How Music Works
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Chord/Scale Relations

Chord/Scale Relations

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(6.5)  Major Scale Progressions

Songs in a particular scale are usually built from progressions of chords which are related to that scale.

To put these related chords in perspective, here are some examples of chord progressions in C Major, using the chords listed in the table above. Many of them may sound quite familiar.

Progressions 1 and 2 use just three chords - Cmaj, Fmaj and G7.  In fact, it is amazing how many songs, both traditional and comtemporary, use these same three chords (either in C Major, or their equivalents in another key).  Notice how these progressions sound solid, but a little bland.

Progressions 3 and 4 have a minor flavour to them, because of the additional chords Am, Dm and Em.  Both of these progressions appear regularly in songs, and Progression 3 in particular is very common in early rock songs of the 1960's and up to the present day.  It is known as a 'turnaround'.

Progression 5 has a harmonically richer and more interesting sound, because of its 4-note chords.  This great advantage of using the more complex chords is what gives jazz its distinctive and sophisticated sound.  Notice that Progression 5 does not start with Cmaj, but it seems to 'return' to it at the end.

 

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