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Topic Options
#2001087 - 12/18/12 10:20 AM Help me understand this progression
Jose Hidalgo Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/30/10
Posts: 187
I think the key is Em (G)

Am D G C
F B7 Em

The F is the chord I don't understand, I would think it is a bridge to go to B7, but F is not the V of B7, it should be F#

Do you know why the F is there ?

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#2001094 - 12/18/12 10:41 AM Re: Help me understand this progression [Re: Jose Hidalgo]
ando Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/23/10
Posts: 3583
Loc: Melbourne, Australia
Originally Posted By: Jose Hidalgo
I think the key is Em (G)

Am D G C
F B7 Em

The F is the chord I don't understand, I would think it is a bridge to go to B7, but F is not the V of B7, it should be F#

Do you know why the F is there ?


Because music doesn't have to stay strictly in one key, it can borrow from other keys. That chord progression is undergoing a cycle (also called a circle) of 5ths. From Am, each chord is a perfect fifth lower than the previous one. This means the C chord leads to F. Eventually a cycle of perfect 5ths will lead back to E, but if the composer wanted to get there sooner, and without going through too many chords that are very distant from the key, the process has to be interrupted and brought back to the tonic chord. This has been done via a dominant V7 chord leading back to i. What you see there is basically a cycle of 5ths but not all perfect 5ths. It's a diatonic cycle of 5ths. The F going to B7 is a tritone, but even if there had been a chord built on F#, there would still have been a tritone from C to F#. What this means is that in a diatonic cycle of 5ths, you have one chord from each letter name and it leads back to the tonic. One of the jumps will be a tritone. For the purposes of analysis, the F chord is still a II chord, it's just a bII. It's just there to add a bit of spice, but apart from the root note, it still shares 2 notes of the F#dim chord, (A and C).

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#2001103 - 12/18/12 10:52 AM Re: Help me understand this progression [Re: Jose Hidalgo]
rada Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/07/06
Posts: 1124
Loc: pagosa springs,co
The F can also function as a flat5 of B7......if you're traveling through the circle of 5ths this adds a dimension that can be somewhat unexpected, surprising, even likeable.

rada

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#2001120 - 12/18/12 11:30 AM Re: Help me understand this progression [Re: Jose Hidalgo]
AJF Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/18/06
Posts: 1620
Loc: Toronto
I think the F chord serves more as a V of the the e-, not the ii (however a bII chord IS a V chord in function anyway)
F is the tritone sub of B (meaning they share the same third and seventh--if you decided to add a seventh to these chords)
I think it's inaccurate to say that the F can serve as a b5 of the B chord because even if B were the tonic here the F chord would clearly be subV of vi.

The basic progression without the F chord would go something like:

a- D G C
B B e-

The more common progression you'd see is

a- D G C
f#o B e-

Even though the F triad happens where the ii chord of e- falls, it functions more like the B chords so therefore serves to create a more extended V-i sound. Or looked at another way, the F chord is interpolated to DELAY the resolution to the i- chord making the ear wait longer for the resolution -- which makes it more satisfying when the progression finally goes there.

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#2001121 - 12/18/12 11:33 AM Re: Help me understand this progression [Re: Jose Hidalgo]
Dave Horne Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/07/04
Posts: 5276
Loc: Vught, The Netherlands
Two things ... it might have been a typo and the 'F' chord might be a F#m7, F#ø7 ... or an F#7 or simply an F# ...

... or it could be a Neapolitan 6th harmony ... which, depending on your school of thought might be a first inversion F major triad (A, C, F) or a melodically altered Am triad.
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#2001140 - 12/18/12 12:11 PM Re: Help me understand this progression [Re: AJF]
ando Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/23/10
Posts: 3583
Loc: Melbourne, Australia
Originally Posted By: AJF
I think the F chord serves more as a V of the the e-, not the ii (however a bII chord IS a V chord in function anyway)
F is the tritone sub of B (meaning they share the same third and seventh--if you decided to add a seventh to these chords)
I think it's inaccurate to say that the F can serve as a b5 of the B chord because even if B were the tonic here the F chord would clearly be subV of vi.

