• Here’s The Relationship Between The Tertian Harmony And The 2-5-1 Chord Progression

    in Chords & Progressions,Experienced players,Piano,Theory

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    Who else wants to know the relationship between the tertian harmony and the 2-5-1 chord progression.

    The 2-5-1 chord progression is the strongest chord progression in tonal music and is commonly used in jazz and gospel music.

    Submission: If you’re classically trained, you’ll also appreciate the 2-5-1 chord progression as well because of its use especially at cadential points.

    Today, I’m going to show you why the 2-5-1 chord progression is favored by the tertian harmony. But before I do so, permit me to refresh your mind on the concept of tertian harmony.

    A Short Note On The Tertian Harmony

    The notes of a chord are related by class of harmony; which is concerned with the distance between the successive tones of a chord when played in root position.

    The C major triad consists of C, E, and G:

    …which are related by a class of harmony known as the tertian harmony.

    The Tertian Harmony — Defined

    Using any given scale as a reference, tertian harmony is produced by a collection of tones (referred to as a chord) where the distance between successive chord tones is a third interval.

    The C major triad:

    …is a product of the tertian harmony and this is because of the fixed third intervals between successive tones:

    C to E:

    …is a third interval.

    E to G:

    …is a third interval.

    Every other triad in the key of C major:

    D minor triad:

    E minor triad:

    F major triad:

    G major triad:

    A minor triad:

    B diminished triad:

    …is also a product of the tertian harmony and this is because of the third interval between successive tones.

    Here Are All The Tones In The Tertian Harmony (From C to C)

    Starting from C:

    …and adding tones in third intervals (tertian harmony) until the next C is reached:

    C:

    …to E:

    …to G:

    …to B:

    …to D:

    …to F:

    …to A:

    …to C:

    …produces all the tones in the tertian harmony (“C E G B D F A C”):

    …using the C major scale (as a reference):

    “Here’s A Quick Mnemonic To Memorize The Tertian Harmony With…”

    Using the mnemonic below:

    C-Every-Good-Boy-Deserves-Favor-Always-C

    …you can memorize the tones of the tertian harmony.

    “Check It Out…”

    C:

    Every:

    Good:

    Boy:

    Deserves:

    Favor:

    Always:

    C:

    C-Every-Good-Boy-Deserves-Favor-Always-C:

    Why The Tertian Harmony Favors The 2-5-1 Chord Progression

    The 2-5-1 chord progression consists of the movement of the following chords:

    The 2-chord

    The 5-chord

    The 1-chord

    …in any given major key.

    In this segment, I’ll be taking you by the hand and showing you why the tertian harmony favors the 2-5-1 chord progression and I’ll be using triad and seventh chord examples.

    Attention: Kindly note that all the examples will be given in the key of C major.

    The 2-5-1 Chord Progression Using Triads

    In the key of C major:

    …where the second tone of the scale is D:

    …the 2-chord is the D minor triad:

    …consisting of D, F, and A.

    The 5-chord is the G major triad:

    …and it consists of G, B, and D.

    Then the 1-chord consists of C, E, and G:

    …which is the C major triad.

    “Check Out The Chords For The 2-5-1 Chord Progression…”

    Using “C E G B D F A C” (as a reference), you can find the 2-5-1 chord progression in the tertian harmony:

    2-chord = C E G B [D F A] C

    5-chord = C E [G B D] F A C

    1-chord = [C E G] B D F A C

    The 2-5-1 Chord Progression Using Seventh Chords

    The 2-5-1 chord progression can also be played with seventh chord:

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

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

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

    …and these chords are favored by the tertian harmony.

    Using “C E G B D F A C” (as a reference), you can find the 2-5-1 chord progression in the tertian harmony:

    2-chord = C E G B [D F A C]

    5-chord = C E [G B D F] A C

    1-chord = [C E G B] D F A C

    That, ladies and gentlemen, is the relationship between the 2-5-1 chord progression and the tertian harmony — not just in the key of C major, but in all major keys.

    Final Words

    The relationship between tertian harmony and the 2-5-1 chord progression cannot be overlooked.

    Thank you for your time and 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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    { 1 comment… read it below or add one }

    1 Carolyn

    Thanks for sharing. Great information. God bless you.

    Reply

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