HearandPlay.com Monthly Newsletter --- February 2004!
Serving 68,464 Musicians Worldwide!
I. Welcome
II. Exciting Announcements!!!
III. Online Classroom:
       "Opening and Closing Your Songs with 2-5-1 Progressions!"
Dear Subscriber,
Welcome to February's newsletter. This month's lesson covers the famous "2-5-1" progression! It is very much similar to the "5-1" progression from last month in that we're simply going to add one more chord to the group --- the "2" chord.
The "2" chord will lead us to the "5-1" chord progression that we learned last month. So, in actuality, if you understand the "5-1" progression, then you'll definitely catch on to the "2-5-1" very quickly!
Enjoy and if you have any questions, do not hesitate to visit our message board!
Enjoy this month's lesson!

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Online Classroom:
"Opening and Closing Your Songs with
2-5-1 Progressions!"
Note: You might want to print this lesson out for easier

If you listen to music, you've definitely heard a "2-5-1" progression. They are found in just about any type of music --- regardless of style, genre, or rhythmical pattern. It is commonly the series of chords that end a song or phrase. However, it can be used in several situations (I can only go over a few in this lesson but encourage you to visit: https://www.hearandplay.com/course.html  for further instruction).

In this chord progression, the 2 chord (you'll learn what this is later on in this lesson) leads to the 5 chord which in turns, produces a strong pull towards the ending chord (which is usually the 1st major chord of the scale).

First, let me start by showing you what chords correspond to each tone of a major scale:

1 tone - Major
2 tone - Minor
3 tone - Minor
4 tone - Major
5 tone - Major (dominant)
6 tone - Minor
7 tone - Half Diminished

To understand the chart above, you must understand that each tone of a major scale has a chord which goes along with it. For example, the following is a C major scale:

[C -- D -- E -- F -- G -- A -- B -- C]

Each tone above has a matching chord. Simply add the endings of the chart above to the scale as shown below:


To further understand progressions, lets number each chord:

1 = C major
2 = D minor
3 = E minor
4 = F major
5 = G dominant
6 = A minor
7 = B half - diminished
8 = C major


"2-5-1" Chord Progressions

Now, to create a "2-5-1" chord progression (or any numbered chord progression), simply take the 2, 5, and 1 chord out of the entire series of chords above. That is, we would not use the 3,4, 6, or 7 chord.

The 2 chord is D minor; the 5 chord is G dominant; and the 1 chord is C major.

This right here is the most basic "2-5-1" chord progression you'll ever see:

Dmin --- Gdom --- Cmaj

min = minor
dom = dominant
maj = major


D minor chord = [D] + [F] + [A]
G dominant chord = [G] + [B] + [D] + [F]
C major chord = [C] + [E] + [G]

Example: To play a Dmin chord simply play all three of the notes shown above at the same time (D+F+A)

Moving on...

Now that we have covered some theory (I'm glad that's out of the way), let me just show you a few chords that I love to play. I will try not to be as theoretic ... I will simply give you the chord changes and you'll have to apply them to your understanding of chords and alterations. All of these progression will be shown in the key of C major:

1) "Churchy 2-5-1 Chord Progression" Style #1

D7 (b9) --- G13 ---- Cmaj (pronounced "D seven, flat nine ----- G thirteenth --- C major")

D7 (b9) = Bass * Play "D" --------- F# + A + C + D#
G13 = Bass * Play "G" ---------- F + A + C + E
Cmaj = Bass * Play "C" ----------- E + G + C (1st inversion)

Example: For D7 (b9), we would play F# + A + C + D# with "D" on the bass (left hand).

Inversion just refers to the way the chord is played. Since "C" is the highest note, it is said to be played in its "first inversion"

Note: I love playing this chord progression in gospel music. You try playing it and let me know what you come up with!

2) "Churchy 2-5-1 Chord Progression" Style #2

For this progression, every chord will be the same except for the D7 (b9). We will simply play a regular D9 chord.

