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CHAPTER 6:
How Chords and Chord Progressions
REALLY Work
  
6.6 Scales of Chords? Yes!

 
PAGE INDEX
  

6.6.1 The Key to Boldly Going Way Beyond the “Three-chord Wonder”

6.6.2 Unrest and Direction: The Magic of V – I

6.6.3 Harmonic “Scale Neighbours”

6.6.4 The Harmonic Scale: Will the Circle Be Unbroken?

6.6.5 Families Within the Circle

6.6.6 Which Direction Home?

6.6.7 The Melodic Scale: Two Directions Home

6.6.8 How Does it Feel to Move Clockwise Round the Harmonic Scale?

6.6.9 How Does it Feel to Move Counterclockwise? (Hint: The Cat Wants Back In)

6.6.10 The Harmonic Scale: One Direction Home

6.6.11 Fixing Another “Minor” Problem

6.6.12 Harmonic Motion and “Musical Punctuation” (Cadence)

 

~ • ~ • ~ • ~


6.6.1

THE KEY TO BOLDLY GOING WAY BEYOND THE “THREE-CHORD WONDER


Usually, you think of a scale as an ordered sequence of single notes. Chapter 4 was all about identifying melodic intervals, scale degrees, and the organization of melodic scales.


     Does the same apply to harmony? That is, having identified the various harmonic degrees (chords) and harmonic intervals (chord changes, also called chord progressions), can they be organized into harmonic scales—harmonic equivalents of melodic scales?


     And if so, does that mean there’s a guaranteed way to write a chord progression that holds together? Sounds like it “knows where it’s going”?


     The answer is yes.


     Few songwriters know about it, though.


     The harmonic equivalent of a melodic scale is called a harmonic scale, or scale of harmonic degrees. It’s a powerful musical phenomenon. You’re about to learn to make creative use of it.


     There are 12 such harmonic scales, one for each pair of relative keys—major and relative minor (or vice versa).


     In the following sections, you’ll learn how easy it is to create chord progressions that sound “different” from your run-of-the-mill “three-chord wonders.” And yet natural and attractive to the ear.


     True, many great songs have only three basic chords. But the same three basic chords also show up in zillions more awful songs.


     Tune and lyrics notwithstanding, most songwriters simply don’t know how to create beautiful chord progressions because they have zero knowledge of harmonic scales and how to use them. Once you understand how easy it is to use harmonic scales, you won’t ever have to worry about writing lame chord progressions again.



6.6.2

UNREST AND DIRECTION: THE MAGIC OF V I


Recall from Chapter 4 that, in melodic scales, two scale degrees (notes of the scale) “point” strongly towards scale degree 1, namely, its two neighbors, scale degree 2 (from above) and scale degree 7 (from below). Scale degrees 2 and 7 have both unrest and direction.


     For example, in this scale:


C – D – E – F – G – A – B – C


the note D strongly seeks resolution (unrest) down (direction) to C, and B strongly seeks resolution (unrest) up (direction) to C.


     Unrest and direction.


     In harmony a parallel situation obtains. But in harmony, only one harmonic degree, or chord, “points” strongly towards harmonic degree I, not two chords.

The only chord in harmony that has both unrest and direction is harmonic degree V (“the five chord”).

     1.  As Table 43 below shows, the notes comprising harmonic degree V include scale degree 7 and scale degree 2. Both of these notes point strongly to the tonic note of the key, scale degree 1.

 



TABLE 43  Notes Comprising Harmonic Degree V (“The Five Chord,” As They Say In Nashville)



5th Note Up From Root

(Interval of a third)

5

6

7

1

2

3

4

3rd Note Up From Root

(Interval of a third)

3

4

5

6

7

1

2

Root of Triad

(Scale Degree)

1

2

3

4

5

6

7




 

 

     2.  Recall from Chapter 5 that the more scale notes two keys have in common, the more closely they’re related. And keys having tonic notes a fifth apart have six out of seven scale notes in common. (For example, the key of C major and the key of G major have 6 of 7 scale notes in common.)

 

     3.  The simplest frequency ratio after the octave (1:2) is the ratio that corresponds to the fifth (2:3).


     For all of these reasons, the harmonic interval (chord change or chord progression) V – I plays the same role in harmony as do melodic intervals 7 – 1 and 2 – 1 in melody.

The V – I chord change is the strongest, most natural chord progression in harmony.

     Just as melodic intervals 7 – 1 and 2 – 1 impart both unrest and direction with respect to the tonic note, so the harmonic interval V – I imparts both unrest and direction with respect to the tonic chord—the chord built on scale degree 1.

   


6.6.3

HARMONIC “SCALE NEIGHBOURS


Just as scale degrees 7 and 2 are scale neighbours of the tonic note in melody, so in harmony the V chord is the scale neighbour of the tonic chord.


     And that means the chord change V – I is the smallest scale move you can make in harmony. The V chord and the I chord are, therefore, harmonic scale neighbours.


     This is precisely the opposite of the situation in melody.


