Author Topic: Using borrowed chords to spice up chord progressions  (Read 3723 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Online close2u

  • Administrator
  • All Time Legend
  • *****
  • Posts: 15221
  • Good Vibes 670
  • Teesside, North East England.
Re: Using borrowed chords to spice up chord progressions
« Reply #75 on: August 31, 2021, 08:48:25 am »
As we are in the key of G major, we take a look at the parallel key of G minor to see what we can borrow.

 

We will borrow two chords this time, both major chords again, Bb major and Eb major. We will place these in to bars five and six and we label them as bIII and bVI respectively. Our progression is now:

|   G   |   D   |   Em   |   Am   |   Bb   |   Eb   |   D   |   G   |
|   I   |   V   |   vi   |   ii   |  bIII  |   bVI  |   V   |   I   |

Let's listen and see how our ears react.

G major progression 2 mp3

Ooh. Ahh. It was good for me. Was it good for you?

Online close2u

  • Administrator
  • All Time Legend
  • *****
  • Posts: 15221
  • Good Vibes 670
  • Teesside, North East England.
Re: Using borrowed chords to spice up chord progressions
« Reply #76 on: August 31, 2021, 08:57:18 am »
If you liked it then you know what to do.
 ;)

Online close2u

  • Administrator
  • All Time Legend
  • *****
  • Posts: 15221
  • Good Vibes 670
  • Teesside, North East England.

Online close2u

  • Administrator
  • All Time Legend
  • *****
  • Posts: 15221
  • Good Vibes 670
  • Teesside, North East England.
Re: Using borrowed chords to spice up chord progressions
« Reply #78 on: September 04, 2021, 01:37:14 pm »
We have now seen five examples – plus the more than welcome contributions of several folk who recorded and uploaded their own progressions.

One from DavidP here.

One from adi_mrok here.

Hopefully more will follow and be added also. :)
« Last Edit: September 04, 2021, 01:58:53 pm by close2u »

Online close2u

  • Administrator
  • All Time Legend
  • *****
  • Posts: 15221
  • Good Vibes 670
  • Teesside, North East England.
Re: Using borrowed chords to spice up chord progressions
« Reply #79 on: September 04, 2021, 01:39:21 pm »
There is one notable aspect so far that that has not been made explicit, so it may have gone unnoticed. It is that in all the examples seen so far, only major chords have been borrowed, chords from the outer wheel of the Circle of Fifths.
Hopefully, what we have noticed is that each and every one of these major chords is labelled as ‘flat’ when placed in a parallel major progression. We have seen the bIII, bVI and bVII up to now.

Back in the early part of the introduction to this study was the notion of having six chords (we excluded diminished for simplicity sake) to choose from when borrowing. The question arises … where are the minor chords in all of this borrowing?

Let us pause for a moment and take a look at a pair of major-minor parallel key chords chosen at random. We will use D major and D minor.

 

Note that the three major chords in the key of D major (G, D and A) are matched (in terms of their root notes) by the three minor chords in the key of D minor (Gm, Dm and Am). Hopefully we can anticipate that when one or more of these minor chords are borrowed their labeling necessitates the use of lower case Roman numerals but, because their root notes are diatonic to the D major scale, will be 'natural' and not ‘flat’.
In this example :-
G major = IV and Gm = iv
D major = I and Dm = i
A major = V and Am = v
« Last Edit: September 07, 2021, 08:28:24 pm by close2u »

Online close2u

  • Administrator
  • All Time Legend
  • *****
  • Posts: 15221
  • Good Vibes 670
  • Teesside, North East England.
Re: Using borrowed chords to spice up chord progressions
« Reply #80 on: September 04, 2021, 01:51:27 pm »
So we progress and arrive at a sixth example. This one is yet another major key progression but, as just alluded to, this example will go on and borrow one of the three minor chords from the parallel minor key.

Example 6  A progression in the key of C major.


|   C   |   C   |   F   |   F   |   C   |   G   |   Am   |   G   |   C   |
|   I   |   I   |  IV   |  IV   |   I   |   V   |   vi   |   V   |   I   |


C major progression 1 mp3

It's a bouncy little ditty, for sure. Give it some drums and bass and a decent mix and it could get any number of people up out of their seats and dancing.
« Last Edit: September 05, 2021, 11:12:12 am by close2u »

Online close2u

  • Administrator
  • All Time Legend
  • *****
  • Posts: 15221
  • Good Vibes 670
  • Teesside, North East England.
Re: Using borrowed chords to spice up chord progressions
« Reply #81 on: September 04, 2021, 01:51:34 pm »
Let's make it tell a different story.
It's just too darn upbeat and chirpy.
Too sickly sweet.
Some mild peril, a slight sombre moment, is called for to improve the taste and texture.

