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Thread: Chord Families & Diatonic Chord Substitution

  1. #1
    dwest2419
    Guest

    Post Chord Families & Diatonic Chord Substitution

    Hi guys back with another thread. Before you read... this is a long thread for I have much to say. So carefully read! To make a long story short, I had to go back to the drawing board of how I play chords and along with their chord progressions. But in this thread I want to talk about chord families & diatonic chord substitution of how in each chord family share together same notes. If this lesson is for you hold on to your chair, but if you know this information and really don't need help you could skip this lesson! I will list the examples in the key of C.

    Key: C

    Notes: C D E F G A B

    Major key

    I = C major
    ii = D minor
    iii = E minor
    IV = F major
    V = G major
    vi = A minor
    vii* = B diminished

    Minor key

    i = A minor
    ii* = B diminished
    III = C major
    iv = D minor
    v = E minor
    VI = F major
    VII = G major

    Tonic Chord Family

    C major - C E G
    E minor - E G B
    A minor - A C E

    Sub-dominant Chord Family

    D minor - D F A
    F major - F A C

    Dominant Chord Family

    G major - G B D
    B diminished - B D F

    A three step chord movement is listed below (So many chord progressions listed below)

    Chord progression formula:

    Sub-dominant - Dominant - Tonic

    Dominant - Sub-dominant - Tonic

    Tonic - Sub-dominant - Dominant

    Tonic - Dominant - Sub-dominant

    Dominant - Tonic - Sub-dominant

    Sub-dominant - Tonic - Dominant

    Tonic - Sub-dominant - Tonic

    Tonic - Dominant - Tonic

    The unusual chord progressions

    Sub-dominant - Tonic - Sub-dominant

    Dominant - Sub-dominant - Dominant

    Sub-dominant - Dominant - Sub-dominant

    Dominant - Tonic - Dominant

    Description

    The tonic can be substituted for iii. vi, or the I chord
    The sub-dominant can be substituted for the IV or the ii chord
    The dominant can be substituted for V or the vii* chord

    I learned that chord progression formulas such as (Sub-dominant - Tonic - Sub-dominant) or (Sub-dominant - Dominant - Sub-dominant) are only how I like to call it "temporary chord movements" in a song. The chord progression usually doesn't want to end there. So I decided a way I can end this song is by taking a chord progression formula and ending the song nicely with either these two chord progression formulas

    Sub-dominant - Dominant - Tonic

    or

    Dominant - Sub-dominant - Tonic

    both of these two chord progression formulas will work well when ending a song in a major key

    So, say for instance the beginning of a song was (Sub-dominant - Tonic - Sub-dominant) and lets say I choose an Fmajor7 which is still sub-dominant, and I chose an Em7 which is also tonic, and in the chord progression it went back to sub-dominant creating a chord progression formula of sub-dominant - tonic - sub-dominant chord progression. But with this chord movement, this chord progression is just a repeated movement... until you get tired until you want to end the song. This chord progression has no ending! Unless it is repeated for about maybe five to four bars in a song. So, to complete this song I have two options first I have to make sure that the song ends with the "Tonic" the "I" chord. So you have two options that you can choose that will end this song nicely either

    Sub-dominant - Dominant - Tonic

    or

    Dominant - Sub-dominant - Tonic

    as long as the song is ending on "Tonic" it does not matter which of these chord progression formulas you choose. And that is what its all about! Figuring out whether which chord progression formula will work for or better suited for in a minor or major key. It is also about putting together different chord progression formulas that produces different sounds but resolving the song with a chord progression formula that fits perfectly for the song.

    Like for instance, I find it very hard to pick or choose this chord progression formula (Tonic - Sub-dominant - Dominant) for a natural minor key. But, why you may say?!? So far this chord progression formula, in the key of C, I chose the i, iv, VII chords in a minor key, which gave me the chords A minor, D minor, and G major. So for this chord progression formula (Tonic - Sub-dominant - Dominant) you have A minor - D minor - G major which both fits that formula as you can see. But yet somehow my ear tells me I have to end this song because the chord progression I'm currently playing is not stable, another words: "I cant stay there too long...!" the song will eventually have to end somehow and that leaves me with two chord progression formulas left to end the song on the "I" chord, which leaves us with these options (Sub-dominant - Dominant - Tonic or Dominant - Sub-dominant - Tonic) and when I stand back and look at my chord progression formulas I chose... I have a chord progression that goes (Tonic - Sub-dominant - Dominant) that is picked to be in a minor key, and to end the song I chose (Sub-dominant - Dominant - Tonic) which fits a F major - G major, and C major perfectly in a major key.

