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Cool/interesting chord progs, scales, cadences, etc.


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Another way to look at it is people trying to help one another out.

Then why not just simplify it?

The Nobuo Suspension

Basically, this is playing a sus4 with a root which is normally a minor chord in a major scale (ii, iii, or vi) and resolving the 4 into a MAJOR third of that chord rather than the minor third which lies in the original major scale. Lots of potential for modulation, major/minor key changes, or just general cool effect.

Seems to sound best with the vi chord of a major scale. Actually, it's a major version of the vi chord, so a VI, but it starts as a sus4 chord before resolving into the major third instead of the minor third, so it's ambiguous while it's suspended which makes the C# resolution particularly surprising to the ear. Really, really neat-sounding way to transition into new parts or modulate into a new key.

Ex. Key of C Major

vi = A C E --> Amin

VI = A C# E --> AMaj

VIsus4 = A D E --> Asus4

So play a progression in C, but for the second-to-last chord in a phrase, play A D E (Asus4) before resolving the D into a C# to play your final chord, A C# E (Amaj). Now move into a new key containing A C# and E or stay in the old one, your choice :P

This works well enough with any sus4 chord which has only notes of the original key.

Nobuo Uematsu uses this all the time, and it's pretty common in JRPGs in general I think because it has really grandiose sound to it.

An easier way to look at this is because your root note and fifth doesn't change, you don't really have a "progression". You basically have a chromatic passing tone between the third and fourth of the A Minor scale. I would just describe this as a three or two note melody (even if it's stretched over several bars) played over an A minor chord.

EDIT: What I'm saying here is that I've seen this conversation pop up numerous times over the years. All of these extensions, added tone chords etc. are all still based on simple major/minor triads which even simpler are based on their root notes derived from a scale. It's from the root notes of the chords changing that you perceive a harmonic progression. Like, we can all agree that if a bass just plays the roots of the chord changes, you'll still hear the progression as you would if there was full chords being played. When you add in those extensions and stuff, you're really just creating melodic interest between the changes and to n00bs, this just needlessly complicates things. Through the progression you (and others described) you could literally draw a line through the extensions etc, transfer it over to another instrument and get the same effect. So saying something like play "Gm7 - Gsus 4 - Gm9 - F" is really a convoluted way of saying you have a progression from G minor to F major. All the notes in between can be perceived as melody.

Edited by AngelCityOutlaw
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EDIT: What I'm saying here is that I've seen this conversation pop up numerous times over the years. All of these extensions, added tone chords etc. are all still based on simple major/minor triads which even simpler are based on their root notes derived from a scale. It's from the root notes of the chords changing that you perceive a harmonic progression. Like, we can all agree that if a bass just plays the roots of the chord changes, you'll still hear the progression as you would if there was full chords being played. When you add in those extensions and stuff, you're really just creating melodic interest between the changes and to n00bs, this just needlessly complicates things. Through the progression you (and others described) you could literally draw a line through the extensions etc, transfer it over to another instrument and get the same effect. So saying something like play "Gm7 - Gsus 4 - Gm9 - F" is really a convoluted way of saying you have a progression from G minor to F major. All the notes in between can be perceived as melody.

It's a little more complex than that.

Yeah, the bass outlines the chord progression, but not always in the tonic. It may be the subtonic or something else, who knows. Also, while basic chords made into complex chords of the same essential components do sound similar, there are notes within the complex chords that create very specific chordal movement that would otherwise seem missing on the basic chords. This is especially prevalent on the bigger chords, like 9th or 11th or even 13th chords or something.

Sometimes when I hear a big complex chord, it actually evokes a particular mood for me, but that mood is partially lost when the chord is simplified to its basic triads. The "extra" notes are more than just multiple lines of melodic content; they distinguish between subtly distinct moods. e.g. if you have tension... what kind? Something that foreshadows death? Something that's supposed to scare you? Something that's simply suspenseful? Something that acts as an ending jazzy chord? Something that's just the "perfect" passing/linking chord? etc.

Edited by timaeus222
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Then why not just simplify it?

