Friday, August 1, 2008

Ab Chord Progressions: iii and III Substitutions

Remember the "Dirty Dozen" (see sidebar for more info) Key of G# from last time?

I. G# major
ii. Bbm
iii. Cm
IV. C# major
V. Eb major
vi. Fm
vii(b5). Gdim

Well, scratch that. We're back to a more or less "orthodox" way of stating the Key of Ab Major:

I. Ab major
ii. Bbm
iii. Cm
IV. Db major
V. Eb major
vi. Fm
vii(b5). Gdim

Remember that the Ab major diatonic scale is as follows: Ab Bb C Db Eb F G Ab

Remember that the relative minor of Ab major (the chord and the scale) is F minor.

The F natural minor scale is as follows: F G Ab Bb C Db Eb F (compare with Ab major).

The F harmonic minor scale is as follows: F G Ab Bb C Db E F (note the singular difference between the natural and harmonic minor scales).

Now we have those ground rules established, it might help in the songwriting process to substitute the mellow iii chord with a more confident III chord. Going back to the simple relative minor substitutions from last time, let's try the following progression:

I-V-I-V-IV-V-I (I-V): Ab Eb Ab Eb Db Eb Ab (play Ab Eb quickly)

Let's replace some I and V chords with their relative minors, vi and iii respectively.

I-V-vi-iii-IV-V-I (vi-V): Ab Eb Fm Cm Db Eb Ab (Fm Eb)

Let's replace the iii chord with a III chord (that is a major chord).

I-V-vi-III-IV-V-I (vi-V): Ab Eb Fm C Db Eb Ab (Fm Eb)

It sounds a bit more adventurous, but still familiar, does it not?

Anyway, to connect with the natural minor and harmonic minor scales mentioned above, let's look at the iii and III chords.

iii. C minor chord (C Eb G notes)

III. C major chord (C E G notes)

Experiment with different chord progressions, and the best of luck to you in the songwriting process.

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