Phrygian Chord Progression
Question by Anonymous
I don't know where to start. I need help with some examples of a chord progression for A flat phyrgian. Can I use an E major chord? An F minor chord?
Modal chord progressions are about creating a tonal centre around a particular mode and its related chord. In your example, the progression would need to have some kind of resolution to Ab (A flat) Phrygian, making the Ab minor chord Phrygian it's built around the tonic chord (i)
of the progression.
Phrygian is a very limited mode as far as building chord progressions around it. However, just like the example track in the modal chord progressions lesson
, by adding chords from the other related modes and chords of Ab Phrygian, you may find a progression that works to highlight the Phrygian flavour.
E Ion | F# Dor | Ab Phr | A Lyd | B Mix | C# Aeo | Eb Loc
E maj | F# min | Ab min | A maj | B maj | C# min | Eb dim
(note: strictly speaking we should call Abm G#m to keep the alphabetical sequence correct, but I'm not so precious about that for the purpose of this example)
I might use a progression of:Ab minor
| A major | Ab minor
| F# minor
This progression makes Ab minor, and therefore Ab Phrygian, the tonic chord/mode. In other words, the other chords in the progression reinforce that central Phrygian sound... and that's what you need to listen out for.
The same process applies for any other modal chord progression. A good (but by no means conclusive) test is to end the progression on that tonic mode/chord and it should sound resolved, as if you've "returned home".
It's worth noting that, because Locrian and its related diminished chord sound naturally unresolved, it's rarely used as a tonic chord in a progression. There is no "Locrian chord progression" as far as I am aware.
Hope this helps. If anyone has anything to add/correct/comment, please do so using the link below. Cheers.