Composition of chord progressions

(using scale degrees p.2)
5. Now let's build triads by stacking two thirds onto each note. As a result we’re getting all the basic chords of an E major scale (also known as ‘harmonised scale’):
Chord:
E
F#m
G#m
A
B
C#m
D#0
Degree:
I
II m
III m
IV
V
VI m
VII 0
Or in the case of E minor:
Chord:
Em
F#0
G
Am
Bm
C
D
Degree:
I m
II 0
bIII
IV m
V m
bVI
bVII
6. By stacking another third we’re getting ‘7th’ chords. In E major:
Chord:
Ej7
F#m7
G#m7
Aj7
B7
C#m7
D#m7b5
Degree:
I j7
II m7
III m7
IV j7
V 7
VI m7
VII m7
In E minor:
Chord:
Em7
F#m7b5
Gj7
Am7
Bm7
Cj7
D7
Degree:
I m7
II m7b5
bIII j7
IV m7
V m7
bVI j7
bVII 7
7. After all preparation has been completed, let’s start the actual writing process. The first measure usually begins with degree I (in E that’s either E major or E minor). In the following measures any degree out of the harmonised scale can be inserted, while the last measure often ends with degree V. Here’s an example using the degrees of E major:

Chord: ||  E |  C#m7 |  F#m7 |  B7 ||
Degree: ||   I |   VI m7 |   II m7 |   V 7 ||

To spice up things not only chords out of the original key (E major in this case) should be used, but also from its parallel neighbour (E minor). This modulation between major and minor scale degrees is known under the term ‘modal interchange’.

Chord: ||  E |  G |  F#m7 |  B7 ||
Degree: ||   I |   bIII |   II m7 |   V 7 ||

On the next page we’ll have a look at a finished chord composition. The layout used is called a ‘rhythm chart’. These charts contain no melodies but all rhythms and chords of a tune, hence its name.

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