Asked • 04/04/19

Significance of pop songs with progressions that alternate one chord with one that's three semitones below it?

I've noticed a couple of pop songs that use one chord progression that alternates between swapping one chord (either fifth or fourth) with one that's three semitones below it (to third or second): * [Bob Dylan - Knockin' on Heaven's Door](https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_bWzyiU-S_w) alternates between I V IV and I V ii * [Iggy Pop - Passenger](https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hLhN__oEHaw) alternates between vi IV I V and vi IV I III * [Cat Stevens - Father and Son](https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b-7c4VNGOgU) - the father's vocals change from I V IV ii7... to I iii7 IV ii7... I was wondering if there was any musical significance behind this. My guess is that I feel the song could be played with one or the other - is the alternation just to add a bit of variety? And if so, is there a name for this technique, and is there any special relationship between the fifth and the third chord, and the fourth and the second chord that makes this possible?

2 Answers By Expert Tutors

By:

Carlos S. answered • 03/26/20

Tutor
5 (31)

Ear Training courses: Berklee College of Music & AM Barcelona

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