For example, in the key of C major:

 

        Melodically, the notes B and C are close together. They’re melodic scale neighbours. The notes C and G are as far apart as you can get—definitely not melodic scale neighbors.

 

        Harmonically, the chords C major and G major are close together. They’re harmonic scale neighbours. But the chords C major and B major are far apart—definitely not harmonic scale neighbours.


 

Wanted: Musical Marriage Counsellor

 

Think of harmony and melody as opposite sexes.


In melody, the fifth is the furthest note from the tonic. But in harmony, the fifth is the closest chord to the tonic.


Opposites in a fundamental way.


When they’re together, harmony and melody usually get along. Sometimes they fight. Paradoxically, such fighting often sounds delightful.


When they divorce, melody functions fairly well on its own. But harmony does not. By itself, poor harmony flounders, and must find a way to reconcile with melody.



6.6.4

THE HARMONIC SCALE: WILL THE CIRCLE BE UNBROKEN?


To construct a harmonic scale (scale of chords), here are the chords to start with, the basic chords for any given key (in Nashville Number notation):


I    IIm    IIIm    IV    V    VIm    VIIº


     The next step is to arrange these chords with each chord the smallest distance apart harmonically (just as, in a melodic scale, the notes are the smallest distance apart as you go up or down the scale stepwise, from note to note). That means the root of each chord would be a fifth apart, since, in harmony, a fifth progression is the smallest harmonic distance.


     A major difference between a melodic scale and a harmonic scale would be this:

 

        A melodic scale begins with scale degree 1 and ends with scale degree 1 (8)—two different notes. That’s because, in melody, the octave matters.

 

        In harmony, the octave does not matter. Therefore, a harmonic scale would need to begin with harmonic degree I and also end with harmonic degree I—the same chord. As pointed out above, a chord is a chord is a chord. No distinction is made between a chord played in one octave and the same chord played in a different octave.


     Since the first and last chords in the harmonic scale are the same chord (the tonic chord, I), what shape, then, must a harmonic scale take?


     If a harmonic scale must begin and end with the same chord ...

The harmonic scale must necessarily

take the shape of a circle.

     That’s the only way the harmonic scale could begin and end with the same chord.


     Figure 47 shows how the chords of a harmonic scale are arranged in fifth progressions, and in the shape of a circle.




FIGURE 47  The Harmonic Scale: Basic Structure





                     


6.6.5

FAMILIES WITHIN THE CIRCLE


The first thing you notice about the chords in Figure 47 above is that they clump together. The major chords form a little family of three on the right side of the harmonic scale. The minor chords form another little family of three on the left side. (Isn’t that sweet?)


     The diminished chord (VIIº)—no doubt trained as an expert in family group dynamics and conflict resolution—appears to bridge the two families.


     The next thing you might notice is that all but one of the intervals between the roots of the chords is five semitones apart (a fifth progression down, going clockwise; a fifth progression up, going counterclockwise). The exception is the interval between the root of the IV chord and the root of the VIIº chord (six semitones).


     Later in this chapter, you’ll see how this little anomaly helps explain why composers have a hard time working with the Church modes (Dorian, Phrygian, Lydian, Mixolydian, Locrian) when it comes to constructing palatable-sounding chord progressions.


  

6.6.6

WHICH DIRECTION HOME?

How does it feel

How does it feel

To be on your own

With no direction home

—BOB DYLAN (“Like A Rolling Stone”)

 

Next, try an example. Replace the Nashville Numbers with the chords of a representative key—actually a pair of relative keys— and try out the harmonic scale. Use the keys of C major and A minor (Figure 48):




FIGURE 48  Harmonic Scale, Key of C Major / A Minor





                     


     So far, so good. But this harmonic scale needs some tweaking.


     If you play the harmonic scale clockwise, starting from C major and ending with C major, your brain senses natural, directed harmonic motion. The progression is definitely “going somewhere.”


     It pulls out of Dodge City (the C major chord) and moves smoothly to Fowler (the F major chord). It feels like you’re on your way to somewhere. The sense of motion continues as the harmonic train moves from town to town on a grand circle tour. Tyrone, Richfield, Johnson City, Garden City, Cimarron. Finally, it pulls into Dodge City once more. With that last harmonic interval (G – C), there’s no mistaking the feeling of arriving back home.


     Now, try going the other way around, from the chord C major to G major to D minor, and so on. You’ll soon find that something’s amiss. When you try to take the grand circle tour counterclockwise, your train gets lost and ends up somewhere between Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan, and Dildo, Newfoundland (yes, there is such a town).


     Even though you eventually arrive back home, your brain does not sense that your train has arrived home. It’s Dodge, seemingly. But nobody’s around that you’d recognize. Where’s Marshall McDillon? How come Doc Yada-Yadams is sober and hardly ever performs brain surgery? Since when did Ms Puma start playing the flute? How come Sadie and Ellie Sue’s store is full of mules instead of horses?


