The Chord Guide: Pt III – Chord Progressions | END OF THE GAME

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<ul><li><p>The Chord Guide: Pt III Chord ProgressionsPosted on August 16, 2011</p><p>I have moved this guide to the site of my new magazine, PRISM. This has been my mostpopular post on endofthegame, with over a thousand views daily, but pretty soon it will be takendown from this blog, so if you want to bookmark the new page it can be found here.</p><p>Chord progressions are the canvas on which musicians paint their masterpieces, and its a canvaswhich is a piece of art in itself. A chord progression can be subtle and in the background or it canbe blatant and up front; it can be simple and catchy, or it can be technical and complex, it canstay in one key or it can change like the seasons. In any of these cases a chord progression iswhat drives the song as it literally shapes the music that accompanies it. Chord progressions are</p><p>END OF THE GAMEGame Over, Man!</p></li><li><p>like a cozy home where melody and rhythm can kick their feet up. All the songwriting giants, likeJohn Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison, and Bob Dylan, to name a few, have/had atremendous knowledge of the art of the chord progression. Im not going to promise youtremendous knowledge, but I will offer you a good head start in the way of making your ownmusic in an easily digestible chunk to boot. In a nutshell, I dont mean this guide to be acomprehensive guide on the theory behind chord progressions that guide will come later, Iassure you.</p><p>This guide is meant to inject an interest in songwriting in new and old guitarists alike, I hope thatat some point after reading this you will pick up your old guitar, blow off the dust, and join me inplaying music. Music is the universal language of the human soul; it speaks more volumes aboutus than a library full of words ever could, so learning to communicate in this language is awonderful ability to have. Read on, assimilate everything, and start making your own music! Playfor yourself, and others will listen, not the other way around music is a journey, a personalvoyage. I hope you have a blast playing these chord progressions! If you like, you can download aprint friendly word document version of this post.</p><p>Chord Progression Guide</p><p>This handy little guide will help all musicians create their own catchy chord progressions on the fly!Included are two chord charts (one for major and one for minor) and a list of commonprogressions that you can make, referring to the charts to help you. Note, I/IV/V is highlighted inbold as its such a popular chord progression, this way you can easily see chord progressions youcan play without having to squint at the chart.</p></li><li><p>Above is a chord chart for the 7 most used keys. To create a progression, simply follow a chordprogression formula (I is always the key of the progression). For example, a very popular chordprogression formula is I-IV-V (highlighted in bold on the chart), in the key of C, the chordprogression would be C/F/G, in the key of D the progression would be D/G/A. Another extremelypopular chord progression, arguably the most popular (used in hundreds of songs), is the I/V/vi/IV(one-five-six-four). In C the chords would be C/G/Am/F and in G it would be G/D/Em/C. Whilemost chord progressions start with the key of the song (I), this is not always the case, for examplethe very popular jazz chord progression ii-V-I in the key of C would be Dm/G/C orDm7/G7/Cmaj7. Even though the progression doesnt start on the C major chord, it is still in thekey of C as all the chords in the progression originate from its scale. Note that the vi (6th) note isalways the relative minor of the major scale. So for example, in C major, the vi is Am, while in Fmajor the vi is Dm.