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Really weird progression I can't make sense of

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(@coolnama)
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Joined: 15 years ago
Posts: 590
Topic starter  

So my teacher showed me this chord progression, it was E, to G, to C, to A. and right then my mind was blown.

He told me to analyze it, and I came up blank, I can't come up with a key for this thing, I can't pinpoint a I chord, E doesn't fit with G, C doesn't fit with A, it is total madness.

Can anybody explain this progression to me.

I wanna be that guy that you wish you were ! ( i wish I were that guy)

You gotta set your sights high to get high!

Everyone is a teacher when you are looking to learn.

( wise stuff man! )

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(@danlasley)
Noble Member
Joined: 16 years ago
Posts: 2118
 

If you stay away from the 3rds and just play power chords, it should sound OK. Without 3rds, the key of C works - I think. I'm no theory guy.

I've heard and played an unpublished song that uses those 4 chords in a different order, and they work (no 3rds, but majors are assumed). The chorus adds an F#. (Vic's favorite ear-worm!) So I don't think your teacher is making it up, though I'd ask him for the name of a song with that progression.


   
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(@greybeard)
Illustrious Member
Joined: 21 years ago
Posts: 5840
 

Purely on the basis of the accidentals, I'd say that you only have 3 options - F (Bb), C, G (F#).

F: No 'I" chord. Rather rules F out as the key.

C: C (I), E (III), G (V), A (VI). So, E, G, C, A is II, IV, I, VI

G: G (I), A (II), C (IV), E (VI). E, G, C, A is VI, I, IV, II

Yer pays yer money and yer takes yer pick, but I think I'd agree with Laz - C

"Walk Away" by Squeeze (Difford/Tilbrook) with an additional Bb
Kottonmouth Kings Guitar - Rest Of My Life
Everlast - Today

All use E, G, C, A

I started with nothing - and I've still got most of it left.
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(@hbriem)
Honorable Member
Joined: 22 years ago
Posts: 646
 

So my teacher showed me this chord progression, it was E, to G, to C, to A. and right then my mind was blown.

He told me to analyze it, and I came up blank, I can't come up with a key for this thing, I can't pinpoint a I chord, E doesn't fit with G, C doesn't fit with A, it is total madness.

Can anybody explain this progression to me.

Well, on face value, it doesn't fit any key. The thing is though, you can always substitute majors for minors in a progression and it will sound OK. Especially if, as Laz said, you play it in power chords. A lot of rock/pop songs are played using all major chords even though technically, some of the chords "should be" minor.

So the simplest way of looking at is an Em progression (I - bIII - bVI - IV) with a major/minor substitution on the I and IV. The major IV would fit either Dorian or harmonic minor anyway.

The middle chords, G and C are unlikely to sound like a key centre unless you do something special with the melody or progression to make them sound like home.

--
Helgi Briem
hbriem AT gmail DOT com


   
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(@hobbypicker)
Estimable Member
Joined: 17 years ago
Posts: 62
 

If your progression is played with only triads, i'd say the whole thing seems to be related to C major, since the three first chords have the root notes of a C major triad (CEG). The E triad has one "outside note" the G#, which then resolves to a G on the next chord, the V chord in C, then to the I chord, and then an A chord, which brings in the very "outmost" tone in the C scale, the minor second interval above the root, C#, but on the other hand helps you back to your E chord.

The cool stuff here is that you can lead the voices quite smoothly, for instance like this:

E: x221xx
G: x200xx
C: x320xx
A: x422xx

or:
E: xxx454
G: xxx433
C: xxx553
A: xxx655

Notice in both examples that no note move more than one whole step, while one is carried over from one chord to the next. I believe the voice leading perspective ist better in this case than a strict chord functional analysis. After all, chord symbols are nothing but shorthand for polyphony, or multiple (three part or more) harmony ... :roll:


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

After all, chord symbols are nothing but shorthand for polyphony, or multiple (three part or more) harmony ... :roll:

Actually, they're shorthand for homophony. Polyphony is a whole 'nother animal.

Guitar teacher offering lessons in Plainfield IL


   
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(@hobbypicker)
Estimable Member
Joined: 17 years ago
Posts: 62
 

After all, chord symbols are nothing but shorthand for polyphony, or multiple (three part or more) harmony ... :roll:

Actually, they're shorthand for homophony. Polyphony is a whole 'nother animal.
Sorry about that, and thanks for the correction, it's always great to learn something new! :D

(... had to look it up ... :oops: )

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Homophony


   
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