The Andalusian Chord Progression

The Andalusian cadence is a term adopted from flamenco music for a chord progression comprising four chords descending stepwise.

Published: 10 Sep 2013 Updated: 28 Oct 2022Visits: 331Code: UL59a

INSTRUMENTS: Chords Main: Music Others: ANY Ukulele
Subjects: Theory • Songwriting • Repertoire • Progressions

The Andalusian Chord Progression


The Andalusian cadence is a term adopted from flamenco music for a chord progression comprising four chords descending stepwise. It is otherwise known as the minor descending tetrachord. Traceable back to the Renaissance, its effective sonorities made it one of the most popular progressions in classical music.

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The upper tetrachord of minor scales varies: in C minor, the sixth may be Ab or A while the seventh may be Bb or B. To avoid confusion the chords of the progression may have accidentals added. The Andalusian cadence may then be notated I bVII bVI V rather than simply I VII VI V . The bVII note and chord is called the sub-tonic. In the final chord V the leading note replaces the sub-tonic.

Example in C Minor: Cm Bb Ab G. Example in C Major: C Bb Ab G. The main different is the I , the first chord being major or minor.

Example Songs

  • Maui, Hawai'ian Sup'pa Man
  • Babe I'm Gonna Leave You – by Led Zeppelin
  • Basketball Jones – by Cheech & Chong
  • Believe – Elton John
  • China Girl – David Bowe
  • Citizen Erased – Muse
  • Feels Like the First Time – Foreigner
  • Fever
  • Good Vibrations – The Beach Boys
  • Guitar Tango – The Shadows
  • Happy Together – by The Turtles
  • Hey Joe – by Deep Purple
  • Hit the Road Jack
  • I Will Survive – by Gloria Gaynor
  • I'll Be Back – The Beatles
  • Layla – by Eric Clapton
  • Love Child – by The Supremes
  • Maneater – Hall And Oates
  • Pipeline – by The Ventures
  • Runnaway – Del Shannon
  • Science Fiction Double Feature – Richard O'Brien and Richard Hartley
  • Smooth Criminal – Michael Jackson
  • Stray Cat Strut – The Stray Cats
  • Summer in the City – Quincy Jones
  • Walk Don't Run

One progression and lot of songs.

Variations

No resolution to the I from the bVI . Instead the bVI returns the bVII creating a vamp. A vamp creates a feeling of looping and not resolving to the 1 .

  • All All the Watchtower – Jimi Hendrix
  • In the Air Tonight – Phil Collins
  • My Heart Will Go On – Celine Dion
  • Rolling in the Deep – Adele
  • Somebody That I Use TO Know – Goyte
  • Stairway to Heaven – Led Zepplin

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