If you convert a minor progression to roman numerals, it’ll often work when you transpose it to a major key.
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It’s a common feature of music in pop genres to use a mainly minor key approach for the verse and switch to major for the chorus. The most common way to do this is to consider the entire song to be in a major key, but focus on minor chords from that major key for the verse, switching to mainly major chords for the chorus. Example: “Style” (Taylor Swift). Verse: Bm-G. Chorus: D-G-D-G…
One other way to achieve this is to do the following: create a verse progression that sits solidly in a minor key, then transpose the entire progression up a 3rd so that it sits just as solidly in the relative major key. Here’s how to do that.
- Create a list of 7 chords from A minor. That gives you this: i (Am) ii (Bdim) III (C) iv (Dm) (V) (Em) (or E) VI (F) (VII) G.
- Using the same chords, come up with a second list that considers the C chord to be a I-chord. Those will be your major key chords: I (C) ii (Dm) iii (Em) IV (F) V (G) vi (Am) vii (Bdim)
- Now create your minor key progression. Something like this will work: Am F Em F Dm Em F G (i vi V vi iv v VI VII). This can be repeated as much as you’d like to form your song verse.
- Using the same roman numerals, create the equivalent progression in a major key. That gives you this: C Am G Am F G Am Bdim.
- Adjust any chords that don’t suit your taste. For example, the Bdim chord can be a difficult one to use. You might try Bb, or perhaps a G chord that uses a B in the bass: G/B.
The benefit to creating a major progression that uses the same roman numeral sequence as a minor progression is that it creates a strong relationship between the two. They operate as harmonic partners, acting as a kind of musical glue that strengthens the relationship between verse and chorus.
Another idea is to use a minor progression for the first part of your verse, switching to major for the second half.
Here are some other roman numeral progressions (using C major/A minor) that you might want to experiment with:
- i iv V VI. (MINOR: Am Dm E (or Em) F; MAJOR: C F G Am)
- i VII VI V (MINOR: Am G F E (or Em); MAJOR: C G/B Am G)
- i V VI ii III iv V i (MINOR: Am Em F Bdim C Dm Em Am; MAJOR: C G Am Dm Em F G C
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