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Guitar Chord Progression:

III - Major mediant - V-of-vi - Chord

Other Chord progressions

The diatonic mediant chord should be a minor chord. But you might run into major III chords. Usually they will appear as a preparation for a modulation to the relative minor. The III-chord in a major key is the V of the relative minor key (V-og-vi). If the chord is followed by a vi-chord, then you have probably modulated to the relative minor key.

You can hear this chord applied in some kind of a halfway modulation in The Beatles' song There's A Place. The song is in the key of E-major. In the bridge-part after the second verse, where it begins "in my mind ...", the major character is first weakened by a vi-ii-I progression (C#m-F#m-E). But we are still in E-major. But then comes the III-chord followed by vi- G# - C#m, and the sequence is repeated. After landing on C#m after the second G#, think we are firmly in the key of C#m. But just as we start to feel at home in the new relative minor key, it jumps back to E-major at the beginning of the third verse.

From Ger Tillekens Words and chords [links added by me]:

The next cluster of chords consists of the relative* Major chords the supertonic II, the submediant VI and the mediant III. These chords supply their own surplus of meaning to the lyrics. We already observed the supertonic in "I Want To Hold Your Hand" the first time the Beatles applied this particular chord in their compositions. In "Eight Days A Week" the Beatles use this same chord more boldly, taking a direct step from the tonic to the supertonic at the start of a song. For once they were not the first ones to introduce an harmonic novelty. By a few months they were overtaken by the Rolling Stones' composition "As Tears Go By." For the Beatles the supertonic completed the cluster of relative Major chords. The Lennon' composition "There's A Place" shows how these relative Majors were applied semantically in the Beatles' songs, underlining an individual utterance, that's being felt so strong that it escapes from the confines of the private into the openess of the public, for everybody out there to hear (example 4).

*) The terms "relative" and "parallell" are confusing. It seems that the terminology varies from country to country/language to language. I would use "parallell" here, but I cannot tell what is correct - if there is a correct answer here. See more in the Relative minor lesson.

Recordings with the III Major mediant - V-of-vi progression - Annotaded

  • The Beatles - I Don't Want to Spoil The Party -
  • The Beatles - I want to hold your hand -
  • The Beatles - No Reply -
  • The Beatles - There's a Place -
  • The Beatles - Yes It Is -

  • Books covering the progression -

    Further references:

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