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Common Chord Progressions in Old-Time

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Dec 5, 2018 - 3:33:27 PM
868 posts since 7/26/2015

Has anybody thought about making a list of the most common chord progressions for old-time fiddle tunes?

Dec 5, 2018 - 4:14:51 PM
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RobBob

USA

2571 posts since 6/26/2007

Look here

Dec 5, 2018 - 6:26:55 PM

3845 posts since 9/26/2008

Are the chords that similar from one tune to the next? I suppose to a degree. What is the end goal for this list?

When breaking in a bass player unfamiliar with the music I made a list of the various blues based chord sets for bluegrass songs for him, the I IV V stuff that occurs A LOT in that music. It was fun for a while to call out which version it was before playing the song, “Basic 5 with a four chord lead in the chorus!” For old time fiddle tune that fall in the broad “pretty much everyone plays this one” category, there are shared motifs, like the I-V I endings and the I to VII modal tune sections, but how many share the full set of changes like those blues based songs do beside the blues based tunes? I would think cataloging the motifs that occur as A and B and Asub Bsub or what not might be -easier- ? I may be entirely off since the only time I think much about the changes are when a guitar player asks, “What are the changes right there?”

Dec 6, 2018 - 4:59:59 AM
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1492 posts since 10/22/2007

There are more, but typically two or three chord tunes. First change typically to either the IV or V chord. Departures sound obvious. I never found a reason to make a list. More of a "rule of thumb" tool for unfamiliar tunes. Mind you, we're not talking Jimmy Webb tunes or piano tunes.

Edited by - farmerjones on 12/06/2018 05:00:45

Dec 6, 2018 - 7:59:34 AM
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237 posts since 8/10/2017

Thank you for posting that link! My boyfriend retired about 3 weeks ago. He's got a guitar that's been collecting dust for several decades. We don't play together. I sent him the link and he showed me his blister this morning from trying to play some of the tunes in that chord chart. I hope maybe we can play together.

Dec 6, 2018 - 12:25:06 PM

1222 posts since 12/11/2008

With Old Time, you can pretty much cover the bases with just the I and V chords. If you're doing Cross-A tunes, just have him alternate between the A chord and the E chord. Sometimes he'll have to toss a D chord into the mix but let him experiment. The proper chord to play will soon manifest itself in the dude's head.

The blisters, of course, are another matter. Let the callouses grow!

Dec 6, 2018 - 5:47:33 PM

868 posts since 7/26/2015

There could be many uses for it. The first that comes to mind is what you mentioned, a way to break in people who are unfamiliar. 
quote:
Originally posted by ChickenMan

Are the chords that similar from one tune to the next? I suppose to a degree. What is the end goal for this list?

When breaking in a bass player unfamiliar with the music I made a list of the various blues based chord sets for bluegrass songs for him, the I IV V stuff that occurs A LOT in that music. It was fun for a while to call out which version it was before playing the song, “Basic 5 with a four chord lead in the chorus!” For old time fiddle tune that fall in the broad “pretty much everyone plays this one” category, there are shared motifs, like the I-V I endings and the I to VII modal tune sections, but how many share the full set of changes like those blues based songs do beside the blues based tunes? I would think cataloging the motifs that occur as A and B and Asub Bsub or what not might be -easier- ? I may be entirely off since the only time I think much about the changes are when a guitar player asks, “What are the changes right there?”


Edited by - soppinthegravy on 12/06/2018 17:49:19

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