• Whether Gospel Or Jazz, These 2-5-1 Chord Progressions Rock

    in Chords & Progressions,Experienced players,Gospel music,Piano,Theory

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    In today’s lesson, we’ll be learning important 2-5-1 chord progressions that can be applied in gospel and jazz styles.

    Although gospel and jazz music have the same cultural origin, they differ in a variety of ways – melody, harmony, rhythm, form and so on. Consequently, it’s not every jazzy 2-5-1 chord progression that can be applied to regular gospel songs.

    If you invest the next 20 minutes in this lesson, I’d be showing you some 2-5-1 chord progressions that gospel and jazz musicians have in common.

    The Review Of The Classic 2-5-1 Chord Progression

    A chord progression is a product of the movement of chords from one degree of the scale to another in a given key. In the key of C:

    C is 1

    D is 2

    E is 3

    F is 4

    G is 5

    A is 6

    B is 7

    C is 8

    A chord progression can be played by the movement from one degree of the scale (maybe C):

    …to another (maybe F):

    The movement from the C major triad (aka – “chord one”):

    …to the F major triad (aka – “chord four”):

    …is described as the 1-4 chord progression because of the movement from the first to the fourth degree of the scale.

    “So, What Is A 2-5-1 Chord Progression?”

    The numbers 2, 5 and 1 are used to outline the scale degrees in a chord progression. So, a 2-5-1 chord progression is basically a movement of chords from the second degree (2), to the fifth degree (5), then to the first degree (1.)

    In the key of C, a 2-5-1 chord progression would move from D (the second degree):

    …to G (the fifth degree):

    …and then to C (the first degree):

    “Let’s Flesh It Out With Triads…”

    The 2-5-1 chord progression in the key of C:

    …can be played with following triads…

    D minor triad:

    G major triad:

    C major triad:

    “…Seventh Chords…”

    Beyond triads, seventh chords can be applied to the 2-5-1 chord progression. In the key of C, the 2-5-1 chord progression can be played thus:

    From the D minor seventh chord:

    …to the G dominant seventh chord:

    …to the C major seventh chord:

    …using seventh chords.

    “…And Ninth Chords…”

    The 2-5-1 chord progression can be further sophisticated using ninth chords. In the key of C:

    …a 2-5-1 chord progression using ninth chords starts from the D minor ninth chord:

    …to the G dominant ninth chord:

    …and ends on the C major ninth chord:

    The Gospel Musician’s Approach To The 2-5-1 Chord Progression

    There are 2-5-1 chord progressions that are commonly heard among gospel musicians, especially those who are not exposed to jazz piano harmony and chord voicings.

    “Check Them Out…”

    Example #1

    The Ddom13[add9] chord:

    …to the Gdom7[b9] chord:

    …to the Cadd9 chord:

    Example #2

    The D half-diminished seventh chord:

    …to the Gdom13[b9] chord:

    …to the Cmaj9 chord:

    Example #3

    The Ddom7[b9] chord:

    …to the Gdom7[b9] chord:

    …to the Cadd9 chord:

    How Jazz Musicians Approach The 2-5-1 Chord Progression

    In jazz harmony, there’s room for advanced chord voicings, chord substitutions, and more. Although there’s no generally accepted way to play the classic 2-5-1 chord progression, let’s take three common examples.

    Example #1

    The Ddom13 chord:

    …to the Gdom7[#9,#5] chord:

    …to the Cdom13[add9] chord:

    Example #2

    The Ddom7[#9,#5] chord:

    …to the Gdom7[b9,#5] chord:

    …to the Cmaj9 chord:

    “In A Nutshell…”

    There are a variety of characteristic differences between the gospel musician’s approach and the jazz musician’s approach to the 2-5-1 chord progression. One striking difference is in the voicing of chords.

    For example, the Ddom13[add9] chord is voiced this way:

    …by a vast majority of gospel musicians, while jazz musicians may approach it differently using the fourth voicing technique:

    2-5-1 Chord Progressions That Gospel And Jazz Musicians Share In Common

    The influence of jazz in all popular music styles is undeniable and gospel music is not left behind. So many gospel musicians who have a jazz music background, exposure or training are gradually bridging the divide between jazz and gospel harmony.

    Consequently, there are two possibilities:

    • To play a jazzy 2-5-1 chord progression in a gospel song
    • To use a gospel music approach to a 2-5-1 chord progression in a jazz standard

    …and I’ll be showing you some 2-5-1 chord progressions that can work anywhere – whether in a gospel or a jazz song.

    Progression #1

    The Dmin11 chord:

    …to the Gdom7[#5] chord:

    …to the Cmaj9 chord:

    “Commentary…”

    Progression #1 features an open voicing of the Dmin11 chord and the Gdom7[#5] chord which are commonly heard and can be applied in contemporary jazz and gospel music.

    Progression #2

    The DminMaj9 chord:

    …to the Gdom7[b9] chord:

    …to the C6/9 chord:

    “Commentary…”

    Progression #2 features a rarely used ninth chord – the minMaj9 chord – the first scale degree ninth chord of the melodic minor scale, that progresses to the dom7b9 chord – one of the commonly used chords in gospel and jazz music. The progression ends with a fourth voicing of the 6/9 chord.

    Progression #3

    The Ddom13[#11] chord:

    …to the Gdom13 chord:

    …to the Cmaj9[add13] chord:

    “Commentary…”

    Progression #3 features the Ddom13[#11] chord, which progresses to a fourth voicing of the Gdom13 chord that is commonly used by gospel and jazz musicians, before resolving to the Cmaj9[add13] chord, another exotic fourth voicing.

    Progression #4

    The Ddom7[b9,b5] chord:

    …to the Gdom13[b9] chord:

    …to the Cmaj9[add13] chord:

    “Commentary…”

    Progression #4 starts out with an altered chord – the Ddom7[b9,b5] chord, before progressing to an upper structure voicing of the Gdom13[b9] chord, and then resolving to the C6/9 chord. Although the first two chords in this excerpt sound jazzy, trust me when I say they can be applied in gospel songs.

    Final Words

    I’m sure you’ve expanded your chordal vocabulary with these exceptional 2-5-1 chord progressions that are applicable to both gospel and jazz styles, which we just learned.

    In another lesson, we’ll be looking at variations of cyclical chord progressions that are commonly used by gospel and jazz musicians.

    See you then!

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    Hello, I'm Chuku Onyemachi (aka - "Dr. Pokey") - a musicologist, pianist, author, clinician and Nigerian. Inspired by my role model Jermaine Griggs, I started teaching musicians in my neighborhood in April 2005. Today, I'm privileged to work as a music consultant and content creator with HearandPlay Music Group sharing my wealth of knowledge with thousands of musicians across the world.

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    { 1 comment… read it below or add one }

    1 zino

    great

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