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Popular Chord Progressions (key of C)

elmerbumpkin
July 11th, 2007, 06:53 PM
I have a 40 year old publication (pamphlet) that contained the following table of "Typical Chord Progressions used in Modern Music". I simply typed them in to share with others. Perhaps they will inspire some discussions/applications/explanations, etc. I didn't come up with these myself.


Chord Progressions in the key of C

C F G7 C
C Cdim G7 C
C Gdim G7 C
C Am Dm G7 C
C C#dim Dm G7 C
C A7 D7 G7 C
C Am D7 G7 C
C D7 G7 C
C7 F D7 G7 C
C F C G7 Gaug C
C Gm A7 D7 G7 C
C C7 F Fm G
C Fm G7 C
C Am Ab7 G7 C
E7 A7 D7 G7 C
E7 Am D7 G7 C
Em7 Ebm Dm7 G7 C
Em A7 D7 G7 C
Em Am Dm Gaug C
C Dm Em Dm C
C Eb7 Dm7 G7 C
C Ab7 G7 C
C Ab7 Dm G7 C
Gm A7 Fm G7 C
C F Fdim C G7 C
Dm7 G7 Am7 Ab7 G7 C
C Dm E7 A7 Cm D7 G7
C C7 B7 Bb7 A7 D7 G7
C Bb7 C
C E F C G7 C
C Ebm Dm Db9 C
C Eb9 D9 Db9 C
Am E7 Gm A7 Fm G7 C
Am G#aug C D7 C
Cm Fm G7 Cm C
Ab G7 Em Am C
B7 Em D7 G7 C
F7 C Ab7 G7 C
E7 Eb7 D7 G7 C
C E7 A7 D7 G7 - C

dolfan19
July 11th, 2007, 07:16 PM
Thanks. These are fun to play around with. Love your screen name btw. My city lovin' cousin in NYC calls me and my wife "country bumpkins!"

thunderbyrd
July 12th, 2007, 04:49 AM
this is a real interesting list! it's 40 years old and my question is has any progression been invented since that could be added? probably not many.

blue metalflake
July 12th, 2007, 04:00 PM
this is a real interesting list! it's 40 years old and my question is has any progression been invented since that could be added? probably not many.


Just reading it, doesn't seem to be many more that spring to mind - needs a noodling session in front of the screen though.

Probably underlines that theres not much new anymore.

goteleonthemt'n
July 12th, 2007, 06:54 PM
Just reading it, doesn't seem to be many more that spring to mind - needs a noodling session in front of the screen though.

Probably underlines that theres not much new anymore.

I'm thinking about lots of rock progressions that don't really stay in a key or substitutions for a key, especially with non-diatonic roots, like
C Bb Ab (All along the watchtower)
C Bb F C (lots of gospel and hard rock)
C Eb F
Ab Eb Bb F C (Hey Joe)

I also love tons of songs, often alt-country-ish, that use
C dmin F C (like I shall be released, but that has a G too)

Also, I don't have any examples to hand, but I always feel that really talented , unschooled songwriters who write on guitar (like Lennon and Kurt Cobain) tend to write things that are out of a particular key and normal substitutions. (Think of, say, Strawberry Fields Forever). Playing guitar, rather than piano, just seems to suggest certain visual patterns unrelated to key.

Still, that list covers an awful lot of territory. Interesting stuff.

elmerbumpkin
July 12th, 2007, 08:09 PM
Love your screen name btw. My city lovin' cousin in NYC calls me and my wife "country bumpkins!"

thanks, it's a simple formula: Paternal grandpa's middle name, and the name of the first band I was in.

Telehackster
July 18th, 2007, 12:31 AM
I'm surprised that the list doesn't include C-Am-F-G7, a simple yet effective progression.

klasaine
July 18th, 2007, 12:48 AM
I'm surprised that the list doesn't include C-Am-F-G7, a simple yet effective progression.

40 years ago, when that little compendium was published the IV chord (F) wasn't 'really' considered a viable sub for Dm, the ii chord - at least in that particular progression. There's a prog listed there that's C-Am-Dm-G7, same thing really.
The obvious omission for me was: C, (or Cm)-Bb-Ab-G ... the end of Stairway, Ziggy, Walk Don't Run, Runaway, etc. For the same reasons ... it's an old list.

Larry F
July 18th, 2007, 01:05 AM
Thanks a million for posting this. It's fascinating. A couple of thoughts. First, one post here alludes to non-schooled musicians using chords that were outside the key. I contend that it would be a very poorly schooled musician who was afraid using non-diatonic chords. Second, the chord progression C Am F G7 is characterized nowadays as a sub for C Am Dm G7. Dm would be a more popular choice for musicians favoring root movement by 5ths. Also, F to G7 invites parallel motion in the voice-leading, which would also explain why some musical ears would favor Dm over F. Of course, it's all about taste. I like F myself in many situations, especially when I can play a pair of nice, fat parallel barre chords. As for the sub idea, in college theory texts one finds that the ii and IV (to switch notation, here) are grouped together as pre-dominants. This term expresses the idea that the chords serve identical functions and that they differ only in details of voicing.

The history of these things tell us a lot about how we hear and interpret today.

klasaine
July 18th, 2007, 01:21 AM
Yeah, I really love the F to G7 too. Probably a lot more than I like a stock ii - V. I don't know, there's just something incredibly satisfying about that big F chord.

elmerbumpkin
July 18th, 2007, 10:29 AM
Glad folks are enjoying looking at, and hopefully playing around with these. I like how it makes me learn a new chord(s) for some of the progressions. I typically "put" things into the key of C that I'm trying to make sense of, at least in my head, and some of these chords I've heard a hundred, if not a thousand, times without knowing what they were. FWIW, the list appeared in a "Chord Construction" pamphlet written for pedal steel players (which I am not one).

Interesting about how the F is a modern-accepted substitute for the Dm, too.