Lesson 50: Some Hard Chord Progressions
We are going to look at three particularly hard chord progressions. The progressions are those of
Countdown by John Coltrane
In Countdown this progression is sequenced three times and transposed a whole step down each time:
thus becoming ( with a turn-around added as the last four bars of the form):
|Em7 F7 |Bbmaj7Db13 |Gbmaj7A7 |Dmaj7 | |Dm7 Eb7 |Abmaj7B13 |Emaj7 G7 |Cmaj7 | |Cm7 Db7 |Gbmaj7A7 |Dmaj7 F7 |Bbmaj7 | |Em7 |F7 |Bbmaj7 | |
The main progression of Countdown can be looked at as a reharmonization of a II-V-I ( Countdown is actually a reharmonization of Tune Up by Miles Davis):
|Dm7 |G7 |Cmaj7 | | ( original) |Dm7 Eb7 |Abmaj7B13 |Emaj7 G7 |Cmaj7 | ( reharmonization)
This progression goes through three tonal centers: Ab, E and C. The tonal centers are spaced a major third apart. This originates from a division of an octave into three equal parts. The same type of progression is used in Giant Steps.
Giant Steps by John Coltrane
The progression of Giant Steps by John Coltrane is the following, here with the melody:
and here are just the chords:
|Bmaj7 D7 |Gmaj7 Bb7 |Ebmaj7 |Am7 D7 | |Gmaj7 Bb7 |Ebmaj7F#7 |Bmaj7 |Fm7 Bb7 | |Ebmaj7 |Am7 D7 |Gmaj7 |C#m7 F#7 | |Bmaj7 |Fm7 Bb7 |Ebmaj7 |C#m7 F#7 |
Giant Steps has a symmetric melody. It has three equally strong tonal centers: B, G and Eb major. The tonal centers are spaced a major third apart. This originates from a division of an octave into three equal parts.
Giant Steps can be analyzed as follows:
The progressions of Countdown and Giant Steps are very similar. This type of progression is commonly referred to as "Coltrane changes". Let's take a look at the two in the same key ( C major) and side by side:
|Dm7 Eb7 |Abmaj7B13 |Emaj7 G7 |Cmaj7 | ( Countdown) |Cmaj7 Eb7 |Abmaj7B7 |Emaj7 | | ( Giant Steps)Other Coltrane tunes where the same type of progressions are used:
Lakes by Pat Metheny
The progression for the solo section of Lakes by Pat Metheny is a really hard one, too:
|Dmaj7 C7sus4|Fmaj7 Ab7sus|Dbmaj7B7sus4|Emaj7 D7sus4| |Gmaj7 F7sus4|Bbmaj7Db7sus|Gbmaj7G7sus4|Cmaj7 A7sus4| |Dmaj7 C7sus4|Fmaj7 Ab7sus|Dbmaj7B7sus4|Emaj7 D7sus4| |Gmaj7 F7sus4|Bbmaj7Db7sus|Gbmaj7G7sus4|Cmaj7 A7sus4| |D |A/D |G/D |A/D | |D |A/D |G/D |A/D |
Lakes also goes through several tonal centers. First D, F, Db and E, then G, Bb, Gb and C major - with each tonic chord preceded by its dominant. Here the tonal center moves up a minor third four times: D to F, Db to E, E to G to Bb and down a major third two times: F to Db and Bb to Gb.
Lakes can be analyzed as follows:
Features Common to These Progressions
As it happens, these progressions have several things in common. Realizing this may make them easier to handle. Some things that they have in common are:
© 2005 Tomas Karlsson. All rights reserved.