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Is there such a thing as a modern 'Piston table'?

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 Gump
(@gump)
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Joined: 21 years ago
Posts: 32
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The Piston table is a great help, IF you happen to be writing classical music. But a lot of modern rock progressions like V-IV-I-V (blues turnaround), subtonic VII-VI-V (Hairway to Steven solo), IV/IV-IV-I (Hey Joe or just about any Who song) can'T be derived from it. Has anyone made up a modern or genre-specific progression table?

For those of you who have no idea what I'm talking about, here you go...

Table of usual root progressions

Chord Is followed by Sometimes by Less often by
I IV or V VI II or III
II V VI I, III or IV
III VI IV II or V
IV V I or II III or VI
V I VI or IV III or II
VI II or V III or IV I
VII III - -


   
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(@buckaroo_barnesai)
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Joined: 18 years ago
Posts: 8
 

It looks like the blues turnaround can be derived from that table:

V sometimes goes to IV, which sometimes goes to I, which most often goes to V, right?

I'm not 100% sure about IV/IV-IV-I, but I think it's the same as bVII (the Four of Four?) - IV - I, and those three are all back-to-back on the circle of fifths: I, V, II, VI, III, VII, bV, bII, bVI, bIII, bVII, IV, I, V, II...

If you compare the circle to the table, you can see that back-to-back chords within the circle tend to be common according to the table. Some common progressions can even skip a chord in the circle (like I-II-V-I, I-IV-V, or I-V-VI)...so with that being said, VII-VI-V should work reasonably well.


   
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(@noteboat)
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Joined: 21 years ago
Posts: 4921
 

You won't find a table that covers modulations or out-of-key substitutions. There are simply too many possibilities.

Piston's table DOES cover those - but you have to think in two keys. A IV/IV -> IV -> I progression in the key of C goes Bb -> F (IV to I in the key of F) and then F -> C (IV to I in the key of C).

The blues progression fallus under the 'sometimes' columns. V leads to IV (sometimes), IV leads to I (sometimes), I leads to V (usually). The thing that's not obvious is that the progression is a turnaround - the V leads back into I; most songs with turnarounds will end on I, not V, the last time through.

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