[Smt-talk] Inception chord progression

Darryl White darryl.musico at gmail.com
Wed Aug 11 07:53:16 PDT 2010

This little chord series does pose some interesting issues for
analysis.  I do think hexatonicism is involved.  Listening to the
cuts, I hear the tonal emphasis put upon G minor.  And the B major
does seem to me to be a convincing hexatonic dominant.

This aside, from a composer’s point of view, if you set out to
generate a string of chords with changing roots, unified by a single
common tone, you will have to run through a cycle in which the common
tone is always changing its chord membership.  In this case, the cycle
on the note Bb runs: third, third, fifth, seventh.  Supposing the
generation on that basis is primary, then any analytical
rationalization will want to give weight to the common-tone element.
In this respect, David Kopp’s work might give a useful perspective.

I would also note speculatively that the preference here for triads
might indeed link this progression to the rock idiom, as has been
mentioned.  It is typical of rock to prefer major and minor triads in
chromatic relations, rather than more exotic chord types, simply
because of their strong, “power fifth” effect on guitar.  The only
exception to that preference here is the B major seventh heard in the
mix of both cuts.

Darryl White
Ph.D. student
Music Theory
School of Music
The University of Arizona

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