Circle of 5th + CHAIN SUSPENSIONS = Beautiful Chord Progression

Circle of 5th + CHAIN SUSPENSIONS = Beautiful Chord Progression

Tommaso Zillio

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chain suspension progressions Let’s see if you’ll like today’s video:

  • Do you like beautiful chord progressions? (Yes, you do. It’s right there in the definition of “beautiful”)

  • Do you like the circle of fifths? (Some do, some don’t)

  • Do you like suspended chords? (I never found somebody who disliked sus chords… if you do dislike them, reply to this email: I want to know)

  • Do you like writing sophisticated-sounding music with little to no effort? (That’s like asking: “do you like free pizza?”)

If you answered yes to any number of these questions (yes, even zero!), then I have a great trick for you that will have you writing incredible-sounding chord progressions with as few burned calories as physically possible.

If we combine the power of the circle of fifths and suspended chords, we can create amazing-sounding chord progressions packed full of beautiful tension and release for you to enjoy. (*)

So what is this trick? Well, it’s simply playing the circle of 5ths backward while suspending every chord into the next.

Yes, it sounds like the instructions for some kind of magic ritual… but I promise, there are no backward-hidden messages in the circle of 5ths. So when you play it backward, it will not summon any unearthly entities.(**)

Since the instructions above are barely enough to understand what to do, I put all the details and the sounds in the video below, where I show you exactly how you can start writing beautiful chord progressions in 10 minutes flat (***).

(*) I’m trying to see how many times I can use the phrase "adjective-sounding" before you notice. How am I doing?

(**) In case it doesaccidentally summon a Great Old One or equivalent, though, you’re on your own. My music theory insurance policy does not cover supernatural damage.

(***) As opposed to 10 minutes sharp. Hehehe… erm. I’ll see myself out.

Want to know more about chords? Even if you feel like you already know a lot, there is always more to learn about chords and harmony, and especially how to suer all that on the guitar!

And guess what? I have a course that will teach beginners and advanced players alike everything that they don’t know about chords and harmony. Check out my Complete Chord Mastery guitar course!

Video Transcription

Hello internet, so nice to see you! This circle of fifths is one of the main ideas in music and music theory. And the progressions based on the circle of fifths are super common. But most of those progression go in the same direction. What if we explored the opposite directions? Let me explain. Let’s say I mean C major, okay.

And I’m just starting from C, but then I jumped to an E minor. And then from there, I’m moving the root of the chord down a fifth, down a fifth on the fifth. So you have C major, E minor, which again, is just an arbitrary jumping point, but then I have my going down a fifth, I have a minor, down a fifth, I have D minor, down a fifth, I have G major. And then I have done a fifth accuracy. Again, the whole thing.

You heard this stuff, okay. It’s very, very common. That’s what I personally call a circle of fifths progression. Some people call these circle of fourths progression because they are thinking that the root goes up a fourth.

While I prefer to think that the root is going down a fifth, it’s exactly the same guys. Okay, let’s not get angry about these. It’s exactly the same thing. Okay. Some people call these turnaround progression or a circle back progression, there are several names, it’s super common, both in classical music and in jazz.

And indeed, practically, in every style of music, I’ve heard a lot of metal this chord progression, believe it or not, for me, though, it’s more interesting. If we go the opposite direction. The problem with the opposite direction is that if we applied naively, it’s kinda lame. Okay, so let’s say I’m starting from the C major.

And then I’m proceeding the opposite direction. So essentially, up a fifth or down or forward, however you want to call it, okay. And again, I’m talking about the root of the chord to the chord goes up a fifth or down a fourth every time, so I’ll have C major. And then we’ll have G major, and then we’ll have D minor, then a minor, and then we’ll have E minor. And then it’s not clear at this point, I will have to be diminished.

Which kinda sucks. And then I would have to put an F major and kind of the progression gets lost here. And that’s to be expected. Honestly, when you hit the diminished chord in the key, sometimes the sequences of chord decoding, those kind of systematic chord progression tend to break and not work anymore.

Point is, if that’s the first time you hear it, or you haven’t heard that much, that’s actually sounds pretty interesting. But to me, like, it makes a little bit of pizzazz, it’s nice, there’s only a little bit of tension so that this chord progression cool sound way, way, way more epic. Okay, so here’s an interesting solution. And it’s a chain suspension trick, essentially, you suspend every chord in the next one. Okay, first, let me play it and then I will explain to you how it works.

And then from there, you can go wherever you want. Okay, and later, I’m going to show you a possible conclusion. What is happening here? First of all, you can agree with me or not here, but I think the second version sounds much more epic, much more interesting. And with the right arrangement, it will create a very interesting song.

