Five of Five Chord Discussion
January 17, 2020 at 2:50 PM #81286
Here’s some important info on the 5 of 5 chord. I’ve received several emails of late and thought I’d share the info with BGD members that may have an interest in music theory.
The Five of Five Chord
In Nashville, many pickers call this chord the “2” chord and write it as a large Roman Numeral 2. But really, it’s the five of five chord in music theory circles.
Most often times it appears in a tune either after the Tonic chord or after the Dominant chord. For example: in the key of “G”, play a G chord (Tonic) and follow that with a C chord (Sub Dominant) then back to the G chord, then up to the A chord (Five of Five) and then to the D chord (Dominant, also called the “Five” chord). You can then resolve this by Playing these chords: G chord, C chord, G chord, D chord and finally, G chord.
Another way the Five of Five is used is: in the key of “G”, play a G chord (Tonic) and follow that with a C chord (Sub Dominant) then back to the G chord, then to the D chord (Dominant, also called the “Five” chord) and then to the A chord (Five of Five) and back to the D chord. You can then resolve this by Playing these chords: G chord, C chord, G chord, D chord and finally, G chord.
The Five of Five chord works this way: The color tone of the Five of Five has a tension that resolves nicely to the base note of the Five chord. For example: think in the key of “G” again, the color tone of the Five of Five is a C# note which resolves nicely to the “D” note in the D chord. Or, it could resolve nicely, creating a little tension (which can later be resolved to the color tone of the Tonic), by going to the flatted seventh note of the Dominant chord (D chord in this example) which would be the “C” note. (This “C” note would eventually resolve to the “B” note which is the color tone of the G chord).
Another well used chord progression is from the Tonic to the Sub Dominant to the Five of Five to the Dominant and back to the Tonic.
Yet another neat chord pattern is to go from the Tonic to the Five of Five of Five ( think of this one as a relative minor chord made major by raising the color tone) then to the Five of Five then the Five and return to the Tonic. For Example in the key of “G”: G; E (not minor, but major); A; D; G.
Now find and resolve the Five of Five chords for these four keys: D; A; F; C
Interesting modulations around the five of five chord.
Here’s an interesting and fun to play (and hear) modulation around the standard five of five chord progression: Take the key of D for example. Sound a D chord, then a G chord then another D chord then go up to your five of five, the E chord, now instead of going directly to your five chord, go to a minor five chord which is A Minor, then go to an F chord and then the major five chord A. Finish it up with a return to the D, G, A and D.
Can you identify what’s happening with the A Minor? The A Minor has two tones that are shared within an F Major chord, the A note and the C note. The modulation from this F Major chord is easily heard since the F note resolves by lowering down one-half step to an E note and the C Natural note is resolved when it’s raised up one-half step to a C#. This five chord – A C# E – has the color tone of C# which is also the leading tone in the D major scale. It’s helpful to remember that the color tone of the 5 chord is the leading tone of the Major key. For example, if a G chord – G B D – is the 5 chord, then the B note is the leading tone which resolves 1/2 step to a C Natural. So G is the 5 chord in the Key of C.
Go ahead now and experiment with these patterns using different key signatures to sharpen your ability to transpose keys.January 17, 2020 at 5:31 PM #81293
Interesting. I had to stop and pick up a guitar to continue reading…lol. I do call it II chord…like they do in Nashville. Those chords sound “bright” to me…like they put a big bright spot, that almost seems unexpected…only way I can describe it. Anyhow, I did try some of that and it could be helpful to me. I was thinking, since the other day I did a weird little arrangement of %00 Miles Away from Home, or whatever that old song is called…lol…and since then I can’t stop thinking about it.
I had done it on cello and guitar while singing…but once in a while I get this feeling that I wanna try to do a by-ear, old-timey “classical’ approach to a sort of sloppy string quartet feel with cello, viola, and fiddle…I might try modulating and getting fancy like that…not sure it’ll work, but I might have a closer look at this stuff here you said and see if it will work for me on 500 Miles Away from Home as a sort of groundhogpeggy/cricket…Kentucky Fried String Quartet. Don’t know when I’ll get time or if I will before the notion gets outta my head…but one of these days if I’m still thinking of it and I get enough time I might try.
