• Who Else Wants To Play Spicier Cyclical Progressions?

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    We’ll be looking at spicier cyclical progressions in today’s lesson.

    Due to the fact that we have a lot to cover, let’s lay the foundation of this study by looking at the concept of skeleton voicings.

    An Overview Of The Skeleton Voicing Concept

    Before we talk about the skeleton voicing, let’s define the term voicing.

    The voicing of chords has to do with the consideration chord tones as voices or voice parts.

    There are so many voicing techniques and concepts out there. But in today’s post, we’re focusing on the skeleton voicing technique which according to Jermaine Griggs, “…has to do with playing the third and seventh tones of a chord.”

    For example, playing the third and seventh tones of the C major seventh chord:

    …which are E and B:

    …produces its skeleton voicing.

    The same thing is applicable to other common seventh chord qualities. Check them out…

    Playing the third and seventh tones of the C minor seventh chord:

    …which are Eb and Bb:

    …produces its skeleton voicing.

    Playing the third and seventh tones of the C dominant seventh chord:

    …which are E and Bb:

    …produces its skeleton voicing.

    Further reading: Skeleton Voicing.

    Now that we’ve covered the skeleton voicing concept, let’s cover the “A & B Voicing” concept (yet another exciting concept on chord voicing) before proceeding to spicier cyclical progressions.

    “A & B Voicing” Of The Skeleton Voicing

    You’re already familiar with the skeleton of a chord as its third and seventh tones. However, the A & B voicing concept gives you the option of playing the skeleton voicing regularly (third before seventh) or inverting it (seventh before third.)

    Here’s an example…

    The skeleton voicing of the C major seventh chord:

    …is E-B:

    …which are its third and seventh tones.

    Inversion of E-B produces B-E:

    …which is pretty much the same skeleton voicing, however, in this case we’re having the seventh tone (B) before the third tone (E.)

    You’ll appreciate the A & B voicing concept more because it makes it easier for us to connect several chords smoothly. Therefore, take sometime out to learn the A and B voicings of the following passing chords in the key of C

    Attention: I recommend that you dwell on these chord voicings for a while before continuing with the rest of the lesson.

    Chord 5 of 4 – The C Dominant Seventh Chord

    The skeleton voicing of the C dominant seventh chord:

    …is E-Bb:

    …and can be played in A:

    …or B:

    …voicing.

    Attention: The term 5 0f 4 literally means passing chord to chord 4. Henceforth, if you come across 5 of 6, consider it to be a passing chord to chord 6. Click here to learn more.

    Chord 5 of 5 – The D Dominant Seventh Chord

    The skeleton voicing of the D dominant seventh chord:

    …is F#-C:

    …and can be played in A:

    …or B:

    …voicing.

    Chord 5 of 6 – The E Dominant Seventh Chord

    The skeleton voicing of the E dominant seventh chord:

    …is G#-D:

    …and can be played in A:

    …or B:

    …voicing.

    Chord 5 of 1 – The G Dominant Seventh Chord

    The skeleton voicing of the G dominant seventh chord:

    …is B-F:

    …and can be played in A:

    …or B:

    …voicing.

    Chord 5 of 2 – The A Dominant Seventh Chord

    The skeleton voicing of the A dominant seventh chord:

    …is C#-G:

    …and can be played in A:

    …or B:

    …voicing.

    Chord 5 of 3 – The B Dominant Seventh Chord

    The skeleton voicing of the B dominant seventh chord:

    …is D#-A:

    …and can be played in A:

    …or B:

    …voicing.

    Let’s put everything together by exploring cyclical progressions in the key of C.

    A Background Note On Cyclical Progressions

    The movement of chords from one degree of the scale to another creates chord progressions. Chord progressions can be unpredictable because from chord 1 there are several options of where to progress to – ranging from chord 2 to chord 7.

    Cyclical chord progressions are a set of predictable chord progressions where the root of a chord moves in a certain interval.

    In music, the strongest root movement between chords is in fifths and fourths. Chord progressions that are based on root movements in fourths and fifths are called cyclical progressions.

    Cyclical Progressions In The Key Of C

    Cyclical progressions can be formed by following the circle of fifths/fourths chart:

    circleoffiths1
    …in a counter clockwise manner.

    Starting from C (meaning we’re in the key of C), if we follow the circle:

    circleoffiths1
    …we’ll have…

    F

    Bb

    Eb

    Ab

    Db

    etc

    …and apart from F:

    …these notes are clearly foreign notes to the C major scale:

    …the key we’re in. Therefore, instead of these foreign notes, we’ll rather arrange the notes of the C major scale in fourths.

