Universal Chord Notation
This enables you to focus upon the tune in your head whilst overcoming the difficulties of the instrument you are playing. The method is based upon replacing the chord root names with by Roman numerals
A number of songs spring to mind to fit the chords C, Am7, Dm7, G7. In universal notation this sequence becomes
I, VIm, IIm7, V7.
The circle of fourths can be written in universal notation as shown below.
Modern music is essentially composed of repeated and predictable chord sequences. Once learned they soon become easy to spot, and the use of universal notation greatly simplifies the process of identifying them by ear. For instance, many traditional 12 bar blues are based on the chords I, IV, and V, whilst a large number of ballads remain within III, VI, II, VI, I. In modern worship songs, the most popular (and least imaginative) sequence is I, V, VIm, IV, which may begin on the I, or the VIm.
The diatonic chord set can be represented using Universal notation as follows:
Use of the universal notation can help understand the function of each chord. The following taken from Jerry Cokers book “Jazz Improvisation” lists chords in order of occurrence
|Comprise||1||V7||Dominant of I|
|About 75% of all||2||IIm7||Functions as subdominant of I, preceded dominant, and is a substitute for IV|
|5||111m7||Substitutes for I, often follows V7|
|6||VIm7||Substitutes for I. Often follows I or occurs between III and II|
|7||I7||Dominant of IV|
|8||IV♮7||Tonic relief. Temporary (usually) key centre|
|9||Vm7||IIm7 of IV. Usually precedes I7, (dominant of IV)|
|10||IVm7||Transitionary chord between IVM7 and IM7, or between Iim7 and I|
|11||II7||Sometimes substitutes for Iim7. Usually occurs between IVM7 (or Ivm7) and V7|
|12||bIIIm7||Substitutes for VI7. Usually occurs between IIIm7 and IM7|
|13||bVII7||Usually occurs between IVm7 and IM7|