Hi I read the crusade on chord progressions, but im kinda confused about how to use them, how to practice them and how do I know im done with a chord progression to try another one? tytytyty
I don't get what you're asking and I'd hate to see a valid question going unanswered. I skimmed through the only Crusade article I saw on Chord Progressions and it was talking about analyzing them to find out the key. That doesn't match up with your question at all and therefore leads me to asking you to explain in a little more about your question.
Well, if I'm reading the question right, you're asking about how to practice changes between chords in progressions, and how to know where they fit in music? If it is, then the best way to know where chord progressions fit, is to find the key of the progression. The way to know this is to know that each note in a major scale corresponds with a chord. An easy example would be C Major scale, which has the notes :


The way the chords go with the notes is, the first note is Major, the second note is Minor, the third note is Minor, the fourth note is Major, the fifth note is Major, the sixth note is minor, the seventh note is diminished, and the eighth is the octave, so it's major. Now, if you match these up, the chords in the key of C Major would be:

Cmaj Dmin Emin Fmaj Gmaj Amin Bdim Cmaj

And this works with any simple chord, with any major scale. There are differences, however, when you get into seventh chords and harmonic minor scales and such. But for now, the best way to practice and learn these is to just strum along to chords that are in the same key, or learn a song, and then figure out the key. Sorry if I did a bad job of explaining this, hahah, but I hope it helps =)
yeah, I got most of that from the article.

But I dont know,
How do you create chord progressions for example I II IV I, thats a chord progression right? but how do you make your own?

also how do I apply it to improve my playing?

do all songs use chord progressions, , how do I figure them out?

most of all im super confused on how to use chord progressions.
A chord progression is a series of chord changes that sets a key. That is a chord progression because even though the II isn't diatonic (in the key), it still goes to the tonic, I chord.

Make your own by messing around with chord changes until you find a series of changes you like. Write it down, figure out the key, and assign roman numerals to it (that way you can put it in to any key).

You could also do it the other way if you wanted by writing out diatonic (and non-diatonic) roman numerals and then applying it to a key.

You can improve your playing with chord progressions by practicing changes (and learning new chords, of course!). Right hand: Work on your rhythm, strumming, and dynamics (attack on strings, palm muting, etc.). Left hand: Chord changes (going from one chord to the other in the easiest, fluid way possible), chord memory, strength/stamina (barre chords will toughen your hand pretty quickly. Make sure your posture is good and don't strain or hurt anything).

Not all songs use chord changes. Remember way back when with those monophonic Gregorian chants?

Figuring out the chord progression in a song is pretty hard. It requires a very good ear. If you're really looking in to learning songs by ear, I would suggest this site for basics: http://www.justinguitar.com/en/AU-000-AuralTraining.php If not, I would just look up the tabs/chords online. You can still analyze a progression from looking at the tab and/or chords.

If I didn't answer your questions the way you would have liked or if you have more questions, just say so .
Last edited by metal4all at Oct 2, 2009,
The chord progression you wrote there is a perfectly good chord progression. You could put it in A and have A B D A. (a quick note on notation - major is normally capital e.g V minor is normally lower case e.g. iv)

creating a chord progression from theory isn't hard - just string together 4 random numbers, making it sound good is tricky though. So i find it best to play some chords then write them down after most of the time (using the theory to help me find the chords i want faster) see above for some great advice
to extrapolate upon the very good answers above, practice chord changes using the circle of 5ths and circle of 4ths at first. this will serve you well down the road. Once you feel comfortable with then circle of 5ths/4ths, then begin applying chords in a diatonic context.

Just as a quick example using the C major scale:

I-ii-iii-IV-V-vi-vii*(diminished, but I don't know how to make the diminished symbol ) is spelled Cmaj-Dmin-Emin-Fmaj-Gmaj-Amin-Bdim

Likewise, the C minor scale:

i-ii*-III-iv-v-VI-VII is spelled Cmin-Ddim-E(flat)maj-Fmin-Gmin-A(flat)maj-B(flat)maj.
yeah, I got most of that from the article.

But I dont know,
How do you create chord progressions for example I II IV I, thats a chord progression right? but how do you make your own?

also how do I apply it to improve my playing?

do all songs use chord progressions, , how do I figure them out?

most of all im super confused on how to use chord progressions.

There's tons of ways to come up with new and interesting chord progressions.
You can just mess around with chords with no point other than to find something that sounds cool.
You can try different patterns to your progression by using circle progressions and other changes.
You can start with an existing chord progression and give it a new sound by employing any or all of the various chord substitutions such as secondary dominants, diatonic substitution, direct substitution, tritone substitution, etc or inversions.
You could start with a melody that you really like and work on harmonizing it to come up with a progression for the song.
You could start with a bass line and harmonize some chords over that.
You could focus on using voice leading to resolve certain voices or dissonances in one chord and then from there build the next chord.

The thing all these have in common is that you will be experimenting and letting your ear be the judge of whether it works.

My suggestion - learn how different chords build tension and resolve in a progression. Basically play chords and listen to how it feels. Describe how the chord change sounds to you and write it all down in a note book. Does it sound smooth or abrupt. Does the second chord sound like it's moving away from the first or does it sound like it's coming home or does it sound fairly static with not much change really at all.

Write down the chords you use then write down the change in terms of the interval between root notes and whether you are going up or down. Try to find what makes the chord sound the way it does - it may be heaps of things all at once or one simple thing. There's no right or wrong of course cause this is what you are hearing and how it appears to you.

By listening carefully to your chord changes and thinking about what you are doing and how it all works you will learn much more than if someone simply tells you how it works.

Similarly listen to music find a good progression or change and figure out what the chords are. Write them down change them into roman numerals and analyse them as deeply as you can. What makes it work. What does each chord offer or what effect does each chord produce? What kind of changes (in terms of intervals) does the progression use - are they all down a third or up a fourth or a mixture or is there some pattern?

The more you listen the better your ear gets. The more you think about and analyze the music the better your musical mind gets.

Then when you get something - come share and we can have a meaningful discourse about musical ideas and our interpretations of those ideas.

No one can tell you how to create a chord progression. There are sights and stuff out there that say "this chord leads to one of these chords and they lead to one of these chords etc just follow this map and you always have a good progression". The problem is the progression will be formulaic and probably not what you were looking for. There is no way to create good chord progressions without listening to and understanding what is happening in the music and knowing how to control it.

- On second thought here try this site Theory on the Web work through it and pay particular attention to harmonic function and cadences. Then learn about common tone or diatonic substitution and direct substitution, secondary dominants and borrowed chords. Learn about voice leading and how to resolve tensions. Just make sure you dedicate time listening and thinking about what is happening in the music yourself - and take plenty of notes.

Best of Luck
Last edited by 20Tigers at Oct 3, 2009,