What do we do? We look next door at the parallel key of C minor.

 

And this time we drop in a classic.
A real, true, tried and tested bona fide classic.

We use the minor iv.

There are two consecutive bars of F major (the IV) leading back to the tonic chord C major. It has been done a million and one times so why don't we do it too. We swap the second F major in bar four for a borrowed F minor. Note that the two chords together, F then Fm, are labeled IV then iv.

|   C   |   C   |   F   |   Fm   |   C   |   G   |   Am   |   G   |   C   |
|   I   |   I   |  IV   |   iv   |   I   |   V   |   vi   |   V   |   I   |

Give this one a listen.
As soon as you hear it (the minor iv) you'll know it.

Here it is.

C major chord progression 2 pm3
« Last Edit: September 05, 2021, 11:13:27 am by close2u »

Online close2u

  • Administrator
  • All Time Legend
  • *****
  • Posts: 15221
  • Good Vibes 670
  • Teesside, North East England.
Re: Using borrowed chords to spice up chord progressions
« Reply #82 on: September 04, 2021, 02:29:39 pm »
There it is.
Just one borrowed chord – yet what a classic.
Going from the diatonic major IV chord to the borrowed minor iv chord. This appears in many, many songs and you will have heard it hundreds of times, perhaps without knowing or understanding what the trick was.
A certain Mr N. Gallagher knows it very well – having half-inched it from Lennon & McCartney no doubt.
It is often employed right before the progression ventures back to the tonic chord and that is what we have just heard.

Online close2u

  • Administrator
  • All Time Legend
  • *****
  • Posts: 15221
  • Good Vibes 670
  • Teesside, North East England.
« Last Edit: September 04, 2021, 03:05:15 pm by close2u »

Online close2u

  • Administrator
  • All Time Legend
  • *****
  • Posts: 15221
  • Good Vibes 670
  • Teesside, North East England.
Re: Using borrowed chords to spice up chord progressions
« Reply #84 on: September 04, 2021, 03:01:37 pm »
So, without delay or hindrance, why not set to.
Learn this progression, transpose it, mess around with it, try it in your own musical creations whenever you identify a major IV chord, look and listen for the trick in songs you have already learned to play, chart those out in chord / Roman numeral formats, record and upload something for us all to enjoy.
Ready, Steady, Go!
:)

Offline tobyjenner

  • All Time Legend
  • *******
  • Posts: 5652
  • Good Vibes 214
  • You're never too old to Rock'n'Roll
Re: Using borrowed chords to spice up chord progressions
« Reply #85 on: September 09, 2021, 09:12:59 pm »
Richard

Still hanging with this and following the logic. Listened to a few examples and fully understand and recognise the concept. I'm yet to apply from a playing perspective but am beginning to see quite a few areas, where economy of movement comes into play. So you get some great audio payback for very little movement. The Major to minor swap in the last example being the kind of thing I am referring to.

All good stuff which I will at some point experiment with.

Cheers

Toby
 8)
Here since Mar 2013 Completed BC, RUST 1 & 2, IM, MTMS Still on Blues Rhythm and Blues Lead
https://soundcloud.com/tobyjenner/   
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC2wcjHmnrFuQyom6tqUtdrQ
Roadcase : https://justinguitarcommunity.com/index.php?topic=39537

Online close2u

  • Administrator
  • All Time Legend
  • *****
  • Posts: 15221
  • Good Vibes 670
  • Teesside, North East England.
Re: Using borrowed chords to spice up chord progressions
« Reply #86 on: September 12, 2021, 08:37:11 pm »
Example 7. A progression in the key of A major played in 6/8.

|   A   |   C#m   |  F#m   |   E   |   D   |   C#m   |   Bm   |   E   |
|   I   |   iii   |   vi   |   V   |   IV  |   iii   |   ii   |   V   |

Note that it is written as an 8-bar progression that seems to end on the dominant V chord. Because it loops the dominant chord at the end does provide the resolution back to bar 1 in the repeat. Plus, once the entire progression completes, there is a final, additional bar of the tonic to finish. If that additional bar was absent it would sound somewhat strange and unresolved.

A major progression 1 mp3

I don’t know about you but I find that soothing and serene.
Pleasant.
Relaxing.
From bar 2 there is a satisfying descending movement in the root notes from F# down to E down to D down to C# down to B.

