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Vidas: Let’s start Episode 77 of #AskVidasAndAusra podcast. And today’s question was sent by Jerome, and he writes, “Can you please tell me the notes in this b minor chord progression?” And the chords are as follows: iv, ii 65, V42, i6, and V43. So, Ausra, I think this is a rather simple question about expanding and explaining chords to people how they actually need to be understood, right?
Ausra: But first of all, he just asked us to tell the notes, what the notes would be--
Vidas: In b minor.
Ausra: In b minor. So the first chord would be E-G-B...
Ausra: Then the second chord would be E, G, B, and C♯...
Vidas: That’s a second scale degree 65 chord.
Ausra: Yes. Then the next chord would be E-F♯-A♯-C♯.
Vidas: That’s a dominant 42 chord.
Ausra: Then next would be D-F♯-B-B.
Vidas: That’s a tonic 6th chord.
Ausra: And the next would be C-sharp-E-F♯-A-sharp.
Vidas: The last one, dominant 43 chord. That’s all in b minor. By the way, you can play everything in any key you want, in any minor key you want--it’s a nice transposition exercise. It expands your theoretical knowledge to other keys as well.
Ausra: I would say that’s a little bit of strange progression, because it doesn’t end in a tonic key, and begins not in a tonic key.
Vidas: So what could be the last chord, in your opinion?
Ausra: The last would be a tonic. It would be B, D, F♯, and B.
Vidas: B, D, F♯, and B.
Ausra: Also it’s a strange way to begin a progression on a subdominant chord.
Vidas: So before the subdominant, before this minor iv, you might probably need to use tonic.
Ausra: Tonic, but maybe 6th chord would be best, so it would be D, F♯, and B at the beginning.
Vidas: Can we spell them out in 4-part notation, just like in your harmony exercises?
Ausra: Definitely, yes.
Vidas: Because now we’re using the simple 3-note notation to be able to play with one hand only.
Vidas: If you want to play with both hands, you have to use 4 parts, SATB, and sometimes closed positions, sometimes open positions. So the first would be, let’s say, tonic, right? And tonic would be, in b minor…
Ausra: Well, if you want to do the subdominant next, then it would be easier, for example, for the beginners to not start on the tonic but to start on tonic 6th chord.
Vidas: Okay, so D in the bass?
Ausra: That would be a smoother progression.
Vidas: D-B-F♯-B. Starting from the bass…
Ausra: But in order to play chords like this, you have to have basic knowledge of harmonizing things. I don’t think it will be much use to our audience, if you will say this progression again in an open position. They just have to start with harmony--learning harmony from the beginning.
Vidas: So it’s too hard, right?
Ausra: I think so.
Ausra: That’s an entire course.
Vidas: Okay, so guys, if you want to play those 3-note, 4-note chords, in 4-part notation using both hands, and even learn to harmonize hymns, you need to learn the basics of chord progressions, and basic harmonic rules--how the voices have to move between the chords, and what is forbidden, for example.
Ausra: Because you know, resolving only one progression will not teach you harmony. If you cannot read chords like this, as I understood from his question, that means you have no basics of theory and of harmony.
Vidas: Okay, so we can recommend something. We can recommend a few courses. Probably the beginning course would be Harmony for Organists, Level 1. And I explain in this course all the major and minor, root position and first inversion and other inversions, tonic, subdominant, dominant chords, and even dominant 7th chords and inversions; and I will teach you how to harmonize the melody in the soprano. And that will get you started...and moving to the world of harmony, which is very useful if you are interested in playing hymns and understanding organ music that you play, for example.
Okay, guys. Hope this was useful to you. Please send us more of your questions. And remember, when you practice…
Ausra: Miracles happen.
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Drs. Vidas Pinkevicius and Ausra Motuzaite-Pinkeviciene
Organists of Vilnius University , creators of Secrets of Organ Playing.
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