PAC (IV-V-I progression in C, in four part harmony  Play )
IV-V7-I in C, on guitar.  Play 

In music, I–IV–V–I or IV-V-I is a common chord progression and cadence that, "unequivocally defines the point of origin and the total system, the key."[1]

Composers often begin pieces with this progression as an exposition of the tonality:[1]

I-IV-V-I in Bach's WTC II, Prelude in C Major.[1]  Play 
I-IV-V-I in Handel's Suite in F Minor, Prelude.[1]  Play 

It may be viewed as an abbreviated circle progression:

I-IV-               V-I = I–IV–V–I  Play 
I-IV-V-I in Scarlatti's Sonata in D Minor, K. 517.[1]  Play 

"Along with motion toward the fifth (V), IV [the subdominant] appears as a corrective, depriving V (the dominant) of its independence and pointing it back in the direction of its origin [I]."[1] In the key of C, IV provides the note F and eliminates the possibility of G major, which requires F.[1] The progression is also often used at the end of works and sections.[1]

See also


  1. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 Jonas, Oswald (1982). Introduction to the Theory of Heinrich Schenker (1934: Das Wesen des musikalischen Kunstwerks: Eine Einführung in Die Lehre Heinrich Schenkers), p.23. Trans. John Rothgeb. ISBN 0-582-28227-6.
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