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  • Help with Numbering System

    Hi all,

    Maybe a silly question... is it necessary to change how you label progressions depending on whether the song is major or minor? IE could I label

    Amin Dmin Emin Fmaj

    as a 6 2 3 4 progression as opposed to 1 5 6 7? I'm trying to memorize what progressions sound like and I feel like it would be easier to label minor and major progressions identically.

  • #2
    That would be I iv v VI in Ami. (note lower case for minor) In most music, the dominant would be altered to major and probably to a dominant seventh chord as you noted elsewhere. As to notation, who are you writing for? Is the music note for note specific? My opinion; whatever is practical for the situation.
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    • #3
      Most industry folks using NNS don't move the 1 when denoting minor, it's too confusing. They'll refer to the relative minor as 6. Changing the 1 for the relative minor makes about as much sense as moving the 1 to the 3 position when you're writing in the Phrygian mode. It just adds complexity and confusion.
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      • #4
        You mean all minor keys are reference to the relative major? Sounds more confusing; you'd have to transpose all your functions.
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        • #5
          Originally posted by 1001gear View Post
          You mean all minor keys are reference to the relative major? Sounds more confusing; you'd have to transpose all your functions.

          Think about it like this: How is it shown on the staff? Is the key signature any different between the major and the relative minor? It's not, so why would your NNS chart be any different? Again, if your tonal center were the 2 (Dorian), it's written the same way on the staff, and you don't move the 1 to the 2 position, so why would it be any different for the 6 (relative minor)?
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          • #6
            I'm sure you're aware that traditional numeration goes by chord function. I find that much more precise than guessing if the III chord should be major or minor.
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            • #7
              Originally posted by 1001gear View Post
              I'm sure you're aware that traditional numeration goes by chord function. I find that much more precise than guessing if the III chord should be major or minor.

              Generally, use of a capital denotes major or minor. I vs, i, etc. However, if you're using NNS, the I is the I. The relative minor is the vi. Every key is always I, ii, iii, IV, V, vi, vii (dim). There's nothing to confuse.
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              • #8
                Originally posted by MrHarryReems View Post


                Generally, use of a capital denotes major or minor. I vs, i, etc. However, if you're using NNS, the I is the I. The relative minor is the vi. Every key is always I, ii, iii, IV, V, vi, vii (dim). There's nothing to confuse.
                Granted in pop music the distinction would be intuitive although when your 3 chord is actually a V7 I'd say that's kinda ambiguous - and that's just two modes.
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                • #9
                  Originally posted by 1001gear View Post

                  Granted in pop music the distinction would be intuitive although when your 3 chord is actually a V7 I'd say that's kinda ambiguous - and that's just two modes.
                  In NNS, that's actually how you'd write it. If you're using a V7, you'd write in the absolute value: V7. In that case, what you're actually doing is employing chord substitution, as the V chord can be used in place of the iii chord, and vice versa, because the iii and the V share two notes in the triad. In the key of C, the iii is EGB, and the V is GBD. As they share the G and the B, they can be substituted for one another.
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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by MrHarryReems View Post
                    In NNS, that's actually how you'd write it. If you're using a V7, you'd write in the absolute value: V7. In that case, what you're actually doing is employing chord substitution, as the V chord can be used in place of the iii chord, and vice versa, because the iii and the V share two notes in the triad. In the key of C, the iii is EGB, and the V is GBD. As they share the G and the B, they can be substituted for one another.
                    Ok that makes sense but it's not theoretically consistent and at that point it seems fake sheets would serve better. (?)
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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by 1001gear View Post

                      Ok that makes sense but it's not theoretically consistent and at that point it seems fake sheets would serve better. (?)

                      I would say that it's more theoretically consistent than moving the 1 based on the tonal center. If you're reading a staff, there is absolutely zero difference, so why should there be on your sheet?
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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by MrHarryReems View Post


                        I would say that it's more theoretically consistent than moving the 1 based on the tonal center. If you're reading a staff, there is absolutely zero difference, so why should there be on your sheet?
                        Because you want E7 not G7.
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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by 1001gear View Post

                          Because you want E7 not G7.

                          Then, if you're in the key of C, you note it as iii7, unless you want E major, in which case you'd write it III7.
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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by MrHarryReems View Post


                            Then, if you're in the key of C, you note it as iii7, unless you want E major, in which case you'd write it III7.
                            Yeah but we're in Ami. and besides, a iii7 would be a minor 7th chord. We want the dominant 7th of A minor not C. It's much clearer if the chart is in A minor.
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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by 1001gear View Post

                              Yeah but we're in Ami. and besides, a iii7 would be a minor 7th chord. We want the dominant 7th of A minor not C. It's much clearer if the chart is in A minor.

                              No, it's not. You use III7, not iii7 if you want to use an accidental make the E into a major chord.
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