This lesson on common piano chord progressions looks at more widely used chord progressions and offers exercises that will help you gain the finger dexterity and chord knowledge that will enhance your playing.
The I, vii, ii, V progression.
This piano chord progression is used in literally hundreds of songs.
This progression was used by American vocal groups of the 1940s, The Ink Spots and The Mills Brothers ("Till Then"), and then later became the basis of the 1950s doo-wop sound, in songs such as The Monotones' "The Book of Love".
Sometimes called the "50's" progression it was heard quite often in the 50's Do Whop era with songs like Blue Moon, You Send Me, Since I fell for you and many others.
Later on in the Sixties this piano chord progression gave way to hits like "All I Have to Do Is Dream", for The Everly Brothers, The Paris Sisters' "I Love How You Love Me" and Boris Pickett's "Monster Mash".
It was used in the refrain of The Beatles' "Girl", and formed the basis of further new songs for decades ("Every Breath You Take" by The Police, "Don't Get Me Wrong" by The Pretend to mention a couple.
The example below shows the I maj7, VI min7, II min7, V7, I maj7. progression in the key of C with the chords written in root position.
This example show how closely related these chords are. In the right hand the chord stays the same between the I and vi chord and between the ii and V chords.
By merely changing the root note we have Amin7 with an added ninth and G7 with added ninth and eleventh. Instant Hip chords!
Another helpful diatonic chord exercise.
Here is a great exercise which takes you through all the diatonic chords in the key of C twice.
I will mention again that if you will figure out these exercises in the other keys, or at least a few you will do much to increase your understanding and feel for piano keyboard and common chord motion.
Again, if you have any questions, suggestions, additions or comments about this lesson I would love to hear from you. Fill out the comment form below.
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More great chord progressions and voice leading.
Master more widely used chord progressions and learn the smoothest way to move through the changes using voice leading. Clink the link below!