Fifties (1950s) Chord Progressions

Published: Sep 10, 2013 Updated: Jan 30, 2014

ANY ukulele | Subjects: beginnerintermediateadvancedprogressionsrepertoiresongwritingtheory

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Another common way of extending the I - IV - V sequence is by adding the chord of the sixth scale degree, giving the sequence I - vi - IV - V or I - vi - ii - V, sometimes called the 50s progression.

1 6 4 5 -or- 1 6 2 5

In fact this sequence had been in use from the earliest days of classical music (used often by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart), but after generating popular hits such as Rogers and Hart's Blue Moon (1934), Jerome Kern and Dorothy Fields 1936 and Hoagy Carmichael's Heart and Soul (1938), it became associated with the black American vocal groups of the 1940s, The Ink Spots and The Mills Brothers Till The, and thus later became the entire basis of the 1950s doo-wop genre, a typical example being The Monotones' The Book of Love.


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Harmonic Analysis ( HA ) is the process used to determine the harmonic function of chords within a chord progression. A chord progression is defined as a sequence of chords, each chord has a root and has a particular chord type. The relationship of a chord's root to a scale determines its function within that scale's tonality. Once a chord's function is identified, scale selections along with chord and scale substitutions can be made. This process is called Root Movement Analysis ( RMA ).

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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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