The basic progression without the F chord would go something like:

a- D G C
B B e-

The more common progression you'd see is

a- D G C
f#o B e-

Even though the F triad happens where the ii chord of e- falls, it functions more like the B chords so therefore serves to create a more extended V-i sound. Or looked at another way, the F chord is interpolated to DELAY the resolution to the i- chord making the ear wait longer for the resolution -- which makes it more satisfying when the progression finally goes there.


I think what you are proposing here is debatable. First, the F chord is only a triad, not an F7, so it doesn't share the 3rd and 7th. For that reason, it fails the b5 substitution test. It's not substituting for the V, it's leading to the V. Not only that, but it's following a C chord and falling by a perfect fifth like the previous 4 chords. The listener doesn't know the destination of the progression until it happens - It's only when the B7 happens that you actually realise where the progression is going to terminate.

The F triad stands alone as its own chord because it doesn't share enough common tones with the real V, the B7. A bII is sufficiently distinctive in most situations to be considered more than a V7 substitute. For starters, I would argue that it either has to replace the V7, or if it's considered to be an extension of the V7, the bII must necessarily contain the b7 in it so it has two common tones with the V7 (b2 + leading tone). If the bass is playing the root notes, the ear can clearly hear the ii-V-i progression. I would argue that in the case of a triad, the bII is more of a iidim substitute than a V7 substitute because it shares 2 tones with its diatonic sister, rather than just one with the V7. If it were an F7, I might agree with you.

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#2001165 - 12/18/12 01:10 PM Re: Help me understand this progression [Re: Jose Hidalgo]
AJF Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/18/06
Posts: 1620
Loc: Toronto
A i idim triad on its own is a dominant function chord anyway. It's only if you add a seventh to it does it become anything other than a dominant function chord (-7b5)
I'm not really looking for a debate. I'm just quoting the "rules" of tonal harmony.
Any major chord built on b2, whether its dominant or a triad serves a DOMINANT function. It does not replace ii. I replaces V.

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#2001168 - 12/18/12 01:12 PM Re: Help me understand this progression [Re: Jose Hidalgo]
AJF Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/18/06
Posts: 1620
Loc: Toronto
Even if the F chord was a Maj7 it would still serve a dominant function (see modal interchange)

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#2001183 - 12/18/12 01:47 PM Re: Help me understand this progression [Re: AJF]
ando Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/23/10
Posts: 3583
Loc: Melbourne, Australia
Originally Posted By: AJF
Even if the F chord was a Maj7 it would still serve a dominant function (see modal interchange)


Don't ask me to "see" anything, Adrean. I'm happy to debate with you anytime you like on the rules of harmony. I've been composing for years, got plenty of degrees in both jazz and classical music. Maybe you trade on your reputation as a performer, but your view of things is not universal.

And this statement is pure, weapons-grade boloneyum:

Originally Posted By: AJF

Any major chord built on b2, whether its dominant or a triad serves a DOMINANT function. It does not replace ii. I replaces V.


Progression for you: f#dim, B7, Em, F, B7, Em

The F is clearly a flattened version of the diatonic iidim in the first repeat. It didn't replace V, it replaced ii, V is still there distinct and separate in its own right and it is heard that way.

Another example: when used as a Neapolitan 6th, the bII chord frequently serves a SUBDOMINANT function. When it doesn't, it replaces ii.

You'd have to be really into a reductive Schenkerian approach to see those 2 examples as simply dominants.




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#2001198 - 12/18/12 02:15 PM Re: Help me understand this progression [Re: Jose Hidalgo]
AJF Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/18/06
Posts: 1620
Loc: Toronto
Sorry dude, when things get antagonistic I'm no longer interested in having any further discussion.
I'm sure the OP has more than enough to mull over.
Have a nice day.

