• 7 Jazzy Variations Of The Classic 2-5-1 Chord Progression You Can Revolutionize Your Playing With

    in Chords & Progressions,Experienced players,Jazz music,Piano,Theory

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    I’m excited to share on jazzy variations of the classic 2-5-1 chord progression with you in this lesson.

    Although this lesson is written with jazz pianists in mind, other players who want to spice up their 2-5-1 chord progression can also benefit from what we’re learning in this lesson.

    If you don’t really know what a 2-5-1 chord progression really is, you don’t need to worry because you’re the reason why I’m starting today’s lesson with a short note on chord progressions.

    “What Is A Chord Progression?”

    A chord progression, which is also known as a harmonic progression is the movement of a series of chords.

    Chord progressions can be classified into two broad types – diatonic and chromatic chord progressions – and we’re focusing on the former, which is the diatonic chord progression.

    In a diatonic chord progression, the movement of chords is from one degree of the scale to another.

    The key of C major:

    …has eight degrees (aka – “scale steps”.)

    C is 1

    D is 2

    E is 3

    F is 4

    G is 5

    A is 6

    B is 7

    C is 8

    A diatonic progression in the key of C, moves from one degree of the scale to another. Let’s say from C:

    …the first degree of the scale, to F:

    …the fourth degree of the scale.

    A chord progression from the first to the fourth degree of the scale is called a 1-4 chord progression. The numbers 1 and 4 are derived from the degrees involved in the chord progression.

    A Review Of The Classic 2-5-1 Chord Progression

    A 2-5-1 chord progression is the movement of chords to the chord of the first degree (aka – “tonic triad) from the chords of the second and fifth degree.

    “Here’s The Root Progression Of The 2-5-1 Chord Progression”

    In the key of C major:

    …the root notes of the 2-5-1 progression moves from the second degree of the scale (aka – “the two”):

    …to the fifth degree of the scale (aka – “the five”):

    …then to the final harmonic destination, which is the first degree of the scale (aka – “the one”):

    Let’s go ahead and form the chords of the basic 2-5-1 chord progression in the key of C.

    Chord 2

    Chord 2 is the chord of the second degree in any given key. In the key of C:

    …the second degree of the scale is D:

    There are various widths of chords that can be used as chord 2, ranging from the triad, to the seventh chord, and to extended chords.

    The triad for chord 2 is the D minor triad:

    …which is formed by picking D:

    …skipping E and picking F:

    …skipping G and picking A:

    The seventh chord for chord 2 is the D minor seventh chord:

    …which is formed by picking D:

    …skipping E and picking F:

    …skipping G and picking A:

    …skipping B and picking C:

    The extended chord for chord 2 is the D minor ninth chord:

    …which is formed by picking D:

    …skipping E and picking F:

    …skipping G and picking A:

    …skipping B and picking C:

    …skipping D and picking E:

    Chord 5

    Chord 5 is the chord of the fifth degree in any given key. In the key of C:

    …the fifth degree of the scale is G:

    The triad for chord 5 is the G major triad:

    …which is formed by picking G:

    …skipping A and picking B:

    …skipping C and picking D:

    The seventh chord for chord 5 is the G dominant seventh chord:

    …which is formed by picking G:

    …skipping A and picking B:

    …skipping C and picking D:

    …skipping E and picking F:

    The extended chord for chord 5 is the G dominant ninth chord:

    …which is formed by picking G:

    …skipping A and picking B:

    …skipping C and picking D:

    …skipping E and picking F:

    …skipping G and picking A:

    Chord 1

    Chord 1 (which is known to music scholars as the tonic chord), is the chord of the first degree in any given key.

    In the key of C:

    …the first degree of the scale is C:

    “Check Out The Triad, Seventh, And Extended Chords Of The First Degree…”

    The triad for chord 1 is the C major triad:

    …which is formed by picking C:

    …skipping D and picking E:

    …skipping F and picking G:

    The seventh chord for chord 1 is the C major seventh chord:

    …which is formed by picking C:

    …skipping D and picking E:

    …skipping F and picking G:

    …skipping A and picking B:

    The extended chord for chord 1 is the C major ninth chord:

    …which is formed by picking C:

    …skipping D and picking E:

    …skipping F and picking G:

    …skipping A and picking B:

    …skipping C and picking D:

    The Basic 2-5-1 Tradition In Jazz

    The 2-5-1 chord progression is commonly used in jazz either to establish or contradict a key. Depending on the situation, the 2-5-1- chord progression can either be played using seventh or ninth chords.

    “Check It Out…”

    The 2-5-1 Chord Progression Using Seventh Chords

    Here’s what a basic 2-5-1 chord progression looks like in the key of C…

    Chord 2:

    …the D minor seventh chord.

    Chord 5:

    …the G dominant seventh chord.

    Chord 1:

    …the C major seventh chord.

    Attention: In some occasions, the D minor seventh chord:

    …can be substituted with the D dominant seventh chord:

    The 2-5-1 Chord Progression Using Ninth Chords

    Using ninth chords, here’s what the 2-5-1 chord progression looks like in the key of C…

    Chord 2:

    …the D minor ninth chord.

    Chord 5:

    …the G dominant ninth chord.

    Chord 1:

    …the C major ninth chord.

    Also note that the D minor ninth chord:

    …can be substituted with the D dominant ninth chord:

    Jazzy Variations Of The Classic 2-5-1 Chord Progression

    Having covered the basic 2-5-1 chord progression, let’s learn other jazzy variations in other keys.

    Variation #1 – In The Key Of C

    Chord 2:

    …the Ddom7 [#9,#5] chord.

    Chord 5:

    …the Gdom13 [#11] chord.

    Chord 1:

    …the Cmaj13 chord.

    Variation #2 – In The Key Of D

    Chord 2:

    …the Edom13 [b9] chord.

    Chord 5:

    …the Adom13 chord.

    Chord 1:

    …the D6/9 chord.

    Variation #3 – In The Key Of E

    Chord 2:

    …the F#min9 chord.

    Chord 5:

    …the Bdom7[b9,#5] chord.

    Chord 1:

    …the E6/9 chord.

    Variation #4 – In The Key Of F

    Chord 2:

    …the Gdom13 [#11] chord.

    Chord 5:

    …the Cdom7[#9,#5] chord.

    Chord 1:

    …the Fdom9[13] chord.

    Variation #5 – In The Key Of G

    Chord 2:

    …the Amin11 chord.

    Chord 5:

    …the Ddom13[b9] chord.

    Chord 1:

    …the Gmaj9[13] chord.

    Variation #6 – In The Key Of A

    Chord 2:

    …the Bmin9 chord.

    Chord 5:

    …the Edom7[b9,#5] chord.

    Chord 1:

    …the Amaj9[13] chord.

    Variation #7 – In The Key Of B

    Chord 2:

    …the C#dom13[#11] chord.

    Chord 5:

    …the F#dom13[#11] chord.

    Chord 1:

    …the Gmaj9 chord.

    Final Words

    With all the 7 jazzy variations of the 2-5-1 we just learned, I have no doubt that you’ve added a few chords to your chordal vocabulary.

    I recommend that these chord progressions should be practiced in all twelve keys.

    See you in another lesson!

    P.S.

    This lesson was written with experienced players in mind. Therefore, it is believed that you know how to distribute chord tones between the left and right hands.

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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 zino

    i love those chords

    Reply

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