    But the one thing I find to make the v minor chord become dominant in a minor key that means it'll turn into A harmonic minor key where the V7 chord in that key is dominant. I said ah...!!! this is the chord that fits perfectly with a (Tonic - Sub-dominant - Dominant or with a Sub-dominant - Dominant - Tonic chord progression formula.) That is what makes it a stable chord progression. But remember also that a chord progression does not necessarily have to start with the I or i chord all the time, but the chord progression just have to have resolution. The fun really begins when parallel minor chords are applied to these chord progression formulas!!!

    So you may say okay... I get your point now! What are the chord progressions that create no movement but are really temporary chord progression movements, so I can hurried it up and end my song! Here's the list:

    Temporary chord progression movements in a song

    Tonic - Sub-dominant - Dominant ( <- it's usually going to want to end somewhere or else you'll just be repeating this chord progression over and over for maybe four or five bars until you get tired of hearing it! lol!)

    Tonic - Dominant - Sub-dominant

    Dominant - Tonic - Sub-dominant

    Sub-dominant - Tonic - Dominant

    Sub-dominant - Tonic - Sub-dominant

    Dominant - Sub-dominant - Dominant

    Sub-dominant - Dominant - Sub-dominant

    Dominant - Tonic - Dominant

    Once I got that issue down I started having timing issues, but I had solved that problem when songs had a nice steady and relaxing beat ( < that means at a normal tempo.) I would usually play each chord that is in the chord progression formula for one bar per measure, and for slower songs I would play each chord that is in the chord progression formula 2 bars per measure. That means for each measure, that of course, means that there are 4 beats in one bar that includes (to divide them separately) the 1 and 3 beats are for the bass drum and beats 2 and 4 are for the snare. So if you count up until on the 1 beat you make a bass drum sound on beats 1 and 3 and a snare sound you clap with your hands on beats 2 and 4. Of course if you have a metronome this will help out a lot. lol!

    Lesson 2

    Hey guys I'm back!!! I just wanted to also mention that there are chord progressions out there that where the first chord is played on the 1 beat, (which makes a bass drum sound) and when the song gets to beat three (which also makes a bass drum sound) a second chord is played - in just one bar!!! I learned you can play two chords in just one bar! ^_^ Instead of the usual one chord for one bar

    There are also a two chord progression formula for a two chord progression. Here is the list:

    Chord progression:

    Dominant - Tonic

    Sub-dominant - Tonic

    The unusual two chord progressions

    Tonic - Sub-dominant (< and this chord progression is where the song just repeats over and over again tonic to sub-dominant)

    Tonic - Dominant

    Sub-dominant - Dominant (< and this chord progression is where it just repeats over and over again sub-dominant to dominant)

    Dominant - Sub-dominant

    But remember earlier in my post those type of chord progressions will want to end eventually somewhere. I call these unusual type of chord progressions "temporary chord movements" in a song, why?!? Because their unstable! The chord progression does not have a resting place. So the chord progression must end somewhere! Anyway, a two chord progression formula ending on the "I" tonic chord are (Sub-dominant - Tonic) and (Dominant - Tonic) or the song can end with a three chord progression movement from (Sub-dominant - Dominant - Tonic) or (Dominant - Sub-dominant - Tonic) but remember the chord progression formula you choose... it has to be made up of where it ends on "Tonic."

    Now you might say west how do I get started writing songs.

    Step 1) Pick a chord progression formula - whether it be a two chord progression movement or three chord progression movement

    Step 2) Pick a rhythm pattern - decide whether your going to create a song where on the 1 and 3 beats - a chord will be played on beat 1 and a different chord will be played on beat 3 for 1 bar, or pick a rhythm pattern where for 1 bar a chord or chords are played for either a two chord progression movement or for a three chord progression movement. I leave this choice up to you!