</p><p>Above is a chord chart for creating minor chord progressions. As I mentioned before, the vi is therelative minor of any major scale. For example, youll notice that all the notes in Am are the sameas those iin C major in the first chart, and all the notes in Dm are found in F major and so on. Thisis very useful to know as you can so you can mix and match major and minor progressions andstay in the same key.</p><p>You can substitute the chords in the charts for different chord types, for example to play a chord</p><p>Major Chord Chart</p><p>Minor Chord Chart</p></li><li><p>progression using 7th chords you can substitute all of the minor chords for minor7 chords,substitute the major chords (I/IV) for major7 chords and substitute the V chord for a dominant 7thchord. If you dont know these chords, or just need a quick reminder, heres a list of all of thecommon open chords, and here is one for the barre chords.</p><p>Now for what you have been waiting for: a list of common chord progression formulaswhich you can use to start writing songs straight away! You can even make up your ownchord progressions, or you can substitute major minor chords for 7ths of 9ths, so feel free toexperiment! Note: I have transcribed all of the major chord progressions into the key of C to makeit easier for you to simply start practicing as soon as possible, as even the absolute beginnerknows, or should be learning, the open chords in C major. But if you wish to play theseprogressions in a different key, which Im sure you eventually will, you will have to do the work ofconverting them yourself dont worry, its one of the easier and more useful things youll everhave to learn to do!</p><p>Progressions With 2 Chords</p><p>I IV C/FI V C/G</p><p>Progressions With 3 Chords</p><p>I IV V C/F/GI IV V7 C/F/G7I ii IV C/Dm/FI iii IV C/Em/Gii V I Dm/G/C</p><p>Progressions With 4 Chords</p><p>I IV I V C/F/C/GI IV I V7 C/F/C/G7I IV V I C/F/G/CI IV V IV C/F/G/FI V IV V C/G/F/GI V vi IV C/G/Am/FI vi V IV C/Am/G/FI vi IV V C/Am/F/GI vi ii V C/Am/Dm/GI vi ii V7 C/Am/Em/G7I vi iii IV C/Am/Em/FI iii vi IV C/Em/Am/F</p></li><li><p>IV I IV V F/C/F/Gvi IV I V Am/F/C/GI VI IV V C/A/F/Gii V I vi Dm/G/C/Am</p><p>Progressions With 5 Chords</p><p>I vi ii IV V7 C/Am/Dm/F/G7I vi ii V7 ii C/Am/Dm/G7/DmI ii iii IV V C/Dm/Em/F/GI ii vi V I C/Dm/Am/G/CI vi ii V I C/Am/Dm/G/CI iii vi V I C/Em/Am/G/C</p><p>Progressions With 6/7/8 Chords</p><p>I IV I V7 IV I C/F/C/G7/F/Cvii iii vi ii V I IV Bm7b5/Em/Am/Dm/G/C/FI IV I V7 IV I vi V C/F/C/G7/F/C/Am/G</p><p>Progressions With Flattened (b) Chords</p><p>I vib IV C/Abm/FI iii IV vib C/Em/F/AbmI iii viib IV C/Em/Abm/FI viib IV V C/Abm/F/G</p><p>Natural Minor Chord Progressions</p><p>i VI VII Am7/Fmaj7/G7i iv VII Am7/Dm7/G7i iv v Am7/Dm7/Em7i VI III VII Am7/Fmaj7/Cmaj7/G7ii v i Bm7b5/Em7/Am7</p><p>Harmonic Minor Chord Progressions</p><p>i iv V Cm(maj7)/Fm7/G7ii V I Dm7b5/G7/Cm(Maj7)</p><p>Melodic Minor Chord Progressions</p></li><li><p>ii V i IV vii III -vi Dm7/G7/Cm(maj7)/F7/Bm7b5/Ebmaj7#5/Am7b5</p><p>Modal Chord Progressions</p><p>1. (Ionian) I IV V I Cmaj7/Fmaj7/G7/Cmaj72. (Dorian) ii iii IV I ii Dm7/Em7/Fmaj7/Cmaj7/Dm73. (Phrygian) iii ii vi IV iii Em7/Dm7/Am7/Fmaj7/Em74. (Lydian) IV vi V iii IV Fmaj7/Am7/G7/Em7/Fmaj75. (Mixolydian) V IV I V G7/Fmaj7/Cmaj7/G76. (Aeolian) vi V IV V vi Am7/G7/Fmaj7/G7/Am7</p><p>Diatonic Progression Cycles</p><p>(2nds) I II III IV -V -VI -VII I C/Dm/Em/F/G/Am/Bm7b5/C(7ths) I VII VI -V -IV -III -II I C/Bm7b5/Am/G/F/Em/Dm/C</p><p>(3rds) I III V VII II IV VI I C/Em/G/Bm7b5/Dm/F/Am/C(6ths) I VI IV II VII V III I C/Am/F/Dm/Bm7b5/G/Em/C</p><p>(4ths) I IV VII III VI II V I C/F/Bm7b5/Em/Am/Dm/G/C(5ths) I V II VI III VII IV I C/G/Dm/F/Em/Bm7b5/F/C</p><p>Progressions can be made from these cycles in any combination.These can be applied to any of the 7 tone scales: Major, Melodic Minor, Harmonic Minor,Harmonic Major etc</p><p>Jazz Chord Progressions</p><p>Note with jazz chord progressions you have to substitute the standard major/minor chords for7ths (you can also play 9ths, 11ths or 13ths.) These are the basic chord substitutions: I = maj7, ii= m7, iii = m7, IV = maj7, V = dom7, vi = m7, VII = m7b5. I have omitted all the 7s in the formulassimply because they look messy (ii/V/I looks cleaner than iim7/V7/Imaj7). I have only included a 7in the formula if the chord is untypically given a 7th note, eg II7 (D7) when it is usually ii (dm7).Since these progressions are catered for jazz, all chords should be played as 7ths or 9ths etc.