But can we bring a little zesty tang to add to this taste?
« Last Edit: September 12, 2021, 09:08:23 pm by close2u »

Online close2u

  • Administrator
  • All Time Legend
  • *****
  • Posts: 15221
  • Good Vibes 670
  • Teesside, North East England.
Re: Using borrowed chords to spice up chord progressions
« Reply #87 on: September 12, 2021, 08:37:23 pm »
We do what we do.
We look at the parallel minor key, A minor in this instance.
We eye up the goods displayed in the shop window then we smash and grab.
Let's take a peek, see what might be in store.

 

So many choices ... mmmhh ...

First, let’s remove the C#m in bar 6 and replace it with a C major – which will be notated as bIII.

Then, in bar 7, we will employ the minor iv again. This time it fits in and functions slightly differently to Example 6. Notably it does not follow the diatonic major IV so we do not get the major-to-minor that is so common with the minor iv. Also, it does not lead directly back to the tonic chord. Instead, it simply replaces the Bm chord at bar 7 and it pushes us back up to the dominant E major chord. This gives a strong resolution to finish the overall progression with.

|   A   |   C#m   |   F#m  |   E   |   D   |   C   |   Dm   |   E   |
|   I   |   iii   |   vi   |   V   |   IV  |  bIII |   iv   |   V   |

Listen now.

A major progression 2

The whole progression remains  pleasingly sweet and mellow, though is now subtly altered.
Notice how that descending bass line formed in the root notes has been shifted with a significant impact.
Instead of starting on the F# and falling, falling, falling to ever lower notes, once the sequence reaches C# it bounces back up, giving a little energy and vitality to lead upwards again to the E chord that resolves to the tonic.

We had 5 descending chords before the dominant:
F# - E - D - C# - B - E

We now have 4 descending chords that do a 180o turn to climb back up to the dominant:
F# - E - D - C# - D - E

Thoughts?
Preferences?
« Last Edit: September 12, 2021, 09:23:31 pm by close2u »

Online close2u

  • Administrator
  • All Time Legend
  • *****
  • Posts: 15221
  • Good Vibes 670
  • Teesside, North East England.
« Last Edit: September 13, 2021, 08:05:20 am by close2u »

Offline DavidP

  • All Time Legend
  • *******
  • Posts: 7912
  • Good Vibes 391
  • You're always learning about guitars-Keef Richards
Re: Using borrowed chords to spice up chord progressions
« Reply #89 on: September 13, 2021, 06:46:28 am »
Thanks again, Richard.

I've had a couple of unusual weekends, so have fallen behind. I'll get back to some listening and appreciation in due course.

Online close2u

  • Administrator
  • All Time Legend
  • *****
  • Posts: 15221
  • Good Vibes 670
  • Teesside, North East England.
Re: Using borrowed chords to spice up chord progressions
« Reply #90 on: September 18, 2021, 11:35:04 am »
... Still hanging with this and following the logic. Listened to a few examples and fully understand and recognise the concept...All good stuff which I will at some point experiment with.

Thanks Toby - no rush to dive in. The river flows and it'll still be flowing when you're ready to swim.

... I'll get back to some listening and appreciation in due course.
[/quote
Maybe you and Toby can don your swimming shorts together! :)

Online close2u

  • Administrator
  • All Time Legend
  • *****
  • Posts: 15221
  • Good Vibes 670
  • Teesside, North East England.
Re: Using borrowed chords to spice up chord progressions
« Reply #91 on: September 18, 2021, 11:35:19 am »
So far we have only looked at and heard progressions where the original diatonic progressions were altered by substituting one or more diatonic chords for borrowed chords.
Of course, there is no necessity whatever to think that the starting point needs to be a diatonic progression. Borrowing chords is not simply about replacing a diatonic chord with a non-diatonic chord from the parallel minor key.
The very fact that borrowed chords can slot in to chord progressions means that we actually have an expanded palette to call upon when composing chord progressions. We can consider that instead of just six main diatonic chords (again excluding diminished for our purpose here) we have twelve chords. From the parallel minor key we gain an additional three major and three minor chords to use as we wish. The only caveat is that the borrowed chords need to be short moments of fleeting otherness that act as diversions from the diatonic sound. There are some borrowed chords that get used much more frequently than others. That is not to say all can not or will not work. Context is king. Plus, if it sounds good it is good.
The examples so far have been used merely to build on the known (purely diatonic chord progressions) in order to demonstrate and understand the concept so stepping in to the unknown (progressions with one or more borrowed chords as substitutes).
Now that we are all more comfortable and familiar with this whole notion of borrowing chords, we can hopefully move away from only replacing chords originally in a diatonic progression and step-up to the challenge of composing progressions that contain borrowed chords from the outset.

