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Music Theory for Computer Musicians by Michael Hewitt

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Chordal Functions

When chords are placed into a sequence, the result is a chord progression. A good chord progression is never haphazard—it is guided by principles of musical intelligence and good sense. Over time, many of these principles have been studied and formulated into a good working theory, which helps to explain the logic behind chord progressions. That there is a logic, there can be no doubt.

The main principle underlying the logic of chord progressions is tonality. Tonality raises one chord as being more important than all of the others. This chord is called the tonic chord, and it is built on the first degree of the scale. In the case of C major, the tonic chord is therefore the triad of C major. As the tonic, it is the main chord ...

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