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#2001318 - 12/18/12 06:08 PM Re: Help me understand this progression [Re: AJF]
ando Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/23/10
Posts: 3583
Loc: Melbourne, Australia
Originally Posted By: AJF
Sorry dude, when things get antagonistic I'm no longer interested in having any further discussion.
I'm sure the OP has more than enough to mull over.
Have a nice day.

Your inability to defend your statements doesn't make them any more factual. That's where being the endorsed by a commercial brand becomes a nuisance. But for the record, the antagonism started when you typed words in CAPITAL letters and your statement that I should "see" something in a pompous manner as though it is beneath you to even back up your own thoughts with your own words.

I'm sure you are a superior pianist to me, but as somebody with equal stature on another instrument (piano being my second instrument) and theory/compositional credentials, I don't feel I need to bow to your authority. Your name carries no weight in a discussion about music theory. Precisely why I don't trade on my name - it means I must sink or swim by the arguments I present, and nothing else. It also frees me from being restricted in calling people out on their nonsense.

Somebody of your standing should well know that the function of chords that can be substituted is not cut and dried nor as simplistic as you make it. I gave two concrete examples of why you are wrong about the bII chord always being dominant in function (although there are more), I'll let them be my last word, but I would caution you to not throw your weight around as though it replaces solid information and arguments.

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#2001326 - 12/18/12 06:23 PM Re: Help me understand this progression [Re: Jose Hidalgo]
Jose Hidalgo Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/30/10
Posts: 187
I tried this:

I-vi-ii-V7 vs I-vi-ii-IIb(2b)

C-Am-Dm-G7 vs C-Am-Dm-Db

2b works as replacement for V7 with different mood, and 'resolves' to I

on the other hand, it also makes sense that after a sequence of 4th->4th->4th you can also play 4th and then back to the key with V7 -> I...

I didn't think it was so complicated ! :P

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#2001330 - 12/18/12 06:34 PM Re: Help me understand this progression [Re: ando]
AJF Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/18/06
Posts: 1620
Loc: Toronto
Originally Posted By: ando
Originally Posted By: AJF
Sorry dude, when things get antagonistic I'm no longer interested in having any further discussion.
I'm sure the OP has more than enough to mull over.
Have a nice day.

Your inability to defend your statements doesn't make them any more factual. That's where being the endorsed by a commercial brand becomes a nuisance. But for the record, the antagonism started when you typed words in CAPITAL letters and your statement that I should "see" something in a pompous manner as though it is beneath you to even back up your own thoughts with your own words.

I'm sure you are a superior pianist to me, but as somebody with equal stature on another instrument (piano being my second instrument) and theory/compositional credentials, I don't feel I need to bow to your authority. Your name carries no weight in a discussion about music theory. Precisely why I don't trade on my name - it means I must sink or swim by the arguments I present, and nothing else. It also frees me from being restricted in calling people out on their nonsense.

Somebody of your standing should well know that the function of chords that can be substituted is not cut and dried nor as simplistic as you make it. I gave two concrete examples of why you are wrong about the bII chord always being dominant in function (although there are more), I'll let them be my last word, but I would caution you to not throw your weight around as though it replaces solid information and arguments.



Wow. Talk about reading between the lines.
It seems you've got a lot to prove.
Where on earth did you get the idea I want anyone to bow to my credentials.
I'm just a jazz piano player in Toronto trying to make a living.
If you want to fabricate all this drama. Go nuts. But I have no idea where all your aggression is coming from.

If you want to think of a b2 chord as a subdominant chord then knock yourself out.
And I'll continue to think of it as a dominant function chord thanks.

There ya go OP. you've got options smile

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#2001332 - 12/18/12 06:39 PM Re: Help me understand this progression [Re: Jose Hidalgo]
ando Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/23/10
Posts: 3583
Loc: Melbourne, Australia
Originally Posted By: Jose Hidalgo
I tried this:

I-vi-ii-V7 vs I-vi-ii-IIb(2b)

C-Am-Dm-G7 vs C-Am-Dm-Db

2b works as replacement for V7 with different mood, and 'resolves' to I

on the other hand, it also makes sense that after a sequence of 4th->4th->4th you can also play 4th and then back to the key with V7 -> I...

