Jazz School: Major 2-5-1 Chord Progression: Basic Chord Voicings

music notation showing major 2-5-1 chord progression basic chord voicings

Lesson Goal: To become fluent in the basic chord voicings for the major 2-5-1 chord progression…

Major 2-5-1 Chord Progression: Basic Chord Voicings

Here is the major 2-5-1 (ii7-V7-IM7) chord progression in the key of C, with chord roots in the bass and closed position chords with voice leading…


In addition to seeing how the tones in each chord stack up vertically, it is also important to conceive of this progression horizontally in the movement of individual voices through the chords. Follow the flow of each voice as traced by the red arrows…


Pattern Recognition Notes…

  • Going from Dm7 to G7, the top two voices move down scale-wise while the bottom two voices remain the same.
  • Going from G7 to CM7, the top two voices remain the same while the bottom two voices move down scale-wise.

Major 2-5-1 Chord Progression: Homework

Using your ears and knowledge of scales and chord structure, “transpose” this pattern to all spellings in three musically-useful patterns:

  1. Chromatically Ascending: C > Db > D > Eb > E > F > Gb > G > Ab > A > Bb > B > C.
  2. Chromatically Descending: C > B > Bb > A > Ab > G > Gb > F > E > Eb > D > Db > C.
  3. Cycle of Dominants: C > F > Bb > Eb > Ab > Db > Gb > B > E > A > D > G > C.

Doing so will develop an enormous chord vocabulary that you will know by ear, intellect, eye, and muscle… laying a rock solid foundation for fluent improvisation.

Learn more… Jazz School

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