Make your compositions soar using augmented climb progressions

Close-up of hand playing chord on electric guitar neck
(Image credit: Future)

In this Fourth and final installment on the augmented chord, I’d like to point out some musically effective and appealing ways in which songwriters have used it to create ascending harmonic motion and a compelling, dramatic sound within a pedal-point progression, wherein the bass line stays rooted on the same note as other chord tones shift above it.

The Greatest Love of All, first recorded and popularized by George Benson back in 1977, and later covered by Whitney Houston in 1985, features two such uses of an augmented chord within a four-bar progression. The Benson arrangement is in the key of Eb, and at the beginning of the first verse (at 0:25) the chord changes go Eb - Ebaug - Eb6 - Eb7, then Ab - Abaug - Ab6 - Abaug.

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Jimmy Brown

Over the past 30 years, Jimmy Brown has built a reputation as one of the world's finest music educators, through his work as a transcriber and Senior Music Editor for Guitar World magazine and Lessons Editor for its sister publication, Guitar Player. In addition to these roles, Jimmy is also a busy working musician, performing regularly in the greater New York City area. Jimmy earned a Bachelor of Music degree in Jazz Studies and Performance and Music Management from William Paterson University in 1989. He is also an experienced private guitar teacher and an accomplished writer.