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"Humoresque" Progression

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A chord progression, made famous by Antonín Dvořák'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).

Variations that substitute VI for iv (in minor) or IV for ii (in major) are common.

Tends to show up a lot in Anime Theme Songs and Japanese Pop Music. Has its own list of examples on this page. Relative minor (i VI VII III) and relative major (vi IV V I) examples are also noted.

Examples in Anime/Japanese Music

Other Music