Why is this chord sequence pleasing to me ?

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Emp_FabEmp_Fab Frets: 16684
I haven’t worked out the sequence because I’m in bed right now! But....  knowing very little theory, I’d like to know what the sequence is in terms of I, IV, etc, and whether this is why I like it.

It’s rather neo-classical but there’s something about the chord sequence that lifts my spirits and I’m really curious why that is and if there’s an explanation in music theory.

https://soundcloud.com/synchro505/space-overture-mix-01

Trump: A narcissistic luminous orange ball bag and Rome burning in man form.
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  • robertyroberty Frets: 1631
    It's a nice long sequence like hotel california. Takes several bars to unwind and folds out over a repeating descending pattern 
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  • vizviz Frets: 5705
    edited March 1
    I love this question, because it allows us to use the language of theory to explain why and how music works, which is exactly what theory is for and why it’s so important. So thank you for asking! What is the piece by the way?

    The reason you love this progression so much, and why it’s so pleasing to the ear, is because it’s based on the most perfect of musical phrases - the ‘perfect cadence’ or V-I resolution. If you want more info about why the V-I is so perfect, we can discuss that later.

    Anyway there are 7 such perfect cadences in this progression, which is awesome. Due to the fact that each time you go from the V chord to the I chord you are going down a 5th (or up a 4th), what you are doing is ‘back-cycling’ round the circle of 5ths. It’s an absolutely classic progression and it sticks hauntingly in your mind. And it’s made even more beautiful through the use of inversions, so the chords glide into each other instead of hopping about in leaps of 4ths. We can talk about that too if you wish. 


    How it plays out is this:


    The whole thing is in F# minor, and the first thing that happens is we have a ‘parallel modulation’, just switching from F#m to F#7, setting us up for the first V-I.

    Then we resolve up to B. Actually B minor, so it’s a V-i cadence, which is a legitimate perfect cadence. 

    Then it’s E7 - A, so the Bm - E was a v-I cadence (actually that’s not strictly speaking a perfect cadence because the v is minor, but it still counts as part of the back-cycle because it’s going up a 4th, so I’m counting it as our 2nd perfect cadence). And the E7 - A is our 3rd. 

    Then it’s D - G, so the move from A to D was our 4th V-I cadence, and the D - G is our 5th. 

    Then it’s G - C, which is our 6th V-I cadence. 

    Now, this could go on and on until all 12 keys are done and the circle is complete, but that would be tedious and we’d start to lose track of where home is, so the composer needs to position him/herself to start at F# again, and the way to do that is to somehow get to C#, for a final V-I to F#, ready for the next round; and the way that is done is this:

    Firstly the chords go up in tones - from C to D then from D to E. Then from E down a minor 3rd to C#. That’s the final chord in the progression.

    So all that’s left to do is resolve from the C# to the F#m, our 7th V-i cadence and we’ve started the whole thing off again. 


    So to go all the way from F# to C takes us from the bottom of the circle (6pm), anticlockwise right round to the top (noon), which is ace.  Actually, if you include the C#, it’s actually from 7pm to noon. 


    http://i.imgur.com/YMaEZrb.jpg



    Other songs that make use of back-cycling: 

    - Still got the Blues
    - Emporte Moi
    - Europa
    - Nordrach
    - Y Volvere
    - the MASH theme tune
    - All the Things You Are
    - the Pink Panther castle/moat scene
    - Hello (Lionel Ritchie)
    - Can I sit next to you girl (ACDC)
    - Brother can you spare a dime
    - Blue Bossa
    - Parisienne Walkways
    - I Will Survive
    - Burn (the keyboard solo)
    - Autumn Leaves
    - Rising Force
    - Young Persons’ Guide to the Orchestra
    - Fly me to the Moon
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  • toescantalktoescantalk Frets: 105
    Any good readable books on music theory as this is fascinating stuff?
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  • vizviz Frets: 5705
    edited January 31
    Any good readable books on music theory as this is fascinating stuff?
    Well, I’m writing one; that ‘pianorama’ pic of the C of 5 is from it

    For this type of analysis you want a book on music harmony really, because you want a mixture of the qualitative and the quantitative. Theory books that focus just on the maths can be rather dry without the accompanying discussion about the actual music. 
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  • JAYJOJAYJO Frets: 1073
    because your in bed with your hands on your sausage?  I give in tell me..?
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  • viz said:
    I love this question, because it allows us to use the language of theory to explain why and how music works, which is exactly what theory is for and why it’s so important. So thank you for asking! What is the piece by the way?