     In a minute, you’ll find out what went wrong in the counter-clockwise trip. But first, a brief revisit to the interval dynamics of the melodic scale.



6.6.7

THE MELODIC SCALE: TWO DIRECTIONS HOME


In melody, as you move up the scale, from scale degree 1 to 2 to 3, and so on, your brain senses a feeling of “going away”—paddling against the current— until you reach scale degree 5.


     Then, as you continue in the same direction (away from scale degree 1), you sense that the current reverses itself. And you find yourself somehow paddling with the current, even though you haven’t turned around.


     It’s the current that reverses, not you. The current even carries you home. But it’s not the same home you left. Instead of “home” being scale degree 1, it’s scale degree 1 (8). Yet your brain still perceives 1 (8) as “home.” That’s the important thing (Figure 49 below).


Your brain has evolved to expect complex frequency ratios to resolve to simpler frequency ratios. And what’s the simplest? The tonic note of the octave: scale degree 1, or scale degree 1 (8).




FIGURE 49  Melodic Scale: Two Directions Home



                     


     This also happens when you move down the melodic scale, from scale degree 1 (8) to 7 to 6. Again, your brain senses that you’re padding against the current. Until you reach scale degree 5. Then you sense reversal of the current and paddle downstream until you get home to scale degree 1.


     So, in melody, you can get home by either ascending or descending the melodic scale. The most powerful forces for resolution are the melodic intervals 7 – 1 (8) and 2 – I.


     In melody, there are two directions home.


     In harmony ... maybe not.



6.6.8

HOW DOES IT FEEL TO MOVE CLOCKWISE ROUND THE HARMONIC SCALE?


Have another look at Figure 48 above, (key of C major/A minor). Suppose you start at the C major chord. To stay within the circle, you have two choices:

   

     1.  You can progress clockwise to F major; or


     2.  You can progress counterclockwise to G major.


     Suppose you start by playing four bars of the C major chord on your guitar or piano to establish tonality. Then progress clockwise to the F major chord and play a few bars. How does it feel?


     Your brain senses a purposeful, natural harmonic move. A feeling of moving ahead, of going somewhere.


     It doesn’t matter if you start by playing the C major chord in a high octave, then move to the F major chord in a lower octave, or vice-versa. Either way, you sense a purposeful, natural, comfortable harmonic progression.


     How come?


     When you progress from C major to F major, you move from these notes


C – E – G


to these notes:


F – A – C


     When you leave the C major chord and move to the F major chord, your brain wonders, “What’s going on? The chord has changed. Looks like the new chord is assuming the role of the tonic chord—at least for the moment.”


     Therefore . . .

   

     1.  The scale relationship of the note E in the C major chord (the chord being left behind) with respect to the root note F (the foundation note) in the new chord, F major, is 7 – 1 (8).

   

Your brain feels a strong sense of satisfaction when the note E in the C major chord resolves to the root note F in the new chord, F major.

   

     2.  Similarly, the scale relationship of the note G in the C major chord (the chord being left behind) with respect to the root note F in the new chord, F major, is 2 – 1.

   

Your brain feels a strong sense of satisfaction when the note G in the C major chord resolves to the root note F in the new chord, F major.


     These two simultaneous moves—E moving up to F (7 – 1) and G moving down to F (2 – 1) combine to provide your brain with a feeling of assured, inevitable harmonic motion.


     Resolution from complex to simple frequency ratios has taken place.



6.6.9

HOW DOES IT FEEL TO MOVE COUNTERCLOCKWISE? (HINT: THE CAT WANTS BACK IN)


What happens when you go the other way around the circle?


     Again, start by playing four bars of the C major chord to establish tonality. Then progress counterclockwise to the G major chord and play a few bars. How does it feel?


     Your brain senses a desire to get right back to C major. It’s like opening the door to let Tritone the cat outside. A minute later, the cat wants back in.


     What’s going on?


     When you progress from C major to G major, you move from these notes (the notes that comprise the C major chord):


C – E – G


to these notes:


G – B – D


     When you leave the chord C major and move to the chord G major, your brain at first tries to accept the G major chord as assuming the role of the tonic chord.


     But it doesn’t work out. Your brain feels no sense of purposeful, forward motion.


     When you leave the C major chord and move to the G major chord, your brain senses that:

   

     1.  The scale relationship of the note E in the C major chord (the chord being left behind) with respect to the root note G in the new chord, G major, is 6 – 1.

   

This does not in any way reinforce G as a potential new tonal centre.

   

     2.  Similarly, the scale relationship of the note C in the C major chord (the chord being left behind) with respect to the root note G in the new chord, G major, is 4 – 1.

   

With this interval move, your brain senses no reinforcement of G as a potential new tonal centre.


     If the new chord, G major, is supposed to be the new tonic, how did the old chord, C major, yield its power as tonal centre?


     The answer is, C major did not yield its power.


     The notes C and E in the C major chord do not provide any significant propulsion to resolve to the root note G in the new chord, G major.


