• # How To Play 6-2-5-1 Chord Progressions In Minutes

In yesterday’s post, we used my new Song Robot software to learn the hit love song, “Hero.”

If you haven’t checked out yesterday’s 30-minute video, feel free to do so now.

Today, I want to break down some of the chords of this song as there is a common pattern present that’ll certainly be familiar to you if you’ve been with me for a while.

The main chorus of this song features the famous “6-2-5-1″ progression… with a little twist (the 4 is added between the 6 and 2 and if you followed this lesson not too long ago, you already understand how the 4 can be inserted or interchanged with the 2 because of their close relationship).

This song is in the key of E major and if you go to around 3:04 of yesterday’s video, the song starts on an E major add 9 (E + F# + G# + B + E):

It’s important to think about songs in terms of numbers. In the key of E major:

E is 1, F# is 2, G# is 3, A is 4, B is 5, C# is 6, and D# is 7.

So the first chord is, indeed, on the 1st degree of the scale. So far, pretty simple.

Then there are melody notes that you can learn either in the Song Robot itself or on yesterday’s video.

[I will note here that when you're learning songs on your own, it's extremely important to pick inversions of your chords that keep the melody note on top. If you're melody is B, you don't want a chord that puts E on top... you want to pick the inversion that puts B on top.]

Next, the song is headed to the 6th tone but uses the 7th tone as a passing chord. That’s D# in this case.

This happens a lot. We still choose to look at the “bones” of the progression — the main thing going on and that’s 1-6-2-5. If we counted every single passing chord, this progression would really be: 1-7-6-5-4-3-2-5.

But really, the main chord tones here are: [1]-7-[6]-5-[4]-3-[2]-[5]

So the D# passing tone takes us to C#. This is a pretty important chord in this song — the 6th tone and we’re playing a minor 7 chord here:

(Note: The C# minor 7 chord is arpeggiated… or broken up… but if you played it all together, this is what you’d play).

After the 6th chord, we use another passing tone (B… the 5th) to take us to the 4, which is a simple A major chord:

(Note: Because you’re playing A lower in the bass, you don’t have to necessarily repeat it. You can take it out to make the chord lighter — A + E + C#).

After the 4-chord, there is another passing chord on the 3. This time, a simple E major but in 1st inversion so the 3 is on the bottom (G#):

E major / G#

Now, we’re getting ready for the final “2-5″ progression, which takes us back home.

On the 2, we’re playing an F# minor 7 chord:

And finally, on the 5, we have a Bsus chord:

So there you have it — a series of main chord tones and passing tones.

But the real lesson here is seeing the major pattern at work which is “2-6-5-1″ but then realizing the “4″ was inserted in between to extend the progression out. And if you followed my lesson last week about substitutions, the insertion of the 4 will make perfect sense!

So go to yesterday’s video and learn this song. Or better yet, click here to get your hands on the Song Robot so you can slow it down to your own pace and learn learn it in all 12 keys if you want!

Until next time,

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