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What's the theory behind the chord progression II->IV in major key?

Progression II(7)->IV(maj7) in major key or IV(7)->VI(maj7) in the minor key is seen very often across a variety of genres:
http://www.hooktheory.com/theorytab/view/game-freak/violet-city Intro and Verse
http://www.hooktheory.com/theorytab/view/daft-punk/aerodynamic Outro
http://www.hooktheory.com/theorytab/view/assumed-sounds/strike-the-blood Chorus
http://www.hooktheory.com/theorytab/view/art-of-trance/blue-owl Instrumental

However I can’t find the theoretical explanation behind it, and it doesn’t seem to fit any music theory rules on chord progressions. What’s the theory behind this particular chord progression?

It is simply a chromatically altered chord. Many Hookpad users confuse them for applied dominant or simple mixture (in Minor it is, but it may be seen as a product of melodic minor).

Major II - IV and minor IV - VI produce a ♯4 - ♮4 [resp. ♯6 - ♮6] voice leading, hence virtually all common practice theory books avoid this progression since it is against the rules for using accidentals. Major IV - ♭VI uses the chromatic submediant, but at times the ♭VI chord could be replaced by an augmented sixth chord.

ZUN uses IV6 - VI and the ii46 - VI variant a lot.

Yeah, kinda what HertzDevil said. 6# goes to a 6 natural. Sounds really good.

You can see chromatic stepwise motion in a lot of other chord “pairs” or “sequences”. IV -> II -> V -> III -> vi. IV -> iv. I -> I7 -> I7b. I guess II -> IV is just another part of the IV -> II -> V -> III -> vi “bridge”, but going the opposite direction.

Also, II makes a really good pre-cadence chord. It kind of makes it feel like the section is “wrapping up”. It’s not bad to use a II to set up a V or a IV -> V, like in the Violet City Example.

In You’re Driving Me Crazy by Parry Grip, http://www.hooktheory.com/theorytab/view/parry-gripp/youre-driving-me-crazy it has a similar function, even though II goes to I, which you think normally wouldn’t work. However, the I --> IV --> I -> V -> I can be thought of as one musical idea, block, or chord that cadences back to that I.

Any book recommendations which avoid “basic” assumptions and rules of theory? I really feel like a lot of the music I very much enjoy lately is a complete departure from what anyone who learned too much theory before writing their own music would come up with. For instance Flosstradamus - Soundclash and Knife Party - Boss Mode are both very … odd, to me. There’s no Soundclash tab but it sounds to me like it’s a chromatic scaled melody against a major scale. (I tend to have errors in my analysis though)

Hi Desdel,

Find Ethan Hein site and look up his teaching using Ableton.

And also look for
Book title: Everyday Tonality II
Subtitle: Towards a tonal theory of what most people hear
Author: Philip Tagg