    Step 3) End the song with a chord progression formula that ends the song on "Tonic" the "I" chord. Usually for a two chord progression would be either (Sub-dominant - Tonic or Dominant - Tonic) or for a three step moving chord progression movement (Sub-dominant - Dominant - Tonic) or (Dominant - Sub-dominant -Tonic)

    And there you have it!

  2. #2
    Registered User JonR's Avatar
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    Twickenham, UK
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    Quote Originally Posted by dwest2419 View Post
    Minor key

    i = A minor
    ii* = B diminished
    III = C major
    iv = D minor
    v = E minor
    VI = F major
    VII = G major
    Usual V chord in A minor is E (E7), not Em. (But I think you now realise this...)
    You might also get a G#dim7 as a "leading tone" chord.
    Quote Originally Posted by dwest2419 View Post
    Description

    The tonic can be substituted for iii. vi, or the I chord
    The sub-dominant can be substituted for the IV or the ii chord
    The dominant can be substituted for V or the vii* chord
    To clarify:
    iii and vi can sometimes be substituted for the tonic (I) chord.
    But it doesn't work vice versa: the I can't substitute for the iii or vi.
    Otherwise OK:
    ii and IV can both have a subdominant function (leading to V);
    V and vii can both have a dominant function (leading to I).

    NB: in A minor, that means E7 or G#dim7 as dominant function, not Em or G.
    G is more likely to have a secondary dominant function, as V of C.
    Quote Originally Posted by dwest2419 View Post
    I learned that chord progression formulas such as (Sub-dominant - Tonic - Sub-dominant) or (Sub-dominant - Dominant - Sub-dominant) are only how I like to call it "temporary chord movements" in a song. The chord progression usually doesn't want to end there. So I decided a way I can end this song is by taking a chord progression formula and ending the song nicely with either these two chord progression formulas

    Sub-dominant - Dominant - Tonic

    or

    Dominant - Sub-dominant - Tonic

    both of these two chord progression formulas will work well when ending a song in a major key
    Right. Look up the word "cadence":
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cadence_(music)
    Quote Originally Posted by dwest2419 View Post
    But the one thing I find to make the v minor chord become dominant in a minor key that means it'll turn into A harmonic minor key where the V7 chord in that key is dominant.
    You got it!

  3. #3
    dwest2419
    Guest
    To further expand on this lesson. I came up with this new chord progression JonR in the key of D and I like this formula for it fitted so well: (Tonic - Secondary Dominant - Subdominant) and the song and I choose (Dominant - Tonic) ( < a two chord movement to end the song!)

    So the first process was step 1) Pick a key - and I did!

    So the second process was step 2) Pick a chord progression formula - and I did!

    So the third process was step 3) Pick a rhythm pattern. Decide whether your going to create a song where on the 1 and 3 beats - a chord will be played on beat 1 and a different chord will be played on beat 3 for 1 bar, or pick a rhythm pattern where one chord is played for 1 bar - and I did I choose a chord for beat 1 and another chord on beat 3 for one bar in my song and I repeat this process through out the entire song!

    So the fourth process was step 4) End the song with a chord progression formula that ends the song on "Tonic" the "I" chord. Usually for a two chord progression would be great it would be either (Sub-dominant - Tonic or Dominant - Tonic) or for a three step moving chord progression movement (Sub-dominant - Dominant - Tonic) or (Dominant - Sub-dominant -Tonic) - and I did! I choose "Dominant - Tonic"

    I got this process from a video I've seen that helps for a writing a song which I love so much!!! Here it is:

    Step 1) Determine a key
    Step 2) Harmonic Rhythm Chords Per Measure < determine how many chords will be played for one measure which step process is almost kind of like mines
    Step 3) Roman numerals and Bass lines

    Anyway, so my chords were Dmaj7 Em7 F#m7 A7 and B7. So how I put this process together

    Tonic family - I, iii, vi
    Sub-dominant family - ii and IV
    Dominant family - V and vii*

    Chord progression formula: Tonic - Secondary Dominant - Sub-dominant and Dominant - Tonic to end the song

    So I have the I - iii which are tonic which results equal as to one - "Tonic"

    The ii - V/ii < there's the secondary dominant and the ii < sub-dominant

    V - I and V as dominant and the I as Tonic

    So all together you have this chord progression

    Tonic - Secondary dominant - sub-dominant
    (I - iii) - (V/ii) - (ii)