There's a saying in science: "You don't know what you don't know." I only know how to communicate it the way I did. I'm not a formally educated musician. I don't know every bit of terminology and music theory and history. I communicated it the best way I could, and the means of communication is way, way less important than the successful transmission of the message intended.

Did you learn something from my post? If yes, awesome, that was the point. If no, sorry, I don't really know how to describe it any other way. I'm not trying to be complicated or "smart", I'm trying to be thorough so whoever's reading has the highest chance possible of picking up on what it is I'm trying to get across.

I'm seriously baffled that people think this thread is a circlejerk. Their loss, I guess. If you've been contributing, keep up the tips. I've definitely learned some cool stuff from this thread so far, so thanks! :D

Gonna pull a Shariq and say "stay on topic." Dunno why people are bringing their negativity into here.

Edited by ectogemia
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Yeah that is grossly over simplifying what has been in common practice for hundreds of years. Having a ii-V7 progression written as just Dmin to G does not take into account how chord tones resolve, and if a composer wants a 7 or a 9 extension to resolve properly they will notate it, which is why we do it. Stripping down an entire harmonic vocabulary to major and minor chords does not take into account dominant 7ths, diminished, half diminished, augmented, etc. Furthermore, if I write C 9 and you would rather I just write C and have the melody play a 9 extension that does not indicate the quality of the chord and an uneducated writer may have the harmony as a Cmaj7 as opposed to a C7.

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I'm seriously baffled that people think this thread is a circlejerk. Their loss, I guess.

Oh, man, I was totally just being a goof! There's lots of great stuff here, but you can't deny it's a music nerdfest. It's awesome. Sorry if it came off like I was being negative; I was more cheering on the geekiness in my own way.

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Oh, man, I was totally just being a goof! There's lots of great stuff here, but you can't deny it's a music nerdfest. It's awesome. Sorry if it came off like I was being negative; I was more cheering on the geekiness in my own way.
What he said, me too. Sorry! Recommence circlegeeking. :-P

No prob, guys, still <3 you both :P Tone of voice doesn't exist on the internet, so I'm not always gonna receive your message the way you meant it to come across.

And yes, this is the pinnacle of music geekdom. And geeks are usually pretty successful people... so let's keep the knowledge flowing :D

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There's a saying in science: "You don't know what you don't know." I only know how to communicate it the way I did. I'm not a formally educated musician. I don't know every bit of terminology and music theory and history. I communicated it the best way I could, and the means of communication is way, way less important than the successful transmission of the message intended.

Did you learn something from my post? If yes, awesome, that was the point. If no, sorry, I don't really know how to describe it any other way. I'm not trying to be complicated or "smart", I'm trying to be thorough so whoever's reading has the highest chance possible of picking up on what it is I'm trying to get across.

I'm seriously baffled that people think this thread is a circlejerk. Their loss, I guess. If you've been contributing, keep up the tips. I've definitely learned some cool stuff from this thread so far, so thanks! :D

Gonna pull a Shariq and say "stay on topic." Dunno why people are bringing their negativity into here.

Hey, I wasn't being negative. It just seemed to me that some of the relatively simple examples are being described in overly complex ways. Granted, my reductionist viewpoint probably just comes from being so used to jamming with people who come up with a sequence of complex dyads and calling it a "chord progression" when really all they did was create a harmonized melody - So I had to look for simpler ways to describe it.

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nothing too wrong about a little circlejerk as long as people don't get too focused on comparing sizes.

it's understandable that people feel enthusiastic about and proud of stuff they've learned recently. if you're not putting down other's thoughts, jerk/geek away i say. even if you're gonna make a big mess.

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A nice way to make your chord progressions sound different and/or more interesting is to use pedal bass notes.

Example: Bbmaj7(9) - Fmin7(9) - Ebmaj7(9) - Ab7(13)

Now instead of playing the root notes of every single chord you can use a Bb pedal:

Bbmaj7(9) - Fmin7(9)/Bb - Ebmaj7(9)/Bb - Ab7(13)/Bb

So basically the bass is playing the Bb throughout the whole progression.

This creates a more open feel and a different mood. I especially like the Ab7(13)/Bb Chord.