     In fact, when you progress from C major to G major, your brain senses exactly the opposite of “harmonic resolution.” It correctly senses that the chord change from C major to G major has created harmonic tension—not resolved it.


     How does it feel? It feels unstable, restless. Your brain expects resolution back to the C major chord. (The cat wants back in.)


     If you then do exactly that, progress from the G major chord back to the C major chord, the same interval dynamics apply as if you were progressing from C major to F major. When you move from G major to C major ...

   

     1.  The scale relationship of the note B in the G major chord (the chord being left behind) with respect to the root note C (the foundation note) in the new chord, C major, is 7 – 1 (8).

   

So, your brain feels a strong sense of satisfaction when the note B in the G major chord resolves to the root note C in the new chord, C major.

   

     2.  Similarly, the scale relationship of the note D in the G major chord (the chord being left behind) with respect to the root note C in the new chord, C major, is 2 – 1.

   

Your brain feels a strong sense of satisfaction when the note D in the G major chord resolves to the root note C in the new chord, C major.


     These two simultaneous moves—B moving up to C (7 – 1) and D moving down to C (2 – 1) combine to provide your brain with a feeling of assured, inevitable harmonic motion. Just like moving from the C major chord to the F major chord. Again, resolution from complex to simple frequency ratios has taken place.



6.6.10

THE HARMONIC SCALE: ONE DIRECTION HOME


In melody, you have two directions home—by ascending through 7 to 1 (8), or by descending through 2 to 1.


     But in harmony, as you’ve just seen, you have only one direction home—by descending the circular harmonic scale (moving clockwise).


     In harmony, your brain senses the descending fifth progression of V – I as “coming home.” Just as, in melody, it senses scale movements of 7 – I (8) and 2 – 1 as “coming home.”


     So, it’s necessary to tweak the harmonic scale by adding arrows to show clockwise (descending fifth) natural direction of motion (Figure 50 below).




FIGURE 50  Harmonic Scale: One Direction Home





                     


     In harmony, when you paddle clockwise, you paddle with the current. When you paddle counterclockwise, you paddle against the current (with one small exception—third progressions—coming up in a while).


     Or, you could say that, clockwise, you sail with the wind; counterclockwise, you sail against the wind. You have to mind your sheets, too. In sailing, sheets are lines attached to sail corners that control sail positions relative to the wind. So if three of them are blowin’ in the wind, your boat will not be terribly manoeuvrable. That’s what you get when you knock back too many margaritas ... you sail three sheets to the wind.



6.6.11

FIXING ANOTHER “MINOR” PROBLEM


So, the natural direction of motion as you progress from chord to chord through the harmonic scale has been nailed down. It’s clockwise.


     Still, the harmonic scale needs more work. Some of the harmonic intervals have less directional strength than others.


     As always, an example reveals the problem. Once again, swap the Nashville Numbers of Figure 50 above for the chords of a pair of relative keys—C major and A minor, this time with the directional arrows added (Figure 51 below):




FIGURE 51  Harmonic Scale: Key of C Major / A Minor





                     


     You’ve probably noticed that the progression Em – Am does not quite measure up to the confident, resolved sound of, say, G – C.


     When you progress from E minor to A minor, you move from these notes:


E – G – B


to these notes:


A – C – E


     As usual, your brain checks out the new chord against the one left behind for signs that the new chord is assuming the role of the new tonic chord—at least for the moment. And here’s what it finds:

   

     1.  The scale relationship of the note G in the E minor chord (the chord being left behind) with respect to the root note A (the foundation note) in the new chord, A minor, is ♭7 – 1 (8), not 7 – 1 (8).

   

Your brain senses only a moderate sense of satisfaction when the note G in the E minor chord resolves to the root note A in the new chord, A minor.

   

     2.  The scale relationship of the note B in the E minor chord (the chord being left behind) with respect to the root note A in the new chord, A minor, is 2 – 1.

   

Your brain feels a strong sense of satisfaction when the note B in the E minor chord resolves down to the root note A in the new chord, A minor.


     Together, these two simultaneous moves—G moving up to A (♭7 – 1) and B moving down to A (2 – 1) combine to provide your brain with only a moderate feeling of harmonic motion.


     Why isn’t it a strong feeling of harmonic motion? Because the G – A move is ♭7 – I (8), not 7 – 1 (8).


     Recall from Chapter 5 that a semitone interval has considerably more inherent tension than a whole tone interval, because a semitone is derived from a more complex frequency ratio (16:15), compared with a whole tone (9:8).


     In the major diatonic scale, a semitone between 7 and 1 (8) points strongly at 1 (8). That’s why the note occupying scale degree 7 is called the leading tone, but only if it’s a semitone from 1 (8).


     So, it’s necessary to provide that Em chord with a leading tone, to make it strongly directional with respect to the Am chord. The way to do this is to sharpen the G in the Em chord, converting it into an E major chord.


     When you do that, and progress from E major to A minor, you move from these notes:


E – G♯ – B


to these notes:


A – C – E


     Now the relationship of the note G♯ in the E major chord (the chord being left behind) with respect to the root note A (the foundation note) in the new chord, A minor, is 7 – 1 (8), a semitone.


