2-5-1 Progression



If you listen to music, you've definitely heard a "2-5-1" progression. They are found in just about any type of music --- regardless of style, genre, or rhythmical pattern. It is commonly the series of chords that end a song or phrase. In this chord progression, the 2 chord leads to the 5 chord which in turn, produces a strong pull towards the ending chord (which is usually the 1st major chord of the scale).

Let me start by showing you what chords correspond to each tone of a major scale:

1 tone - Major
2 tone - minor
3 tone - minor
4 tone - Major
5 tone - Major (dominant)
6 tone - minor
7 tone - Half Diminished

To understand the chart above, you must understand that each tone of a major scale has a chord that goes along with it. For example, the following is a C major scale:

(C -- D -- E -- F -- G -- A -- B -- C)

Each tone above has a matching chord. Simply add the endings of the chart above to the scale as shown below:

>C MAJOR<
>D MINOR<
>E MINOR<
>F MAJOR<
>G MAJOR / DOM<
>A MINOR<
>B HALF-DIMINISHED<

To further understand progressions, lets number each chord:

1 = C Major
2 = D minor
3 = E minor
4 = F Major
5 = G dominant
6 = A minor
7 = B half - diminished
8 = C Major

Now, to create a "2-5-1" chord progression (or any numbered chord progression), simply take the 2, 5, and 1 chord out of the entire series of chords above. That is, we would not use the 3,4, 6, or 7th chord.

The 2 chord is D minor; the 5 chord is G dominant; and the 1 chord is C Major.

Here is the most basic "2-5-1" chord progression:

Dmin --- Gdom --- Cmaj

min = minor
dom = dominant
Maj = major


D minor chord = (D) + (F) + (A)
G dominant chord = (G) + (B) + (D) + (F)
C Major chord = (C) + (E) + (G)

Example: To play a D minor chord simply play all three of the notes shown above at the same time (D+F+A)



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