Making Chord Progressions. Part 1

This article will show how to make a good-sounding chord progression using the 1-4-5 and 1-6m-2m-5 progression systems.

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Before I start, I recommend that you read my article on Chord Families so that you know the terminology and stuff. Also, when I talk about the 1 chord, I am talking about the first chord in that family. You may also see a 2m chord, which means its the second chord in the family and its minor, or 7dim, which means its the seventh chord in its family and its a diminished chord. Intro As you may very well know, chords can be a great way to back up a song with a little rhythm. However, you can't just play the same chord over and over again (because that would be boring), and you can't just throw random chords together because some chords just don't go well with each other. I am going to show you two different types of chord progressions that sound good (because they're in line with music theory) and can be used for rhythm purposes. These are the 1-4-5 system and the 1-6m-2m-5 system. (the numbers represent the chords you use) The 1-4-5 System The 1-4-5 system is a pretty basic chord progression. I'll show you a 1-4-5 system chord progression in the family of A: A D E Yeah, it doesn't look very impressive. Anyway, in the family of A, A is your 1 chord, so you start with that (It's a '1'-4-5 progression). Next, you go to a D chord, because it is your 4 chord (1-'4'-5), and then to an E chord, because it is your 5 chord for the family of A (1-4-'5'). You can also substitute the 5 chord for a seventh chord, so E would become E7. Easy enough, let's go to the second way to make a chord progression. The 1-6m-2m-5 System You've probably figured out how to do this by now, but in case you haven't, I'll elaborate. Here we have the family of A again, but this time using the 1-6m-2m-5 system: A Fm Bm E Note that the 'm' makes them minor chords (the 2, 3, and 6 chords are always minor in a major chord family). So, first we have our 1 chord, A, then we have our 6m chord, Fm, then we have our 2m chord, Bm, and finally we have our 5 chord, E. Like the 1-4-5 system, you can substitute the 5 chord for a seventh chord. Ending Notes I would like to give credit to "Music Principles for the Skeptical Guitarist, Volume One- The Big Picture" by Bruce Emery. This is the book that I used to learn most of this information. It is likely that there will be a Part 2 of this article coming, so be on the lookout.

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    flezem
    I'm sorry but your second example is wrong. It should be a F#m instead of a Fm. A Fm would be a b6m. That's one ugly chord progression.
    pinkfloydian11
    flezem's definetely correct and the more common progession found in alot songs would be A-F#m-D-E
    st.stephen
    pinkfloydian11 wrote: flezem's definetely correct and the more common progession found in alot songs would be A-F#m-D-E
    Au contraire, 6 2 5 1 chord progressions are incredibly common in jazz and all kinds of music from the early days of rock n roll. Nowadays it is possibly more common, but overall, it's debatable which is used the most.
    Rain Lancer
    That article was way too short to be informative. Two examples and some recommended reading at the end isn't really enough. Also, as pointed out before, it should be F# Minor instead of F Minor.
    JacKofAces91
    This information could be helpful if it was presented in the right way, but this article doesn't even do that. There should be an article about using the entire iii-vi-[IV, ii] [viio, V]- I and if you do not comprehend what I just typed, you do not know enough theory to be educating people on chord progressions.
    flezem
    st.stephen wrote: pinkfloydian11 wrote: flezem's definetely correct and the more common progession found in alot songs would be A-F#m-D-E Au contraire, 6 2 5 1 chord progressions are incredibly common in jazz and all kinds of music from the early days of rock n roll. Nowadays it is possibly more common, but overall, it's debatable which is used the most.
    I know the 6 2 5 1 progression is very common, but i was talking about the wrong progression which would jump from A to Fm. That's not very pretty is it?
    a7xb4d
    Ok, I know it should be F#m. My mistake. F#m is used because in the key of A, F is made sharp, thus the relative minor would be F#m and not Fm. I was really just trying to give basic info on making those types of chord progressions.
    a7xb4d
    In response to JacKofAces: a) if you've just started making chord progressions/ are learning how to make them, you don't want to jump into everything at once b) I don't have a degree in music theory and I'm just trying to teach people how to do the basics.