Asked • 05/24/19

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]( alternates between I V IV and I V ii* [Iggy Pop - Passenger]( alternates between vi IV I V and vi IV I III* [Cat Stevens - Father and Son]( - 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?

1 Expert Answer


David W. answered • 03/08/20

5.0 (116)

PhD in Music Composition with 5+ Years of Teaching Experience

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