Diatonic Chord Progressions 1


Understand the fundamentals of creating a chord progression.

Chord Progressions

This is a topic that will come up again and again. There are levels to this topic and we are at level one right now, rest assured there is more as you go further into your study of harmony.

A chord progressions is when you put chords next to each other to get a musical expression across. Picking the chords for your progressions changes greatly with genres, with each one having its own style. We for now just want to start with the very basics.

Diatonic chord progressions use only chords that come from the diatonic chords for the key we are in. We can create a progression by simply picking various chords for the diatonic chords. For example let's say we pick a 1, 3, 5, 1 progression. We would have this:

How long each chord is, is up to you. It could be an entire measure, a quarter of a measure, or anything you like. One chord could be longer than another if you want. All we are concerned with is the construction of the chords. When it comes to writing music with them it is up to you to get creative and as we add more tools to your harmony tool box you will have more ideas occur to you on creative things you can do.

Let's say we have the following:

The key is D major and we are to write a 1,4,5,1 progression. We would have this:

Say the key is D minor and we again are asked for a 1,4,5,1 progression. We would have this:

In this way musicians can communicate to each other on the notes they will be using very quickly. They just need the key and the numbers and boom, they have the notes ready to go. As we get further into progression, specifically once we get to inversions and voicing, along with other chord types you will find this idea a basic framework so make sure you can make these basic progressions! This is another skill that you must master if you hope to do more interesting progressions!

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