• # Fresh Perspectives To The 2-5-1 Chord Progression Using Advanced Chord Voicings

We’re focusing on the 2-5-1 chord progression in this lesson and we’ll be learning a handful of advanced chord voicings.

Attention: This lesson is written with the advanced player in mind. Therefore, if you’re a beginner or an intermediate player, you’ll do well to check out previous lessons that are designed for beginners and intermediate players.

Although the 2-5-1 chord progression should be well known to the advanced player, we’ll start out this lesson with a quick review which should serve as a refresher before we proceed into learning an breaking down the voicings.

Alright! Let’s get started.

## A Quick Review Of The 2-5-1 Chord Progression

Chord progressions in the key are based on the number system.

For example, the scale tones in the key of C major:

…are assigned with numbers from 1 to 7:

C is the 1

D is the 2

E is the 3

F is the 4

G is the 5

A is the 6

B is the 7

The numbers assigned to scale tones are also associated with scale tone chords. For instance, the C major seventh chord:

…which has its root as C (the first tone):

…is known as the 1-chord.

That said, the 2-5-1 chord progression is a movement of the following chords:

The 2-chord

The 5-chord

The 1-chord

…based on the number system.

“Check Out The Classic 2-5-1 Chord Progression Using Ninth Chords…”

Attention: Keep in mind that this example is given in the key of C major.

The 2-chord (the D minor ninth chord):

The 5-chord (the G dominant ninth chord):

The 1-chord (the C major ninth chord):

“Here’s A Different Twist To The Same 2-5-1 Chord Progression…”

The 2-chord (the D minor ninth chord):

The 5-chord (the G dominant ninth chord):

The 1-chord (the C major ninth chord):

Now that we’ve refreshed our minds on the 2-5-1 chord progression, I’ll go ahead and give you fresh perspectives to the 2-5-1 chord progression using advanced chord voicings and I’m sure you’ll love it.

## How To Play The 2-5-1 Chord Progression Using Advanced Chord Voicings

Advanced players set their playing apart from amateurs, beginners, and intermediate players with the use of advanced chord voicings. This does not mean that advanced players don’t use triads — of course they do.

However, when it comes to harmonic sophistication, advanced players have “dangerous” voicings in their chordal vocabulary that they can spice boring chord progressions and turn heads with.

Quickly, we’ll be exploring 2-5-1 chord progressions that have some of these advanced voicings and we’ll be doing so in the key of C major.

### Example #1 – “Sounds Phat And Jazzy”

This 2-5-1 progression here consists of the following chords:

The D minor ninth chord

The G altered chord

The C major seventh [add thirteenth] chord

“Here Are The Chords…”

The 2-chord:

The 5-chord:

The 1-chord:

Attention: The use of tenths:

D-F:

C-E:

…and sevenths:

G-F:

…on the left hand adds some depth and fullness to the chords with or without a bass player.

### Example #2 – “Gospel Players Will Love This One”

In this example, we’re progressing from the D minor eleventh chord, to the Db dominant ninth (sharp eleventh) chord, then to the C 6/9 chord.

“Check It Out…”

The 2-chord:

The 5-chord (substituted):

The 1-chord:

Attention: The tritone substitution of the 5 chord with the Db dominant chord happens a lot in gospel and jazz music. There’s a guarantee that you’ll either sound like an advanced gospel or jazz player with this particular example.

### Example #3 – “You Must Have Heard This In A Broadway Musical”

I love this particular example a lot and this is because of the elements of classical music in the chord movement. The 2-chord is the D minor ninth chord, followed by the 5-chord which is the G dominant seventh (flat ninth) chord, then the C major ninth chord.

“Try Them Out…”

The 2-chord:

The 5-chord:

The 1-chord:

You can learn more chords like this in the gospel music training center.

Attention: It shouldn’t escape your notice that the 5-chord is played rootless. In a subsequent lesson, we’ll breakdown the rationale behind the movement of the voices in these chords.

### Example #4 – “If You Have A Bass Player, Try This”

Advanced players don’t only play in solo situations; they also play in a band situations where they need to play full-sounding chords with their left and right hand — leaving the bass note to the bass player.

“Here Are The Chords…”

The 2-chord:

The 5-chord:

The 1-chord:

You can learn more chords like this in the gospel music training center.

The 2 chord is the D minor eleventh chord, followed by the 5-chord which is the G dominant thirteenth (flat ninth) chord, then the C major thirteenth chord.

### Example #5 – “Quartal Voicings For Jazz Players”

Here’s another rootless 2-5-1 chord progression but with a quartal twist. Although the chords are not strictly made of fourth intervals but the overall sound of the voicings sounds quartal.

“Here Are The Chords…”

The 2-chord:

The 5-chord:

The 1-chord:

## Final Words

Reading up to this point lets me know that you’re interested in taking your chordal vocabulary to the next level.

I’m sure you enjoyed the chord voicings and the breakdown of the voicings used. These 2-5-1 chord progressions are given in C and are to be transposed to other keys.

You can learn more chords like this in the gospel music training center.

All the best.

The following two tabs change content below.

#### Chuku Onyemachi

Head of Education at HearandPlay Music Group
Onyemachi "Onye" Chuku 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.

Comments on this entry are closed.