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PD: Quest for chord progressions19 Jul 2006 11:58

The old quest for some famous chord progressions.

A couple of special chord progressions are discussed here that also appear in the Queen catalog. It's a nice challange to fing the eraliest example of them, but its hopeless. Here I list some examples, if you find earlier example of it, post it here!

Twelve bar blues
(Sleeping On The Sidewalk, Dreamers Ball, I Want To Break Free)
This combination of chord progression and phrasing became clicheized in the early period of jazz music.

I > vi > ii > V
(Love Of My Life, Spread Your Wings, Play The Game)
An early example of this cliche is "Blue Moon". Surely there were earlier examples in both classical and popular music, but probably not clicheized until "Blue Moon".
Noteworthy that Queen have never applied the other famous cliche: I > vi > IV > V which dominated the doo-wop music in the fifties.

I > II > IV > I
(Misfire, A Kind f Magic)
This chord progression is i characteristic for the chromatic descending inner line:
5 > b5 > 4 > 3
and the way how the II which is widely used as V of V is not resolved to V.
The earliest found example of this is "Eight Days A Week" (1964) they also reused it in "You Wont See Me" "Sgt Pepper Lonely Hearts Club Band" and "The End".
Closely related examples
bVII > I > bIII: Calling All Girls

Prior to "Eight Days A Week":
V > II > IV > I : Beach Boys: ***
I > II > ii > I :  Frank Sinatra, 1953 (this one is also noteworthy for using pedal point)
vi > II > IV > I : She Love You (Beatles, 1963)
vi > I > II > IV > vi : House Of The Rising Sun (Animals, 1964)
(analysed here as being in C-Major instead of a-minor the real homekey of the song.)  
All these examples contain the full chromatic descending line.

I > V > bVII > IV
This progression is also characterized by chromatic inner line: 8 > 7 > b7 > 6.
Beethoven: Waldstein Sonata
Wonderfull Land (The Shadows, 1962)
Ruby Thuesday (Rolling Stones, 1967)
One Rainy Wish (Jimi Hendrix, )

closely related progression:
I > iii > bVII > IV featuring the same chromatic descending line
Lay Lady Lay (Bob Dylan):
Popsicles And Icicles (Murmaids, 1963):
It's Only Love: Beatles

bVII > IV > I
This on is also known as the so called double plagal cadence suggesting the bVII acting like IV of IV. (the plagal cadence is IV > I). This chord progression became one of the most important cliches of the modern pop/rock era. Examples before the sixties are hardly known.
Two examples:
Round And Round (The Shadows, 1963)
Paul Anka - Lonely Boy (1959)

bVI > bVII > I
(Drowse, Play The Game, Crazy Little Thing, Soul Brother)
This one is characterized by three major chords ascending in whole steps two of which is borrowed from the parallel minor key. It is like a minor key VI > VII > i ending with Piquardy third ending.
earliest example found: PS. I Love You (Beatles, 1963)
related early example:

There are other nice progressions that are pretty simple and locical but I did not found any other examples except these.

Bicycle Race progression 1
This one is characterized by two descending chromatic line combined with a pedal point.
A piano figure in Seaside Rendezvous also uses this progression extended by one further step . It's so basic shape that I expect to be used by many

Bicycle Race progression 2
Chain of Major chords ascending/descending in minor third intervals.
For the their non-diatonic content it is rarely used in pop/rock music.
March Of The Black Queen: ( B > D > F )

This one is found in Brighton Rock (see article). The "spiral" word refers to the cyclic (three chord cycles) and descending manner of the progression.
The intro of "Deat On TWo Legs is also a case of spiral chord progression with only two chord cycles. Can tell other song/composition examples for this gambit?

Post was edited on 13 Aug 2007 12:50
1.Daniel 20 Jul 2006 18:31
Theres a very interesting article i fonud from an old magazine scan about the beatles composition tricks,  it starts very simple but it gets to cover some great aspepect of their composition with analysis of some songs,  if i find a way to upload it i will tell you.
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