Music Theory Lesson – Progressions #2

Chord Progression Chart

Chord Progression Rules

Last week we discussed labeling the keys in each repeating section and labeled them 1-7. We followed that crazy chart. But hopefully you figured it out and created some really interesting chord progressions. If not, please don’t hesitate to ask questions.


So you remember in the last lesson, you start on number one and from there it’s a wild card. You can go to any number you want. After that, depending on which number your on, you have to obey which numbers you are allowed to go to next. And the idea is to get back home at number one while following all the rules.


Chord Progression ChartSo if you take a closer look at the chart, you may have noticed that the only numbers that can approach #1 are numbers: 5, 6, & 7. These are your resolution numbers, also known as a Cadence. Now which one should you use, 5, 6, or 7? Well that depends on the effect your going for. The seven is the leading tone, meaning it creates a great flow and push into the next verse of the song. This is when a seven is resolved, or played, back to one. While a five is more of a final resolution note. Playing a five before a one creates that feeling that its done and resolved. A five is the most powerful resolution because its the farthest away tonality wise. A seven is also a resolution note but not anywhere as powerful as a five.


So why even bother resolving with a seven when a five is way more powerful? While a five is better than seven, do you really want to lay all your good cards out at once? Or do you want to save them for the perfect moment? In poker, you save your good cards for the perfect hand instead of wasting them right away. In music, its a similar concept. You lay out some low value seven’s to create buildup and tension. Then when the moment is right, throw down the five to release all the tension and buildup.


Chord Progression:
(song above)
Medievil Kingdom
Key: A minor
1 – 3 – 4 – 5
A – C – D – A

Here are a couple common chord progressions to get you started in the right direction:

  • 1 – 3 – 6 – 1
  • 1 – 6 – 4 – 5
  • 1 – 4 – 2 – 7
  • 1 – 4 – 2 – 5
  • 1 – 3 – 4 – 5


Now it takes a little practice and experimentation to figure it out and get it right. But when done correctly, you can compose some really dramatic & epic compositions. The best thing to do is practice, practice, & practice. Your never going to get good at playing if you don’t play. It’s as simple as that. I learned everything I know about music from reading a few online articles, for basic structure, then banging on the keys of my piano and experimenting what sounded good and what didn’t. Eventually you’ll start to notice patterns of what sounds good.


Experiment and play around with that to see what kinds of song patterns, or Chord Progressions, you can come up with. Next time I’ll explain what a chord is and how to play to it. It’s what’s going to really set the tone and mood. If you have any questions or comments, feel free to email me or post a comment on this page. See ya next week.


Best Regards,


Music Theory Lessons

7 thoughts on “Music Theory Lesson – Progressions #2

  1. Spot on with this write-up, I actually assume this website needs way more consideration. I’ll probably be again to read way more, thanks for that info.

  2. i’m a guitar player and i know limited amount of music theory. i took lessons for a little bit but tablature books kinds of ruined the whole “traditional” thing for me. i really want to go to college for music and you need to know so much to get in… i have to study like crazy.

    any recommendations would be great.

    1. There are two ways of learning music: Sheet Music and Chord Theory. I first learned by reading sheet music but that only told me what to play. It didn’t help me write my own music. So years later, I self taught myself chord theory through numerous websites. I found that was best way and now I’m using this blog to compile everything I’ve learned into one place. So that people can learn what I know. If you have any questions, feel free to ask. 🙂

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  4. Interesting post, thank you. However you state “the only numbers that can approach #1 are numbers: 5, 6, & 7” yet on the chart with roman numerals on the left, numbers on right. You have roman numeral 4 (IV) as 1,2,5,7. Meaning you can approach #1 from 4 as well as 5,6, & 7. Is this correct ? Or should #1 be removed from roman numeral 4 (IV) on the chart ???

    1. There are no exact ‘rules’, just guidelines for a guaranteed harmony. For a true cadence, only 5 and 7 can go to 1. Anything else is a slanted cadence. It still works, but it may not work all the time, and it’s not a perfect harmony. A 2 can also go to 1 because its on the same column as 4, but works very little of the time. Does that answer your question?

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