Pandemic Progressions

On March 28, 2020 I wrote a chord progression based on some of the Random Harmony Exercises of Kenny Werner. I continued to write at least one progression a day for a year.

I used two 12-sided dice. One pink, one blue.

On the pink die, I assigned a number to each of the 12 types of chords that comprised my universe. I adapted this list from Kenny’s and used some things he didn’t use. For example, I hang with George McFetridge a lot and he’s into things like Bmi(ma7)/Bbma7 so I created some space for those possibilities. Essentially that’s the whole game: what is the harmonic universe you wanna live in? So 12 chords isn’t the whole universe, but it offered plenty of fuel for a year’s work and could do so much more.

Then I assigned a pitch to each number on the blue die.

One roll of both dice = chord I’ve never played. Then it’s up to me to voice lead it. Kenny is so right. If the voice leading is good, then literally any note works with any chord. I owe Kenny a lot for this path he’s opened. I suppose lots of people do this, but Kenny systemized in a way that is both easy to understanding and yet totally malleable.

It was a great experience and took me into some very new terrain. Not all of the progressions are earth-shaking, but to me there’s a little bit of magic in each one. I have something to quickly refer to in times when I feel stuck. Massive thanks to my former student Amber Dayton for throwing my chicken scratches into the computer. Feel free to use them and enjoy. Download them from this link below.

Patrick Boyle Random Chord Progressions (March 28, 2020-March 28, 2021)