The Hawai'ian Turnaround

You can not hear this II7 V I harmonic cell and NOT think Hawai'i.

Published: Oct 18, 2016 Updated: Oct 22, 2018 • Visitors: 1 • Page Views: 1

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The Hawai'ian Turnaround is a II7 V I chord progression in a major key. The II7 V I refers to the chord’s harmonic function within that key and a way of comparing like chord progressions, songs and harmonic cells.

This is actually a pretty common chord progression or harmonic movement in general and just so famously a part of Hawai'ian music that is has become associated with that style of music and culture. When you hear it you'll think Hawai’i.

The Hawai'ian Turnaround can be used as a Vamp for the introduction of a song or interlude between sections. The vamp gives off an instant island feel that is was named The Hawai'ian Turnaround.

In the key of C major the II7 V I chords are D7 G7 C.

One characteristic that make it distinctly sound Hawai'ian is the duration of the chords are the same duration for the II7 and V chord and twice as long for the I chord.

Example: The Hawai'ian Turnround in C major:

  • || D7 / G7 / | C / / / ||
  • || D7 / / / | G7 / / / | C / / / | / / / / ||

The chords can be played harmonically, either strummed or fingerpicked or played melodically outlining the chords using the chord tones prominently.

Here are various melodic examples in various keys.

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This series of lessons are extracted from my book for use with individual private and on-line students-members.

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