330-Year-Old Chord Progressions Work Just Fine

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GuitarIt still amazes me how chord progressions from today’s pop music sound pretty much the same as progressions from several centuries ago. That accounts for why it’s so easy to take a piece of music from the Baroque era (1600-1750), borrow the chord progressions, and make them sound like something written today by simply adding a rock band!

I’m getting ready to conduct a choir in the next few days that is performing music by Danish/German composer Dieterich Buxtehude (1639-1707). He was a master of organ and choral music for the period we call the middle-Baroque – roughly 1630-1680.

And guess what… his chords still work. Dressing them up with whatever you’d normally do when producing your own music would make them sound as fresh today as any other chord progression you might come up with.

Give them a try. They all come from Buxtehude’s masterpiece called “Membra Jesu Nostri,” and they’ll work for any tempo, style, time signature and key. Hold each chord as long as you want before moving on to the next one, and try going back and forth between two chords before moving on to the next one.

I’ve included a sample sound file to show how you might use the chords, but by all means experiment and use your imagination.

1. Cm  Fm  Cm  Ab  Fm  Ddim  C [LISTEN]

2. Eb  Bb  Eb  Bb/D  Cm7  Bb  Eb [LISTEN]

3. Gm  Ebmaj7/G  F#dim/G  Gm [LISTEN]

4. Gm  D/F#  Gm  Adim  Gm/Bb  D/A  Gm [LISTEN]

5. Eb  Eb/G  Ab  Adim  Bb  Eb/G  Bbsus4  Bb  Eb [LISTEN]

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Gary EwerWritten by Gary Ewer. Follow on Twitter.

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