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Chord Progressions - Walk, Don't Run to Spain For a Meeting with Mark Knopfler and friends

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Previous page: Chord Progressions - Minor progressions - introduction Next page: Chord Progressions - The Minor Walk

Walk, Don't Run to Spain For a Meeting with Mark Knopfler and friends

The progression i-VIIb-VIb-V gives me Spanish associations. It has a flamenco touch. A pop-classic with this progression is Walk, Don't Run , recorded The Ventures and included on many compilations. Mark Knopfler of Dire Straits use this progression in many of his songs. And with this information, you probably understand why I have given this lesson such a strange title. A well-known song for any guitarist where you can hear this progression is Dire Strait's "Sultans of Swing" , included on the "Sultans of Swing: The very best of Dire Straits" collection. The main progression in the verse is Dm-C-Bb-A.

Notice how the A-chord change the sound. The i-VIIb-VIb is well known progression too, but it does not have the mood you get by adding the V-chord. That is why I have called the lesson covering this progression Stopping at the Spanish border. "Sultans of Swing" actually have both progressions.

You can hear another example of this progression in Bob Dylan's " One More Cup of Coffee" from his " Desire" album. There he plays in the key of Am, with the progression Am-G-F-E.

If you are a fingerpicker, you have probably heard Davey Graham's instrumental "Angie" or "Anji". (On some records his name is spelled Davey, on others Davey. And some spell the song Angie, others spell it Anji, and I do not know who is right ...) The ">most well known recording is by Bert Jansch on his debut album from 1964, simply called "Bert Jansch". For some reason the album seems not to be available in US - it is at least not listed by CD Now. But Angie is included on "The Best of Bert Jansch". (If you do not know Bert Jansch, you should definitely lend him your ears. Pete Townshend of The Who once called Bert Jansch "The Jimi Hendrix of acoustic guitar".)

When you come to the V chord, the A if you play in D-minor, you do not really know if you are getting away or coming home. You could start from the V-chord, playing A-Bb-C-Dm, and the progression could in generic terms had been noted as I-IIb-IIIb-iv. Play this progression in the key of E. If you play the chords E-F-G, you get the stereotype flamenco-progression, played by anyone who would pretend being able to play flamenco. Then you can add the Am to the progression.

If you would try to play some fake flamenco solos over these chords, you should try the Phrygian mode. Phrygian E.-minor is E-F-G-A-B-C-D-E.

When staying in Spain, you should also try the progressions Em-F-G, which is the i-IIb-IIIb progression. If one should write a "Bluffers Guide to Flamenco", this progression would definitely be part of it.

Someone with more musical knowledge than I have might tell what is really the root of this progression, but I can't. Maybe we have some alternate roots. But this tonal uncertainty is really what make the progression so fascinating.

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