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Lesson 9 - Using NCTs with Sequential Progressions - Part 1

Course video 32 of 63

In this module, we look at a few commonly found sequential progressions. We will do some analysis of excerpts from Mozart and Beethoven that demonstrate the use of these types of progressions. I will also show you how to apply patterns to these progressions to make 3-voice polyphonic passages. We will also look at what I call the circle of fifths progression. The term can cause some confusion, so I want to quickly address that here. We are probably all familiar with the circle of fifths since it is commonly used to teach keys and key signatures. If we descend or ascend in a series of perfect fifths, we cycle through all of the 12 keys. Starting at C, ascending gives us keys with sharps, descending gives us keys with flats. When we ascend/descend by a perfect fifth for a 13th time, we end up back where we started. The circle of fifths progression, however, does not use perfect fifths exclusively. In many instances, it simply can’t because doing so forces a key change, and this is frequently not desired by the composer. So, sometimes the perfect fifth is adjusted to a diminished 5th to keep the progression in the same key. You could look at the circle of fifths progression we examine this week as a diatonic version of the original circle of fifths concept. With it, we cycle through not all 12 keys, but all 7 chords of the key. Some of you may know this progression simply as the circle progression. There is one self-assessed assignment.

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