Specifying progressions as Roman numerals?


I was wondering if there is a way to achieve this in Scaler 2:

Let’s say I want to know what I-bIII-IV looks like in A Dorian, what is the easiest way to do that in the app?

Edit: What I am having a bit of trouble figuring out is what is the flat version of a chord.



Here’s how I do things like this and I’m not saying this is the only way or the best way.

  1. We know A Dorian is the Dorian Mode of G Major, so begin with the G Major Scale. Or you may use the A Dorian Mode. Both will give you diatonic chords for the mode. As you may know, A Dorian and G Major share the same basic chords but the function of those chords is different.

  2. For exact chord vocings, even with Scalers’s’ tremendous resources which I use, I find it easiest to simply put basic chords on pads and then Edit those for exact voicing.

At times Scaler’s naming conventions provide synonymous names for chords, e.g., I call a chord C7b9 but Scaler names it Bb Diminished, etc. In other cases I find no reason for Scaler naming things as it does. I’m not sure this part of the program is totally bug free.

At times no matter what I do Scaler will not accept the names I choose. I had an F7 and Scaler insisted on calling it as if Eb was root no matter which scales I used including Bb Major. I bug-reported about that one but have not heard any answer about it.

Anyway, as long as the notes I want are played I really don’t care what Scaler names the chord. I’ve never not been able to make Scaler play the notes I’ve assigned with Chord Edit.

Good luck and perhaps others will have better ideas for you.

P.S. All things Dorian Mode.



At the risk of sounding patronising (and I apologise if I do) here is a short tutorial on changing chords.

As @1stInversion says

and you want to replace the major third (Cmaj) with flattened third (Cmin).

To do this choose a root of A and select the Dorian mode.

Then just drag the chords for your progression (i III IV) into section C

Now open the CHORDS page

and click on th elittle yellow triangle in the top right-hand corner of the III chord (Cmaj) as this is the chord you want to flatten.

You will get a seletion of suggestions to replacte the chord

Select the C min as this is the flattened C maj chord (the third of the chord being flattened when changing from major to minor) and replace the C maj chord with it by dragging it down.

And you have your progression.

So to summarise a bIII is simply the minor chord and in your progression you are replacing the major third of the Dorian with the minor third.

However, the progression you have suggested, I-biii-IV, is not in the Dorian scale as the root chord of A Dorian is A min; but I am assuming this is a typo and you meant i-biii-IV. If you meant a progression of I-iii-IV from a scale with a root of A you are referring to chords in the A major scale.

Hope this helps.


Thinking about it, te tutorial above has a slight error in it.

I assumed tha =t in your progression of

you were trying to have a minor third in th esecond chord.

Of course, if you really want a biii for the seconf chord this is a minor chord where the second note of the chord has been flattened. It could be a sus 2 chord C-D-G

It would be helpful to know ifyou meant the minor chord iii or truley a sus2 chord (aka biii).

For clarity major and perfect chords are represented by upper case roman numerals (e.g. I, IV, V) whilst minor chords are represented in lower case (e.g. ii, iii, vi).

I’ve jus been playing around with this progressionas Amin Gsus4 Gmaj and wow it is great.

Scaler detects thsi as an A minor scale although the second choice on Scaler is A dorian, but note this is i-VII(sus 4)-VII

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@1stInversion and @ed66 thank you so much for your answers!

I’ll try to give more background for my question as I’m not sure anymore that my question really makes sense.

I have an app on ios called Prog Machine that lists out some common progressions in roman numerals for the major scales:

These are the “flat degree” progressions tab, which are explained in the second screenshot:

I somehow thought that you could take any of those progressions and apply them across any key/mode. So, for example I-bIII-IV, in A Dorian I wanted to know what i-bIII-IV would be: Amin-???-Dmaj (in other words, what is the flat degree of Cmaj?). It seems like in the Prog Machine example, they just flat the first and third notes of the chord. If I do that to Cmaj, I think i get Bsus4, but I don’t know if that’s correct because I don’t know if that is a general rule to get a “flat degree” (per the explanation on the Prog Machine app).

Regardless, thanks for the tutorial! I was playing around with that and still got some nice sounds.

I agree about the coolness of the progressions. However, the post you quote says “In C Key the III Chord is Dm!” That’s wrong. E Minor is the iii-chord of C Major and we usually don’t say “C Key” we say “Key OF C Major.”

The Roman Numeral chord/sale naming is useful because any pattern will work in any key. Occasionally a singer may ask for a non-standard key for the song. "Can you play “All the Things in A?” Here’s where Roman numbers help quickly transpose the song. Thinking “vi, ii, V, I” in A Major rather than Ab Major makes transposing easier.

Also when using Roman Numerals for Chords/Scales the Standard Convention is "lower case letters for Minor Chords, upper case letters for Major Chords – I, ii, iii, IV, V, vi, vii for a major key.

How it sounds is what matters and all these naming conventions are all after-the-fact observations and traditions. As Nadia Boulanger said, "to learn music you first learn the rules, but to compose music you learn to break them.

Music is an invisible art form that exists mostly in memory.

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In A Dorian, C is a minor 3rd with respect to A, so if you add ♭, it becomes a 2nd interval (not found in chords).

I don’t think ♭ chords can be replaced by Dorian or any other mode anytime soon.


II don’t think this is correct. It is my understanding that the interval is defined by the number of steps between the natural notes, so A to C is a third: A->B->C. Because there are only 1 1/2 steps between A and C it is a minor third.

If the C is flattened to Cb the interval A to Cb is still a third (A->B->C), but it is now a diminished third.

It is worth noting in all of this that Cb and B are not the same notes. In musical terms they are enharmonic (i.e. sound the same), but if you consider that in a scale based on Western 12 tone music you should not have two notes the same then you will understand why B and Cb are not the same note. To illustrate this consider the Cb Major scale: Cb Db Eb Fb Gb Ab Bb. The tonic (C) and he leading note (Bb) cannot be based on the same note.

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Your point is correct. Thank you.

I wanted to say that III in A Dorian is already ♭III.

In A Dorian would the bIII be Cb, and not C?

Th A Dorian scale is a mode from the G Major scale.

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Silly me it is bIII so I’m sorry if this has confused anyone.