1. #1

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    I was playing an old favorite from bygone years when I realized I didn't really understand how it might work from a functional harmony perspective. Ted Green said you should always learn new chord progressions as roman numerals either with reference to the named key or to the passing tonal centers. I realized that with this seemingly simple tune, I wasn't sure how to do that.

    It is usually written as an eight bar progression:

    |--Bm--|--F#7--|--Amaj--|--Emaj--|--Gmaj--|--Dmaj--|--Em--|--F#7--|

    The melody distilled to its key notes (one note per chord):

    F#("On a...")
    E("...wind in my hair...")
    E("...smell of colitas...")
    E("...through the air..."
    G("Up ahead...)
    D("...light!)
    E("...head grew heavy...")
    F#("...had to stop...night")

    So how would that break down in functional harmony? I realize there must be a big gap in my knowledge if this sounds so natural and common and yet I don't recognize it at all. It all sounds very Bm/Dmaj, but I'm having trouble understanding it from that perspective.

    Dmaj:
    vi-III7-V-II-IV-I-ii-III7?

    or

    Bmin:
    i-V7-bVII-IV-VI-III-iv-V7

    or

    Bmin:
    i-V7-bVII-IV

    Dmaj:
    IV-I-ii-III7

    or

    Bmin:
    i-V7

    [Emaj:
    IV-I]

    Bmin:
    VI-III-iv-V7

    or...?

    Thanks

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    The Jazz Guitar Chord Dictionary
     
  3. #2

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    Strong descending chromatic line in a minor key .

    Incidentally same chords as this Jethro Tull song



    Also V. similar to this



    The original precedent is probably some Baroque piece , it has that sort of ' Didos' lament ' vibe .

  4. #3

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    Bm | % | A | % | G | % | F#7 | % ||

    How would you analyze this reduction?

    This is the essence of the progression but each of the first three chords each have an auxiliary V chord
    that creates some nice linear voice leading.

    Bm F#
    A E
    G D

    and the V7 (F#7) is preceded by the IVm (Em)

  5. #4

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    Quote Originally Posted by bako View Post
    Bm | % | A | % | G | % | F#7 | % ||

    How would you analyze this reduction?

    This is the essence of the progression but each of the first three chords each have an auxiliary V chord
    that creates some nice linear voice leading.

    Bm F#
    A E
    G D

    and the V7 (F#7) is preceded by the IVm (Em)
    Thank you Bako. That is really helpful. I am unfamiliar with the concept of an non-functional auxiliary chords, although it makes sense. Walking two voices down on these two bar static chords gives it a lot of movement that supports the overall diatonic descent from Bm to F#.

    I've Googled "auxiliary chord" and found sparse information. Is it possible that it the concept is known by another name, or is there a resource you can suggest to become more familiar with the concept and use? I don't know if this is "music theory 101" in college, but I am entirely self-taught and this is the first I've come across this.

    Thanks!

  6. #5

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    Don't look too hard for auxiliary chords. I was using the expression in an informal way.

    Let me play another juggle the progression around game to perhaps shed some light on the functionality
    of this chord combination.

    Reversing the order of the 1st three chord pairs:

    F#7 Bm // E A // D G > Em F#

    The song just present these same elements in reverse order.

  7. #6

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    Yes, but that was what was confusing me. The V lead to I, reversing that and going I-V didn't make sense to me (unless followed by the I, as in I-V-I). I suppose that is what threw everything off for me. I don't really know why I-V that doesn't resolve to the I works. Especially since it sounds resolved at the end of the two bar phrase.

    I guess it can be thought of as a series of plagal cadences. It does somewhat sound like a series of three descending "Ah-men" that walks back up to the root in the last two bars.

  8. #7

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    I am just sharing my observations for better or worse.

    Bm A G F# is a common sequence in Flamenco music and elsewhere.
    Im bVII bVI V7 Aeolian and a borrowed dominant.

    I > V is a half cadence.
    In the same way, multiple chords in a key can each have a secondary dominant,
    this could be described as a sequence of unresolved half cadences, attached to
    the frame of this typical minor sequence.