I’ve got a carbon fiber viola bow on the way now…lol…thanks to BGD generosity…lol…so it’ll be cool if that arrives before I get to this…my viola bow that came with my cheapie Chinese viola…which is actually an ok instrument to me…I mean…I can’t see anything wrong with the viola at all…but the bow is pretty cheap…so…I can’t wait to try the new bow.
Anyhow…thanks, Fred. I keep thinking in terms of string quartet on the ol’ Presonus, and this kind of info could come in handy!January 17, 2020 at 6:03 PM #81295fiddlewoodParticipantJanuary 17, 2020 at 8:17 PM #81300
Lol…that’s why Nashville decided to just say with II chords, VI chords, III chords, whatever, etc. Whatever you call ’em…they can do cool things with the progressions, etc., if a person could learn good spots to put ’em.January 17, 2020 at 8:18 PM #81301
I always thought number intervals were so much easier to think about than letters of notes. Just the way I learned…January 17, 2020 at 11:04 PM #81309
I made a youtube a couple years back of just playing My Old Kentucky Home…I got to one point and just really felt like going into something like Bach …you know, like a fugue type situation with it. Well I ended up cutting it right at that point and just singing something to end it…it got outta control on me I think mainly, well mainly because that’s just too hard…lol…but also I was unclear on the modulating necessary to make it Bach-like…so I cut that part off and just left it cricket-like…lol.January 17, 2020 at 11:43 PM #81310
“Composer speak” can be quite unnerving for those who are perfectly content with simply enjoying the playing of music with a limited knowledge of the background structures and rules. V of V can be confusing. 2 is simpler.
Most folks I know who play acoustic music -whether it’s folk, country, bluegrass or old time- aren’t even familiar with a numbering system using Roman numerals or any other systems. Heck, lots of those good folks may not even know the names of the chords they’re using. Very few can name the individual notes; especially when it comes to sharps or flats. Lots take pride in learning through a kind of hand-me-down rote from ancestors or friends who played by ear, too.
Cricket, you do fine with your cello and I’ll bet you may not know the three clefs involved when considering the wide range of notes that can be played on it. Knowing those clefs and the notes may not be of any help at all when playing by ear. This kind of knowledge just isn’t necessary. And lord knows you play great stuff with wonderful talent.
My training has been in classical orchestration. It’s fun to talk “theory”. The structure of music. I don’t get much opportunity in Bluegrass, Old Time and Country. I’m a long ways from my old alma mater where classical was bantered about all day and half the night.
The only reason I post a thread like this is in the hopes of drawing anyone into the realm of music structure because of the deeply satisfying feelings associated with understanding a complex piece of music. And for nerds like me, it’s fun to know the background rules when jamming Bluegrass, etc.
Thanks for your responses, Cricket. I really appreciate reading them. 🙂January 18, 2020 at 12:39 AM #81311
I’m taking advancement lessons Fred…For scales I’m doing the classical finger patterns for 3 octave scales in all keys through 4 sharps and 4 flats. But my book doesn’t have 3 octave arpeggios written out, so I asked the teacher if there was a standard set to use that defines positions & shifts like the scale patterns. There is seemingly an infinite number of patterns you can do it with by shifting into higher positions at odd times. She launched into a demonstration that totally left me in the dust, so basically I just have to do whatever I can invent on my own. She would play an arpeggio, then go back to the first note, raise it a tone, and do the arpeggio for that chord which is a totally different key, and on & on. My theory has been laying in the dust since college days, and seems beyond resurrection. But the more theory you know, the better off you are for advancing in playing skills for sure.January 18, 2020 at 12:47 AM #81312
I have a really cool set of arpeggios for the common fiddle scales of G, A, & Bb, that advances through the arpeggios for each of the l, lV, & V cords of each of those scales. It’s in my bucket list of to do posts, when I get to it.January 18, 2020 at 1:06 AM #81314Gunnar SalyerParticipant
I’ve always loved the major two chord, and I use it as often as I can fit it in, and sometimes I’ll go one step further and use an Em before the A before the D.January 18, 2020 at 8:36 AM #81324
Fred, I appreciate the talk. It’s true I’m one who knows IV V, etc., perfects fifths or minor thirds or whatever, but have no idea about whatever notes I’m playing…lol.