</p><p>ii V Cmaj7/G7ii V I Dm7/G7/Cmaj7ii V I vi Dm7/G7/Cmaj7/Am7I vi ii V Cmaj7/Am7/Dm7/G7VI7 II7 V I7 A7/D7/G7/C7iii vi ii V I Em7/Am7/Dm7/G7/Cmaj7I vi ii V iii VI7 ii V Cmaj7/Am7/Dm7/G7/Em7/A7/Dm7/G7I II7 ii V I Cmaj7/D7/Dm7/G7/Cmaj7</p></li><li><p>I I7 IV ivm7 iii VI7 ii V I Cmaj7/C7/Fmaj7/Fm7/Em7/A7/D/G7/Cmaj7)ii V I IV vii iii vi Dm7/G7/Cmaj7/Fmaj7/Bm7b5/Em7/Am7</p><p>The last progression in this list is the ultimate one to practice as it contains all 7 notes of the majorscale play it in every key and get completely used to the sound that each chord makes and howthey fall into each other; this is perhaps the best thing you can do in terms of developing yourear for chord progressions.</p><p>Heres a closer look at the last two chord progressions, Ill show you two ways of approachingeach progression (there are countless ways!) utilising both barre and open chords.</p><p>I I7 IV ivm7 iii VI7 ii V I</p><p>ii V I IV vii iii vi</p></li><li><p>Examples of Chord Progressions Used in FamousSongs</p><p>I IV I V Brown Eyed Girl by Van Morrison(G/C/G/D)I V vi IV Let It Be by The Beatles(C/G/Am/F)I V IV Blue Sky by The Allman Brothers Band(E/B/A)vi IV V vi or i VI VII i Im Eighteen by Alice Cooper(Em/C/D/Em)I iii IV I The Weight by The Band(A/C#m/D/A)I ii iii IV V Like A Rolling Stone by Bob Dylan (C/Dm/Em/F/G)I vi iii IV Where is My Mind by The Pixies(E/C#m/G#m/A)I iii vi IV Somewhere Over the Rainbow by Israel Kamakawiwoole(C/Em/Am/F)I V II VI iii Hey Joe by Jimi Hendrix(C/G/D/A/Em)I II7 ii V I Girl From Ipanema by Antnio Carlos Jobim</p></li><li><p>(Fmaj7/G7/Gm7/Cmaj7/Fmaj7I v IV V ii V ii -IV V Candyman by The Grateful Dead(C/Gm/F/G/Dm/G/Dm/F/G)</p><p>P.S So long as you dont try to pass this guide off as your own, you are free to print this off andmake as many copies as you like, I give you 100% permission I made this guide to be used, souse it!</p><p>Now go make some music!</p><p>Be sure to check out the other guitar guides scattered throughout the site!</p><p>Chord Theory</p><p>Chord Guide: Pt I Open ChordsChord Guide: Pt II Barre ChordsSong Lesson: The Girl From Ipanema</p><p>Scale Theory</p><p>The Mother of All Music Theory The Major ScaleModes of the Major ScaleJazz Guitar Bebop ScalesNatural, Harmonic, and Melodic Minor Scales</p><p>This guide is a tribute to The Beatles: the masters of the chord progression. Their musiccontains just about everything there is to know about the relationship between chords andmelody.</p></li><li><p>53 THOUGHTS ON THE CHORD GUIDE: PT III CHORD PROGRESSIONS</p><p>Pingback: The Chord Guide: Pt II Open Chords | end of the game</p><p>Pingback: The Chord Guide: Pt III Barre Chords | end of the game</p><p>Pingback: The Chord Guide: Pt II Open Chords | end of the game</p><p>Pingback: The 4 Chords In Music History | end of the game</p><p>Modes of the Melodic Minor Scale</p><p>General Music Theory</p><p>Introduction to Music Theory University Course</p><p>If you liked this post, be sure to subscribe!</p><p>By Michael Cunningham @ endofthegame.net</p><p>SHARE THIS:</p><p>Reddit Facebook 282 Twitter 43 Google Email Print</p><p>This entry was posted in chord theory, guitar lessons, music theory and tagged chordprogressions, chords, guide, guitar lessons, music theory, songwriting by MichaelCunningham. Bookmark the permalink[http://endofthegame.net/2011/08/16/chordprogressions/] .