Friday, 4 July 2014

Ticket 31: Chromatic Descent Starting From The b7th

Put a chromatic counter melody within your chord progression, starting from the flattened 7th of the chord and going down to the 5th. This is the James Bond Chord Progression (Ticket 32) in reverse. Other writers have used a similar idea starting from the major 7th instead (e.g. 
God Bless The Child by Billie Holiday or the bridge of Golden Lady by Stevie Wonder).

Cry Baby Cry – verse
Eleanor Rigby – bridge
Julia – end of bridge


Blind – intro/verse (Stevie Salas)
Fingernails - bridge (Matt Blick)
Love In Song – verse (Wings)

See also

Ticket 17: Chromatic Descent Starting From The Root
Ticket 32: Chromatic Ascent Starting From The 5th
Ticket 68: Use the R b7 6 b6 Progression

See the full list of songwriting tips here - Tickets To Write

Thanks to Nancy Rost and Andy Getch on the BSA forum and The Songwriting Secrets of the Beatles by Dominic Pedler for examples


  1. The pillows used this trick in the bridge of 1997 Strange Chameleon (3:02). I believe the chords here are Em7 Em6 Emb6 Em. The bridge is only in the album version (Original Story) and not on the single (Strange Version).

  2. Actually the chords for the bridge of Strange Chameleon is Em7 A7 C G but still it has a descending b7th progression D-C#-C-B from the Em7 chord.

  3. Actually the pillows have used this technique a couple of times. I actually confused them for being a different chromatic counter melody which would be the descending major 5th. But I realized it was actually the descending b7th all along!

    Here were the songs:
    Stand Up And Go (intro)
    Borderline Case (intro)
    (non pillows, band member solo project) Nine Miles - A Perfect Circle (pre-chorus)

    1. Forgotten to mentioned one song,
      Colorful Pumpkin Fields (bridge)

      However, this one uses a variation of it, b7-6-b6-6 which could be considered the James Bond chord progression in reverse!

  4. Nine Miles - Freeze Contact (end of verse, pre-chorus: b7-6-b6-6)
    Koji Kondo - Dire, Dire Docks (bridge)
    Koji Kondo - Zora's Domain (bridge)