Some jazz does this. Obviously much doesn't, jazz can be strongly opinionated in its movements, but it's possibly in jazz that I've picked up this idea.

For example, I've been playing around with this:

Cm chord in the right hand and two Fs an octave apart in the left hand followed by Bb but play the 6th not the 5th (pinky on G not the F) in the right hand and Eb octave in the left

THAT degree of movement is kind of what I'm on about ... if I am indeed on about anything that makes any sense at all :D
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Re: Chord progressions that don't ... progress

Postby Guest271017 » Fri Mar 03, 2017 4:59 pm

jellyjim wrote: followed by Bb but play the 6th not the 5th (pinky on G not the F) in the right hand and Eb octave in the left

Gm 1st inversion, m6 in bass?
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Re: Chord progressions that don't ... progress

Postby jellyjim » Fri Mar 03, 2017 5:02 pm

mashedmitten wrote:
jellyjim wrote: followed by Bb but play the 6th not the 5th (pinky on G not the F) in the right hand and Eb octave in the left

Gm 1st inversion, m6 in bass?

Yes, yes .. YES! :) But WHY?! Why is it doing THAT thing to my ear? :)
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Re: Chord progressions that don't ... progress

Postby jellyjim » Fri Mar 03, 2017 5:03 pm

Am I over thinking it? Is the answer simply, "Well, make smaller movements then"?
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Re: Chord progressions that don't ... progress

Postby Guest271017 » Fri Mar 03, 2017 5:07 pm

Tension baby, tension. Got a m2 thing going on there. :mrgreen:
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Re: Chord progressions that don't ... progress

Postby petev3.1 » Wed Mar 08, 2017 12:35 pm

The problem for our 'normal' music is that the scale structure ensures that each note has inherent tendencies and it is difficult to prevent these from forcing themselves on the music. This would be one reason why whole tone scales became popular. For whole tone scales the notes don't push the music about and it becomes more easy-going and ephemeral. (Some would say more French and less German).

Then the problem becomes creating movement without the usual tensions and resolutions to work with. Thus whole-tone music seems more dreamy and relaxed. It's difficult to create this effect using the usual scales although jazzers can do it by using a lot of fourths and steering well clear of strong Bach-like chords. Impressionism is tricky using a major or minor scale.
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Re: Chord progressions that don't ... progress

Postby Exalted Wombat » Mon Mar 13, 2017 1:00 am

If I'm reading that right, you've got Cm/F going to Ebmaj7. Here's a few more things you might like to try. In all cases the bottom note in octaves in the LH, other notes RH.

F, C, E, G to Eb, Bb, D, G. That's the same as yours with Enat instead of Eb. Fmaj9 to Ebmaj 7.

Even better with the chord filled in more. F, A, C, Eb, G to Eb, G, Bb, D, G. F9 to Ebmaj9.

Same, with the Enat. F, A, C, E, G to Eb, G, Bb, D, G. Fmaj9 to Ebmaj9.

You can feel either the F-rooted chord or the Eb-rooted one as tonic.

Or you can keep sliding down: Fmaj9, Ebmaj9, Dm9, Db9, Cmaj9. Can you work the notes out for yourself?
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Re: Chord progressions that don't ... progress

Postby SecretSam » Wed Jun 21, 2017 9:12 am

In general, sus chords can be moved around at will (although V sus can substitute for the II in a II-V-I progression)
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Re: Chord progressions that don't ... progress

Postby SecretSam » Thu Jun 22, 2017 4:15 pm

petev3.1 wrote: It's difficult to create this effect using the usual scales although jazzers can do it by using a lot of fourths and steering well clear of strong Bach-like chords. Impressionism is tricky using a major or minor scale.

The jazz you are referring to is probably Modal Jazz (there are other forms that achieve the effect, but this is a good place to start). Listen to Miles Davis to find out what it sounds like. So What and Milestones are typical tunes.

The theory is in a book I plug often enough to deserve commission: The Jazz Language by Dan Hearle.

The avoidance of Bach-like progressions is because they destroy the floaty modal feeling and dump the tune back in the tonic key.
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Re: Chord progressions that don't ... progress

Postby The What » Sat Nov 18, 2017 3:55 pm

I > II > IV goes around in circles. Dylan's You Ain't Going Nowhere (G > Am > C) is a good example - [ha - maybe that's how the song got its title]. It's almost impossible to end that song other than a fade out.
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Re: Chord progressions that don't ... progress

Postby Butterfried Bacon » Fri Dec 08, 2017 10:14 am

Chords that just keep repeating themselves all the way through a song can be enjoyable enough to listen to, but as one who enjoys writing music (in a DAW), I feel compelled to break out of that cycle. When I listen to my own stuff, hearing the same four or five chords repeat themselves over and over makes the song feel like a merry-go-round, even if the overall beat and melody is still catchy.

Maybe repeating chord patterns with a variation or two here and there is just the nature of the most popular genres of music. If you stray into breaking out of the cycle of repeating chords and just start going all over the place, aren't you moving toward classical, especially with key changes? Is it possible to "get your groove on" without some boogie-inducing cycle of chords, rhythms, and bass lines?

I think the groove comes from the repetition, but perhaps longer music could be written so you have 64 bars of one way to boogie, followed by a transition, then another 64 bars of a different way to boogie without making it feel like it's a whole other piece of music: maybe a slightly different melody with a different embellishment and a different chord pattern that's better than the first, just to refresh the excitement and interest.

I know that something I like to do for my own listening pleasure is find a song I really like a lot, then go find a bunch of different remixes for that same song. Then I'll load them all into my DAW, beatmatch everything, remove things I don't like, reserve some things I can use for transitions, string together all my favorite parts, then add effects or other elements as needed with the music production tools. The idea is to make it sound better and better as the "supermixed" song progresses. I played around with Eric Prydz's "Proper Education" and mixed them up with Pink Floyd remixes; I found some remix of Adele's "Set Fire to the Rain" that uses Prydz's groove in Proper Education. So I transitioned into that and added more remixes of the Adele song. The whole thing ended up being 49 minutes long, but it only has two songs. Of course, the lyrics repeat themselves quite a bit, but with all the transitions and different approaches from all the different remixers, the complete track as a whole is quite engaging as a listening experience, in my opinion. :) Of course, it works best for the type of song you'd just put on repeat and listen to it over and over through three-hour trip in the car. With this approach, it takes nearly an hour to get through the song and there's a lot more variation throughout.

I enjoy it enough to say that I'm trying that approach in my own music, which has to be instrumental since I can't sing.
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