• How To Play 6-2-5-1 Chord Progressions In Minutes

    in Piano,Playing songs

    In yesterday’s post, we used my new Song Robot software to learn the hit love song, “Hero.”

    If you haven’t checked out yesterday’s 30-minute video, feel free to do so now.

    Today, I want to break down some of the chords of this song as there is a common pattern present that’ll certainly be familiar to you if you’ve been with me for a while.

    The main chorus of this song features the famous “6-2-5-1” progression… with a little twist (the 4 is added between the 6 and 2 and if you followed this lesson not too long ago, you already understand how the 4 can be inserted or interchanged with the 2 because of their close relationship).

    This song is in the key of E major and if you go to around 3:04 of yesterday’s video, the song starts on an E major add 9 (E + F# + G# + B + E):

    It’s important to think about songs in terms of numbers. In the key of E major:

    E is 1, F# is 2, G# is 3, A is 4, B is 5, C# is 6, and D# is 7.

    So the first chord is, indeed, on the 1st degree of the scale. So far, pretty simple.

    Then there are melody notes that you can learn either in the Song Robot itself or on yesterday’s video.

    [I will note here that when you’re learning songs on your own, it’s extremely important to pick inversions of your chords that keep the melody note on top. If you’re melody is B, you don’t want a chord that puts E on top… you want to pick the inversion that puts B on top.]

    Next, the song is headed to the 6th tone but uses the 7th tone as a passing chord. That’s D# in this case.

    This happens a lot. We still choose to look at the “bones” of the progression — the main thing going on and that’s 1-6-2-5. If we counted every single passing chord, this progression would really be: 1-7-6-5-4-3-2-5.

    But really, the main chord tones here are: [1]-7-[6]-5-[4]-3-[2]-[5]

    So the D# passing tone takes us to C#. This is a pretty important chord in this song — the 6th tone and we’re playing a minor 7 chord here:

    (Note: The C# minor 7 chord is arpeggiated… or broken up… but if you played it all together, this is what you’d play).

    After the 6th chord, we use another passing tone (B… the 5th) to take us to the 4, which is a simple A major chord:

    (Note: Because you’re playing A lower in the bass, you don’t have to necessarily repeat it. You can take it out to make the chord lighter — A + E + C#).

    After the 4-chord, there is another passing chord on the 3. This time, a simple E major but in 1st inversion so the 3 is on the bottom (G#):

    E major / G#

    Now, we’re getting ready for the final “2-5” progression, which takes us back home.

    On the 2, we’re playing an F# minor 7 chord:

    And finally, on the 5, we have a Bsus chord:

    So there you have it — a series of main chord tones and passing tones.

    But the real lesson here is seeing the major pattern at work which is “2-6-5-1” but then realizing the “4” was inserted in between to extend the progression out. And if you followed my lesson last week about substitutions, the insertion of the 4 will make perfect sense!

    So go to yesterday’s video and learn this song. Or better yet, click here to get your hands on the Song Robot so you can slow it down to your own pace and learn learn it in all 12 keys if you want!

    Until next time,

    The following two tabs change content below.
    Hi, I'm Jermaine Griggs, founder of this site. We teach people how to express themselves through the language of music. Just as you talk and listen freely, music can be enjoyed and played in the same way... if you know the rules of the "language!" I started this site at 17 years old in August 2000 and more than a decade later, we've helped literally millions of musicians along the way. Enjoy!

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


    { 11 comments… read them below or add one }

    1 Jermaine Griggs

    Song robot update


    2 robhem

    Hay Jermaine the song robot is great…… I have the software on my PC, but how do I go about updating it to the new version?


    3 Jermaine Griggs

    Just log in to the digital center at http://www.hearandplay.com/digitalcenter, click on Song Robot and scroll to middle of page where it says UPdate for existing users. Click the green download button and download the zip file. Extract it just like you did before. Then double click update file to run installation. You’re all done.


    4 Dugan Blay

    learning how to play piano to become perfect


    5 chinedu ohiri
    6 Rick

    Dana, That is great to hear that you are restarting your food jrnauol. You are worth the effort! Coach D made a great point today out of 168 hours in a week, we work out maybe 3-6 hours which is a small percentage of time of that 168 hours. We have a lot of other hours where we need to take care of ourselves and food jrnauols/tracking is one of the most important ways to take good care of ourselves. Good job, camper!! See you soon Mary


    7 chinedu ohiri

    i will become great


    8 chinedu ohiri

    how to play worship song


    9 Yogy

    I finally got a cncahe to read some of your stuff later today. In fact, I kind of like how you bounce back and forth from the information side of things to your own experiences. I think it speaks alot about what folks like us go through. I can read any article on bipolar disorder and wonder where I fall in the spectrum, what my version of mania truly is (isn’t that the hardest one to figure out??? what super happy really is when it’s followed by super sad???), did I get it from my mom, should I eat something different, etc. What an article can’t do for me is relate that information to me without driving me bonkers. So, I guess in an odd way, seeing that this stuff can sometimes drive you bonkers too doesn’t make me feel so alone. Misery loves company right?


    10 Moagi Senyetsane

    Hey Jermaine,you are realy helping and kind to us with dis information.Thanks.I just started learning playing keyboard,and my church keyboardist who knows nothing about theory taught me dis scale 1,F#maj 1st inversion, 2Bmaj, 3,C#maj, 4,F#maj 2nd inversion, 5 G#min 2nd inversion, 6,F#maj, 7,Bmaj 2nd inversion, 8,C#maj 2nd inversion.I i wsh to learn how to use passing chords in this scale,and also want to learn how was it constructed,since it is not in Major/Minor scale formula


    11 Isreal

    I wish to be more perfect in my playing.


    Leave a Comment

    Previous post:

    Next post: