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

    in Chords & Progressions,Experienced players,General Music,Gospel music,Jazz music,Piano

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    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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    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 the head of education, music consultant, and chief content creator with HearandPlay Music Group sharing my wealth of knowledge with hundreds of thousands of musicians across the world.

    Attention: To learn more about this, I recommend our 500+ page course: The "Official Guide To Piano Playing." Click here for more information.




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