Backcycling

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Backcycling
Part II


Backcycling is a technique used to create movement in a chord progression that has little chord change by utilizing the circle of fifths shown above. Backcycling essentially works backwards from a place you want to get to. For example if you want to get to a “G7” chord (the target) as in the simple four bar folk progression shown below, you work backwards from the “G7” to the “C” chord by inserting as many consecutive chords as you want from the circle of fifths creating the backcycled progression below. Then, through the use of chord quality changes and embellishments, the standard progression is created.

Original Progression

C / / / C / / / G7 / / / G7 (target) / / /

Backcycled Progression

C / / / A / / / D / / / G7 (target) / / /

Substitute Progression (Chord Quality Change & Embellishment)

Cmaj7 / / / Am7 / / / Dm7 / / / G7 (target) / / /


Next, we will backcycle the first five bars of the twelve-bar blues progression. The first example below shows bars one through five of the twelve-bar blues progression. The second example inserts backcycled chords leading to the targeted “F” chord. The last example completes the substitution with chord quality changes and embellishments to create a cycle of “IIm-V” chords. (Excerpt from Chord Progressions For Songwriters)

Original Progression

C / / // / / / / / / / / / / / F (target) / / /

Backcycled Progression

C / / / B / E / A / D / G / C /F (target) / / /

Substitute Progression (Chord Quality Change & Embellishment)

C / / / Bm7b5 / E7 / Am7 / D7 / Gm7 / C7 /Fmaj7 (target) / / /


Click below for the best in free Backcycling lessons available on the web.

What is Backcycling? (Jazz Guitar Lessons.net)


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