     The chord progression in the harmonic scale therefore becomes III – VIm (instead of IIIm – VIm). Now the chord change has a strong directional quality (Figure 52).




FIGURE 52  Harmonic Scale with III In Place of IIIm





                    


     In the key of C major / A minor, when you play the chord changes, you can easily sense that the chord progression E – Am has much stronger directed quality than Em – Am.


     To generalize, any descending fifth progression of two chords must have a major triad as its first chord in order to impart strong directed motion that terminates in a feeling of resolution. The second chord may be either a major or minor triad.


     For instance, if you want to convey a feeling of strong directed motion to the chord progression IIm – V (e.g., Dm – G), you have to change the IIm to II, converting the progression to II – V (e.g., D – G).


 

Voice Leading, Counterpoint, and All That

 

Voice leading refers to continuity in the way one note moves successively to the next—such as the notes of one chord moving (“leading”) to the notes of the next chord. It’s also called part writing because a “voice” is also called a “part,” such as the “guitar part” or the “bass part” or the “lead vocal part.”


You usually associate voice leading with counterpoint—the musical technique of writing or playing two or more “voices” as melodies that move simultaneously. J. S. Bach’s fugues, for instance. Or rounds, such as “Row Row Row Your Boat Gently Down the Stream” or “Three Blind Mice” or “Frere Jacques (Are You Sleeping?).” That’s counterpoint. Voice leading refers to how those various melodic lines behave with respect to each other. For example, if three different melodic lines are moving together, each contributes one note to a continuously changing three-note chord.


Composers tend to heed certain maxims of counterpoint, such as:

 

        Voices that move in parallel third or sixth intervals sound fine—go ahead and use ‘em.

 

        Voices that move in parallel fifths or octaves sound bad—avoid ‘em.

 

        A major seventh (leading tone) should ascend to the octave.

 

        A flat seventh should descend to the sixth.


And so on.


Bands or groups that perform harmony vocals tend to observe these rules when they work out the harmony parts—even though the singers may not realize it.


You can’t really separate counterpoint from harmony. Even if you’ve never heard of voice leading as it applies in counterpoint, you’ve almost certainly used it in your own music.


For example, when a backup singer sings harmony “by ear” to the lead vocal line, he or she uses contrapuntal motion.

 

        It’s parallel motion when the lead and harmony voices move together, separated by the same type of interval, such as major and minor thirds, or major and minor sixths.

 

        It’s similar motion when the lead and harmony voices move together, but are separated by varying types of intervals.

 

        It’s oblique motion when one voice or part remains at the same pitch while the other moves upwards or downwards.

 

        It’s contrary motion when one voice moves down the scale while the other moves up.



6.6.12

HARMONIC MOTION AND “MUSICAL PUNCTUATION” (CADENCE)


That dang harmonic scale still isn’t quite finished. Before completing it, now’s the time to introduce an important component of musical structure. (Much more on structure in Chapter 8.)


     As you no doubt know, small groups of notes and chords form musical units (usually two to eight bars) called phrases. These units combine into larger structures such as periods, verses, bridges, choruses, sections, movements, and so on.


     Musical structure parallels the organization of verbal discourse, with its phrases, sentences, stanzas, and paragraphs. That’s not surprising, considering the intimate linkage in the brain between music and language.


     The resolution at the end of a musical phrase is called a cadence. A cadence has melodic, rhythmic, and harmonic properties. It normally signals a return to the prevailing tonal centre.


     By a wide margin, the descending fifth progression, V – I, is the most common, most important, and strongest harmonic cadence in music. When a musical phrase ends with a V – I progression, it sounds like “the end”—the end of that phrase, verse, chorus, or whatever the prevailing structure may be.


     The V – I cadence has quite a few names:

   

        Full close

        Full cadence

        Perfect cadence

        Perfect close

        Authentic cadence

        Dominant cadence

        Final cadence

   

     (They couldn’t make up their minds.)


     Other cadences include:

  

        Deceptive cadences such as V – VIm and V – IV. They’re called “deceptive” because your brain expects to hear V – I, but gets “deceived,” and hears V – VIm or V – IV instead. This prolongs and heightens the expectation of eventually getting to the tonic chord.

  

        Imperfect cadences such as I – V and II – V. When a phrase ends with a progression like this, your brain knows it ain’t the end yet, and fully expects the music to continue to a more “final-sounding” resolution..

  

        Plagal cadence, IV – I, so called because this is the “amen” sung at the conclusion of a hymn.


     But V – I is the only cadence in music in which directed tension gets completely resolved.


     The V chord is known as the dominant chord. (The female V chord is known as the dominatrix chord.) That’s because it’s through the V chord that the I chord derives its power as the tonal chord.


     The V chord dominates harmonic action through its exclusive directional relationship with the tonic chord. If you were playing musical chess, the V chord would be the queen (the most powerful player on the board) and the I chord would be the king.