    Dominant - Tonic
    (V) - (I)

    Now as far as the rhythm goes for beats 1, 2, 3, and 4. As you can further see beats 1 and 3 are where chords are played

    1 ---- & --- 2 --- & --- 3 --- & --- 4 --- & < Completes bar one
    Dmaj7 ---- ---- ---- F#m7 ---- ---- ----


    1 ---- & --- 2 --- & --- 3 --- & --- 4 --- & < Completes bar two
    B7 ---- ---- ---- ---- Em7 ---- ---- ----

    1 ---- & --- 2 --- & --- 3 --- & --- 4 --- & < Completes bar three
    A7 ---- ---- ---- ---- Dmaj7 ---- ---- ----

    And there you have.

  4. #4
    dwest2419
    Guest
    I further figured out two more chord progression formulas that can be used for a song. Here they are:

    (Secondary Dominant - Sub-dominant) and (Secondary Dominant - Dominant)

    ...ending a two chord progression movement with either (Sub-dominant - Tonic) or (Dominant - Tonic)

    Also (Tonic - Secondary Dominant - Sub-dominant) (Tonic - Secondary Dominant - Dominant)

    And there you have it! Get started writing songs!

  5. #5
    dwest2419
    Guest
    I'm sorry you guys but here are more chord progression formulas

    (Secondary dominant - Sub-dominant - Tonic)

    (Secondary dominant - Dominant - Tonic)

  6. #6
    Registered User JonR's Avatar
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    Twickenham, UK
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    If you get used to using roman numerals, it saves you a lot of typing!

    Eg, instead of
    "Secondary dominant - Sub-dominant - Tonic"

    you can have "V/IV - IV - I". Eg in C major: C7-F-C.

    Here's all the possible secondary dominants in a major key, with examples from C major:

    V/ii = A
    V/iii = B
    V/IV = C7
    V/V = D
    V/vi = E

    Almost always, each secondary dominant will go to its target chord. Eg, V/ii will go to ii, V/V to V, etc.

    What happens after that is more variable.
    So it's common and typical for chord roots to move down in 5ths or up in 4ths - the so-called "circle progression" - but they don't have to.

    A circle progression in C major (fully diatonic) would run like this:

    C - F - Bdim(m7b5) - Em - Am - Dm - G - C

    Every move is a perfect 5th or 4th except F-B, which is a diminished 5th (down) or augmented 4th (up). Still works OK.

    Here's how it might look with maximum number of secondary dominants (in red) introduced:

    C - C7 - F - B7 - Em - E7 - Am - A7 - Dm - D7 - G - C.

    In jazz they often introduce "secondary supertonics" ("supertonic" = ii) to make ii-V pairs (secondary ii-Vs bracketed):
    Code:
    I   ii/IV V/VI > IV   ii/iii V/iii > iii   ii/vi  V/vi > vi   ii/ii  V/ii > ii  ii/V  V/V   ii    V    I
    C  - Gm7 - C7  - F  - F#m7b5 - B7  - Em  - Bm7b5 - E7  - Am - Em7b5 - A7  - Dm - Am7 - D7 - Dm7 - G7 - C
        |________|        |__________|         |_________|        |_________|        |_______|
    Notice a couple of those secondary ii chords are diatonic to C major. In this case, however, Bm7b5 is acting as ii of Am, not vii of C major; likewise, Am7 is acting as ii of G, not vi of C.
    (I've added 7ths now because they help the changes flow.)

    Also notice that when the target chord is minor, its ii chord is m7b5, not m7.
    So you have Em7b5 > A7 > Dm, not Em7 > A7 > Dm.

    You can omit some of the diatonic chords if you want:
    Code:
    I   ii/IV V/VI > IV   ii/iii V/iii  ii/vi  V/vi ii/ii  V/ii ii/V  V/V   ii    V    I
    C  - Gm7 - C7  - F  - F#m7b5 - B7   Bm7b5 - E7  Em7b5 - A7  Am7 - D7 - Dm7 - G7 - C
         |______|         |_________|   |________|  |________|  |______|
    That gives you a string of ii-Vs.

    By now your head should be exploding, so I'll hold off on the next step...

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