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Section 9.8 The i–VII–VI–VII Progression

The \(\left.\text{i}\right.\)–\(\left.\text{VII}\right.\)–\(\left.\text{VI}\right.\)–\(\left.\text{VII}\right.\) (\(\left.\text{A}\text{m}\right.\)–\(\left.\text{G}\right.\)–\(\left.\text{F}\right.\)–\(\left.\text{G}\right.\)) progression is similar to the descending \(\hat{1}\) –♭\(\hat{7}\) –♭\(\hat{6}\) –\(\hat{5}\) bass line of the “Andalusian progression” (\(\left.\text{A}\text{m}\right.\)–\(\left.\text{G}\right.\)–\(\left.\text{F}\right.\)–\(\left.\text{E}\right.\)) in flamenco music, with the exception of the last bass note or chord.

Here are examples of the \(\left.\text{i}\right.\)–\(\left.\text{VII}\right.\)–\(\left.\text{VI}\right.\)–\(\left.\text{VII}\right.\) progression.

Figure 9.8.1 Page and Plant, “Stairway to Heaven” (chords and bass line only)
Figure 9.8.2 Adkins and Epworth, “Rolling In The Deep” (chords and bass line only)

The \(\left.\text{i}\right.\)–\(\left.\text{VII}\right.\)–\(\left.\text{VI}\right.\)–\(\left.\text{VII}\right.\) progression can also be rotated to become \(\left.\text{VI}\right.\)–\(\left.\text{VII}\right.\)–\(\left.\text{i}\right.\)–\(\left.\text{VII}\right.\).

Figure 9.8.3 The \(\left.\text{i}\right.\)–\(\left.\text{VII}\right.\)–\(\left.\text{VI}\right.\)–\(\left.\text{VII}\right.\) progression rotating to \(\left.\text{VI}\right.\)–\(\left.\text{VII}\right.\)–\(\left.\text{i}\right.\)–\(\left.\text{VII}\right.\)

In some cases, the fourth chord is eliminated. In that case, \(\left.\text{VI}\right.\)–\(\left.\text{VII}\right.\)–\(\left.\text{i}\right.\)–\(\left.\text{VII}\right.\) becomes \(\left.\text{VI}\right.\)–\(\left.\text{VII}\right.\)–\(\left.\text{i}\right.\)–\(\left.\text{i}\right.\), as in the following examples.

Figure 9.8.4 Bridges, Broadus, J. Mollings, L. Mollings, Roberts II, “All I Do Is Win” (chords and bass line)
Figure 9.8.5 Glass, Metamorphosis Two

The \(\left.\text{i}\right.\)–\(\left.\text{VII}\right.\)–\(\left.\text{VI}\right.\)–\(\left.\text{VII}\right.\) progression can also be thought of as being in a major key: \(\left.\text{vi}\right.\)–\(\left.\text{V}\right.\)–\(\left.\text{IV}\right.\)–\(\left.\text{V}\right.\).

Figure 9.8.6 The same progression viewed from minor and relative major

There are several more common harmonic progressions to explore in future chapters dealing with topics like secondary chords, mode mixture, the Neapolitan chord, augmented sixth chords, and jazz harmony.