Incorrect Results from TheoryTab Trends Search?


I am noticing that when I do a Trends search in TheoryTab ( e.g. ‘Songs With The Same Chords’ ) many of the songs returned do not seem to contain the progression being searched for.

Either I’m misunderstanding what is supposed to happen and/or how to interpret what I see, or else the search is actually often incorrect.

Below is a picture of a single example (typical per my experience so far), showing that the 4 chord progression being searched for ( 2 5 6 1, per the query above) does not appear in the displayed result.

I would much appreciate a comment to clarify for me whether it is user error or search error that I am experiencing.


P.S. I don’t know why the search link I pasted in shows up as text: “Songs With The Same Chords”. Should it? Is there anything I could myself do about that? Thanks.

Hi sj1,

the problem is that all chord progressions you search for are always in perspective of a major mode. This is not perfect but there are many pop songs which don’t have a clear mode, which could be listened to either from a minor or a major perspective.
The song of your screenshot is set in E-Minor so in order to find the chord progression you have to look at it also form a minor perspective which would lead to iv-VII-i-III which you can indeed find from bar 4 to 6.

Please let me know if this helped.



Thanks kindly for your reply Dennis!

Let me see if I understand correctly what you’ve said.

  1. I asked for a search on 2 5 6 1

  2. Being always “in perspective of a major mode”, what’s being searched for are any of:

Key of C: Dm G Am C
Key of Db: Ebm Ab Bbm Db
Key of D: Em A Bm D
Key of Eb: Fm Bb Cm Eb

etc. for all 12 keys

  1. The search shown found “am D em G” in the song, which is 2 5 6 1 in the Key of G

  2. So the song was included in the results list.

Is that correct?

Yes, absolutely correct!

Very good, thank you!

I have further confirmed that by changing the key of a song returned in the results list the literal absolute chords asked for (e.g. “dm G am C”) in the UI may be observed. When this is done, we see that for songs not in the original key, the chords have different functional positions (roman numerals).

E.g. “dm G am C” which are ‘ii V vi I’ in the key of C are ‘iv VII i III’ in the key of G#m, as in ‘Stole the Show’ by Kygo, which is one of the results returned in the search above.

If I may offer a few more comments, for what they are worth …

First, I see value in the search exactly as it is, which is to say it finds the “asked for” absolute/literal chord progression in any song, in any key and gives you the widest list of results.

This lets us see varous functional ways that a specific chord progression can be used. This is good insight. often exactly what is desired.

What we don’t see in the current “wide” results though is what the user might (until educated differently) naturally assume they would get, which is the narrower list of songs which contain the given progression in the given key (as per the UI).

Without changing the search at all, this narrower goal would be decently met IMO if the song icons in the results (the rectangles, one per song), which currently contain a picture, a title, and an artist, would also contain the key of the song. If that were the case, the user could look at the UI on the left and see “I searched in key of C” and then look at the icons and see which of the found songs are in the key of C. Those are the exact, “narrow” matches. The others are the “wider” matches where the functional position of the chords is different.

Basically, I’m suggesting that being able to distinguish narrow list results from wide list results without having to visit each song individually and take notes would be a very useful, and perhaps (?) very simple improvement.


Obviously, actually changing UI and the search to give the user a choice of narrow vs. wide and return results accordingly is also possible. I imagine this would be more effort than adding a key display to the song icons (but perhaps I’m mistaken!).

I love the way that we can change the key of a song (for both display and playback), but after changing the key (for whatever reason), I don’t see any indication of what the original key was!

I suggest adding “Original Key” as a display element for songs, either always, or else whenever the user has changed the key.

There would be multiple possible ways/places to do this. Perhaps as part of the title line, since that would not perturb the control display/logic. (e.g. “Stole the Show by Kygo G#m” )



Hi. Very nice updates today to TheoryTab DB search and Trends search!
Congrats, and thanks for the good work!

Re: the TheoryTab DB search, I am seemingly seeing some results come back that do not seem consistent with the search request.

One example would be the search for:

I iii7 V7 vi

Here is a picture of the results I see:

Many of the found progressions are only partial matches.