Questions and Answers
<<<descending minor tetrachord>>>
This is a minor, G major, F major, E dominant seventh or any transposition.
This is the progression characteristic of the chaconne.
The Vitali Chaconne is a prime example.
It is also the chordal ostinato for the Pete Seeger version of The Cat Came Back.
<<<descending major tetrachord>>>
This is C major, e minor in second inversion, a minor, C in second inversion or any transposition.
I thought that Tchaikovsky's Chanson Triste began with a descending minor tetrachord, but then I took a look and found that it began with one of these.
In major keys, this is C major, a minor, F major, G dominant seventh or any transposition for major keys.
For minor keys, it is a minor, F major, d minor, dominant seventh on E or any transposition
Although this term was applied by pop musicians, it occurred in classical literature at least as early as Mozart.
In the first movement of Mozart's a minor sonata, K 310, we see the progression in C major at the end of the first repeated section and in a minor at the end of the second repeated section.
We see it in d minor at the beginning of Schubert's Serenade.
If you've been around children and teenagers very much, you probably know that this is the chordal ostinato for Hoagy Carmichael's Heart and Soul.
<<<the Concone progression>>>
This is C dominant seventh, F major, f minor, C major or any transposition.
I name this progression after Concone because it occurs in #14, #17, #18, and #20 in his 25 Melodic Studies, op. 24.
At least as far back as Mozart, composers have recognized the value of the subdominant in ending a piece.
Concone must have recognized this too, because the progression occurs near the end of all four pieces.
Also, notice that at least one voice descends a semitone on each chord.
<<<the Burgmuller progression>>>
This is C major or dominant seventh, f# diminished fifth, f minor, C major in second inversion, f# diminished seventh, G dominant seventh (with maybe a 4-3 suspension), C major or any transposition.
I coined this term, too. Burgmuller uses this progression in #11 and 25 of his 25 Easy and Progressive Studies, op. 100.
Here again, at least one voice descends a semitone on each chord.
In fact, I thought that the Concone progression and the Burgmuller progression were the same until I took a close look.
<<<the I-6-4 cadence>>>
Look through any hymn book and you will find hymns ending on C major in the second inversion, G dominant seventh, C major or any transposition.
In most late Eighteenth Century concertos, the tonic second inversion, or 6-4 chord, is sounded right before a cadenza. At the end of the cadenza, the soloist sounds a trill on re. The orchestra joins the soloist by playing a dominant seventh, and promptly begins playing a coda starting on the tonic.
I think I know what you mean here:
You probably mean a progression through the Circle of Fifths.
I know this progresssion is excluded from your question, but I'll comment on it anyway.
The longest chain of dominant sevenths I know of is in the camp song "Tell Me Why":
If anyone knows of a longer one, please write back.
I understand this is a little broad and heavily opinionated, but what would you say is?
AHHHH this is like my dream question. :DDDD thanks for totttallly making my day.
First of all, I'm sorry if some of this isn't clear in my description. I'm a teenager and haven't had the heavy music theory stuff. It's like I know everything that happens in songs and exactly what notes are being played in whatever key I choose, but I just don't know the official names like tonic and dominant and all that. I plan on learning it though… )
My NUMBER 1 favorite chord progression of ALL TIME is in Angel of Music from Phantom of the Opera. It comes on the lyrics "and I knowwww he's here…." Let's say it's in the key of…. Eb major. Cuz I love that key. The chord progression is F minor, Db major, Bb major. It's FANTASTIC. I guess in intervals it would be a major 2nd (minor chord), a major second DOWN from the tonic (I think tonic is the first scale degree) and then your perfect fifth. 😀 It's amaaaazing you should look up the string version of that. You can hear the chord progression really well.
Coming in at number two would also come from Phantom of the Opera, in the chorus of the Point of No Return. In the key of Eb, the CP would be Cm, G7, Cm, C MAJOR. And the C major chord is just SO PERFECT there! In the words of the Phantom, "…could make my soul take flight…"
Ummmm the last one I'd say would be one I wrote myself (I'm sure it's been used somewhere else probably), in the first symphony I ever wrote. It was in the key of B minor, and it went Bm, A, E/G#, F#/A#. I really like that one.
That was fun.
Maybe something simple, like C Am F G(Heart and Soul), for example.
I would love to learn how to do this to any chord, if possible, to hear the affect it has on the songs I already know.
Greg's answer is correct, but to do this for any song/chord progression, you must understand the diatonic chords of each key in both major and minor.
In Western music theory notation, chords can be notated using letters of the alphabet (as you did) or by Roman numerals. The Roman numeral notation helps think of chords relative to the tonic (Do, or in the example you gave, C, as the piece is in C major.) We'll take C major as an example. Its 7 chords (each built on a different note of the key) are:
C Dm Em F G Am B-half-diminshed
These chords follow a formula common to all keys, which notated in Roman numerals is:
I ii iii IV V vi vii-half-diminished
Capital Roman numerals indicate a major chord while lowercase numerals indicate minor chords.
Now in a minor key, we simply build off of the 6th scale degree to get the same chords. Notated in relation to the major key, these would be:
vi vii-half-diminished I ii iii IV V
Now let's change them to fit the minor key. The chord qualities don't change, just the numbers.
I ii-half-diminished III iv v VI VII
Often the 7th scale degree in a minor key is raised to change it from natural to harmonic minor, making the qualities now:
i ii-half-diminished III+ iv V VI #vii-diminished
So using your example, if we wanted to change Heart and Soul to C minor, we'd simply find those roots on the C minor scale (C, Ab, F, G) find what scale degrees they are (1, 6, 4, 5) and build the chords according to either of the models above (Cm, Ab, Fm, Gm) for natural minor or (Cm, Ab, Fm, G) for harmonic minor. You can do the same with any chord progression.
To present how you'd do another, here's an example of a major chord progression in the key of G major: G C Am D. We can find those roots in G minor (G, C, A, D) where they'd stay the same, find their scale degrees (1, 4, 2, 5) and build off of the two minor chord charts (Gm, Cm, A-half-diminished, Dm) or (Gm, Cm, A-half-diminished, D).