Backdoor progression

Backdoor progression
"'Backdoor' ii-V" in C: ii-VII7-I About this sound Play
"'Backdoor' ii-V" in C: IV7-VII7-I About this sound Play [1].
Backdoor progression to iii, with I in place of iii: ivø7-VII7(9)-IMA9 About this sound Play .

In jazz and jazz harmony, the chord progression from iv7 to VII7 to I has been nicknamed the backdoor progression[1] or the backdoor ii-V. This name derives from an assumption that the normal progression to the tonic, the ii-V-I turnaround (ii-V7 to I, see also authentic cadence) is, by inference, the front door. It can be considered a minor plagal cadence in traditional theory (see minor scale and plagal cadence).

"Backdoor" also refers to the unexpected modulation created through the substitution of the highly similar IMA9 for iiimi7 (in C: EGBD and CEGBD) at the end of the ii-V turnaround to iii (ii/iii=iv, V/iii=VII, iii), thus arriving at 'home' (the tonic) through unexpected means, the 'back' instead of the 'front door'(iiiMI7, EGBD, being entirely contained within IMA9, CEGBD, and the seventh still resolving downward)[2]. If the ii-V-I turnaround is an applied dominant (V/V-V-I), then the backdoor progression may be termed an "applied subdominant" (IV-IV/IV-I).[citation needed]

The backdoor ii-V is considered a "bluesy" cadence and IV-VII-I is used repeatedly as a chord substitution, along with tritone substitution, in "Lazy Bird," John Coltrane's arrangement of Tadd Dameron's "Lady Bird."[3]

The backdoor progression can be found in popular jazz standards in such places as measures 7 and 8 of the A section of "Cherokee," measures 9 and 11 of "My Romance" or measures 10 and 28 of "There Will Never Be Another You," as well as Beatles songs like "In My Life" and "If I Fell."

The VII7 chord, a pivot chord borrowed from the parallel minor of the current key, is a dominant seventh. Therefore it can resolve to I; it is commonly preceded by IV going to iv, then VII7, then I. In C major the dominant would be G7: GBDF, sharing two common tones with B7: BDFA. A and F serve as upper leading-tones back to G and E, respectively, rather than B and F serving as the lower and upper leading-tones to C and E.

IIo7 as dominant substitute About this sound Play .

The use of IIo7 (in C: DFAC) as a substitute for V7 is similar[1].

See also


  1. ^ a b c Coker, Jerry (1997). Elements of the Jazz Language for the Developing Improvisor, p.82. ISBN 157623875X. "Back Door Progression As A Substitute For V7[:] The I chord, in a given progression, is often preceded by IV-7 to VII7, instead of the usual V7 chord.".
  2. ^ Berg, Shelton (2005). Essentials Of Jazz Theory, p.105. ISBN 0739030892.
  3. ^ Lyon, Jason (2007). "Coltrane’s Substitution Tune",

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Progression — may refer to:In mathematics:* Arithmetic progression, sequence of numbers such that the difference of any two successive members of the sequence is a constant * Geometric progression, sequence of numbers such that the quotient of any two… …   Wikipedia

  • Chord progression — IV V I progression in C  Play (help· …   Wikipedia

  • 50s progression — in C, ending with C  Play ( …   Wikipedia

  • Circle progression — Submediant in chain of fifths[1]   …   Wikipedia

  • Omnibus progression — Four part omnibus progression in G. Major chords are indicated by CAPITAL and minor chords by lower case letters. The bass line descends chromatically for an octave, whereas the upper voices are alternately oblique (maintaining a note) or move in …   Wikipedia

  • Cadence (music) — Perfect authentic cadence (V I [here in V7 I form] with roots in the bass and tonic in the highest voice of the final chord): ii V7 I progression in C   …   Wikipedia

  • Chord substitution — Tritone substitution: F♯7 may substitute for C7, and vice versa, because they both share E♮ and B♭/A …   Wikipedia

  • Andalusian cadence — Andalusian cadences are common in Flamenco music. The Andalusian cadence is a term adopted from flamenco music for a chord progression comprising four chords descending stepwise.[1] It is otherwise known as the minor descending tetrachord …   Wikipedia

  • Coltrane changes — In jazz harmony, the Coltrane changes (Coltrane Matrix or cycle, also known as chromatic third relations and multi tonic changes) are a harmonic progression variation using substitute chords over common jazz chord progressions. These substitution …   Wikipedia

  • Bird changes — Bird Blues progression in B♭  Play …   Wikipedia

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”