2-5-1 Progression Deciphered (Podcast Episode #15)

Posted by: JAZZEDGE on February 2, 2021

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00:05 Hey guys, Willie Myette creator of jazz edge I want to welcome you to episode number 15 of the confident improviser podcast. So today we are going to be talking about the 251 progression, and it's 251 progression deciphered. So what I'm going to be doing is I'm going to show you how to unlock the mysteries of this popular jazz chord progression. So now this podcast goes along with the confident improviser course, which you can find back at jazz edge. If you'd like to watch the video for this podcast and also get the sheet music all of that is back at jazz edge you can also go back to the confident improviser comm for more information. Alright, so 251 progression deciphered. So first of all, when we are going to try and find a 251 progression and create a 251 progression, we have to remember that it all comes off of the major scale. So that's where we start first, here's my C major scale, C, D, E, F, G, A, B, C, pretty simple. C major scale all white notes from C to C. So that's the first thing that we need to start with, we need to be able to know what our major scale is, and know all of the sharps and flats that go along with that major scale. Alright, so there's our key of C. Next step, we just simply number the notes 12345678, or one. So number one is seen number two is d three is E, F is four, and so on. Okay, so if we take a look at it, immediately, we could see what we could see that two is D, five is G, and one is C. So already, we start to have the outline of our 251 progression in the key of C, right, and that would be a D to A G to a C. Now the next step gets a little bit more tricky. And this is where we are going to create diatonic seventh chords on each note of the scale. Now this looks a lot more complicated than it is let me play it for you here. 02:19 Right, so even in playing that right there, it's kind of like whoa, you know, it kind of seems like that seems a little bit complicated, right? In reality, though, it's not all that complicated. So what we're doing is, I am creating a seventh chord, which is a four note chord on each note of the C major scale. And all I'm doing is using the notes from the C major scale. So that means that it's going to be all white notes in the key of C to C here that I'm not playing any black notes in my chords. Okay, all white notes in the chord, because they're all coming from the C major scale. Now when we move into another key, a little bit later, you'll see that that's going to change but in the key of C, it's all white notes. That one chord is a major seventh chord to chord is a minor seventh chord, three chord is a minor seventh four chord is a major seventh five chord is a dominant seventh, okay, pay attention to that. Sixth chord is a minor seven, seven chord is a minor seven, flat five, some people call it half diminished. I like minor seven, flat five personally, and then one is major. Okay, so now, I said pay attention to the five chord being dominant, okay? It's because there is only one dominant chord in each key, and that is the five chord, you've probably heard about dominant motion, right? Moving from five to one. Okay, so the G seven to see that is your dominant motion g seven resolving to C, that's five resolving to one. Okay, now the two chord here is my D minor chord. So D minor, g7, C major, that's my to my five, my one chord progression in the key of C. Now a couple of things we need to cover. First of all, you see up here on the top, we're using Roman numerals. So an uppercase i a lowercase I, lowercase II, for three uppercase, I V for four, uppercase V for five, lowercase v II for six lowercase v i, for seven, right? So first of all, why do we use Roman numerals? Well, partly because it's just what we've always done in analysis. Okay, so harmonic analysis and music has utilized Roman numerals for quite a while. So we continue to do that. There's also another practical purpose, you'll see that I have some uppercase and lowercase Roman numerals. Now and again, you might see the analysis written without any chord symbol. Now in this particular example, I still put caps Apply triangle seven, meaning a one major seventh chord. For the two chord, I have two lowercase eyes, so lowercase I, the minus sign, and a seven. So that's telling me that is a two minor seven chord. Okay? Now the reality though is that if we have uppercase and lowercase, we can use uppercase for majors and lowercase for minors. So in this two chord when it's two lowercase, with a minus seven, the minus seven is almost redundant, right? We almost don't need that, because if we just put a lowercase two, we would know that it is minor. So that's the benefit of using our Roman numerals, we have case sensitivity, we have upper case, and we have lower case, upper case means major, lowercase means minor. In this particular example, I'm writing out lowercase two, and also adding in the minor seven, just to make sure that everyone understands that it is a two minor seven chord. Okay, so now let's put together the 251 progression. So we have D minor, seven g7, C major seven, I'm going to play those chords in my right hand. So it's D, F, A, C, A, B, D, F, and C egb. I'm just gonna play my roots in the left hand. So again, those notes, D, F, A, C, for D minor. The notes are G, B, D, F, seven, and a notes for C major seven, or C, 06:42 E, G, B. So two, 06:47 one, that is our 251 progression right there. Okay, so you can stop right there, you understand 251 progression, but we're going to continue on because we have more to do. Now, the 251 progression like this is fine, but it sounds much better. If we use inversions. Take a listen to that. 07:09 Does that sound better than moving? This one? No, it sounds like we're moving all over the place. Where's this one 07:21 sounds a little bit smoother voice leading, okay. And voice leading is the way that the notes of one chord, move to the notes of the next chord, that's your voice leading. So D