Mastering 2-5-1 Root Progressions For The Left Hand

You arrived this page because you are interested in mastering 2-5-1 root progressions.

One of the challenges a vast majority of gospel musicians face is on the left hand, and that’s why we’re dedicating this lesson to giving you a bird eye view of what the left hand is concerned with in a 2-5-1 chord progression.

The goal of this lesson is to eliminate the stress (or technical demands) of coordinating both hands while playing a 2-5-1 chord progression — with an emphasis on the left hand.

But before we go ahead, let’s review the 2-5-1 root progression.

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

“What Is A Root Progression?”

There are eight degrees in every major or minor key and these degrees can be seen in the major or minor scale of that key.

In the key of C major:

C is the on the first degree

D is the on the second degree

E is the on the third degree

F is the on the fourth degree

G is the on the fifth degree

A is the on the sixth degree

B is the on the seventh degree

C is the on the eighth degree

These scale degrees are the root notes of scale degree chords. The root of the C major triad (aka – “chord 1”):

…is C (which is the first degree):

“Alright…”

The movement of these root notes in a chord progression produces a root progression. For example, in a 2-5-1 chord progression in the key of C major:

…the movement from chord 2:

…to chord 5:

…then, to chord 1:

…outlines a 2-5-1 root progression on the left hand.

“Check It Out…”

D:

..to G:

..to C:

The 2-5-1 Root Progression –  Explained

The 2-5-1 root progression is a root note outline of the 2-5-1 chord progression. In other words, it is an outline of the root note of the chords used in a 2-5-1 chord progression.

“Consider It This Way…”

When a 2-5-1 chord progression is played, the right hand focuses on the chords while the left hand focuses on the root notes.

So, if you’re interested in learning how to play the 2-5-1 chord progression on the left hand, then you need to pay serious attention to 2-5-1 root progressions.

How To Master The 2-5-1 Root Progression For The Left Hand

Using the suspended 2nd chord (aka – “sus2 chord”), anyone can master 2-5-1 root progressions for the left hand.

This is so because a sus2 chord consists of the 1st, 2nd, and fifth tones of the major (or minor) scale and these are the root notes needed in a 2-5-1 root progression.

“Here’s How It Works…”

Using the C sus2 chord:

…its easier to picture an outline of the root notes in a 2-5-1 root progression and the C sus2 chord consists of the 1st:

…2nd:

…and 5th tones:

…of the C natural major scale:

Using the C sus2 chord:

…as a reference, we can derive the root notes for the 2:

…5:

…and 1:

…chords.

So, using sus2 chords, you can master the 2-5-1 root progression in all twelve keys.

“Check It Out…”

The C sus2 chord:

…is an outline of the 2-5-1 root progression in the key of C major (or C minor.)

The Db sus2 chord:

…is an outline of the 2-5-1 root progression in the key of Db major.

The D sus2 chord:

…is an outline of the 2-5-1 root progression in the key of D major (or D minor.)

The Eb sus2 chord:

…is an outline of the 2-5-1 root progression in the key of Eb major (or Eb minor.)

The E sus2 chord:

…is an outline of the 2-5-1 root progression in the key of E major (or E minor.)

The F sus2 chord:

…is an outline of the 2-5-1 root progression in the key of F major (or F minor.)

The Gb sus2 chord:

…is an outline of the 2-5-1 root progression in the key of Gb major.

The G sus2 chord:

…is an outline of the 2-5-1 root progression in the key of G major (or G minor.)

The Ab sus2 chord:

…is an outline of the 2-5-1 root progression in the key of Ab major.

The  A sus2 chord:

…is an outline of the 2-5-1 root progression in the key of A major (or A minor.)

The Bb sus2 chord:

…is an outline of the 2-5-1 root progression in the key of Bb major (or Bb minor.)

The  B sus2 chord:

…is an outline of the 2-5-1 root progression in the key of B major (or B minor.)

Final Words

Using this little known secret to the mastery of the 2-5-1 root progression, I believe that you’ll effortlessly play 2-5-1 root progressions on the left hand.

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.

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