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Music Theory for Computer Musicians by Michael Hewitt

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Root Movement

For the ear, the most important feature of chord progressions is the sense of root movement. Recall that every triad has a root, a third, and a fifth. The root is the essential note that gives the chord its identity. Therefore, a chord whose root note is F is always a chord of F—no matter what type of chord it is. It is the presence of the root, therefore, that enables the ear to identify a particular chord.

It makes sense, then, that the essence of good chord progressions lies in root movement—that is the identifiable movement between the roots of different chords. If the root movement is strong, clear, and logical, then so will be the chord progression upon which it is based. According to this logic, the succession of three chords ...

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