In music, turnarounds are short, usually 2 measure chord progressions; they happen at the end of a section of music, and naturally leads to the next section.
It is usually a series of 4 or 5 chords or substitute chords, and ends on the dominant (or V7) of the next section. The function is to naturally lead back to a section either harmonically, melodically or both.
Probably the most common is I-vi-ii-V7. In the key of C this would be C-Am-Dm-G7.
Some other typical examples would be:
The above examples are given in the key of C. However they could be transposed to any key.
When using 7ths, secondary dominants and substitute chords, the possibilities are endless. Basically anything goes, but the main rule is to AVOID any conflicts between the chord notes and vocal or instrumental parts that are playing. If it sounds bad don't do it!
What follows is an excerpt from the song GEORGIA ON MY MIND. It was written in 1930 by Hoagy Carmichael (music) and Stuart Gorrell (lyrics). It is the official state song of Georgia.
The excerpt is in the key of F and contains 2 turnarounds. The first is in measures 7 & 8; the second is in measures 9 & 10.
The turnaround in measures 7 & 8 is:
Am7-Ab7-Gm7-C7#5 (or iii7-bIII7-ii7-V7#5.)
Note that there is NO CONFLICT with the melody notes and the chord notes. Each melody note is a part of the chord. It sounds good!.
Any of the following could have also been used:
Examples A, B or C would have worked just as well. In each case the melody notes fit in the chords, and they sound OK.
The second turnaround in measures 9 & 10 is:
F-Bb7-F-Bb7-A7 (or I-IV7-I-IV7-III7.)
This leads into the bridge (middle section) of the song which begins in the key of D minor! That's why the last chord in this turnaround in A7. A7 is a secondary dominant, the dominant of D minor.
The following would have worked just as well. Once again, there are no conflicts with the melody note, and it sounds good!
Back to Turnaround Voicings (key of F)
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