What is a chord progression? | Easy Ear Training

What is a chord progression?

A chord progression (or just “progression”) is a sequence of chords played one after another.

If there are just two, it’s called a cadence rather than a progression.

There are particular common chord progressions which are used again and again in popular music, because certain chords work well together to create moods and a satisfying sense of progress in music. This leads to a large number of “3 chord songs” and “4 chord songs”.

Here are a few examples of what is probably the most popular chord progression – The I-V-vi-IV” progression. It should sound familiar, it’s used in thousands of songs!

Can you hear the similarity of musical character, despite the rhythm, key and instrument changing?

Here’s a completely different progression to contrast:

There are endless possible chord progressions so when composing or writing songs don’t be afraid to experiment and explore. Still, popular music often returns to the tried-and-true, and perhaps all you need is “four chords and the truth”!

Learn more on the Chord Progressions topic page.


Posted in: Chord Progressions

Free Course: Play Chords By Ear!

Did you know that by learning to recognise just a small number of chords you can easily play thousands of popular songs by ear?

Take a short email course which teaches you the "shortcut way" to play chords by ear. It works for any instrument or style of music.

The course is free and you can unsubscribe at any time if you change your mind. Just enter your details below:

Spam-free, guaranteed.

Chord Progressions Ear Training at Musical U Ear Training at Musical U

Explore Chord Progressions Ear Training
at Musical U

Musical U is the all-in-one training website which helps you to become more musical in an easy, fun and personalised way.

→ Learn More

Have a comment about this post? We'd love to hear it!
Come join the conversation on our Facebook page.

Enjoyed this post? Please share it with a friend:

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This