6.15.1 How to Use Chase Charts to Visually Spot Weak Chord
6.15.2 Examples of Chord Progressions that Don’t
Quite Make It
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Now, for your
entertainment and pleasure, here are a few examples of the kinds of chord
progressions inexperienced songwriters string together, mainly because they
don’t know about the harmonic scale.
Having studied the above examples by songwriting masters, you
will probably figure out pretty quickly why these progressions go off
the rails (Figures 118 - 121). Using Chase Charts, you can spot the
weakness by looking at the patterns of arrows that correspond to
consecutive fifths up, multiple third progressions, sequences of
chromatic progressions, non-involvement of dominant and tonic
chords, and so on.
This is not to say that such progressions could never work under
any circumstances. A songwriter might figure out a way to make
them sound palatable in the context of a cleverly-worked-out tune.
But why bother with a lot of pointless effort, trying to fix a lame
progression? They shoot lame chord progressions, don’t they?
there's no such thing as a “wrong” chord progression in the sense of
“prohibited.” But there certainly are chord progressions that are easier for the
brain to make sense of. That's what this chapter has been all about.
about this one (Figure 118)?
consecutive fifth-up progressions (E – B – F) without involving either tonic
• Lots of weak third progressions
V7 – I progression to establish tonality
FIGURE 118 Chase Chart of a Weak Chord
Progression: Example 1
And this one (Figure 119)?
• Two consecutive chromatic chords without establishing
tonality ... Key? what key?
• No dominant chord involvement on either the major or the
minor side to establish tonality
FIGURE 119 Chase Chart of a Weak Chord
Progression: Example 2
How does this one get lost (Figure 120)?
eight-chord progression that uses all seven harmonic degrees ... pretty
ambitious ... too ambitious
of fifths-up progressions, including tonic-to-dominant progressions on both
major and minor sides—but no dominant-to-tonic
must be out there somewhere, but not in this progression
FIGURE 120 Chase Chart of a Weak Chord
Progression: Example 3
One final example from chord progression hell (Figure 121):
• Early chromatic chords set the progression adrift in a puddle
of harmonic mush, horsefeathers, and month-old gravy
• No fifths-up this time, but no fifths-down, either
• No dominant chords, no tonality
FIGURE 121 Chase Chart of a Weak Chord
Progression: Example 4
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