• # A Lesson On Six Chromatic Variations Of The 6-2-5-1 Chord Progression

There are tons of chromatic variations of the 6-2-5-1 chord progression that every keyboardist must not be without.

The 6-2-5-1- chord progression is also known as the turnaround chord progression because it is usually played at the end of a song to cycle us back to the beginning of a song and that’s what makes it very important across a variety of music styles.

## A Short Note On The Basic 6-2-5-1 Chord Progression

The 6-2-5-1 chord progression is based on the number system and the numbers (6, 2, 5, and 1) are associated with chords in the major key:

The 6-chord
The 2-chord
The 5-chord
The 1-chord

### The Basic 6-2-5-1 Chord Progression In The Key Of C Major

In the key of C major:

…here’s a basic 6-2-5-1 chord progression using ninth chords in the key:

The 6-chord:

The 2-chord:

The 5-chord:

The 1-chord:

Playing the scale tone chords above in any key on the keyboard produces the 6-2-5-1 chord progression.

## Chromatic Variations Of The 6-2-5-1 Chord Progression

The term chromatic is used to describe any idea (be it a note, scale, chord, progression, etc.) that is foreign to a given key.

Chromatic variations of the 6-2-5-1 chord progression are basically chord progressions with one or more chords that are foreign to the key we’re currently in (which is the key of C major.)

We’ll be looking at six variations of the 6-2-5-1 chord progression with chromatic chords in this segment and all the examples would be given in the key of C major. However, it is recommended that you learn how to transpose to other keys eventually.

### Variation #1 – “The b3-2-5-1 Chord Progression”

In this chord progression, we’re substituting the 6-chord with the b3-chord and the theory behind this substitution is the tritone substitution.

So, instead of the 6th tone of the scale (which is A):

…we’re going down a tritone below A (to Eb):

…which is the b3-tone.

“Here’s The Chord Progression…”

The b3-chord:

The 2-chord:

The 5-chord:

The 1-chord:

### Variation #2 – “The b3-b6-5-1 Chord Progression”

The b3-chord:

The b6-chord:

The 5-chord:

The 1-chord:

### Variation #3 – “The b3-b6-b2-1 Chord Progression”

The b3-chord:

The b6-chord:

The b2-chord:

The 1-chord:

### Variation #4 – “The b3-2-b2-1 Chord Progression”

The b3-chord:

The 2-chord:

The b2-chord:

The 1-chord:

### Variation #5 – “The 6-b6-5-1 Chord Progression”

The 6-chord:

The b6-chord:

The 5-chord:

The 1-chord:

### Variation #6 – “The 6-b6-b2-1 Chord Progression”

The 6-chord:

The b6-chord:

The b2-chord:

The 1-chord:

## Final Words

These chromatic variations of the 6-2-5-1 chord progression are useful turnaround progressions that you can connect the end of a song to its beginning with.

Attention: Feel free to make your own variations of the 6-2-5-1 using the chords given.

For most songs, there are four counts in-between the ending and the beginning section. It is recommended that you play the chord progression in this manner:

The 6-chord (1st count)

The 2-chord (2nd count)

The 5-chord (3rd count)

The 1-chord (4th count)

I hope you’ll find the extra information on how the chords should be played helpful.

All the best.

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#### Chuku Onyemachi

Head of Education at HearandPlay Music Group
Onyemachi "Onye" Chuku (aka - "Dr. Pokey") is a Nigerian musicologist, pianist, and author. Inspired by his role model (Jermaine Griggs) who has become his mentor, what he started off as teaching musicians in his Aba-Nigeria neighborhood in April 2005 eventually morphed into an international career that has helped hundreds of thousands of musicians all around the world. Onye lives in Dubai and is currently the Head of Education at HearandPlay Music Group and the music consultant of the Gospel Music Training Center, all in California, USA.