    The reason you love this progression so much, and why it’s so pleasing to the ear, is because it’s based on the most perfect of musical phrases - the ‘perfect cadence’ or V-I resolution. If you want more info about why the V-I is so perfect, we can discuss that later.

    Anyway there are 7 such perfect cadences in this progression, which is awesome. Due to the fact that each time you go from the V chord to the I chord you are going down a 5th (or up a 4th), what you are doing is ‘back-cycling’ round the circle of 5ths. It’s an absolutely classic progression and it sticks hauntingly in your mind. And it’s made even more beautiful through the use of inversions, so the chords glide into each other instead of hopping about in leaps of 4ths. We can talk about that too if you wish. 


    How it plays out is this:


    The whole thing is in F# minor, and the first thing that happens is we have a ‘parallel modulation’, just switching from F#m to F#7, setting us up for the first V-I.

    Then we resolve up to B. Actually B minor, so it’s a V-i cadence, which is a legitimate perfect cadence. 

    Then it’s E7 - A, so the Bm - E was a v-I cadence (actually that’s not strictly speaking a perfect cadence because the v is minor, but it still counts as part of the back-cycle because it’s going up a 4th, so I’m counting it as our 2nd perfect cadence). And the E7 - A is our 3rd. 

    Then it’s D - G, so the move from A to D was our 4th V-I cadence, and the D - G is our 5th. 

    Then it’s G - C, which is our 6th V-I cadence. 

    Now, this could go on and on until all 12 keys are done and the circle is complete, but that would be tedious and we’d start to lose track of where home is, so the composer needs to position him/herself to start at F# again, and the way to do that is to somehow get to C#, for a final V-I to F#, ready for the next round; and the way that is done is this:

    Firstly the chords go up in tones - from C to D then from D to E. Then from E down a minor 3rd to C#. That’s the final chord in the progression.

    So all that’s left to do is resolve from the C# to the F#m, our 7th V-i cadence and we’ve started the whole thing off again. 


    So to go all the way from F# to C takes us from the bottom of the circle (6pm), anticlockwise right round to the top (noon), which is ace.  Actually, if you include the C#, it’s actually from 7pm to noon. 


    http://i.imgur.com/YMaEZrb.jpg



    Other songs that make use of back-cycling: 

    - Still got the Blues
    - Emporte Moi
    - Europa
    - Nordrach
    - Y Volvere
    - the MASH theme tune
    - All the Things You Are
    - the Pink Panther castle/moat scene
    - Hello (Lionel Ritchie)
    - Can I sit next to you girl (ACDC)
    - Brother can you spare a dime
    - Blue Bossa
    - Parisienne Walkways
    - I Will Survive
    - Burn (the keyboard solo)
    - Autumn Leaves
    Wiz for Viz ! Thanks for posting - very informative and I’ve learned/understood something there  :)
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  • toescantalktoescantalk Frets: 105
    viz said:
    Any good readable books on music theory as this is fascinating stuff?
    Well, I’m writing one; that ‘pianorama’ pic of the C of 5 is from it
    Let me know if you want me to proof read it!
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  • Emp_FabEmp_Fab Frets: 16684
    viz said:
    I love this question, because it allows us to use the language of theory to explain why and how music works, which is exactly what theory is for and why it’s so important. So thank you for asking! What is the piece by the way?

    The reason you love this progression so much, and why it’s so pleasing to the ear, is because it’s based on the most perfect of musical phrases - the ‘perfect cadence’ or V-I resolution. If you want more info about why the V-I is so perfect, we can discuss that later.

    Anyway there are 7 such perfect cadences in this progression, which is awesome. Due to the fact that each time you go from the V chord to the I chord you are going down a 5th (or up a 4th), what you are doing is ‘back-cycling’ round the circle of 5ths. It’s an absolutely classic progression and it sticks hauntingly in your mind. And it’s made even more beautiful through the use of inversions, so the chords glide into each other instead of hopping about in leaps of 4ths. We can talk about that too if you wish. 


    How it plays out is this:


    The whole thing is in F# minor, and the first thing that happens is we have a ‘parallel modulation’, just switching from F#m to F#7, setting us up for the first V-I.

    Then we resolve up to B. Actually B minor, so it’s a V-i cadence, which is a legitimate perfect cadence. 

