Common 2-5-1 Chord Progressions Every Gospel Pianist Must Not Be Without

You arrived at this page because you want to learn common 2-5-1 chord progressions.

Congratulations! You are on the right page and this lesson is dedicated to show you some important 2-5-1 chord progressions that every serious gospel pianist should have at his/her fingertips.

The 2-5-1 chord progression is one of the strongest chord progressions in music and it’s commonly found in gospel and jazz styles. So whether you play gospel, jazz, or both, this lesson is for you.

But before we get into learning all that, let’s discuss a bit on the 2-5-1 chord progression.

A Quick Review On The 2-5-1 Chord Progression

There are eight scale tones (aka – “scale degrees”) in every key – whether major or minor. The key of C major:

…consists of the following eight notes – C, D, E, F, G, A, B, and C.

The movement of chords from one degree of the scale to another produces a chord progression. For example in the key of C major:

…the movement from Chord 1 (which is the C major triad):

…to chord 4 (which is the F major triad):

…produces a “1-4 chord progression.”

The 2-5-1 Chord Progression – Explained

The 2-5-1 chord progression is basically a chord movement from chord 2 to chord 5, then to chord 1 in any given key.

In the key of C major:

…the movement from chord 2 (the D minor triad):

…to chord 5 (the G major triad):

…then to chord 1 (the C major triad):

…produces the 2-5-1 chord progression.

Attention: The numbers – 2, 5, and 1 – are derived from the chords used in the chord progression.

“In A Nutshell…”

Playing the following chords:

  • Chord 2
  • Chord 5
  • Chord 1

…in any key, produces the 2-5-1 chord progression.

Now that we’ve gotten a basic understanding of what the 2-5-1 chord progression is, let’s go ahead and learn common 2-5-1 chord progressions for all gospel pianists.

Common 2-5-1 Chord Progressions Every Gospel Pianist Must Not Be Without

In this segment, we’ll be learning some 2-5-1 chord progressions that dominant the world of gospel music. I bet you 17 nickels that if you learn them, you’ll have no problem while learning gospel songs.

We’ll be learning these 2-5-1 chord progressions in the key of Eb major:

Eb is the first tone

F is the second tone

G is the third tone

Ab is the fourth tone

Bb is the fifth tone

C is the sixth tone

D is the seventh tone

Eb is the eighth tone

The 2-5-1 Chord Progression

The 2-5-1 chord progression in the key of Eb major:

…entails a root movement from F:

…to Bb:

…then to Eb:

Chord 2:

…is the F minor ninth chord.

Chord 5:

…is the Bb dominant thirteenth [flat ninth] chord.

Chord 1:

…is the Eb major ninth chord.

This 2-5-1 chord progression can be used to approach chord 1 in the key of Eb major.

The 3-6-2 Chord Progression

The 3-6-2 chord progression can be classified as a minor 2-5-1 chord progression and that’s because the final chord in the chord progression is a minor chord.

In the key of Eb:

…a 3-6-2 chord progression entails a root movement from G:

…to C:

…then to F:

“Check Out The Chords…”

Chord 3:

…the G half-diminished seventh chord.

Chord 6:

…the C dominant seventh [sharp nine, sharp five] chord.

Chord 2:

…the F minor ninth chord.

You can use this chord progression to approach chord 2 in the key of Eb major.

The 5-1-4 Chord Progression

The 5-1-4 chord progression in the key of Eb major:

…entails a root movement from Bb:

…to Eb:

…then to Ab:

Chord 5:

…is the Bb minor ninth chord.

Chord 1:

…is the Eb dominant thirteenth [add ninth] chord.

Chord 4:

…is the Ab major ninth chord.

Feel free to apply this 2-5-1 chord progression while approaching chord 4 in the key of Eb major.

The 7-3-6 Chord Progression

The 7-3-6 chord progression [just like the 3-6-2 chord progression] can be classified as a minor 2-5-1 chord progression and that’s because the final chord in the chord progression is a minor chord.

A 7-3-6 chord progression in the key of Eb:

…entails a root movement from D:

…to G:

…then to C:

“Check Out The Chords…”

Chord 7:

…the D half-diminished seventh chord.

Chord 3:

…the G dominant seventh [sharp nine, sharp five] chord.

Chord 6:

…the C minor ninth chord.

This minor 2-5-1 chord progression can be used to approach chord 6 in the key of Eb major.

Final Words

Getting to this point let’s me know you’re serious about learning 2-5-1 chord progressions.

We’ll call it a day for now, so you can invest sometime into learning how to play these common 2-5-1 chord progressions in all 12 keys.

See you in the next lesson!

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Chuku Onyemachi

Hello, I'm Chuku Onyemachi (aka - "Dr. Pokey") - a musicologist, pianist, author, clinician and Nigerian. I started teaching musicians in my neighbourhood in April 2005. Today, I'm humbled to work as a music consultant with HearandPlay Music Group for musicians in Africa and beyond.

Leave a Comment:

4 comments
Carolyn says May 4, 2019

Thank you so much. I am definitely going to learn these progressions in all 12 Keys. Thank you, thank you. God bless you.

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Uwumukiza Enock says August 26, 2019

Content please I beg you if possible you may even keep showing me too much lessons because I am beginner if also possible you may give me some on my email. Thanks a lot.

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chris cleland says July 22, 2020

thanks soo much. will learn on all 12 keys

Reply
Simon Mary Ojima says August 1, 2020

This was appreciated. Shalom

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