I didn't think it was so complicated ! :P


That's true, but that's because it actually is in the place of the V7 in this example. If the bII is used in place of the ii chord, but still leading to V7 or other chords, it's not so simple. A bII chord will not always sound like a dominant. It depends on the situation. See the example I gave above. F#dim, B7 Em, then F, B7, Em. The ear hears the F as a separate chord from the V7 in this case. If it were a bII7, things get less clear because the b7 functions as a leading tone to the tonic. The b5 substitution was designed to have the b7 in the bII chord for this reason - because the two strongest resolving forces, the leading tone and the 7th which are in V7, are resolving to the tonic note and the 3rd of the tonic chord.

bII without the 7th is a different beast that can be used in different ways. It can replace iidim, it can extend subdominant harmony, it can prepare an augmented 6th chord. It can modulate to the major key based on b6. It's simply not true that it always has a dominant function. I don't want to confuse you with too many possibilities, but feel free to ask me about anything I've said. You are welcome to PM me with any theory questions too. I teach this stuff for a living so it's not a big deal to explain things and I'm patient about it (usually!).

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#2001334 - 12/18/12 06:47 PM Re: Help me understand this progression [Re: AJF]
ando Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/23/10
Posts: 3583
Loc: Melbourne, Australia
Originally Posted By: AJF

If you want to fabricate all this drama. Go nuts. But I have no idea where all your aggression is coming from.


You're a delicate flower, Adrean. You're the one who found things too "antagonistic" to even continue the discussion. If you read that post, the only thing I said that was in any way challenging to you was the "weapons grade boloneyum" quip. I would have thought you could handle a bit of humour. Apart from that little quip, there was nothing in there to make you withdraw from the debate or get upset. The substance of that post was pure theory talk - not antagonism.

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#2001363 - 12/18/12 07:50 PM Re: Help me understand this progression [Re: Jose Hidalgo]
AJF Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/18/06
Posts: 1620
Loc: Toronto
Ok.
Listen Ando, I've read a lot of your posts and think your a really valuable contribution to these forums.
Obviously things took a crappy turn on this thread and we got at each others' throats a little.
If I came off as a dismissive know-it-all earlier in this thread then I apologize. That wasn't my intention. Honestly. My intention was to give the OP what I thought was valuar info. Your info was of equal or greater value as well so let's just be friends. We both love music and it seems dumb to fight over it.
Happy holidays.

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#2001364 - 12/18/12 07:51 PM Re: Help me understand this progression [Re: Jose Hidalgo]
Dave B Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/01/11
Posts: 1969
Loc: Philadelphia area
What's the song? It looks like a typical Dixieland Stride progression using the circle of 5ths.

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#2001387 - 12/18/12 08:36 PM Re: Help me understand this progression [Re: AJF]
ando Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/23/10
Posts: 3583
Loc: Melbourne, Australia
Originally Posted By: AJF
Ok.
Listen Ando, I've read a lot of your posts and think your a really valuable contribution to these forums.
Obviously things took a crappy turn on this thread and we got at each others' throats a little.
If I came off as a dismissive know-it-all earlier in this thread then I apologize. That wasn't my intention. Honestly. My intention was to give the OP what I thought was valuar info. Your info was of equal or greater value as well so let's just be friends. We both love music and it seems dumb to fight over it.
Happy holidays.


Ok, no problem, we have a deal.
Happy holidays to you and yours.

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#2001953 - 12/20/12 01:27 AM Re: Help me understand this progression [Re: Dave B]
Jose Hidalgo Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/30/10
Posts: 187
Originally Posted By: Dave B
What's the song? It looks like a typical Dixieland Stride progression using the circle of 5ths.


