Root motion analysis of chord progressions of selected jazz compositions written between 1980 and 2000.

  • Peter Vandemoortele
Keywords: Jazz, Chord Progression, Root Position


As its analytical starting point, this study used root motion theory based on the writings of Arnold Schoenberg and applied them on a set of jazz compositions written between 1980 and 2000. Schoenberg classified root progressions in three categories: ascending, descending and super-strong root progressions. In this study, 1332 chord progressions extracted from tonal jazz compositions were analysed in terms of their root motion.The chord progressions were transcribed and analysed using Roman numeral symbols after which they were grouped according their root motion category. The data was compiled and then analysed revealing the most frequent root motions and common chord progression patterns. The results were also compared to root motion data done on music from other styles. This article discusses some of the results.



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Research Article