    Then it’s E7 - A, so the Bm - E was a v-I cadence (actually that’s not strictly speaking a perfect cadence because the v is minor, but it still counts as part of the back-cycle because it’s going up a 4th, so I’m counting it as our 2nd perfect cadence). And the E7 - A is our 3rd. 

    Then it’s D - G, so the move from A to D was our 4th V-I cadence, and the D - G is our 5th. 

    Then it’s G - C, which is our 6th V-I cadence. 

    Now, this could go on and on until all 12 keys are done and the circle is complete, but that would be tedious and we’d start to lose track of where home is, so the composer needs to position him/herself to start at F# again, and the way to do that is to somehow get to C#, for a final V-I to F#, ready for the next round; and the way that is done is this:

    Firstly the chords go up in tones - from C to D then from D to E. Then from E down a minor 3rd to C#. That’s the final chord in the progression.

    So all that’s left to do is resolve from the C# to the F#m, our 7th V-i cadence and we’ve started the whole thing off again. 


    So to go all the way from F# to C takes us from the bottom of the circle (6pm), anticlockwise right round to the top (noon), which is ace.  Actually, if you include the C#, it’s actually from 7pm to noon. 


    http://i.imgur.com/YMaEZrb.jpg



    Other songs that make use of back-cycling: 

    - Still got the Blues
    - Emporte Moi
    - Europa
    - Nordrach
    - Y Volvere
    - the MASH theme tune
    - All the Things You Are
    - the Pink Panther castle/moat scene
    - Hello (Lionel Ritchie)
    - Can I sit next to you girl (ACDC)
    - Brother can you spare a dime
    - Blue Bossa
    - Parisienne Walkways
    - I Will Survive
    - Burn (the keyboard solo)
    - Autumn Leaves
    Thankyou very much for that detailed explanation @viz - much appreciated.

    Unfortunately.... 



    I need to do some studying to be able to understand what you've said !


    Here's an idea ! - How about you do your Skype lessons for all of us ? :-)  We could have an online communal class of forumites all learning from you in an interactive skype session !  I'd certainly bung a few quid in for something like that.


    Trump: A narcissistic luminous orange ball bag and Rome burning in man form.
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  • Emp_FabEmp_Fab Frets: 16684
    p.s. - the piece in question is from a guy called Mike Mullen - https://soundcloud.com/synchro505

    I only went hunting for it because I could hear it in the background of this Curious Droid video (a great YouTube channel)..



    Trump: A narcissistic luminous orange ball bag and Rome burning in man form.
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  • Mark1960Mark1960 Frets: 275
    viz said:
    I love this question, because it allows us to use the language of theory to explain why and how music works, which is exactly what theory is for and why it’s so important. So thank you for asking! What is the piece by the way?

    The reason you love this progression so much, and why it’s so pleasing to the ear, is because it’s based on the most perfect of musical phrases - the ‘perfect cadence’ or V-I resolution. If you want more info about why the V-I is so perfect, we can discuss that later.

    Anyway there are 7 such perfect cadences in this progression, which is awesome. Due to the fact that each time you go from the V chord to the I chord you are going down a 5th (or up a 4th), what you are doing is ‘back-cycling’ round the circle of 5ths. It’s an absolutely classic progression and it sticks hauntingly in your mind. And it’s made even more beautiful through the use of inversions, so the chords glide into each other instead of hopping about in leaps of 4ths. We can talk about that too if you wish. 


    How it plays out is this:


    The whole thing is in F# minor, and the first thing that happens is we have a ‘parallel modulation’, just switching from F#m to F#7, setting us up for the first V-I.

    Then we resolve up to B. Actually B minor, so it’s a V-i cadence, which is a legitimate perfect cadence. 

    Then it’s E7 - A, so the Bm - E was a v-I cadence (actually that’s not strictly speaking a perfect cadence because the v is minor, but it still counts as part of the back-cycle because it’s going up a 4th, so I’m counting it as our 2nd perfect cadence). And the E7 - A is our 3rd. 

    Then it’s D - G, so the move from A to D was our 4th V-I cadence, and the D - G is our 5th. 

    Then it’s G - C, which is our 6th V-I cadence. 

    Now, this could go on and on until all 12 keys are done and the circle is complete, but that would be tedious and we’d start to lose track of where home is, so the composer needs to position him/herself to start at F# again, and the way to do that is to somehow get to C#, for a final V-I to F#, ready for the next round; and the way that is done is this:

    Firstly the chords go up in tones - from C to D then from D to E. Then from E down a minor 3rd to C#. That’s the final chord in the progression.