It's a Cumbia-Rock from Argentina

http://youtube.com/watch?v=TdJpo945pXw

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#2002165 - 12/20/12 01:23 PM Re: Help me understand this progression [Re: ando]
Steve Chandler Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/18/05
Posts: 2738
Loc: Urbandale, Iowa
Originally Posted By: ando
Originally Posted By: Jose Hidalgo
I think the key is Em (G)

Am D G C
F B7 Em

The F is the chord I don't understand, I would think it is a bridge to go to B7, but F is not the V of B7, it should be F#

Do you know why the F is there ?


Because music doesn't have to stay strictly in one key, it can borrow from other keys. That chord progression is undergoing a cycle (also called a circle) of 5ths. From Am, each chord is a perfect fifth lower than the previous one. This means the C chord leads to F. Eventually a cycle of perfect 5ths will lead back to E, but if the composer wanted to get there sooner, and without going through too many chords that are very distant from the key, the process has to be interrupted and brought back to the tonic chord. This has been done via a dominant V7 chord leading back to i. What you see there is basically a cycle of 5ths but not all perfect 5ths. It's a diatonic cycle of 5ths. The F going to B7 is a tritone, but even if there had been a chord built on F#, there would still have been a tritone from C to F#. What this means is that in a diatonic cycle of 5ths, you have one chord from each letter name and it leads back to the tonic. One of the jumps will be a tritone. For the purposes of analysis, the F chord is still a II chord, it's just a bII. It's just there to add a bit of spice, but apart from the root note, it still shares 2 notes of the F#dim chord, (A and C).

I'm glad you guys made up. Here's my take on this progression (which I find iiinterrresting). E minor is the tonic, the progression starts on iv then flips major and and goes cycle of fifths down to F which functions (as ando said) as a flat ii but doesn't resolve as a Neopolitan 6th would but rather moves chromatically with a tritone jump to B7 which functions as V7 of e minor. What's interesting is the chord progression seems standard but lands far afield on the F then jumps back to the dominant and resolves to the tonic. YMMV.

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#2002251 - 12/20/12 04:19 PM Re: Help me understand this progression [Re: Jose Hidalgo]
AJF Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/18/06
Posts: 1620
Loc: Toronto
I guess why I'm not buying the ii chord substitution theory here is that to me the sound of a flat 2 to 1 root movement is so strongly indicative of dominant to tonic resolution (almost as strong as a leading tone going to 1)
So even though the F chord happens where you'd expect to find ii dim, to my ears the progression is saying "nope, we're already at V" and then when the B happens the progression further accentuates V (because the F didn't resolve to i right away) making the final resolution to i all the more final sounding.

I was in error when I said in an earlier post that a b2 chord is always serving a dominant function. However I think it's fair to say that it serves that role far more often then not.
A common substitution for 2-5-1 is b6-b2-1.
So would you then say that C to F to e- is a substitute for a 2-2-1 progression? No.
And then only difference I see in the OP's progression is that the harmonic rhythm Places the F where the 2 chord should go. But then realigns things by lengthening the duration of the Dominant function chord (F-B)

If you play the progression:

A- D / G C / B B/ E-

And then

A- D /G C / F#dim B/ E-


And then play

A- D / G C / F B / E-

Does the F chord sound more like a substitute for B or F#dim?
I guess it's subjective but my ear hears it more in line with the first progression.

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#2002572 - 12/21/12 10:13 AM Re: Help me understand this progression [Re: AJF]
Steve Chandler Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/18/05
Posts: 2738
Loc: Urbandale, Iowa
Originally Posted By: AJF
I guess why I'm not buying the ii chord substitution theory here is that to me the sound of a flat 2 to 1 root movement is so strongly indicative of dominant to tonic resolution (almost as strong as a leading tone going to 1)
So even though the F chord happens where you'd expect to find ii dim, to my ears the progression is saying "nope, we're already at V" and then when the B happens the progression further accentuates V (because the F didn't resolve to i right away) making the final resolution to i all the more final sounding.

