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Theory Of Music

Flat-5 (or flat-V) is a technique for chord substitution using the Cycle of Fifths.

Let's say we have a song in the key of C that has the following sequence of chords: C, Dm, G and C. (A more likely set of chords would be C7, Dm7, G7, C7, but for simplicity, we are going to leave out the 7s.)

Hearing these chords, in sequence, will be very helpful. If you play piano or guitar or some other chording instrument, just play the chords one after the other as described below. If you play a single-note instrument, you'll need to play the individual notes of the each chord in fairly rapid sequence to hear the chord, then play the notes of the next chord, and so on.

Play the chords, in the sequence below, and see how each one feels in relation to the chord that came before.

C = C + E + G (Play this chord several times to get used to it.)
Dm = D + F + A (or Dm7 = D + F + A + C)
G = G + B + D (or G7 = G + B + D F)
C = C + E + G
Once my ear has heard the C chord several times and then the Dm chord is played, I feel like something else must follow: a sequence has started but isn't done. The Dm makes me want something next.

And when I hear the G chord, I'm very aware that something else must follow. I want more: I want the next thing: I want release: I want it to finish.

If you really want to annoy someone, don't play the final C chord. Leave the progression unresolved. Most people will react very strongly to this unresolved tension. (Get ready to run!)
Finally, when the C chord is played, I feel relief. The tension is gone and my ear tells me we are home.


Playing the C chord at the beginning established the "home" for the sequence. Then, my tension went up a little (Dm), reached a peak (G), and then quickly slid back down to peaceful rest (C).

To be Continue ... Very Happy
If you're going to post a serial of these articles, you might want to do that in the Tutorials Forum.

Thank you.
I am unsure from your post whether or not you have been taught the logistics of music and are simply putting them into regular terms or if you are learning the theory of music from experimentation.

I would very much enjoy talking about these types of rules (such as the common I-IIm-V-I chord progression) but I'm not sure if the purpose of your post is to discuss or to teach.
This topic is something I could really get into. I'm a frustrated composer because it's hard to get anyone to play my music. When you're writing for orchestra you need to get about 40 people together to play your stuff.

I tend to throw out a lot of rules I learned, and using modern composing tools like the computer I can try things out until they sound the way I want. Sometimes that's with consonant harmony and sometimes it's with harsh conflicting sounds.

It's a shame we can't post music files for discussion.
I'm starting to learn music theory in terms of scales, notes and composition.

Here's a basic song structure for those who are curious or would like to compose a pop, pop/rock type of song:

*Possible Solo*

That's pretty much the cookie-cutter type of song structure for most of the songs you hear these days. Just have some catching rhythm or riff and hey, you got yourself a hit track!

I admit, some of the music I listen to loosely base their songs on the structure, but hey, what can you do.

That's another reason why I enjoy classical/progressive music, the structure is totally different, and the music sounds more expressive and free.
please write somthings about theory of music for teaching it to other peoples :

Incidentally, this is a 2-5-1 progression and it is very common in Jazz. The numbers come from the root-note of each chord, counting from the note that has the same name as the key, in this case, C. The Dm chord (root-note is D) is the 2 chord because, in the C scale, D is the second note. G is the 5-note (C-1, D-2, E-3, F-4, G-5...) and the final C chord is, of course, the 1 chord. Roman numerals may often be used instead of arabic: ii-V7-I. The "ii" denotes a 2-minor chord, "V7" means 5-Major chord adding the seventh note (above the root-note of the chord, G, so the seventh would be F, so G-B-D-F), and "I", of course, means the C (Major) chord.
This sequence of chords is called "Harmonic Resolution." Once a key is established, the chords cause many listeners to feel that the chords must move, and in a particular direction. Looking at the Circle Of Fifths in the drawing, if you move clockwise around the circle, you will always be moving in the direction of Harmonic Resolution, and although the chords will always feel like the tension is still there, complete relief will be found when the song's tonic chord, C in our case, is reached in the sequence.

This can be taken to greater lengths. For example, we could play an Am chord before the Dm, G and C chords and be following the Circle of Fifths. (One song whose title escapes me at the moment goes all the way around!)

Drawing 1
Cycle of Fifths

And we could even insert new chords in-between existing ones: If a chord rooted on A is coming up in the music, we could insert the appropriate E chord just before it. If the song were in the key of C, the chords would be the new Em chord inserted before the existing Am. Whether the new chords are Major or minor will depend on the key of the song and whether we need a Major or minor third (or even a diminished chord) to comply with the "diatonic" notes ("in the scale based on the key"). And whether we add the 7th (and the 9th, and maybe even the 13th) will depend on how fancy or "embellished" we want the chords to sound.

Finally, the Circle of Fifths can also be used when changing keys. Let's say our song is in C and we want to modulate up a full step to D to add a little life to the song for a final verse. Looking at the Circle of Fifths, an A appears before D so, to make the transition into the new key, one measure before the verse starts in the new key, we actually start playing in the new key with an A7 (A Major 7) chord, the dominant in the new key, that then resolves to the tonic in the new key, D. And in the final verse in the new key, the ii-V7-I chords would be Em, A7, D.

And if you want to be really clever about the key change, see if any of the chords in the original key near the end of the chorus are similar to the "ii" or the "V" in the new key. For example, in the key of C the chord progression might be Am, Dm, G, C where we've inserted an Am before the Dm by looking at the Circle of Fifths. Well, in the new key (of D), we're going to use an A7 so, at the end of the old key, instead of playing Am, play an A7 instead followed by the D chord. The A chord, A7 instead of Am, will be both "expected" and "surprising" to the listener, it will get their attention. And then by resolving to that chord's tonic of D (the A7 serves as the "dominant" chord in the key of D), listeners hear (and feel) the Harmonic Resolution, but into the new key.


To be continue ... Wink
I like the sounds of some particular chord types. 7ths have just the right amount of tension in them to lead into a resolution but I also like the particular sound of minor 7ths and added 6ths. They are very similar. The tension can remain unresolved with a sequence of 6ths and 7ths making nice moods. I find these work particularly well with sustained sounds like voices rather than quickly decaying sounds like the piano. I like to let the chord hang there and experience the tension.
Wahwah Man
When i compose Orchestral arrangements i screw theory and do everything by ear. When i get theory involved it just hurts me.
Wahwah Man wrote:
When i compose Orchestral arrangements i screw theory and do everything by ear. When i get theory involved it just hurts me.

I often work the same way, but a reference back to theoretical practice can suggest a way to develop an idea. Knowing the relative keys and how to modulate is definitely useful.
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