Backdoor Chord Progressions
In jazz and jazz harmony, the chord progression from iv7 to bVII7 to I has been nicknamed the backdoor progression or the backdoor II-V. This name derives from an assumption that the normal progression to the tonic, the II-V-I turnaround ( II-V7 to I ) is, by inference, the front door. It can be considered a minor plagal cadence in traditional theory.
Backdoor also refers to the unexpected modulation created through the substitution of the highly similar IMA9 for IImi7 (in C: EGBD and CEGBD) at the end of the II-V turnaround to III ( II/III=IV, V/III=bVII, III ), thus arriving at home (the tonic) through unexpected means, the back door instead of the front door ( IIIm7, EGBD, being entirely contained within Imaj9, CEGBD, and the seventh still resolving downward ). If the II-V-I turnaround is an applied dominant, then the backdoor progression may be termed an applied subdominant The backdoor II-V is considered a'bluesy cadence and IV-bVII-I is used repeatedly as a chord substitution, along with tritone substitution, in Lazy Bird, John Coltrane's arrangement of Tadd Dameron's Lady Bird.
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The backdoor progression can be found in popular jazz standards in such places as measures 7 and 8 of the A section of Cherokee, measures 9 and 11 of *My Romance* or measures 10 and 28 of There Will Never Be Another You, as well as Beatles songs like In My Life and If I Fell.
The backdoor II-V is considered a 'bluesy cadence and IV-bVII-I is used repeatedly as a chord substitution, along with tritone substitution, in Lazy Bird, John Coltrane's arrangement of Tadd Dameron's *Lady Bird*.
The backdoor progression can be found in popular jazz standards in such places as measures 7 and 8 of the A section of Cherokee, measures 9 and 11 of My Romance or measures 10 and 28 of There Will Never Be Another You, as well as Beatles songs like In My Life and If I Fell.
- Lady Bird
- In My Life
- If I Fell
- There'll Never Be Another You
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Related Lesson Series
Related Lessons Series for Backdoor Chord Progressions at this time.
Harmonic Analysis for Scale and Chord Selection
Updated: Mar 28, 2020
Harmonic Analysis is the process used to determine the harmonic function of chords within a chord progression or song. A chord progression is defined as a sequence of chords, each chord has a root and is a particular chord type. The relationship of a chord's to a scale determines its function within that scale's tonality.
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