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basics: progressions

A first important step in learning harmonic progressions is the simple cadence (see basics: cadences).

According to Philip Anthony Corri (1784-1832) in his Original System of Preluding (1812), the simple cadence is practiced in multiple keys. This is called 'first style'. One may consider leaving out the fifth note when playing the dominant chord as it is easier for small hands.

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As a "second style," Corri adds a subdominant chord and a prolongued cadence to the harmonic progression.

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The "third style" requires the hand to easily span an octave, which is why Corri gives the following example as an alternative practice for small hands.

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There are several other ways to start with a simple cadence, such as the following example by Carl Gottlieb Hering (1766 -1853) in his Praktische Preludierschule (vol.1&2) (ca1812).

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Harmonizing scales is an important practice, and based on 18th- and 19th-century methods, this scale harmonization or 'rule of the octave' was used as a 'map' that could guide the performer. The following example is an 18th-century version of a harmonized scale in major and minor keys. This harmonic progression was not played entirely in the exact order, but rather in fragments. It is therefore an ideal exercise in finding different combinations while playing. The numbers below the chords indicate the 'basso continuo' notation. Once this progression is memorized it can be played out of order and transposed to other keys. While playing, it is important to have the harmonic functions in mind: tonic, dominant, subdominant and secondary dominant. 

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