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> V Major Vs V Minor Chords In Minor Key Songs
evilcman
post Feb 10 2013, 12:26 AM
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Hi everyone,

I was looking up chords for random pop songs on the internet when I found something simple but
interesting. It is a hip hop song, Amazing by Kanye West. It is in C minor. It is something like this:
verse: Cm Gm
chorus: Abm Cm Gm Cm

So, what is intertesting about this is that it contains the V minor chord instead of a V major.
Even though the V major contains a note which is not in the natural minor scale,
minor key songs tend to have V major, which resolves to I minor. I believe that is why
the harmonic minor scale is called harmonic, because the raised 7th of the minor scale
is in the V major chord .

Can someone give me other examples of minor key music containing V minor chords?
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klasaine
post Feb 10 2013, 01:08 AM
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Yeah, the hip-hop guys and gals love a minor 5 chord. Probably just the evolution from blues and soul. *And possibly, conscious or not, a way to distinguish themselves from the European tradition. That harmonic minor thing. Borrowing the natural 7th leading tone from the major because the minor v to i was generally considered to be a weak cadence. Times and ears change.

This is a pretty famous Otis Rush blues song that does it.



Soul from Bill Withers:



Reggae via the Police:
(measure four of the vocal verses. i know that big sus4 chord sounds like a V but it it isn't - it's a 1sus4)



Super Tramps 'Logical Song'
Roberta Flack ' Killing Me softly'

And my favorite example is actually a major tune with a minor v - 'Louie Louie' (and usually played incorrectly - as a maj V - by most cover bands).



Also Gerry Rafferty's 'Baker Street' is another major song with a minor v and James Taylor's 'Fire and Rain' is major but uses both minor 5 and major 5 chords at various points in the tune (some will argue that the second chord of the verse - Em7 is really a G/E. I personally don't think so).

This post has been edited by klasaine: Feb 10 2013, 08:21 AM


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The Professor
post Feb 10 2013, 09:46 AM
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Yeah, the vm and vm7 chords are less popular than the major versions, V and V7, but they have a cool sound you can explore in your writing and arranging as well.

Though it's not a perfect definition, having a vm chord gives it a modal sound, as you are not stepping outside the scale for the minor cadence, while a V or V7 has more of a tonal feel, as the #7 interval brings the progression to a complete close on the im7 or im chord.

There are other minor and modal cadences that are worth checking out.

My favorite is bVII to im

So in the key of A minor, you could play Dm-G-Am. Cool Aeolian vibe to it.

You can also play with bII-im in a Phrygian cadence, so F-Em.

Or even get a Dorian sound with G-C-Dm, IV-bVII-i

Lots of fun ways to experiment with modal progression that don't use a #7 interval, but that have a cadential vibe to them nonetheless.


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David.C.Bond
post Feb 11 2013, 12:17 PM
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To me, a minor v chord gives a more modal sound, probably aolian in origin. To my ear, a V chord in 'functional' minor harmony has to be a major, since it is related to harmonic/melodic minor harmony. Although that said, an altered V chord can contain the #9 which gives it that major/minor vagueness.

That's not to say you can't have a functional v-i with a minor v, it just sounds less conclusive to me smile.gif


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evilcman
post Feb 14 2013, 12:43 PM
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QUOTE (klasaine @ Feb 10 2013, 01:08 AM) *
Yeah, the hip-hop guys and gals love a minor 5 chord. Probably just the evolution from blues and soul. *And possibly, conscious or not, a way to distinguish themselves from the European tradition. That harmonic minor thing. Borrowing the natural 7th leading tone from the major because the minor v to i was generally considered to be a weak cadence. Times and ears change.

This is a pretty famous Otis Rush blues song that does it.

Soul from Bill Withers:

Reggae via the Police:
(measure four of the vocal verses. i know that big sus4 chord sounds like a V but it it isn't - it's a 1sus4)

Super Tramps 'Logical Song'
Roberta Flack ' Killing Me softly'

And my favorite example is actually a major tune with a minor v - 'Louie Louie' (and usually played incorrectly - as a maj V - by most cover bands).

Also Gerry Rafferty's 'Baker Street' is another major song with a minor v and James Taylor's 'Fire and Rain' is major but uses both minor 5 and major 5 chords at various points in the tune (some will argue that the second chord of the verse - Em7 is really a G/E. I personally don't think so).


Thanks! All of the examples sound pretty cool, and I actually knew some of them, just didn't bother to listen
for the v minor chord up until now.


