What are chord progressions?

Chord Progression Basics

In previous lessons we have covered a few topics on scales and chords but right here we are going to deal with chord progressions hence the question flashes right back at you β€œWhat are chord progressions?”

We clearly stated earlier that;

  • Group of notes played in a sequence is called a SCALE.
  • When two or more notes are played simultaneously (together) a CHORD is formed.
  • Chord Progression = ?

A chord progression is simply group of chords played in a sequence.

If you check well you will observe that this is similar to SCALES but SCALES deals with a group of notes played in a sequence while CHORD PROGRESSIONS deals with a group of CHORDS played in a sequence.

Knowing how to play nice sounding Chord Progressions is an essential practice to able to play and learn new songs.

At inspiredfingers.com it’s our Job to help you understand the basics of playing nice sounding progressions and help you recognize them in songs.

Let’s see some quick examples of few chord progressions.

  • 1 – 4 – 5 chord progression
  • 2 – 5 – 1 chord progression
  • 3 – 6 – 2 chord progression

Before we proceed I would recommend you review our lesson on the β€œNumber System” to understand everything here.

Let’s assume we are in the key of C major

 

  1. The first chord progression 1 – 4 – 5 will be interpreted based on the NOTE that each number falls under.

 

1 = C, 4 = F and 5 = G hence, 1 – 4 – 5 = C – F – G

 

Look at it again and confirm we are right with all interpretations.

Thus, it will be called;

 

C chord – F chord – G chord

 

The next step is to identify the chord quality/type of each whether it’s either minor or major or probably a diminished triad.

Remember this rule:

  • 1 ,4 and 5 chords are major chords.
  • 2,3 and 6 chords are minor chords.
  • 7 is a diminished triad.

Going by that we can actually name the chord type properly. Hence

C (1 chord) – F (4 chord) – G (5 chord) = C major chord – F major chord – G major chord

 

Very simple isn’t it? But if you didn’t get it please read over and over again and ask questions.

 

  1. To get the 2 – 5 – 1 chord progression in key C, we Follow the same procedure we did for the first chord progression in example (a)

 

 

D minor chord – G major chord – C major chord

 

  1. Do the 3 – 6 – 2 chord progression in key C as an exercise to test your understanding of chord progressions.

 

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….

 

In summary, when you see a chord progression anywhere;

  • First of all write out the major scale with numbers of the particular key you want to interpret that chord progression in.
  • Pick each Note that tallies with the same number you have on the chord progression and write it down.
  • Lastly determine the chord type/quality whether it is a major, minor or diminished chord based on their number positions.

That’s all.

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