     The V – I cadential progression maintains tonality in the midst of a maelstrom of rapidly changing melodic intervals and shifting harmonic tensions.


     In melody, all scale degrees have both tension and direction with respect to the tonic note (except the tonic note itself, of course). But in harmony...

 

        Only one harmonic degree, the V chord, has both tension and direction with respect to the tonic.

 

        Only one harmonic degree, the tonic chord in root position, has no tension and no direction.

 

        All other chords have tension but no direction with respect to the prevailing tonality.


     The restful, balanced tonic chord makes possible the necessary contrast that gives all the other chords their edgy, restless, tense, and exciting qualities.


     For example, in the key of C major, the F major chord, even though it’s a simple triad, has tension, simply because it’s not the tonic chord.


The constituent notes of the F major chord belong comfortably in the key of C major. But playing the F major chord does not point your brain back to the tonic chord, C major.


     Same goes for the other chords in Figure 51 above—except G major. As the V chord, it’s the only chord that points directly at the C chord.


     The chord movement V – I serves pretty much the same punctuation function in music as the period does in written language. In music, a cadence marks the end of a phrase. It’s a definite break, usually followed by a period of several seconds before the next phrase starts.


     Spoken language does not have an equivalent to music’s cadence. When you talk, you use phrases and sentences, of course, but you don’t pause for several seconds at the end of every phrase and sentence. You just keep on talking until you’re finished.


IMPORTANT:

 

        In a spoken conversation, you don’t need to remember and keep track of every word  because mentalese records the gist. Each word has symbolic (referential) meaning that relates to your already-memorized vocabulary of words.

 

        But in music, you do need to structure the music so that the listener can keep track of the phrases as they unfold in time because music does not carry referential meaning. You need to repeat phrases often, and you need to pause between phrases, usually via cadences. Without cadences in music, your brain has a hard time taking it all in.


     That’s one function of the cadence. The other main one is to reinforce tonality.


     In a full cadence, the melody usually comes to rest on the tonic note, a longer-than-usual note in an emphatic metrical position. These emphatic characteristics remind the brain which note is the tonal centre.


     An imperfect cadence (also called a half cadence or partial cadence) creates a sense of expectation. You’ve only stopped at a roadhouse for a burger and fries, but home is coming up, a little farther up the road. Often at the end of the next phrase. When a full cadence does not appear at the end of the next phrase, the brain really begins to wonder where things are going.


     You can easily hear cadences performing their functions in any well-structured popular song, such as "Happy Birthday" (Figure 53), which has the following cadences:

 

I — V

V — I

I — IV

 



FIGURE 53  Cadences In a Popular Song: “Happy Birthday”

 


 

Happy   

I

birthday to

V (imperfect cadence)

you.                         Happy

V

birthday to

I (full cadence)

you.                         Happy

I

birthday, dear

IV (imperfect cadence)

El - vis.                     Happy

I            V

birthday to

I (full cadence)

you.






     It’s not that V – I is always used as a period or full stop. In music, the V – I cadence also shows up in many subtle, often transient ways, depending on the musical context.


     Deceptive and imperfect cadences serve roughly similar functions in music as commas and semicolons serve in written language. But, again, no equivalent exists in spoken language.


     In the minor mode, the chord progression III – VIm serves as the “V – I” (the “perfect cadence") equivalent, because scale degree 6 of the major mode is the tonic note of the minor mode.


     Enough about cadences, already. It’s almost time to move on to the final tweak of the harmonic scale. After which it’s on to the fun stuff (finally): how to use harmonic scales to create beautiful, powerful chord progressions. With lots of examples in the form of some of the world’s greatest songs.

   

~ • ~ • ~ • ~

 

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 TABLE OF
 CONTENTS

  

 PART I

 The Big Picture    Introduction

   1. W-5 of Music
  
2. Pop Music
   
    Industry

  
 PART II
 Essential
 Building Blocks
 of Music
   3.
Tones/Overtones
   4. Scales/Intervals
   5. Keys/Modes
 
 PART III
 How to Create
 Emotionally
 Powerful Music
 and Lyrics
   6.
Chords/
  
      Progressions

   7. Pulse/Meter/
  
      Tempo/Rhythm

   8. Phrase/Form
   9. Melody
 10. Lyrics
 11. Repertoire/
     
  Performance

  

 PART IV
 Making a
 Living In Music
 12.
Business of
   
     Music

 
 Appendixes

   

 Notes

   

 References

  

 Index
  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

   Top

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

    

 TABLE OF
 CONTENTS

  

 PART I

 The Big Picture    Introduction

   1. W-5 of Music
  
2. Pop Music
   
    Industry

  
 PART II
 Essential
 Building Blocks
 of Music
   3.
Tones/Overtones
   4. Scales/Intervals
   5. Keys/Modes
 
 PART III
 How to Create
 Emotionally
 Powerful Music
 and Lyrics
   6.
Chords/
  
      Progressions

   7. Pulse/Meter/
  
      Tempo/Rhythm

   8. Phrase/Form
   9. Melody
 10. Lyrics
 11. Repertoire/
     
  Performance

  