QUOTE (The Professor @ Feb 10 2013, 09:46 AM) *
Yeah, the vm and vm7 chords are less popular than the major versions, V and V7, but they have a cool sound you can explore in your writing and arranging as well.

Though it's not a perfect definition, having a vm chord gives it a modal sound, as you are not stepping outside the scale for the minor cadence, while a V or V7 has more of a tonal feel, as the #7 interval brings the progression to a complete close on the im7 or im chord.

There are other minor and modal cadences that are worth checking out.

My favorite is bVII to im

So in the key of A minor, you could play Dm-G-Am. Cool Aeolian vibe to it.

You can also play with bII-im in a Phrygian cadence, so F-Em.

Or even get a Dorian sound with G-C-Dm, IV-bVII-i

Lots of fun ways to experiment with modal progression that don't use a #7 interval, but that have a cadential vibe to them nonetheless.


I think things are becoming clearer now, but I would like to make sure I understand this correctly.

The G-C-Dm progression is in D Dorian, and it is then IV major, VII major, i minor
And it sounds Dorian mostly because of the IV major, because in phrygian or
aeolian it should be a iv minor, yes? And also in phyrigian it should be vii minor,
not VII major.

The Dm-G-Am is in A Aeolian, it is
iv minor - VII major - i minor
It is distinguished from phrygian by the VII major (in phrygian it's minor), and from dorian by the iv minor (in dorian
it should be major or dominant 7th).

For the F-Em, that is in E phrygian. It is phrygian because the F major, in dorian it should be
ii minor, and in aeolian II diminished.

So in general, to make a modal progression one should choose degress of the scale for the progression
that differentiate it from the other moes. A simple i-v can not differentiate between aeolian and dorian for
example.

And I think now I understand why people some people say that the locrian mode does not
really exist, because in that case the tonic chord is a diminished, chord which sounds unstable,
so you can not really end a progression there, it does not feel like home. (Well, that does not mean
that you can not have a riff in locrian, like Judas Priest - Painkiller, there you don't have chords, and
simply give the feeling of a tonic by playing the root more often, accented etc.)

I don't think I understand the difference between tonal vs modal music clearly however, if there
is even a clear difference to begin with. In this simplified case the difference is the usage of chords
simply built on notes from the scale vs the usage of the less straightforward harmonization coming
from european classical music. Is that right?

This post has been edited by evilcman: Feb 14 2013, 12:53 PM
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The Professor
post Feb 14 2013, 12:54 PM
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QUOTE (evilcman @ Feb 14 2013, 11:43 AM) *
Thanks! All of the examples sound pretty cool, and I actually knew some of them, just didn't bother to listen
for the v minor chord up until now.




I think things are becoming clearer now, but I would like to make sure I understand this correctly.

The G-C-Dm progression is in D Dorian, and it is then IV major, VII major, i minor
And it sounds Dorian mostly because of the IV major, because in phrygian or
aeolian it should be a iv minor, yes? And also in phyrigian it should be vii minor,
not VII major.

The Dm-G-Am is in A Aeolian, it is
iv minor - VII major - i minor
It is distinguished from phrygian by the VII major (in phrygian it's minor), and from dorian by the iv minor (in dorian
it should be major or dominant 7th).

For the F-Em, that is in E phrygian. It is phrygian because the F major, in dorian it should be
ii minor, and in aeolian II diminished.

So in general, to make a modal progression one should choose degress of the scale for the progression
that differentiate it from the other moes. A simple i-v can not differentiate between aeolian and dorian for
example.

And I think now I understand why people some people say that the locrian mode does not
really exist, because in that case the tonic chord is a diminished, chord which sounds unstable,
so you can not really end a progression there, it does not feel like home. (Well, that does not mean
that you can not have a riff in locrian, like Judas Priest - Painkiller, there you don't have chords, and
simply give the feeling of a tonic by playing the root more often, accented etc.)

I don't think I understand the difference between tonal vs modal music clearly however, if there
is even a clear difference to begin with. In this simplified case the difference is the usage of chords
simply built on notes from the scale vs the usage of the less straightforward harmonization coming
from western classical music. Is that right?



Yeah that is all on target. The difference between modal and tonal music can be tough to define very strictly, but if there isno V-I cadence, then it could indicate that the progressiom further to see where it comes from. Again, not a cut and dry rule, but it is a good springboard to push you towards further investigtion into the progression.


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