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Questions about chord progressions

6 Jun 2009 23:12 | Quote
Joined: 23 Dec 2007
United States
Hey eveyone. I came across a discussion on another guitar forum and it was regarding minor key chord progressions. Someone had said that most of the time, to resolve back to the first chord you use the fifth. Like a i-iv-v-i. It was said by someone else that you should still use the major fifth even in a minor key. Is that normal or is the minor fifth used for resolution in a minor key more often? I know that there are no boundaries in music but I'm trying to understand theory and I don't fully understand this. Can you change a minor chord to a major and still sound in key? Sorry for the length.
6 Jun 2009 23:49 | Quote
Joined: 23 Dec 2007
United States
Another question. What is a bVII chord? For example sympathy for the devil is in E major and the progression is I-bVII-IV-I. E-D-A-E. In Emajor the D is diminished right? How does a flattened D diminshed equal a D Major? Sorry I'm just confused help!
7 Jun 2009 00:12 | Quote
Joined: 14 Feb 2008
United States
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O.k. I'm going to take a stab at this and someone can correct me if I'm wrong.

If you are using a i-iv-v-i progression you are using the natural(pure) minor scale. For examlpe that progression in the key of Am would be: Am-Dm-Em-Am.

If you are using Harmonic or melodic minor scale the fifth chord is a major chord. So in harmonic minor that progression would be: i-iv-V-i(Am-Dm-E-Am).

This may help.

Natural minor: i ii* III iv v VI VII

Harmonic minor: i ii III iv V VI vii*

Melodic minor: i ii III IV V vi* vii*

As for the bvii I'm not sure. maybe just a way to show that the chord is diminished.
7 Jun 2009 06:36 | Quote
Joined: 13 Jan 2008
United States
Lessons: 8
Karma: 13
I think I really need to learn more about music theory. Music Theory is that a theory, a recommendation, and not a fact. Can you imagine how dull of a musical world we would live in if every one followed the rules. At some point you should break away from the theory and if it sounds good play it.

Again I'm not an expert so let me know if i'm way off on this.

I believe regardless of if the key is major or minor resolving to the V before the I does help resolve the progression. Choosing the V or v will add some artistic color.

For example "While My Guitar Gently Weeps" and were just talking about the verse part would go like this...


If you notice the only minor chord is the root. Every thing else is a major chord. I picked it because I love the way it resolves
7 Jun 2009 10:22 | Quote
Joined: way back
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Lessons: 2
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Usually you can use a dominant (5th) to lead into the tonic (1)... but you can also minor the 4th (Sub dominant) to lead into the Tonic and it has just as much tension.

To answer your second question about the bVII, I'll explain it this way:

The E major scale is as follows:

E, F#, G#, A, B, C#, D#

Now, the D# is a D#dim (D#, F#, A). A diminished chord is made up of two minor 3rds, between the D# and F#, and F# and A. Now, if we flatten the D#, we'll get a D. Now if we play D, F#, and A, we have a major 3rd between the D and F#, and a minor 3rd between the F# and A. This makes the chord a Major chord. So you are playing a D major as the bVII.

Really, you can look at the D major being IV/IV (The sub dominant of the sub dominant) If you go into A major, D major is the sub dominant (4th) of that scale, so he's just borrowing from another key :-P

Hope that helps :)
7 Jun 2009 10:54 | Quote
Joined: 24 Sep 2008
United States
Karma: 16
you can end anything any way you want it's your decision, but what he was talking about to you is the perfect cadence (ending sequence) which is the Fifth dominate major chord (V7) to the Major triad (I). Now a long time ago (not a history expert but I'm guessing mid/late Renaissance, WARNING been wrong with time before don't quote) people wanted this in the minor progress so they raised the 3rd in the fifth making the harmonic minor.
And again end anything any way you want. it's just the perfect cadence but so much about music it making imperfect things sound good. the whole dissonance and Consonance stuff, if music was to be perfect all the time we still be listing to Gregorian Chants or just octaves everythings nice nice with octaves.

justjeff answered the bVII perfectly but the "b(flat symbol)" always means to drop back a half-step notice D# to D. and when the roman numerals are capitalized that mean major and in lower case minor. but that is not always true
7 Jun 2009 17:56 | Quote
Joined: 23 Dec 2007
United States
Thanks for the replies, the bVII makes sense now. So will the minor v leading to the minor i still make as good a cadence as a major V to a minor i? And is using a V-i progression changing the scale from the natural minor to the harmonic minor? Or is the Major V just considered a borrowed chord? Thanks for the input.
19 Jun 2009 19:15 | Quote
Joined: 23 Dec 2007
United States
So, for simplicity, if I went with a i-iv-V-i in A minor, could I play a V7? Is E7 in the key of A minor? Is this a common thing in progressions?
20 Jun 2009 06:56 | Quote
Joined: 10 May 2009
Lessons: 1
Karma: 12
I think the E7 would sound much better then the Eminor in this case. Much more interesting sound.

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