 PART IV
 Making a
 Living In Music
 12.
Business of
   
     Music

 
 Appendixes

   

 Notes

   

 References

  

 Index
  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

   Top

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

    

 TABLE OF
 CONTENTS

  

 PART I

 The Big Picture    Introduction

   1. W-5 of Music
  
2. Pop Music
   
    Industry

  
 PART II
 Essential
 Building Blocks
 of Music
   3.
Tones/Overtones
   4. Scales/Intervals
   5. Keys/Modes
 
 PART III
 How to Create
 Emotionally
 Powerful Music
 and Lyrics
   6.
Chords/
  
      Progressions

   7. Pulse/Meter/
  
      Tempo/Rhythm

   8. Phrase/Form
   9. Melody
 10. Lyrics
 11. Repertoire/
     
  Performance

  

 PART IV
 Making a
 Living In Music
 12.
Business of
   
     Music

 
 Appendixes

   

 Notes

   

 References

  

 Index
  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

   Top

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

    

 TABLE OF
 CONTENTS

  

 PART I

 The Big Picture    Introduction

   1. W-5 of Music
  
2. Pop Music
   
    Industry

  
 PART II
 Essential
 Building Blocks
 of Music
   3.
Tones/Overtones
   4. Scales/Intervals
   5. Keys/Modes
 
 PART III
 How to Create
 Emotionally
 Powerful Music
 and Lyrics
   6.
Chords/
  
      Progressions

   7. Pulse/Meter/
  
      Tempo/Rhythm

   8. Phrase/Form
   9. Melody
 10. Lyrics
 11. Repertoire/
     
  Performance

  

 PART IV
 Making a
 Living In Music
 12.
Business of
   
     Music

 
 Appendixes

   

 Notes

   

 References

  

 Index
  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

   Top

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

    

 TABLE OF
 CONTENTS

  

 PART I

 The Big Picture    Introduction

   1. W-5 of Music
  
2. Pop Music
   
    Industry

  
 PART II
 Essential
 Building Blocks
 of Music
   3.
Tones/Overtones
   4. Scales/Intervals
   5. Keys/Modes
 
 PART III
 How to Create
 Emotionally
 Powerful Music
 and Lyrics
   6.
Chords/
  
      Progressions

   7. Pulse/Meter/
  
      Tempo/Rhythm

   8. Phrase/Form
   9. Melody
 10. Lyrics
 11. Repertoire/
     
  Performance

  

 PART IV
 Making a
 Living In Music
 12.
Business of
   
     Music

 
 Appendixes

   

 Notes

   

 References

  

 Index
  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

   Top

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

    

 TABLE OF
 CONTENTS

  

 PART I

 The Big Picture    Introduction

   1. W-5 of Music
  
2. Pop Music
   
    Industry

  
 PART II
 Essential
 Building Blocks
 of Music
   3.
Tones/Overtones
   4. Scales/Intervals
   5. Keys/Modes
 
 PART III
 How to Create
 Emotionally
 Powerful Music
 and Lyrics
   6.
Chords/
  
      Progressions

   7. Pulse/Meter/
  
      Tempo/Rhythm

   8. Phrase/Form
   9. Melody
 10. Lyrics
 11. Repertoire/
     
  Performance

  

 PART IV
 Making a
 Living In Music
 12.
Business of
   
     Music

 
 Appendixes

   

 Notes

   

 References

  

 Index
  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

   Top

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

    

 TABLE OF
 CONTENTS

  

 PART I

 The Big Picture    Introduction

   1. W-5 of Music
  
2. Pop Music
   
    Industry

  
 PART II
 Essential
 Building Blocks
 of Music
   3.
Tones/Overtones
   4. Scales/Intervals
   5. Keys/Modes
 
 PART III
 How to Create
 Emotionally
 Powerful Music
 and Lyrics
   6.
Chords/
  
      Progressions

   7. Pulse/Meter/
  
      Tempo/Rhythm

   8. Phrase/Form
   9. Melody
 10. Lyrics
 11. Repertoire/
     
  Performance

  

 PART IV
 Making a
 Living In Music
 12.
Business of
   
     Music

 
 Appendixes

   

 Notes

   

 References

  

 Index
  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

   Top

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

    

 TABLE OF
 CONTENTS

  

 PART I

 The Big Picture    Introduction

   1. W-5 of Music
  
2. Pop Music
   
    Industry

  
 PART II
 Essential
 Building Blocks
 of Music
   3.
Tones/Overtones
   4. Scales/Intervals
   5. Keys/Modes
 
 PART III
 How to Create
 Emotionally
 Powerful Music
 and Lyrics
   6.
Chords/
  
      Progressions

   7. Pulse/Meter/
  
      Tempo/Rhythm

   8. Phrase/Form
   9. Melody
 10. Lyrics
 11. Repertoire/
     
  Performance

  

