II, V, I revised

Last week I wrote of II, V, I chord changes. After this week’s lesson, there are a few things I need to correct and clarify.

In that post, I wrote II, V, I progressions establish a new key centre – a musical focal point. What I explained inaccurately was that you have to remain in the same key throughout. This is not entirely true.

II, V, I still works in the same key, though I find it’s best suited to a bridge of a song or when you need something that sounds different but familiar to the main musical theme you are constructing.

The progression is usually applied starting on one key then moving to another; for example, you can begin in C and move to D by playing Em (II), A (V) and D (I). D would become the key centre and you can then carry on in that key.

The sound of moving from C to D via the II, V, I route is a smooth one. To an ear attuned to contemporary western music, it just sounds “right”. Some keys, however, do not go together as comfortably.  It’s largely a task of trail and error to find out which combinations work.


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Filed under Guitar, Guitar lessons, Music, Music lessons

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