D9 = F# + A + C + "E" (not D#)

Notice: The only difference in a D9 and a D7 (b9) is the difference in the "ninth" tone. Since we are not flatting the 9th tone, we use "E" instead of "D#."

D9 = Bass * Play "D" --------- F# + A + C + E
G13 = Bass * Play "G" ---------- F + A + C + E
Cmaj = Bass * Play "C" ----------- E + G + C

3). "Contemporary 2-5-1 Chord Progression" Style #1

For this progression, we are going to use:

D9 add 6 ---> G13 ---> Cmaj

D9 add 6 = Bass * Play "D" --------- F# + B + C + E
G13 = Bass * Play "G" ---------- F + A + C + E
Cmaj = Bass * Play "C" ----------- E + G + C

4.) "Contemporary 2-5-1 Chord Progression" Style #2

This progression will follow the same exact pattern as #3 with the following chord alteration:

D9 b5 ---> G13 ----> Cmaj

*** You are going to have to extend your fingers for this one!

D9 b5 = Bass * Play "D" --------- F# + B + C + E + A#
G13 = Bass * Play "G" ---------- F + A + C + E
Cmaj = Bass * Play "C" ----------- E + G + C

This concludes February's Online Classroom Lesson
If you were intrigued by the online classroom lesson above,
then you would definitely benefit from my course!
*** “The Secrets to Playing Piano By Ear” 300-pg Course ***
With 20 chapters and over 300 pages, the home piano course provides several resources, techniques, tips, principles, and theories to playing the piano by ear. Along with hundreds of chords and scales, you'll also learn how to turn them into gospel, jazz and blues chord progressions and better yet, how to use them to play ABSOLUTELY any song you want ... IN VIRTUALLY MINUTES! Again, don't miss this opportunity. I've even added an additional bonus if you purchase the course this week --- You can read more about the course at:

Enjoy this edition? Visit our message board and let us know!
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Yours Truly,
Jermaine Griggs

Further References

"The Secrets to Playing Piano By Ear" 300-pg Course

[5] Chord Progressions: pgs 65-78, 105-130, 147-165, 182-227.

Do you know what a2-5-1” or "3-6-2-5-1" progression is? Or perhaps the famous 12-bar blues chord progression? In this piano course, you will not only learn how to play gospel, blues, and jazz progressions, but how to recognize them in songs. In addition, you will learn the simple techniques to playing these progressions, hymns, and songs in all 12 major keys! ... Enjoy learning:

The famous "2-5-1" Chord Progression: pgs 114-120, 153-156, 208, 235-236.

I - IV - I - V - I Chord Progressions: pgs 66-70.

I - IV - V - IV - I Chord Progressions: pgs 77-78.

Techniques behind the famous "5-->1" progression: pgs 68-72.

I --> IV,  I --> V Chord Progressions: pgs 74-75.

"Circle of Fifths" Chord Exercises: pg 78.

Major and Minor Chord Progressions: pgs 105-130.

"6 - 2 - 5 - 1" Chord Progressions: pgs 121-122, 157-159.

"3 - 6 - 2 - 5 - 1" Chord Progressions: pgs 122-123, 160-162.

"7 - 3 - 6 - 2 - 5 - 1" Chord Progressions: pgs 124-125, 190-191.

Gospel Chord Progressions ... ranging from "up-tempo praise" chord Progressions to "worship-oriented" chord progressions: pgs 65-78, 105-130, 147-165, 182-227.

Various Blues Progressions ... 12-bar, seventh chords, diminished chords ... and others: pgs 163-165, 192.

Jazz Chord Progressions ... using dominant ninth, eleventh and thirteenth chords: pgs 193-240

Study the different types of Root Progressions --- closing, opening, circular and other types of progressions: pgs 121-122.

Study how chord tones and scale degrees relate to each other [which chord progressions are most likely to be compatible]: pgs 122-130.

Learn various "turn-around" progressions [used in gospel music]: pg 213-214.

If you don't have the 300-pg Course, click here to read more about it.