The VI Chord and Standard Cadences

Musical Craft, Stock Cadences And The VI Chord

At the risk of sounding repetitious, virtually all songs in every so are produced by cadences. quite often, these cadences will be, standard ones, well known, almost cliché chord patterns and progressions. I call these tried and true musical constructions stock or standard cadences. Many of the world’s most famous songs employ well-known chord patterns and progressions, and even share the same chord patterns and progressions with other equally as well known songs. In order to fully understand the craft of writing, playing and making music you must have a fair number of stock or standard cadences firmly within your grasp and under your control.

Below we are examining for the most use who is losing his and is known of the stock or standard cadences. it is important to play, write anything in all 12 musical keys, so for the purpose this lesson will be in the key of C, the easiest key because it has no flats are sharps and also in the key of F the key with one flat. Compare these two keys by studying the table below.

 

Chord Quality:

I Major
II minor
III minor
IV Major
V Major
VI minor
VII diminished
I
Chord Function:
Tonic
Super Tonic
Mediant
Sub Dominant
Dominant
Sub Mediant
Sub Tonic
Tonic
Key Of C:
C Ma
D mi
E mi
F Ma
G Ma
A mi
B dim
C Ma
Key Of F:
F Ma
G mi
A mi
Bb Ma
C Ma
D mi
E dim
F Ma

 

The VI Chord

Our first musical example employs a chord pattern that is one bar in length and alternates between a C chord, the I chord in this example, and an A minor chord the VI chord. The first four bars of the song do not suggest any type of cadence, rather were written to promote a feeling of restfulness and release. As you listen to and play the musical example below note how the a minor chord serves to complement and enhance the sound of the tonic rather than drawing your ear away from the key center, or tonic. The A minor chord is also called the relative minor of C and when placed in a chord pattern together it is an excellent sound for many musical situations.

In the regard that the a minor for compliments and extends the general overall musical effect of the C chord, the A minor chord is very special indeed. At the risk of being redundant, this two bar chord pattern is a very useful and sweet sounding musical device. This is one of those little things that it is just good to know. The VI chord gives you a sweet sound.

Below are three interactive graphics that employ the sound of the VI chord. The first two examples were written in an early rock ‘n roll style. The third example is done with a smooth jazz feel. Don’t make the mistake of thinking that these cadences are bound to one style are another, the same cadences are common to every style in fact there are surprisingly but a few favorite cadences that are responsible for much of the world’s great blues, jazz and rock ‘n roll.

Here, in this course you are given the opportunity to internalize the sounds of these all-important cadences by using the interactive illustrations. Understanding and being able to describe the sound effects that certain chords produce is called gaining technical expertise in the areas of songwriting, arranging and musical analysis.

Having a command over basic diatonic harmony and cadences is also called, in the vernacular of the musician, having chops. Having chops means you are skilled. In the examples in this lesson, I introduced a new concept, complementing and extending the I chord with the VI chord. Having achieved that I still needed to play the game of music, the game of tension and release. Fortunately, I had the chops to employ another tried and true cadence the II V that we studied earlier in this course. Like any craftsman a musician can reach into his bag of tricks and tools to achieve his goal, to solve his artistic puzzles.

Jazz Guitar Wise

The I – VI – II – V is not only a staple our standard progression in the world of jazz music, it is indispensable in that world. Remember, the cadences are like songs with in the song and I all have a resolution and an accompanying sense of release.

The Illustration below diagrams a jazz guitarists way of playing this all-important, virtually indispensable cadence in the key of C. Play along with the illustration until you own the chord progression, that means you can play it without any problem and you really understand the feeling produced by each chord. I, the tonic chord and with it’s sestatus ofnse of rest and release,VI the chord extending that restful feeling, the II meeting leading your ear away from the tonic or key center, then the V and final chord producing tension and demanding resolution back to home base, the tonic.

Jazz Guitar Wise

The I – VI – II – V is not only a staple our standard progression in the world of jazz music, it is indispensable in that world. Remember, the cadences are like songs with in the song and I all have a resolution and an accompanying sense of release.

The Illustration below diagrams a jazz guitarists way of playing this all-important, virtually indispensable cadence in the key of C. Play along with the illustration until you own the chord progression, that means you can play it without any problem and you really understand the feeling produced by each chord. I, the tonic chord and with it’s sestatus ofnse of rest and release,VI the chord extending that restful feeling, the II meeting leading your ear away from the tonic or key center, then the V and final chord producing tension and demanding resolution back to home base, the tonic.

Jazz I – VI – II – V

The I – VI – II – V is not only essential to the jazz style it is practically its centerpiece. Many jazz historians believe the song that started it all was I Got Rhythm by George Gershwin. It has served as a model jazz composition for generations and features the I – VI – II V cadence as its means of establishing the key and starting the composition off on the right foot. The song below, written using a section of I Got Rhythm as a model will use the chord voicings you learned earlier in this lesson and will serve as great harmonic practice.

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