• The Chromatic Transposition Of The Minor 2-5-1 Chord Progression

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    This lesson is for anyone who wants to learn about the chromatic transposition of the minor 2-5-1 chord progression.

    In a previous lesson, we covered the relationship between the minor 2-5-1 chord progression and the 7-3-6 chord progression and now we’re taking our discussion to another level by exploring the chromatic transposition of the minor 2-5-1 chord progression.

    If the term “chromatic transposition” does not sound familiar , don’t worry, we’ll be dwelling on it later.

    Although I’m writing this lesson with intermediate players in mind, beginners can also benefit from it as well because we’re starting out with a an overview of the minor 2-5-1 chord progression.

    The Minor 2-5-1 Chord Progression

    Let’s get started by defining a chord progression:

    A chord progression is the movement of chords from one degree of the scale to another.

    Before we proceed, I want you to take note of the word scale in the definition of chord progression. The relationship between the movement of the root of chords is based on a given scale.

    Due to the fact that our focus in today’s lesson is on the minor 2-5-1 chord progression, we’ll be illustrating the movement of root notes in the minor key.

    Attention: There are three traditional scales of the minor key – the natural minor, harmonic minor, and the melodic minor scales. In this lesson, we’ll be using the natural and harmonic minor scales in the formation of chords and chord progressions in this lesson.

    Here’s a numerical representation of the scale degrees in the key of A minor:

    A is 1

    B is 2

    C is 3

    D is 4

    E is 5

    F is 6

    G is 7

    A is 8

    “From the numerical representation above, we can derive the 2-5-1 root movement…”

    B is 2:

    E is 5:

    A is 1:

    “Let’s go ahead and flesh those root notes with chords…”

    Chord 2 is the B half-dim7 chord:

    Chord 5 is the E dom7 [#9,#5] chord:

    Chord 1 is the A minor ninth chord:

    Using voice leading principles, here’s the minor 2-5-1 chord progression in the key of A minor…

    Chord 2 is the B half-dim7 chord:

    Chord 5 is the E dom7 [#9,#5] chord:

    Chord 1 is the A minor ninth chord:

    Now that we’ve covered the minor 2-5-1 chord progression, let’s explore it more by learning how it can be played in other related keys.

    A Short Note On Transposition

    The term transposition refers to the transfer of the position of a musical idea, be it a note, scale, interval, chord, chord progression or song. This can be done within a given key or from one key to another.

    Although there are mental and electronic approaches to transposition, however, we can’t discuss them because of time constraint.

    “All the same, here’s a typical example of transposition within a key…”

    Let’s transpose the interval C-F:

    …in the key of C.

    In the key of C:

    …the fourth interval (C-F):

    …can be transferred to the position of F:

    …by determining the interval between C and F. From C to F:

    …encompasses C, D, E, and F:

    …four scale tones in the C major scale:

    …therefore, transposing it to F:

    …means we’ll count four scale tones of the C major scale from F:

    …which are F, G, A, and B:

    …to derive F-B:

    In the key of C:

    …the transposition of C-F:

    …to F produces F-B:

    Attention: The transposition of C-F (a perfect fourth interval) to F:

    …produced F-B:

    …an augmented fourth interval.

    “Take Note…”

    Transposition done within a given key does not always produce an interval that is exactly the same as the interval given. The transposition of C-F (a perfect interval) :

    …to F-B (an augmented interval):

    …is a typical example.

    There’s another type of transposition that produces an idea (be it a scale, interval, chord, or chord-progression) exactly the same way it is given and it’s called chromatic transposition.

    Chromatic Transposition

    There’s another approach to transposition where an idea in a given key is reproduced exactly in another key. Considering that there are twelve major keys, ideas can move from any given key to a designated key.

    The Chromatic Transposition Of Scales

    The A minor scale:

    …can be transferred to the position of C:

    …and when this is done, the A minor scale is said to be chromatically transposed.

    The Chromatic Transposition Of Intervals

    In the previous segment, we transposed C-F (a perfect fourth interval):

    …to the position of F:

    …and we derived F-B (an augmented fourth interval):

    The chromatic transposition of C-F:

    …to the position of F:

    …produces F-Bb:

    …another perfect fourth interval.