I was in error when I said in an earlier post that a b2 chord is always serving a dominant function. However I think it's fair to say that it serves that role far more often then not.
A common substitution for 2-5-1 is b6-b2-1.
So would you then say that C to F to e- is a substitute for a 2-2-1 progression? No.
And then only difference I see in the OP's progression is that the harmonic rhythm Places the F where the 2 chord should go. But then realigns things by lengthening the duration of the Dominant function chord (F-B)

If you play the progression:

A- D / G C / B B/ E-

And then

A- D /G C / F#dim B/ E-


And then play

A- D / G C / F B / E-

Does the F chord sound more like a substitute for B or F#dim?
I guess it's subjective but my ear hears it more in line with the first progression.

In my mind a flat II typically functions as a Neopolitan by approaching the tonic from above by semitone. In this case it's not a Neopolitan 6th because there's no D#. The concept of a Neopolitan isn't that different from a dominant, both approach the tonic via semitone. A Neopolitan 6th approaches the tonic from both directions via semitone (the augmented 6th resolves to tonic octave). So the resolution by semitone is simply a matter of direction, dominant from below, Neopolitan from above and Neopolitan 6th from both directions.

Okay, enough elementary theory. This progression is interesting because it gets to this far away place which can function as a Neopolitan, except it doesn't. It shifts chromatically to the dominant. In that way it functions as a ii chord, except it's root is flat II and it's major. That being the case it shares one note with a normal ii chord, but that's the crucial A that serves as the 7th in the dominant chord. In some ways it's almost functions as a secondary dominant, except of course, it's not.

If you hear it as an altered dominant I can't argue with your ears. Just accept the fact that there are a number of valid ways to analyze the function of the F chord in this progression. That's exactly what makes it so iiiinntterrresting, don't you think?


Edited by Steve Chandler (12/21/12 10:15 AM)
Edit Reason: typos

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#2002606 - 12/21/12 11:13 AM Re: Help me understand this progression [Re: Jose Hidalgo]
AJF Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/18/06
Posts: 1620
Loc: Toronto
Yes very iiiiinteresting indeeeed....

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#2002816 - 12/21/12 07:04 PM Re: Help me understand this progression [Re: Jose Hidalgo]
Karl Watson Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/20/11
Posts: 333
Personally, I've really enjoyed these exchanges. For AJF, it was a valuable opportunity to learn from Ando's obvious mastery of harmonic form and function. The older one gets it becomes rarer.

For me, the clincher was Ando's reference to "a reductive Schenkerian approach." That is VERY insightful and clever.

Karl Watson,
Staten Island, NY

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#2002819 - 12/21/12 07:16 PM Re: Help me understand this progression [Re: Jose Hidalgo]
AJF Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/18/06
Posts: 1620
Loc: Toronto
Woah. Now hold on a minute. I'm a university level educator and have thoroughly studied harmony. I still hold to my original explanation of things (in case you didn't read the whole thread). All I did was agree to disagree.
Don't make assumptions about what I GOT from this thread thank you very much.

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#2002838 - 12/21/12 07:59 PM Re: Help me understand this progression [Re: Jose Hidalgo]
Karl Watson Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/20/11
Posts: 333
Your last explains much.

Karl Watson,
Staten Island, NY

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#2002878 - 12/21/12 10:57 PM Re: Help me understand this progression [Re: Jose Hidalgo]
AJF Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/18/06
Posts: 1620
Loc: Toronto
No it doesn't. It just confirms your penchant for assuming you know anything at all about perfect strangers.

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#2003160 - 12/22/12 04:30 PM Re: Help me understand this progression [Re: Jose Hidalgo]
Scott Hamlin Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/11/12
Posts: 552
Originally Posted By: Jose Hidalgo
I think the key is Em (G)

Am D G C
F B7 Em

The F is the chord I don't understand, I would think it is a bridge to go to B7, but F is not the V of B7, it should be F#

Do you know why the F is there ?


Because it sounds good.
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