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Humoresque Progression
A chord progression, made famous by Antonin Dvorak's piano solo piece "Humoresque", in which this features in the middle section.

The original progression is in a minor key, and runs as follows: i VI VII III. The effect is a temporary toniciziation of the relative major key—in other words, the music temporarily sounds like it's going to the relative major key. This is frequently followed a chord like v or VII, and even if not, repeated instances of this progression. This progression is used in ways similar to the use of the first four chords of the Circle Of Fifths in a minor key (i iv VII III).

However, that may be hard to distinguish from its relative major key, and would in fact count as vi IV V I if in major, making this a variant of The Four Chords of Pop. In this case, this functions as a derivative of the Authentic Cadence (V I). And again, it tends to be repeated a lot...often using the same transition chord, too (iii, which is the same as v in the relative minor).

Tends to show up a lot in Anime Theme Songs.

This list contains both relative minor (i VI VII III) and relative major (vi IV V I) examples.

Relative minor examples (i VI VII III)

  • The trope namer is Dvořák's "Humoresque" #7 in G flat major. This link goes to the middle section of the piece, where it most famously appears.
  • Briefly in the first movement of Ludwig van Beethoven's violin concerto, when the second theme temporarily goes to minor.
  • Mike Oldfield includes this progression in his famous song "Moonlight Shadow". Listen to the first four chords when the voice comes in. Listen to them repeat.
  • From the Mega Man X4'' soundtrack:
  • The theme tune of the two Ef series.
  • Final Fantasy X: When the main melody of "To Zanarkand" comes in.
  • "Heart of Gold" by Neil Young, when the harmonica comes in, and again when the voice comes in.
  • The opening theme of Stellvia of the Universe, "Asu e no Brilliant Road" by Angela, right at the beginning and subsequently the beginning of each chorus.
  • Two phrases (1:21 and 3:06) in the middle of the "Chess" piece from Chess uses this progression. At other times it follows the traditional Circle Of Fifths and uses iv instead of VI.
  • The ending theme of Kiddy Grade, "Future", features this in the chorus.
  • The Tales of Symphonia animé theme "Starry Heavens" has this at the beginning of the song and of the chorus.
  • Talk Talk's "It's My Life" in the prechorus.
  • The chorus of Bon Jovi's "Livin' on a Prayer".
  • Near the end of the first boss battle theme of the Magic Knight Rayearth SNES RPG.
  • In the Mega Man Legends soundtrack, the insert song "Your Wind is Blowing", combines the Humoresque Progression with the Circle Of Fifths, by changing one chord of the latter so that the former is embedded in it.
  • The first half of the verse of "Time After Time" by Mai Kuraki.
  • The beginning of the verse of "Take a Shot" from Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha.
  • Near the beginning of "Koi no Minoru Densetsu" from Lucky Star, when the guitars come in. (But not the song it's a parodying, "Koi no Mikuru Densetsu" from Haruhi.)
  • The verse of "Forever", the opening theme of Elemental Gelade, by Savage Genius.
  • The beginning of the title theme of Monster Tale, though it uses a major I chord rather than a minor i chord as is standard (Amaj Fmaj Gmaj Cmaj, rather than Amin Fmaj Gmaj Cmaj).
  • "Where I Come From" by Montgomery Gentry (verses)
  • Dido - "Thank You" (verses), and by extension, Eminem - "Stan".
  • The Poloy Forest theme from Tails Adventure (starting at 0:08).
  • Talk Talk - "It's My Life"(chorus)
  • The Real McCoy - "Another Night"
  • Aqua - "Barbie Girl"(chorus)
  • Basshunter - "Boten Anna", and by extension, "Now You're Gone"

Relative major examples (vi IV V I):


Falling BassChord ProgressionPachelbel's Canon Progression

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