 PART IV
 Making a
 Living In Music
 12.
Business of
   
     Music

 
 Appendixes

   

 Notes

   

 References

  

 Index
  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

   Top

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

    

 TABLE OF
 CONTENTS

  

 PART I

 The Big Picture    Introduction

   1. W-5 of Music
  
2. Pop Music
   
    Industry

  
 PART II
 Essential
 Building Blocks
 of Music
   3.
Tones/Overtones
   4. Scales/Intervals
   5. Keys/Modes
 
 PART III
 How to Create
 Emotionally
 Powerful Music
 and Lyrics
   6.
Chords/
  
      Progressions

   7. Pulse/Meter/
  
      Tempo/Rhythm

   8. Phrase/Form
   9. Melody
 10. Lyrics
 11. Repertoire/
     
  Performance

  

 PART IV
 Making a
 Living In Music
 12.
Business of
   
     Music

 
 Appendixes

   

 Notes

   

 References

  

 Index
  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

   Top

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

    

 TABLE OF
 CONTENTS

  

 PART I

 The Big Picture    Introduction

   1. W-5 of Music
  
2. Pop Music
   
    Industry

  
 PART II
 Essential
 Building Blocks
 of Music
   3.
Tones/Overtones
   4. Scales/Intervals
   5. Keys/Modes
 
 PART III
 How to Create
 Emotionally
 Powerful Music
 and Lyrics
   6.
Chords/
  
      Progressions

   7. Pulse/Meter/
  
      Tempo/Rhythm

   8. Phrase/Form
   9. Melody
 10. Lyrics
 11. Repertoire/
     
  Performance

  

 PART IV
 Making a
 Living In Music
 12.
Business of
   
     Music

 
 Appendixes

   

 Notes

   

 References

  

 Index
  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

   Top

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

    

 TABLE OF
 CONTENTS

  

 PART I

 The Big Picture    Introduction

   1. W-5 of Music
  
2. Pop Music
   
    Industry

  
 PART II
 Essential
 Building Blocks
 of Music
   3.
Tones/Overtones
   4. Scales/Intervals
   5. Keys/Modes
 
 PART III
 How to Create
 Emotionally
 Powerful Music
 and Lyrics
   6.
Chords/
  
      Progressions

   7. Pulse/Meter/
  
      Tempo/Rhythm

   8. Phrase/Form
   9. Melody
 10. Lyrics
 11. Repertoire/
     
  Performance

  

 PART IV
 Making a
 Living In Music
 12.
Business of
   
     Music

 
 Appendixes

   

 Notes

   

 References

  

 Index
  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

   Top

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

    

 TABLE OF
 CONTENTS

  

 PART I

 The Big Picture    Introduction

   1. W-5 of Music
  
2. Pop Music
   
    Industry

  
 PART II
 Essential
 Building Blocks
 of Music
   3.
Tones/Overtones
   4. Scales/Intervals
   5. Keys/Modes
 
 PART III
 How to Create
 Emotionally
 Powerful Music
 and Lyrics
   6.
Chords/
  
      Progressions

   7. Pulse/Meter/
  
      Tempo/Rhythm

   8. Phrase/Form
   9. Melody
 10. Lyrics
 11. Repertoire/
     
  Performance

  

 PART IV
 Making a
 Living In Music
 12.
Business of
   
     Music

 
 Appendixes

   

 Notes

   

 References

  

 Index
  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

   Top

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

    

 TABLE OF
 CONTENTS

  

 PART I

 The Big Picture    Introduction

   1. W-5 of Music
  
2. Pop Music
   
    Industry

  
 PART II
 Essential
 Building Blocks
 of Music
   3.
Tones/Overtones
   4. Scales/Intervals
   5. Keys/Modes
 
 PART III
 How to Create
 Emotionally
 Powerful Music
 and Lyrics
   6.
Chords/
  
      Progressions

   7. Pulse/Meter/
  
      Tempo/Rhythm

   8. Phrase/Form
   9. Melody
 10. Lyrics
 11. Repertoire/
     
  Performance

  

 PART IV
 Making a
 Living In Music
 12.
Business of
   
     Music

 
 Appendixes

   

 Notes

   

 References

  

 Index
  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

   Top

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

    

 TABLE OF
 CONTENTS

  

 PART I

 The Big Picture    Introduction

   1. W-5 of Music
  
2. Pop Music
   
    Industry

  
 PART II
 Essential
 Building Blocks
 of Music
   3.
Tones/Overtones
   4. Scales/Intervals
   5. Keys/Modes
 
 PART III
 How to Create
 Emotionally
 Powerful Music
 and Lyrics
   6.
Chords/
  
      Progressions

   7. Pulse/Meter/
  
      Tempo/Rhythm

   8. Phrase/Form
   9. Melody
 10. Lyrics
 11. Repertoire/
     
  Performance

  

 PART IV
 Making a
 Living In Music
 12.
Business of
   
     Music

 
 Appendixes

   

 Notes

   

 References

  

 Index
  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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