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Ascending Augmented Progressions I-I+-I6-I7


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Ascending Augmented Progressions

"Inserting the "C+" (common tone substitution), the "C6" (embellishment), and the "C7" (chord quality change) in the "C" one-chord progression creates the "C-C+-C6-C7" ascending augmented propression a shown below.

One-chord progression:  |C / C  / |C  / C  / |
Ascending Augmented:    |C / C+ / |C6 / C7 / |

An example of this type of pedal point is the opening verse progression to Whitney Houston's 1986 hit The Greatest Love Of All.

The box below shows other examples of this type of pedal point. Notice that the "C-C+-C6-C+" pedal point has a middle voice line that moves both up and down. The "C-C+-C6" and "C-C+" examples are further variations (omitted chords) of this type of pedal point." (Excerpt from Chord Progressions For Songwriters 2003 by Richard J. Scott)

C C+ C6 C7 (You've Got To) Accentuate The Positive chorus (Standard - 1944), Because verse (Dave Clark Five - 1964), Laughing verse (Guess Who - 1969), Love Will Keep Us Together chorus (Captain & Tennille - 1975), and Stand Tall verse (Burton Cummings - 1976)
C C+ C6 C9 Maybe This Time verse (from "Cabaret" - 1966) and Losing My Mind verse (from "Follies" - 1971)
C C+ C6 C+ Louise A section (from "Innocents Of Paris" - 1929), Match Maker A section (Standard - 1964), and (Just Like) Starting Over verse (John Lennon - 1980)
C C+ C6 C#o7 For Once In My Life verse (Stevie Wonder - 1968)
C C+ - - Baby Hold On To Me verse (Eddie Money - 1978)

Guitarists should be able to easily play typical ascending augmented progression chord changes in the most commonly used keys. Below are the chord fingerings I like for various ascending augmented progressions.

Laughing verse:

A = x07655 A+ = x07665 A6 = x07675 A7 = x07685
Dmaj7 = xx0675 Dm7 = xx0565 C#m7 = x46454 E = 022100

The Greatest Love Of All verse:

E = 022100 E+ = 03211x E6 + = 02x12x E7 = 02x13x
A = x0222x A+ = x0322x A6 = x0422x A+ = x0322x

Stand Tall verse:

G = 3x0003 G+ = 3x1003 G6 = 3x2003 G7 = 3x3003
Cmaj7 = x32000 Cm = x35543 G= 320003 C= 032010

Maybe This Time verse:

C = x32010 C+ = x3211x C6 = x3221x C9 = x32330
F = xx3211 F+ = xx3221 Dm = xx0231 F#o7 = xx1212

As with learning any new progression, you should study it by playing it in all twelve keys. Also, try substituting the ascending augmented progression where a I chord is used for two or more bars.

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