Surf Guitar Progression Analysis

Chords, scales, harmony, melody, etc.
446 posts since 4 Jun, 2018 from Wiltshire, Uk

Post Tue Mar 30, 2021 2:58 pm

I’m working through a surf guitar course and in one of the lessons, the chords are as follows, all in their major form...



I need help making sense of this progression, I.e. what scale/mode is it derived from? It doesn’t sound like the usual Ionian modality.

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12657 posts since 8 Mar, 2005 from Utrecht, Holland

Post Tue Mar 30, 2021 10:56 pm

This here is just walking down the scale. The next chord is a third down from the previous. Compare that to "Autumn Leaves" where it takes steps of four. The second bar is a copy of the first, but modulated by a fifth.

Mind you, when guitarists are just strumming chords, they don't think about which scale or what mode they are in. That's what piano players do. If it sounds good, it is good.
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20941 posts since 20 Oct, 2007 from not here

Post Wed Mar 31, 2021 3:05 am

No, there is no single scale even if you grant two key centers hence two scales; normally that there isn't called walking. It may be thought of as a minor 6 up and a minor 3 down, root-wise.
if A has the sense of home for the first three, if you need an explanation it'd be that there is an ambiguity of major and minor, a V, a bIII, a I; then the same relationship a 4th up or a 5th down. Generally, since A to D is a I to IV relationship should we need to name keys, we'll call if up a fourth (convention rules ok).

Not everything has to make the kind of sense you're expecting. My inclination is to guess A and then a move to IV, D as centers. The A to D is a pretty normal move as I suggested.
But chords given with no tune or rhythm given are just some chords. I can imagine a surf feel from those suppositions, tho.

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20941 posts since 20 Oct, 2007 from not here

Post Wed Mar 31, 2021 3:14 am

Being a guitarist :P

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