TonalityGUIDE - basic tonal music theory and analysis for undergraduates
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Short Progressions


introduction diatonic chromatic

introduction | fifths | seconds | thirds

introduction | falling | rising

Whilst the harmonic progression of a falling third is often found in tonal music, that of the rising third is very uncommon, at least in direct succession. This is perhaps surprising, given that the rising minor third is the harmonic succession from minor to relative major. It is difficult to say why this might be, but in the context of older tonal styles, direct progression by rising third does sound somehow awkward and is rarely found:


When a harmonic progression by rising third occurs in Bach's chorales, it is usually only in passing as in the example below:


Although direct rising third harmonic progressions are rare, progressions such as that in the example below are very common. The harmony progresses from I - iii, passing through ii in on the way.



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