Okay, a very musical song as opposed to simply Okay, which is a bit mad. What am I doing here? Okay, well, the first chord is C major. And then playing it into different voicings simply because I want the C major chord to last two beats. The next chord is G major, okay, but I’m holding the C note into G major. So at this point in time here, I’m playing the C chord with two C notes and then E.

And then I’m playing the G chord, but suspending the fourth, meaning I’m holding that C note into the G and a C note. It’s the forte of G. And the notes I’m playing at G, the root and the bass, the C, the fourth and D, the fifth of the chord. Then, I’m resolving the C down to a B. But at the same time, I’m also playing the root of the chord on top, meaning I’m playing a G on top. So I’m going from here to here.

Why am I doing this? I mean, the resolution from C to B is because I want to eventually end on the G chord. That’s what gives me this guy. And of vanishing and resolution. But why am I playing the G note because I am preparing the next suspension because the G note is that suspended into the next chord, which is the minor C that the top note here, it’s a G. And it’s the fourth of D minor and playing the notes D, A, and G.

Makes sense that there is this little trick here, the starting point, again, from this point in time with the C chord. I’m playing these with the fifth with the fourth and the fifth of the chord. And by the way, I want to play this fifth too, because the fifth if a D, and so it conflicts with the fourth in the kind of enhance the dissonance because I have I know that conflicts pretty strongly.

Okay, so playing the fifth when I have the fourth by failing them, the dissonance, and then I’m playing the third of the chord and the root does that the root prepares the next suspension, and the next chord, the minor I’m playing the root, the fifth and the fourth. And when I resolve these, four down to the minor third, this time, because the next chord is D minor, I’m also playing the root of the chord here on the third string, the notes D, D, and F.

Why because on the next chord, which is a minor, now I’m gonna hold these not the D do the same game again, I’m playing the root of the chord A the fourth which is the And fifth, which is E, I have the fourth and the fifth. So I can feel the dissonance. And I’m resolving this for down the third the B to C, and the same time I’m playing a top a note. And these A becomes the dissonance dissonant for them the next chord which is E minor. And so on and so forth. Okay, so again.

Wait a moment. Now you went out of the QC because I’m playing a B sus four and the stop note here is an F sharp so we went out of key yes, these sequence these progression take you out of the key temporarily, it adds an F sharp to C major key which is as whatever natural F so this sequence take you out of the key that’s part of its charm and its effect okay, it just takes you out of the key, but so gradually you barely notice okay.

Now, at the end, I will have again these I have these E minor, the B sus four and a B minor, I am out of the key now, I am completely out of the key but completely I am one not out of the key Okay. Which means that I am probably in G major. So, how do I finish this? There are several ways to finish these one way will be at this point to play a simple cadenza cadence, okay, in G major, which will sound something like that and maybe then modulate back from G major which is G major.

So something like nothing really complex essentially, it’s a base super basic modulation from G major to C major. So, if you want to play this whole thing as a little piece if you want you will start with our chain suspension.

The end of the chain suspension, you add the four by five one in G then you get modulate to see something and then you put that cadence in see, really not that hard even the modulation is weak Cadency so essentially playing the chain suspension, a cadence in G, a weak cadence in C and then a strong cadence in C and this is all super basic thing.

Okay, just extend to explain, but it’s just super basic thing. Okay. But the main point of this video today is these chains, suspension and how emotionally sounds because every time you suspend the dissonance into the next chord, it just sounds beautiful to me. And that’s one possible way to arrange the whole thing.

Of course there are several several very question but I would recommend you guys try this on your guitar, maybe try something with that. It’s it’s very inspirational as a as a progression. Now if you want to learn more about all the cadences and how to connect to string and especially how to learn all your chords on the guitar so that this thing becomes easy, and it’s not too daunting, I would recommend you guys have a look at my course complete chord mastery.

Yes, it’s a shameless plug. But then again, it’s the internet. And honestly, I think for many of you, this is going to help you a lot in making sense of the guitar, and how harmony works in the guitar and how to come up with those ideas yourself. And, I mean, learning money in a much easier way, how other people are doing all these and then even come out with your own ideas and your own chord progression and honestly become way more creative and the guitar complete chord mastery.

It’s not a book. It’s a complete video course that takes you from the basics up. We do everything you need to know about harmony and chords on your guitar. All the theory is done straight on the fretboard. There is no theory for the sake of theory here. Everything is immediately practical. And everything is developed through exercises so you know how to apply these immediately on your guitar.

If you have just a minute click on the link on the top right to check out complete chord mastery. If you liked this video, smash that like button and don’t forget to subscribe and click on notification otherwise YouTube will not let you know when I put up a new video. And if you have any comments, feedback, suggestions, write them down in the comment. I enjoy reading from you and they make videos on your suggestions. This is Tommaso Zillio for, and until next time, enjoy

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