piano harmony/improv question?

is it okay to start on a different chord then the first one. like if you were playing in c is it okay to make ur first chord an F but then end it on C?

2 Answers

  • 9 years ago
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    You can begin a composition or improvisation on any chord you want. However to be in a certain key you need to set-up harmonic relationships. At some point you need a V-I progression (in C this is G-C).

    There are numerous examples throughout the literature of composers beginning on chords other than tonic. The most common alternative is to have an anacrusis dominant (an upbeat V chord). Sometimes in more harmonically adventurous you find pieces that begin on chords very distant from tonic such as Ger+6 or chromatic mediants.

  • 9 years ago

    If you are playing a piece of music - or an improvisation - in the key of C major there is no problem with starting the piece of with a chord other than the tonic (the "I" chord) - so long as you eventually establish the "tonic" at some point (unless, of course, you are immediately modulating away from the home key and only returning to the key of "C" at the end of the piece, in which case the avoidance of the tonic would be understandable).

    In musical terms, this might look like the following - assuming the key of C major, the following chords would be played (without a modulation [I'm using Roman numerals to represent the chord symbols - they'll be explained below]): IV - vi - ii6 - V7 - I ....

    That progression would "spell out" the following chords: F major, A minor, D minor (in first inversion - F in the bass), G major 7, C major (the Tonic - or "I" chord).

    Hope that helps.

    Source(s): Over 20 years as a professional Composer. Performance Diploma, Pedagogy; B.Mus, Composition; 2 years Grad study, Comp. & Theory.
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