</p><p> Like</p><p>15 bloggers like this.</p><p>RELATED</p><p>The Chord Guide: Pt I -Open Chords</p><p>The Chord Guide: Pt II Barre Chords</p><p>Song Lesson: The GirlFrom Ipanema</p><p>The Chord Guide: Pt I -Open Chords</p><p>The Chord Guide: Pt II Barre Chords</p><p>Song Lesson: The GirlFrom Ipanema</p><p>In "chord theory" In "chord theory" In "guitar lessons"</p><p>In "chord theory" In "chord theory" In "guitar lessons"</p></li><li><p>Kid Meatballon November 9, 2011 at 11:32 AM said:</p><p>Great lesson! Just a little correction. The I/IV/V progression in C is C F G.</p><p>Like</p><p>caramellokoalaon November 9, 2011 at 11:40 AM said:</p><p>Oh wow, I really should have looked through the post for errors; that is embarrassing! Thanks a million!</p><p>Like</p><p>benon November 12, 2011 at 8:17 AM said:</p><p>thanks for pointing that out, i was reading this and when i saw that got really confused, good lesson though thankyou caramelokoala!</p><p>Like</p><p>Jakeon November 11, 2011 at 5:16 AM said:</p><p>Couple things, this is fine as a basic chord structure but one of the most importantaspects of the minor keys are the leading tones. It makes the v chord a V, which is ofutmost importance, considering one of the strongest chord progressions is I IV V I. Of thatthere is no argument. It also makes the VII a diminished vii. Also these chords that yougive for using flat chords areunconventional to say the least. If this is a guide to makingthings sound good, Im in support. But it seems to be passing off as a lesson in musictheory. For that, it would be neccessity to go over predominant, dominant, secondarydominants, the I64 chord, cadences, modulation, etc. I dont mean to attack this, butwere anyone to read this and use this as a guide to music theory, they would come out ofit with bad information.</p></li><li><p>Like</p><p>caramellokoalaon November 11, 2011 at 1:33 PM said:</p><p>Thanks for the reply, this is not meant to be a lesson in music theory, I have otherposts dedicated to that. Im not exactly sure how you saw this trying to pass offas music theory. This is simply a quick guitar lesson to help people with chordprogressions and was not meant to be in depth at all.</p><p>Like</p><p>bammbamm1963on July 6, 2012 at 8:53 PM said:</p><p>Thank you for your efforts. I appreciate someone taking the time to breakthis down and simplify it.Cheers and Thanks to StumbleUpon for getting me here.</p><p>Like</p><p>Trumpetblaston November 16, 2011 at 1:56 AM said:</p><p>When in a minor key, because of the leading tone &gt; tonic relationship, you usually use theminor seven (vii). The major VII is diatonic (follows the key) but it more often used as asubdominant of IV rather than a seven. Really good resource though!</p><p>Like</p><p>caramellokoalaon November 18, 2011 at 10:43 AM said:</p><p>Thanks for the correction!</p><p>Like</p></li><li><p>joknowswhy (Joellyn)on November 18, 2011 at 10:40 AM said:</p><p>Thanks for the list of chord progressions. Im going to use the information for my pianostudent tonight. Im going to have him play a few of the simpler progressions and makehim pick which one he likes best. Then he can practice it with a drum beat on hiskeyboard.Chords are great! It can make a student an instant musician.</p><p>Like</p><p>caramellokoalaon November 18, 2011 at 10:48 AM said:</p><p>Your very welcome! Im happy that students are going to benefit from me writingthis! Chords are the best have fun teaching your students!</p><p>Like</p><p>Nickon November 27, 2011 at 7:01 AM said:</p><p>Thanks for the post! It was really helpful :)</p><p>Like</p><p>caramellokoalaon December 3, 2011 at 11:18 PM said:</p><p>No problem, Im glad you got something out of it! :)</p><p>Like</p></li><li><p>Jukejointon December 21, 2011 at 12:49 PM said:</p><p>Ty for the chart and post. For those of us who are learning both how to play, a...</p></li></ul>