Approach chord

I-vi-ii-V turnaround with approach chords in G  Play .
I-vi-ii-V turnaround in F  Play .
Approach chords in F  Play .[2]

In music, an approach chord (also chromatic approach chord and dominant approach chord) is a chord one half-step higher or lower than the goal, especially in the context of turnarounds and cycle-of-fourths progressions, for example the two bar 50s progression:[3]

|G /  Em /   |Am /   D7 /   ||

may be filled in with approach chords:

|G F9 Em Abm |Am D#7 D7 Gb7 ||

F9 being the half-step to Em, Am being the half-step to Am, D7 being the half-step to D7, and G7 being the half-step to G. G being I, Em being vi, Am being ii, and D7 being V7 (see ii-V-I turnaround and circle progression).

An approach chord may also be the chord immediately preceding the target chord such as the subdominant (FMaj7) preceding the tonic (CMaj7) creating a strong cadence through the contrast of no more than two common tones:[4] FACE – CEGB.

Approach chords may thus be a semitone or a fifth or fourth from their target.[5]

Approach chords create the harmonic space of the modes in jazz rather than secondary dominants.[6]

See also


  1. Boyd, Bill (1997). Jazz Chord Progressions, p.43. ISBN 0-7935-7038-7.
  2. Fisher, Jody (2000). Jazz Skills: Filling the Gaps for the Serious Guitarist, p.30. ISBN 1-929395-10-8.
  3. Sokolow, Fred (2002). Jazzing It Up, p.11. ISBN 0-7935-9112-0.
  4. Felts, Randy (2002). Reharmonization Techniques, p.19. ISBN 0-634-01585-0.
  5. Grove, Dick (1989). Arranging Concepts Complete: The Ultimate Arranging Course for Today's Music, p.139. ISBN 0-88284-484-9.
  6. Pease, Ted (2003). Jazz Composition: Theory and Practice, p.68. ISBN 0-87639-001-7.

Further Reading

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