    C to F:

    F to B:

    …instead of the regular Bb on the chart.

    B to E:

    …instead of the regular Eb on the chart.

    E to A:

    …instead of the regular Ab on the chart.

    A to D:

    …instead of the regular Db on the chart.

    D to G:

    …instead of the regular Gb on the chart.

    G to C:

    …instead of the regular Cb on the chart.

    Put together, here’s the C major scale in fourths:

    Letters

    C

    F

    B

    E

    A

    D

    G

    C

    Numbers

    1

    4

    7

    3

    6

    2

    5

    1

    At this point, we’ve learned a whole lot and it’s high time we started putting everything together. We’ll be creating chord progressions based on the number system above. We’ll be moving from chord 1, to chord 4, to chord 7, …to chord 5, and back to chord 1.

    I’ll leave you with the obligation of filling in the numbers in between chords 7 and 5.

    ¬†Cyclical Progressions Using “Skeleton Voicings”

    We’ll be doing cyclical progressions in the key of C major using the skeleton voicings of scale degree chords and the passing chords we covered in an earlier segment.

    Attention: Take note that the movement of the root in this progression will be based on the 1-4-7-3-6-2-5-1 cyclic order we covered in the previous segment.

    Take #1

    Chord 1:

    …the B voicing of the C major seventh chord, to Chord 4:

    …the A voicing of the F major seventh chord, to Chord 5 of 3:

    …the B voicing of the B dominant seventh chord, to Chord 5 of 6:

    …the A voicing of the E dominant seventh chord, to Chord 6:

    …the B voicing of the A minor seventh chord, to Chord 2:

    …the A voicing of the D minor seventh chord, to Chord 5:

    …the B voicing of the G dominant seventh chord, to Chord 1:

    …the A voicing of the C major seventh chord.

    Take #2

    Chord 1:

    …the A voicing of the C major seventh chord, to Chord 4:

    …the B voicing of the F major seventh chord, to Chord 5 to 3:

    …the A voicing of the B dominant seventh chord, to Chord 5 of 3:

    …the B voicing of the E dominant seventh chord, to Chord 6:

    …the A voicing of the A minor seventh chord, to Chord 2:

    …the B voicing of the D minor seventh chord, to Chord 5:

    …the A voicing of the G dominant seventh chord, to Chord 1:

    …the B voicing of the C major seventh chord.

    At this point I’m sure you’re seeing how much we’re achieving with skeleton voicings – two notes.

    Final Words

    Let’s wrap up this study by putting take #1 and #2 together. Check out take #3…

    Take #3

    Chord 1:

    …the B voicing of the C major seventh chord, to Chord 4:

    …the A voicing of the F major seventh chord, to Chord 5 of 3:

    …the B voicing of the B dominant seventh chord, to Chord 5 of 6:

    …the A voicing of the E dominant seventh chord, to Chord 6:

    …the B voicing of the A minor seventh chord, to Chord 2:

    …the A voicing of the D minor seventh chord, to Chord 5:

    …the B voicing of the G dominant seventh chord, to Chord 1:

    _____________________ending of take #1/starting of take #2___________________________

    …the A voicing of the C major seventh chord, to Chord 4:

    …the B voicing of the F major seventh chord, to Chord 5 of 3:

    …the A voicing of the B dominant seventh chord, to Chord 5 of 6:

    …the B voicing of the E dominant seventh chord, to Chord 6:

    …the A voicing of the A minor seventh chord, to Chord 2:

    …the B voicing of the D minor seventh chord, to Chord 5:

    …the A voicing of the G dominant seventh chord, to Chord 1:

    …the B voicing of the C major seventh chord.

    I’m sure what we’ve covered so far has added to what you already know about cyclical chord progressions. We’ll continue our discussion in another post.

    Thank you for your time.

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    Hello, I'm Chuku Onyemachi (aka - "Dr. Pokey") - a musicologist, pianist, author, clinician and Nigerian. Inspired by my role model Jermaine Griggs, I started teaching musicians in my neighborhood in April 2005. Today, I'm privileged to work as the head of education, music consultant, and chief content creator with HearandPlay Music Group sharing my wealth of knowledge with hundreds of thousands of musicians across the world.

    Attention: To learn more about this, I recommend our 500+ page course: The "Official Guide To Piano Playing." Click here for more information.




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    { 1 comment… read it below or add one }

    1 zino

    nice

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