Online close2u

  • Administrator
  • All Time Legend
  • *****
  • Posts: 15221
  • Good Vibes 670
  • Teesside, North East England.
Re: Using borrowed chords to spice up chord progressions
« Reply #92 on: September 18, 2021, 11:48:01 am »
Example 8. A progression in the key of F major in 6/8.

We are presented here with an extension to the notion under which borrowed chords are being used and a quiz element too.

First, we need to listen to the progression.

F major progression mp3

Online close2u

  • Administrator
  • All Time Legend
  • *****
  • Posts: 15221
  • Good Vibes 670
  • Teesside, North East England.
Re: Using borrowed chords to spice up chord progressions
« Reply #93 on: September 18, 2021, 11:51:44 am »
Challenge 1.

Can you detect the borrowed chord(s) just by listening? Either its location in the progression or - double bonus points and kudos what the chord(s) is / are. That would require guitar in hand and some figuring out the actual progression. :)

No peeking at the chord chart just yet.

Online close2u

  • Administrator
  • All Time Legend
  • *****
  • Posts: 15221
  • Good Vibes 670
  • Teesside, North East England.
Re: Using borrowed chords to spice up chord progressions
« Reply #94 on: September 18, 2021, 11:51:59 am »
Do you think you heard where something unexpected, something out-of-key took your ear?

Where was it?

How would you describe the 'shift' that happened?

Online close2u

  • Administrator
  • All Time Legend
  • *****
  • Posts: 15221
  • Good Vibes 670
  • Teesside, North East England.
Re: Using borrowed chords to spice up chord progressions
« Reply #95 on: September 18, 2021, 11:55:07 am »
Let’s find out and understand what is going on.


Here is our progression.

| F | Am | Bb | Am | Gm | F | Am | Dm | Db | Db | Csus4 | C | F | F |

Challenge 2.

Can you spot the borrowed chord(s) now?

Online close2u

  • Administrator
  • All Time Legend
  • *****
  • Posts: 15221
  • Good Vibes 670
  • Teesside, North East England.
Re: Using borrowed chords to spice up chord progressions
« Reply #96 on: September 18, 2021, 12:06:06 pm »
Here is the full Circle of Fifths and the pared down version showing the chords of F major (our key) and F minor (the parallel minor key).

 

Challenge 3.

Can you complete the chord chart using Roman numerals?


| F | Am | Bb | Am | Gm | F | Am | Dm | Db | Db | Csus4 | C | F | F |
| I | ?? | IV | ?? | ?? | I | ?? | vi | ?? | ?? | Vsus4 | V | I | I |

Online close2u

  • Administrator
  • All Time Legend
  • *****
  • Posts: 15221
  • Good Vibes 670
  • Teesside, North East England.
Re: Using borrowed chords to spice up chord progressions
« Reply #97 on: September 18, 2021, 12:10:16 pm »
Here is the progression fully completed with the borrowed chords emboldened and all Roman numerals added.


| F | Am  | Bb | Am  | Gm | F | Am  | Dm | Db  | Db  | Csus4 | C | F | F |
| I | iii | IV | iii | ii | I | iii | vi | bVi | bVI | Vsus4 | V | ​I | I |


Online close2u

  • Administrator
  • All Time Legend
  • *****
  • Posts: 15221
  • Good Vibes 670
  • Teesside, North East England.
Re: Using borrowed chords to spice up chord progressions
« Reply #98 on: September 18, 2021, 12:13:35 pm »
How was that? A fairly simple, routine exercise now that a greater depth of understanding has been gained? Was it a mental workout or did you pick up your guitar and try to play along, to work out the chords by ear?
Comments?
:)

Online close2u

  • Administrator
  • All Time Legend
  • *****
  • Posts: 15221
  • Good Vibes 670
  • Teesside, North East England.
Re: Using borrowed chords to spice up chord progressions
« Reply #99 on: September 18, 2021, 12:15:39 pm »
Once again, here is the full range of files for this example. There is only one of each as we started out using borrowed chords, we did not create a diatonic progression and then substitute / swap.

F major progression mp3

F major progression tab

F major progression GP file

 

Get The Forum As A Mobile App