Constant structure

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In jazz, a constant structure is a chord progression consisting of three or more chords of the same type or quality.[1] Popularized by pianists Bill Evans and Herbie Hancock, the combination of functional and nonfunctional chords provides cohesiveness while producing a free and shifting tonal center.[1]

Constant structure example[1] About this sound Play .

For example, the progression Fmaj7–Amaj7–Dmaj7–Gmaj7–C13sus4[1] contains four major seventh chords (and one thirteenth chord), none of which are diatonic to the key of F major except the first.

vi–ii–V–I in C[2] About this sound Play .

In contrast, the vi–ii–V–I or circle progression from classical theory contains four chords of two or three different qualities: major, minor, and possibly a dominant seventh chord; all of which, however, are diatonic to the key. Thus diversity is achieved within a stable and fixed tonal center.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d Rawlins, Robert (2005). Jazzology: The Encyclopedia of Jazz Theory for All Musicians, p.131. ISBN 0-634-08678-2.
  2. ^ William G Andrews and Molly Sclater (2000). Materials of Western Music Part 1, p.227. ISBN 1-55122-034-2.