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What makes this chord progression work? (Read 1032 times)

Offline ranjit

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What makes this chord progression work?
« on: September 24, 2020, 09:19:18 PM »
So, I am basically playing Cmaj7/Cmaj -> C maj7/Abmaj -> C maj7/Fmin

I am playing the C maj7 as a constant right hand arpeggio over two octaves, and the chords in the left hand. Maybe the Cmaj7 is a kind of "pedal point". I have a feeling this kind of thing would be used in jazz pretty often. Is there any name for it?

Any ideas? :-\

Offline j_tour

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Re: What makes this chord progression work?
«Reply #1 on: September 24, 2020, 10:21:04 PM »
You've stumped me.  At a down time at work I've been fooling with all kinds of voicings, but all I can conclude it's just including some tensions and possibly some nice clusters, depending how it's voiced.

I've never heard those chords as part of general pattern, but perhaps  as something  an improvisor might use.

I have a vague idea of what the basic sound is, but I'd have to mess with it at the keyboard.
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Offline themeandvariation

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Re: What makes this chord progression work?
«Reply #2 on: September 24, 2020, 10:44:29 PM »
In each of the pairs of chords, the first one is the same - CM7.   This 1st chord is a set up to a type of resolution chord, which is different in each pair.  It is as if you are shifting tonal centers with each resolution chord. The affect (psych.) could be interpreted as 'searching'.  Not so jazzy, really. But, an interesting compositional structure, perhaps.. depending on what you do with this, and what follows. You might post your voicing.
The note 'C' could be a common high note in the resolution chords.   
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Offline j_tour

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Re: What makes this chord progression work?
«Reply #3 on: September 25, 2020, 12:20:07 AM »
In each of the pairs of chords, the first one is the same - CM7.   This 1st chord is a set up to a type of resolution chord, which is different in each pair.  It is as if you are shifting tonal centers with each resolution chord. The affect (psych.) could be interpreted as 'searching'.  Not so jazzy, really. But, an interesting compositional structure, perhaps.. depending on what you do with this, and what follows. You might post your voicing.
The note 'C' could be a common high note in the resolution chords.

I think I follow you.  Even though it's unfamiliar to me, it will be neat to play with.  I may find something similar when I hear it and play around with it.

So thanks for the lagniappe!
My name is Nellie, and I take pride in helping protect the children of my community through active leadership roles in my local church and in the Boy Scouts of America.  Bad word make me sad.

Offline ranjit

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Re: What makes this chord progression work?
«Reply #4 on: September 25, 2020, 05:52:10 AM »
The note 'C' could be a common high note in the resolution chords.   

Interestingly, you're right! I'm pretty surprised I was able to come up with this, my ear must be getting better haha. It's always a blast to discover something which sounds nice and tonal but is hard to analyze.

The voicings are:
Cmaj7 - first inversion

Cmaj - first inversion
Abmaj - second inversion
Fmin - root position

It is as if you are shifting tonal centers with each resolution chord.
Could you elaborate on this?

I was also thinking of it perhaps as a parallel major/minor tonality. Like modal interchange, but on steroids.

Offline quantum

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Re: What makes this chord progression work?
«Reply #5 on: September 25, 2020, 06:54:34 AM »
There is a technique used in the French school of organ improvisation of using a note, or a set of notes as a pivot to form the next chord.  Passages with this technique don't always follow traditional harmonic conventions. 

Look at the following link for an example.  Jump to the section labelled "One note at a time"
http://www.organimprovisation.com/practice-with-focus/


In your example, the note C is common between adjacent chords.  It could be a pivot, or a pedal point depending how the music based on these chords is realized.

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Offline themeandvariation

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Re: What makes this chord progression work?
«Reply #6 on: September 25, 2020, 04:20:53 PM »
"The voicings are:
Cmaj7 - first inversion

Cmaj - first inversion
Abmaj - second inversion
Fmin - root position"

Ok. So here you have the C at the top of all the chords, which acts as glue - connecting the chords, like a 'pedal point', as Quantum mentions.  So, this allows a kind of shifting of tonal reference - from key of C, to Ab major, to F minor ( which, incidentally is the same scale as AbM).  You could experiment alternating with other chords as well, with C as the top note.  When looking at something like this compositionally, it is a good idea to look at many of the possibilities in this context.  You might experiment with Many 'resolution' chords.  I mean, you could try for example Dm7b5 (root position), Eb6 (root), DbM7 (root), Gsus (2nd inversion), E aug (root). D#dim.  (root) -- and these are just of few...  You might try it out just to get a stronger sense of this pedal point idea.

j-tour, If you come across a tune that does this, let us know.  Cheers!
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Offline themeandvariation

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Re: What makes this chord progression work?
«Reply #7 on: September 25, 2020, 07:04:54 PM »
here's an example: Although, structured in an inverted way than you are doing - the last bars of the Rach. C# minor prelude (6 chords pivot off the low C# bell tolling) - have this idea of pedal point.
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Offline ranjit

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Re: What makes this chord progression work?
«Reply #8 on: September 25, 2020, 09:13:49 PM »
Nice example. Yes, I've pretty much always seen the pedal point in the bottom registers, but it makes sense to the ear here even if it is in the higher registers, probably because the flowing arpeggio somehow makes it feel like part of the harmony instead of the melody.