Video demo: A fancy turn

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We have talked about turns before but to summarize briefly, a turn is a set of chords that are inserted between phrases in a song to give more harmonic interest and connect the phrases together better.

For example, let’s say a phrase ends on I and the next phrase starts on I. In that case, rather than just playing the two I chords back to back, we might insert a ii – V progression between them. We do this at the end of the first phrase like this:

Phrase 1:  I     I     IV     I (ii – V)
Phrase 2:  I     I     V     I

In this video, I am working with the last line of “When I Wish Upon a Star.” We actually repeat the last line as a tag so here is the progression before a turn is inserted:

Last line:  iii     biiidim7     ii     V     I
Tag:           iii     biiidim7     ii     V     I

The turn replaces the last chord on the first line like this:

Last line:  iii     biiidim7     ii     V     #iv(half diminished)    iv6
Tag:           iii     biiidim7     ii     V     I

Not only does the turn introduce some cool chords but it also great strengths the underlying functional harmony. Note the roots step down by half step all the way from V to ii after the turn is added.

If you don’t see the video below, click here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aPWQRZbYprs