Ragtime progression

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
For the I-IV-VII-iii-VI-ii-V-I or I-vi-ii-V-I chord progression, see Circle progression.
Ragtime progression includes chains of secondary dominants About this sound Play .
Progression (E7-A7-D7-G7) About this sound Play  which often appears in the bridge of jazz standards.[1] The V7/V/V/V - V7/V/V - V7/V - V7 [or V7/vi - V7/ii - V7/V - V7] leads back to C major (I) About this sound Play  but is itself indefinite in key.
Ragtime progression's origin in voice leading: II itself is the product of a 5-6 replacement over IV in IV-V-I. "Such a replacement originates purely in voice-leading, but," the chord above IV (in C: F-A-D) is a first inversion II chord.[2] About this sound Play 
Movement in the ragtime progression. Note that the third and seventh descend to the seventh and third of the next chord by descending half-step, creating two chromatic lines.

The ragtime progression[3] is a chord progression characterized by a chain of secondary dominants, named for its popularity in the ragtime genre, despite being much older.[4] Also typical of parlour music, its use originated in classical music and later spread to American folk music.[5] Growing, "by a process of gradual accretion. First the dominant chord acquired its own dominant...This then acquired its dominant, which in turn acquired yet another dominant, giving":[6]

III7/ VI7/ II7/ V7 I


(V7/V/V/V) V7/V/V V7/V V7 I


(III7) VI7 II7 V7 I

In C major this is:

(E7) A7 D7 G7 C

Most commonly found in its four chord version (thus the parentheses). About this sound Play  This may be perceived as a, "harder, bouncier sounding progression," than the diatonic vi-ii-V7-I, in C: Am-Dm-G7-C.[11][12] About this sound Play  The three chord version (II-V-I) is, "related to the cadential progression IV-V-I...in which the V is tonicized and stabilized by means of II with a raised third."[2]

The progression is an example of centripetal harmony, harmony which leads to the tonic and an example of the circle progression, a progression along the circle of fourths. Though creating or featuring chromaticism, the bass (if the roots of the chords), and often the melody, are pentatonic.[6] (Major pentatonic on C: CDEGA) Contrastingly, Averill argues that the progression was used because of the potential if offered for chromatic pitch areas.[13]

Variations include the addition of minor seventh chords before the dominant seventh chords, creating overlapping temporary ii-V-I relationships[14] through ii-V-I substitution:

Bm7-E7 Em7-A7 Am7-D7 Dm7-G7 C

since Bm7-E7-A is a ii-V-I progression, as is Em7-A7-D and so on. About this sound Play 

Performed by Martha Goldstein on an 1851 Erard piano

Problems playing this file? See media help.

Examples of the use of the ragtime progression include the chorus of Howard & Emerson's "Hello! Ma Baby" (1899), the traditional "Keep On Truckin' Mama", Robert Johnson's "They're Red Hot" (1936), Arlo Guthrie's "Alice's Restaurant" (1967),[15] Bruce Channel's "Hey! Baby" (1962), The Rooftop Singers' "Walk Right In" (1963), James P. Johnson's "Charleston" (1923), Ray Henderson's "Five Foot Two, Eyes of Blue" (1925),[12] Rev. Gary Davis's "Salty Dog",[16] Bernie and Pinkard's "Sweet Georgia Brown" (1925), the "Cujus animam" (mm.9-18) in Rossini's Stabat Mater, the beginning of Liszt's Liebesträume (1850),[6] Bob Carleton's "Ja-Da" (1918),[17] and Sonny Rollins's "Doxy" (1954).[18]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Boyd, Bill (1997). Jazz Chord Progressions, p.56. ISBN 0-7935-7038-7.
  2. ^ a b Jonas, Oswald (1982) Introduction to the Theory of Heinrich Schenker (1934: Das Wesen des musikalischen Kunstwerks: Eine Einführung in Die Lehre Heinrich Schenkers), p.116. Trans. John Rothgeb. ISBN 0-582-28227-6.
  3. ^ Fahey, John (1970). Charley Patton, p.45. London: Studio Vista. Cited in van der Merwe (1989).
  4. ^ van der Merwe, Peter (2005). Roots of the Classical, p.496. ISBN 978-0-19-816647-4.
  5. ^ van der Merwe, Peter (1989). Origins of the Popular Style: The Antecedents of Twentieth-Century Popular Music, p.321. Oxford: Clarendon Press. ISBN 0-19-316121-4.
  6. ^ a b c Van der Merwe (2005), p.299.
  7. ^ Warnock, Matthew. "Turnarounds: How to Turn One Chord into Four". Music Theory Lesson. jazzguitar.be. Retrieved February 27, 2012. 
  8. ^ Levine, Mark (1996). The jazz theory book. O'Reilly Media. ISBN 1-883217-04-0. Retrieved February 27, 2012. 
  9. ^ Averill, Gage (2003). Four Parts, No Waiting, p.162. ISBN 978-0-19-511672-4.
  10. ^ Weissman, Dick (2005). Blues: The Basics, p.50. ISBN 978-0-415-97067-9.
  11. ^ Scott, Richard J. (2003). Chord Progressions for Songwriters, p.428. ISBN 978-0-595-26384-4.
  12. ^ a b Davis, Kenneth (2006). The Piano Professor Easy Piano Study, p.105. ISBN 978-1-4303-0334-3. Same quote but gives the progression in E instead of C.
  13. ^ Averill, Gage (2003). Four Parts, No Waiting: A Social History of American Barbershop Harmony, p.162. ISBN 978-0-19-511672-4.
  14. ^ Boyd (1997), p.60.
  15. ^ Scott (2003), p.429
  16. ^ Grossman, Stefan (1998). Rev. Gary Davis/Blues Guitar, p.71. ISBN 978-0-8256-0152-1.
  17. ^ Weissman, Dick (2001). Songwriting: The Words, the Music and the Money, p.59. ISBN 9780634011603. and Weissman, Dick (1085). Basic Chord Progressions: Handy Guide, p.28. ISBN 9780882844008.
  18. ^ Fox, Charles; McCarthy, Albert (1960). Jazz on record: a critical guide to the first 50 years, 1917-1967. Hanover Books. p. 62. 

Further reading[edit]