I do know there are movable “C” clefs for instruments in the mid range…I played trombone in high school band…lol. However, I can read clefs and notes, but I cannot apply them to anything I do. So there’s a weird thing about me. Annie had me do a Mozart thing from a score…so I could read off the ntoes…she had the score…read through the clefs, transpose other instruments…but then to play it on that little piano thing my sister-in-law gave us during the Purcell recordings…when she heard I was doing it all on guitar…anyway…now I have a score and trying to get the Mozart for her…I have to read through one line…one-finger it out on the keyboard thing with its little electronic gizmo turned to the instruments…i.e., oboe or violin or whatever…then jsut try it enough to get it by ear and lay down one track at a time. Fortunately, she stopped that project when she got worried about what youtube has in mind…but she’s started talking about it again…lol…so, well for me to get something like 2 minutes of music for her like this, it takes me about 12 hours’ work. It’d be easier if I could look at notes and translate that into sound, but for whatever reason, I just can’t.
Well, but anyway…I’m gonna look for a youtube link to post that got me thinking to turn My Old Kentucky Home into a Bach-like fugue-like attemtp…which totally failed and so I cut it there and just sung it to the end…lame, but I just couldn’t figure it out. I’ll look for that and try to show you what I mean. I hope someday I can do something like that…by ear, though…I just can’t handle the notes.January 18, 2020 at 8:41 AM #81326
Ok…here’s the youtube that made me wanna do something like this with my instruments on Old KY H, back a few years ago. I couldn’t get it. But lately I’ve thought how cool it would sound to take an old song or fiddle tune and do something like this, by ear, with cello, viola, fiddle…maybe that’d be all. I think it would sound so cool, but be so hard to figure out (the modulations…aggghhhh) and so hard to play…I can only play the cello in sawmill in C and first position and slowly. That thing is hard to play. But I could then do crazy stuff maybe with my viola and fiddle (though not that crazy…lol…keep within the skill level and try to make the most of that) and just make something cool. Who knows…it’s a dream I keep having, but not sure I can ever do it.
This was the inspiring moment on youtube…January 18, 2020 at 11:13 AM #81329
Well…a long time ago I felt like just trying to get the chord progression of that fugue Old MacDonald’s thing above… I thought if I could get the progression, all those crazy modulation goings on, which are revolving around V chords…then getting it to work like a fugue might be possible, in this or some other universe…
So I tried again this morning after doing the dishes… so I played along with guitar and got the first line of this…pretty straightforward…G C G D…G, then comes what I think of as a “bright” chord…A, then back to D…there’s that bright sounding II, or five of five I guess …
And then the second Old MacDonald line comes up with the previous one doing background chord type stuff…so the second line is a fifth higher… and the chords are something like D G A D A D…and then it goes wacky…D F#m (might not be right) Bm (might not be right) A G…then winds up with something like Bm Em A D…
Then goes off topic for a minute and does something like D C ( in crazyville by this time…lol) D G…something and back to D…
…I mean… I ran outta time and my brain’s is splitting in half with this…but this was the kinda stuff I had to work out for the Purcell opera for Annie’s backup tracks for that…ugh…I’m telling you, there were days I spent 12 hours straight trying to get together two horrifying minutes and some chords I just never could figure out…
…but if I could ever keep my mind going with this above fugue of Old MacDonalds…enough to just get the general gist of how it just winds and turns throughout all of the five chords and weird ways to get there…then I’d try to make a fugue, by ear…with my instruments.
Maybe never happen…it’s pretty hard…but I really do like the sound of it when somebody knows how to do it.January 19, 2020 at 9:54 AM #81357
Cricket, that’s wonderful. I had a one hour class per week when in Ithaca College with the esteemed composer Karel Husa, from Prague, Czechoslovakia. I would work approximately 17 hours on an original score for that one class. He would correct my work without benefit of any instruments, simply hearing the music I’d composed in his head as he read the orchestral score I had handed in. 🙂January 19, 2020 at 3:09 PM #81364
That’s…well, …fantastic…I admire that kind of ability..Cricket, I understand your inspiration of what you want to do with My Old Kentucky Home. Merging the best of both of worlds..It does weird things to your emotions..January 19, 2020 at 10:19 PM #81380
Yes, well Fred’s music prof would do weird things to my emotions…lol.
But yeah, Rodger…I don’t know why, but once in a while I feel like merging old time with something sorta classical-sounding…it’s fun when you can make it work…I’ve “fiddled” with the idea just a little bit here and there, but it ain’t very easy.
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