    So all that’s left to do is resolve from the C# to the F#m, our 7th V-i cadence and we’ve started the whole thing off again. 


    So to go all the way from F# to C takes us from the bottom of the circle (6pm), anticlockwise right round to the top (noon), which is ace.  Actually, if you include the C#, it’s actually from 7pm to noon. 


    http://i.imgur.com/YMaEZrb.jpg



    Other songs that make use of back-cycling: 

    - Still got the Blues
    - Emporte Moi
    - Europa
    - Nordrach
    - Y Volvere
    - the MASH theme tune
    - All the Things You Are
    - the Pink Panther castle/moat scene
    - Hello (Lionel Ritchie)
    - Can I sit next to you girl (ACDC)
    - Brother can you spare a dime
    - Blue Bossa
    - Parisienne Walkways
    - I Will Survive
    - Burn (the keyboard solo)
    - Autumn Leaves
    That's exactly what I was about to say - LOL
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  • vizviz Frets: 5705
    edited January 31
    Emp_Fab said:




    Thankyou very much for that detailed explanation @viz - much appreciated.

    Unfortunately.... 



    I need to do some studying to be able to understand what you've said !


    Here's an idea ! - How about you do your Skype lessons for all of us ? :-)  We could have an online communal class of forumites all learning from you in an interactive skype session !  I'd certainly bung a few quid in for something like that.



    Try reading it again, really really slowly - not being trite, it’s just quite complex and dense; though quite logical. 

    That’s actually not a bad idea about the webinar - I could do different grades even
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  • Can I ask, do writers tend to write music like the subject by design,  as they have all this theoretical knowledge, or do they come up with progressions/melodies as they were in their head/sounded good, and it just so happens to be what the likes of @viz has explained. I always wonder that?
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  • vizviz Frets: 5705
    edited January 31
    I have always thought, compelling music has to come from the heart not the brain; however it is true that building your musical knowledge will expand your compositional scope. But 80% of it is there to explain not inspire, imo. 
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  • CarpeDiemCarpeDiem Frets: 150
    Good question @Emp_Fab, and an excellent answer from @viz Every time I learn more about the Circle Of Fifths, it seems even more useful than I had realised.
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  • shrinkwrapshrinkwrap Frets: 229
    Thanks for that Wiz - most excellent.
    So did Bach do this quite often or am I just picking up on the inversions that sound Bachian?
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  • vizviz Frets: 5705
    edited January 31
    Thanks for that Wiz - most excellent.
    So did Bach do this quite often or am I just picking up on the inversions that sound Bachian?
    Sounds like Bach / Vivaldi but actually I’m not aware of any good examples of progressions beyond 4 chords or so, which are just 6251s. There probably are some. I think the inversions have a lot to do with it, like you say. 
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  • bingefellerbingefeller Frets: 5635
    @viz once again proving he is the forum's resident theory expert.
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  • robinbowesrobinbowes Frets: 2161
    This isn't quite the same, but has a similar sound (and is worth listening to because it's fantastic!):


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  • Emp_FabEmp_Fab Frets: 16684
    viz said:
    Emp_Fab said:




    Thankyou very much for that detailed explanation @viz - much appreciated.

    Unfortunately.... 



    I need to do some studying to be able to understand what you've said !


    Here's an idea ! - How about you do your Skype lessons for all of us ? :-)  We could have an online communal class of forumites all learning from you in an interactive skype session !  I'd certainly bung a few quid in for something like that.



    Try reading it again, really really slowly - not being trite, it’s just quite complex and dense; though quite logical. 

    That’s actually not a bad idea about the webinar - I could do different grades even
    Give it some serious thought mate.  I think there would be loads of us who would love to come to a virtual classroom where we could put our virtual hand up and ask relevant questions etc.  That makes all the difference - just watching a video is ok but if you don't fully grasp something, you're stuck.  Being able to interact with the teacher and the class brings it to life.

    Plus, I think it's something the forum itself would benefit hugely from....  A music forum with its own virtual classroom! @digitalscream
    Trump: A narcissistic luminous orange ball bag and Rome burning in man form.
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  • ModellistaModellista Frets: 1372
    An excellent answer from @viz. ; Very well-explained, it's not hard to understand if you read it step-by-step.
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  • finest1finest1 Frets: 53
    interesting topic and great effort for the explanation! I happen to post a similar topic. I wonder if that theory applies?

    http://www.thefretboard.co.uk/discussion/150959/whats-this-style-of-blues-called#latest
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