In today’s lesson, we’ll be learning 2-5-1 chord progressions that you can end your favorite Christmas songs with.
The classic 2-5-1 chord progression has its common place in gospel and jazz music – especially at the end of most songs. As a result, we’re dedicating this lesson to showing you some 2-5-1 chord progressions that can be used to end some of your favorite Christmas songs.
However, before we get into all of that, let’s review the classic 2-5-1 chord progression.
A Review Of The Classic 2-5-1 Chord Progression
There are eight degrees in every key (whether major or minor), and in the case of the key of C major:
C is the first
D is the second
E is the third
F is the fourth
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G is the fifth
A is the sixth
B is the seventh
C is the eighth
Chords can be formed on these scale-degrees, and the movement from one scale degree chord to another creates a chord progression.
“What Is A 2-5-1 Chord Progression?”
The chord movement from chord 2, to chord 5, then to chord 1 produces a 2-5-1 chord progression. In the key of C major:
…the 2-5-1 chord progression progresses from the D minor triad:
…to the G major triad:
…then to the C major triad:
“The 2-5-1 Chord Progression Using Seventh Chords…”
The 2-5-1 chord progression sounds a lot better if seventh chords are used. Applying scale degree seventh chords in the key of C major:
…this entails a chord movement from the D minor seventh chord:
…to the G dominant seventh chord:
…then to the C major seventh chord:
A Breakdown Of The 2-5-1 Chord Progression
The 2-5-1 chord progression is one of the strongest chord progressions in music because of the fifth interval between its root notes. For example, the 2-5-1 root progression in the key of C major progresses from D (the two):
…to G (the five):
…which is a descent by a fifth interval, then from G (the five):
…to C (the one):
…which is also a descent by a fifth interval.
The main reason why the 2-5-1 chord progression is considered as one of the strongest progressions in music is because of the fifth interval between successive root notes.
“Here’s The Implication Of The Root Progression By A Fifth Interval…”
In tonal music, the strongest progression to chord one (aka – “the tonic chord”) is usually from chord five (aka – “the dominant chord”.) In the key of C major:
…the strongest progression to the tonic chord (which is the C major triad):
…is from the dominant chord (which is the G dominant seventh chord):
…whose root is a fifth above the tonic chord.
“Now Back To The 2-5-1 Chord Progression…”
One of the reasons why the 2-5-1 chord progression is considered as a strong progression is because of this:
In the key of C, where the 2-5-1 root progression moves from D to G, then to C. D is the dominant of G, while G is the dominant of C.
The Importance Of The 2-5-1 Chord Progression
The classic 2-5-1 chord progression is one of the chord progressions every musician must not be without – especially jazz and gospel musicians.
This is largely because most of your favorite gospel songs (like hymns, congregational songs, and so on.) and jazz standards end with a 2-5-1 chord progression 95% of the time.
In the next segment, I’ll be taking you to the next level by showing you step-by-step, the 2-5-1 chord progressions to end your favorite Christmas songs with.
2-5-1 Chord Progressions That End Your Favorite Christmas Songs
#1 – Silent Night
Sle-eping [the D minor eleventh chord]:
…heavenly [the G dominant seventh flat ninth]:
…peace [C 6/9]:
#2 – Oh Come O Ye Faithful
Chri [the D dominant ninth chord]:
…ist the [the Db altered chord]:
…Lord [C 6/9]:
#3 – Hark The Herald Angel Sing
To the [the D minor eleventh chord]:
…new born [the G dominant seventh flat ninth]:
…king [C 6/9]:
#4 – Ding Dong Merrily On High
Sanna [the D dominant ninth chord]:
…in ex [the G9sus4]:
…celsis [C add9]:
#5 – Deck The Halls
Lala [the D minor eleventh chord]:
…lala [the G dominant thirteenth flat ninth]:
…la [C 6/9]:
#6 – Joy To The World
Ea-a-arth and [the D minor eleventh chord]:
…nature [the G dominant thirteenth flat ninth]:
…sing [C 6/9]:
#7 – The First Noel
I [the D altered chord]:
…isra [the G 13 sus4]:
…el [C major ninth]:
From the songs we’ve covered in the previous segment, you’ve just learned several ways of approaching the 2-5-1 chord progression.
We’ll be drawing the curtains for now, but before we do that, here are two tasks for you:
Apply the 2-5-1 chord progressions learned in other songs
Transpose the 2-5-1 chord progressions learned to other keys
I’ll see you in another lesson.