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Favourite alternate chord for a cadence especially in slow ballads:

ii-V7-bii maj7. (Then resolve to the normal one shortly after)

This sounds great 100 % of the time.

Ex. Dmin9 - G13 - Dbmaj7 (add9) - Cmaj (etc. etc.)

bii is the tritone substitute for V7, so this is basically a ii-V-I cadence extended a bit. Sounds good!

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tritone chord changes rock in general. you can make entire tunes with just that.

just repeating I - bV can be fun. as the chords share no common notes but all notes of bV are a half/whole step away from I, you can play with different voicings nicely.

repeating II - bVI ad nauseum is cool as well. it's a neverending change of unresolved tension, and once the listener's ear gets used to it and almost doesn't even recognise it as a function of the tonic anymore, you can move back to it (or something else).

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I'm studying my younger brother's jazz theory books from college right now, and his school uses this technique for coming up with jazz chord progressions. Here it is in C.


Box 1: Box 2:
Emi7 Bbmi7 Ami7 Ebmi7
A7 Eb7 D7 Ab7


Box 3:
Dm7 Abmi7
G7 Db7


C

How it works is you pick either box 1 or box 2, then pick one of the first two chords in that box, then one of the second two chords, and then do the same for box 3, and then end up on C. For example, if I choose box 2, I can choose Ami7, D7, Abmi7, Db7, and then C.

The way it works is that box 1 lets you choose between iii and its tritone substitute, then VI and its tritone substitute, box 2 lets you choose vi and its tritone substitute and then II and its tritone substitute, and box 3 gives you a choice for ii and then V, so you basically end up with either iii VI ii V I or vi II ii V I, using tritone substitutions wherever you like.

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I'm studying my younger brother's jazz theory books from college right now, and his school uses this technique for coming up with jazz chord progressions. Here it is in C.


Box 1: Box 2:
Emi7 Bbmi7 Ami7 Ebmi7
A7 Eb7 D7 Ab7


Box 3:
Dm7 Abmi7
G7 Db7


C

That's pretty cool. Nice, easy way to come up with a solid jazz cadence. I understand how tritone substitutions work, but I haven't really experimented with them much. Dumb as it sounds, I learned them in the context of dominant chords, so I figured they only worked with them for some reason and never bothered to try them out with other types of 7th chords :P Gonna try that now.

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EDIT: What I'm saying here is that I've seen this conversation pop up numerous times over the years. All of these extensions, added tone chords etc. are all still based on simple major/minor triads which even simpler are based on their root notes derived from a scale. It's from the root notes of the chords changing that you perceive a harmonic progression. Like, we can all agree that if a bass just plays the roots of the chord changes, you'll still hear the progression as you would if there was full chords being played. When you add in those extensions and stuff, you're really just creating melodic interest between the changes and to n00bs, this just needlessly complicates things. Through the progression you (and others described) you could literally draw a line through the extensions etc, transfer it over to another instrument and get the same effect. So saying something like play "Gm7 - Gsus 4 - Gm9 - F" is really a convoluted way of saying you have a progression from G minor to F major. All the notes in between can be perceived as melody.

There's a technical argument for what AngelCityOutlaw is saying here as well. Harmonies with suspensions are not "chords" but a consequence of voice leading. Which is to say, in order to have an Asus4, that non-chord tone must be established as a chord tone and "suspended" from the preceding chord. Aside from being "needlessly complicated," chord symbols/figured bass analysis generally wants to ascribe function to a given harmony, and if the aspects of harmony are not functional you're better off describing them as ancillary tones.

The tonic/submediant relationship i think ectogemia was describing is a kind of chromatic mediant relationship, something you find a lot in Debussy (whose harmonic language clearly influenced a lot of jrpg composers), though not typically functioning as tonicization, but tonic extension.

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There's a technical argument for what AngelCityOutlaw is saying here as well. Harmonies with suspensions are not "chords" but a consequence of voice leading. Which is to say, in order to have an Asus4, that non-chord tone must be established as a chord tone and "suspended" from the preceding chord. Aside from being "needlessly complicated," chord symbols/figured bass analysis generally wants to ascribe function to a given harmony, and if the aspects of harmony are not functional you're better off describing them as ancillary tones.

