The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #156777   Message #3696158
Posted By: GUEST,Grishka
23-Mar-15 - 10:55 AM
Thread Name: Odd chord progression in Tom Paxton song
Subject: RE: Odd chord progression in Tom Paxton song
Progressing from one major key to another one a major third lower, such as from E major to C major, has been around since Mozart's time. It used to signal "surprise, surprise!", e.g. when a new character entered the opera stage.

Schubert used the progression so often that its surprise character has diminished since. All the more so if the tune quickly returns to the original key. Chord progressions like E C D E (major) were popular in American guitar genres like Rhythm'n'Blues, since they could be produced by shifting the left hand with very little change of the finger positions. In music with a rebel attitude, additional benefits included the wincing of conservative musicians who shunned parallel fifths etc.

Nowadays such devices had better been used sparingly, if at all. Last year's rebels are today's reactionaries.