    The Chromatic Transposition Of Chords

    Chords can also be chromatically transposed. In the key of C major:

    …the C major:

    …and the D minor:

    …triads are chords 1 and 2.

    However, chord 1:

    …which consists of the 1st, 3rd, and 5th tones of the C major scale:

    …can be chromatically transposed to the position of D:

    …by outlining the 1st, 3rd, and 5th tones of the D major scale:

    …which are D, F#, and A:

    The product of the chromatic transposition of the C major triad:

    …to D (the 2nd degree of the scale):

    …produces a chromatic chord 2:

    It’s called a chromatic chord because of F#:

    …a foreign note (chromatic note) in the key of C major:

    “In the same vein…”

    Chord progressions can also be chromatically transposed. Let’s round up this study by doing a chromatic transposition of the minor 2-5-1 chord progression.

    The Chromatic Transposition Of The Minor 2-5-1 Chord Progression

    The minor 2-5-1 chord progression can be used in the major key due to the relationship between major and minor keys. The keys of C major:

    …and A minor:

    …are said to be related because they contain exactly the same notes.

    In the key of C:

    …a minor 2-5-1 chord progression to A minor produces a root movement from B:

    …to E:

    …then to A:

    …which are the 7th, 3rd, and 6th tones:

    …of the C major scale, hence, a 7-3-6 chord progression.

    The chromatic transposition of the 2-5-1 chord progression in the key of A minor to other minor keys that are related to the key of C major:

    • D minor
    • E minor

    …gives us two alternate ways of using the minor 2-5-1 chord progression. Let’s get it done.

    The Chromatic Transposition Of The Minor 2-5-1 Chord Progression To D Minor

    In the key of D minor:

    …the 2-5-1 chord progression entails a root movement between the following notes…

    E:

    A:

    …and D:

    Applying the chord qualities we learned earlier…

    • Chord 2 (the half-dim7 chord)
    • Chord 5 (the dom7 [#9,#5] chord)
    • Chord 1 (the minor 9th chord)

    …to the root movement (E-A-D):

    …produces a chord progression of the following chords…

    The E half-dim7 chord:

    …chord 2.

    The A dom7 [#9,#5] chord:

    …chord 5.

    The D minor ninth chord:

    …chord 1.

    Attention: The chromatic transposition of the minor 2-5-1 chord progression from A minor to D minor produces a 3-6-2 chord progression because E, A, and D are the 3rd, 6th, and 2nd tones in the key of C major.

    The Chromatic Transposition Of The Minor 2-5-1 Chord Progression To E Minor

    Using the scale of E minor:

    …a 2-5-1 root movement is between the following notes…

    F#:

    B:

    …and E:

    Applying the chord qualities we learned earlier…

    • Chord 2 (the half-dim7 chord)
    • Chord 5 (the dom7 [#9,#5] chord)
    • Chord 1 (the minor 7th chord)

    …to the root movement (F#-B-E):

    …produces a chord progression of the following chords…

    The F# half-dim7 chord:

    …chord 2.

    The B dom7 [#9,#5] chord:

    …chord 5.

    The E minor seventh chord:

    …chord 1.

    Attention: The chromatic transposition of the minor 2-5-1 chord progression from A minor to E minor produces a #4-7-3 chord progression because F#, B, and E are the #4th, 7th, and 3rd tones in the key of C major.

    Final Words

    The transposition of the 7-3-6 chord progression to other related minor keys produces the 3-6-2 and #4-7-3 chord progressions.

    In another post, we’ll be learning how these minor 2-5-1 chord progressions are applied to regular gospel songs. Meanwhile, practice and chromatically transpose the minor 2-5-1 chord progression to every key on the piano.

    Let me end by saying that every serious musician should know the how and where of chromatic transposition.

    See you in another lesson.

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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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    { 2 comments… read them below or add one }

    1 zino

    men chords dey ooooo , anyway i enjoyed this lesson

    Reply

    2 Chuku Onyemachi

    Lol! “You never see anything”

    Reply

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