The tonic/submediant relationship i think ectogemia was describing is a kind of chromatic mediant relationship, something you find a lot in Debussy (whose harmonic language clearly influenced a lot of jrpg composers), though not typically functioning as tonicization, but tonic extension.

yeah. as helpful as chords can be, it can also be helpful to totally forget about them sometimes and just write polyphonic melody. you can always give that names after the fact, but not thinking in extended chord terms and just going by ear can help break habits.

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There's a technical argument for what AngelCityOutlaw is saying here as well. Harmonies with suspensions are not "chords" but a consequence of voice leading. Which is to say, in order to have an Asus4, that non-chord tone must be established as a chord tone and "suspended" from the preceding chord. Aside from being "needlessly complicated," chord symbols/figured bass analysis generally wants to ascribe function to a given harmony, and if the aspects of harmony are not functional you're better off describing them as ancillary tones.

The tonic/submediant relationship i think ectogemia was describing is a kind of chromatic mediant relationship, something you find a lot in Debussy (whose harmonic language clearly influenced a lot of jrpg composers), though not typically functioning as tonicization, but tonic extension.

To an extent...but for the past 400 years a good number of composers have thought about harmony before they've thought about melody. Before baroque composers came around harmony was typically subsequent of two or more melodies put against each other. Since then, composers have thought about harmonies and common progressions (ii-V-I, I, IV, vii, I, etc. etc.) first, and added in melodies afterwards using passing tones, chord tones, etc.

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To an extent...but for the past 400 years a good number of composers have thought about harmony before they've thought about melody. Before baroque composers came around harmony was typically subsequent of two or more melodies put against each other. Since then, composers have thought about harmonies and common progressions (ii-V-I, I, IV, vii, I, etc. etc.) first, and added in melodies afterwards using passing tones, chord tones, etc.

To quote Dimebag: "I ain't Nostradamus, but I know everything goes in circles."

evolution of the arts is very much about going back to old ideas with the bonus of knowing about more recent developments.

changing up the way you think about what constitutes a song creates different songs. going back in time and into the future can be the same thing.

woah.

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yeah. as helpful as chords can be, it can also be helpful to totally forget about them sometimes and just write polyphonic melody. you can always give that names after the fact, but not thinking in extended chord terms and just going by ear can help break habits.

Yes. I actually think that way, and then fill in the missing notes in the chord progression outlined by the bass. If it's a case where I want it to sound super complex in harmonies, I hum/improvise the bass over the melody looping over a groove, and continue from there. ;)

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To an extent...but for the past 400 years a good number of composers have thought about harmony before they've thought about melody. Before baroque composers came around harmony was typically subsequent of two or more melodies put against each other. Since then, composers have thought about harmonies and common progressions (ii-V-I, I, IV, vii, I, etc. etc.) first, and added in melodies afterwards using passing tones, chord tones, etc.

i think youre misinterpreting my point. i was not saying that calling a chord a "sus4" or "add9" is incorrect because it's unnecessary, but that it's actually technically an inaccurate use of the term. unless your suspended tone is actually prepared as a suspension, it is most likely some form of accented non-chord tone. the point being that harmonic labels are only useful insofar as they correctly identify function, not simply the literal pitch content of a given sonority.

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harmonic labels are only useful insofar as they correctly identify function, not simply the literal pitch content of a given sonority.

That's definitely true in classical theory, but in jazz theory, that's not the case at all. A lot of those add notes aren't resolved until the next chord or even at all, but in classical theory, at least as I understand it, a non-chord tone is usually resolved during the chord it is sounded with.

Edited by ectogemia
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Hey, what happened to all the cool, interesting chord progressions, scales and cadences everyone was posting? Why are we instead wanking each other off about theory AGAIN?

Today, for example, I found out I can go from C major to Eb Minor as long as I end the note and chord on F.

So, C Major, F Major, Eb Minor Sus2, C# Sus 4, Bb Minor, Ab Major, Bb Minor, and then onto something in C Minor.

Edited by Meteo Xavier
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