minor, right, this is root position D minor. So D, F AC, when we go to the g7. I take those top two notes at a D minor and I move them down. Okay, and, and now I have D, F, G, B, D, F, G, B, and that is my G seven chord in second inversion. Then I take the bottom two notes of the G and move them down to C and E. And now I have my C major seventh chord, C, E, G, that again is in root position. So D minor seven root position dfac g seven second inversion, D, F, G, B, and then C major seventh root position, C, E, G, B, okay. Alright, so that's our 251 inversions. Okay, so now, we're going to start to find some 251 progressions in an actual jazz standard. So what I wrote here, look for a minor chord, moving to a dominant chord, okay, let's just stop right there. Minor chord moving to a dominant, it's not a minor moving to a minor. It's not a minor moving to a diminished. It's not a minor moving to a major, it's a minor chord moving to a dominant chord. Remember, a dominant chord is going to say something like g seven, G, nine, G, 13, G, seven sharp, 11 G, seven, ba, ba, ba, ba, ba, ba, right? That's going to be your dominant chord. Okay? Now also, notice I didn't say it's a major chord moving to a dominant chord, or it's a dominant chord moving to a dominant chord, no, those those are different things. That's not a 251 progression. So a 251 progression is a minor chord moving to a dominant chord, okay, that's the two five part of the progression. Now the one part of it is typically a major chord. That could be a dominant, it could be a minor, there's a little bit more gradation there's a little bit more gray area there and you have a little bit more flexibility. So that means I could go D minor seven to G seven to C seven or D minor to G to C major, or D minor, to G seven to C minor. Now, typically when going to those Other chords like the minors the dominance, you might find that there's going to be some alterations of the two, five progression. So a typical 251 progression is a minor chord moving to a dominant chord moving to a major chord. And again how this works, it's it's a minor chord moving to a dominant chord up a perfect fourth, or down a perfect fifth. So D going up a fourth goes to G, right? Now the one thing I did right in here, which I will tell you is to find the one chord move up a perfect fourth from the five, seven. Okay. So, we go up a perfect fourth from the minor chord. Okay. And then we then go to our dominant chord. So we start with a minor chord, D minor, we go up a perfect fourth to a dominant chord, that's g seven. And now to find the one chord go up a perfect fourth, from the G seven, make a major chord there. And that's my one chord. Okay, that's my one major chord. So again, let me show you an example. Start with D minor seven, we go up a perfect fourth, to G seven, and then we go up a perfect fourth, again, to C major seventh. Now obviously, we're not going to go like this. It sounded pretty good voice leading instead. 11:42 But just to get the chords, right, D minor, g7 to C major. So it starts out a minor goes up with perfect fourth, so dominant goes up a perfect fourth to a major. Now you'll see here that I underlined many times the one chord will be missing. In that case, just find the two, five, okay? Alright, so now, we are going to actually put this into practice here I have beyond the sea, okay, pulling this right out of the ireo Pro. Okay, be sure to download I real pro, get a real pro, if you don't have it, right, it's a great program, I highly recommend it, you can get it on iOS or Android. It's $15. As of right now, you know, I don't know if it's going to go up or down. But that's the price of it right now. Great program for backing tracks and playing along, you know, with harmony. So anyway, there's your progression for beyond the see pulling up right from ireo Pro. So what I want you to do is try and figure out the two fives on your own first. Okay, so I want you to try the analysis on your own. First, there's a PDF file in the members area of the confident improviser under exercise number 15. So just go back to the members area, and then you can under TCI 15, you can download this PDF file. Okay, so what I'm going to do is I'm going to go through it with you right now, but I just kind of gave this amount of time where you can just kind of like pause the video if you want and then you know, see if you could do it on your own before I give you the answers. Okay, so now what we're going to do is and what you should be looking to do is try and find the 251 progressions, you don't have to analyze the rest of the song, just try to find the 251 progressions. Now what I've done on the next page for which I'm about to show you is I have made a box around the two five progression and I have kind of like a circle around the one chord. Alright, so we're ready, go ahead and unpause the video and I will give you the answers. Okay, so here we are. The This is the analysis now for beyond the sea, I'm showing you all of the two five progressions, alright, and we're just starting with the two fives, we're not even adding in the ones just yet. Now for those of you that are joining me on the podcast, let me count this out for you got 1-234-567-8910 1112 1314 teen to five progressions, okay, 14 to five progressions out of this song. Now if you take a look at this, usually if you saw the video, you would see there are a bunch of red boxes all over this page. And in fact, like half of the song is a two five, a progression of one sort or another. Okay, so now you'll see that I have G minor seven, the C that's a two five, G minor and a seven c Yep, D minor seven, the G seven. There's another two, five, B minor seven to E seven, right? There's another two, five, and everything else is just copied D minor seven, the C I'm sorry, D minor seven, the G seven, D minor seven, the G seven, G minor seven, the C seven. Right. Those are All to fives. Now in the next page, you'll see I've circled where the one chord comes in. Now you'll notice that sometimes the one chord isn't there, like I'm showing you right here goes G minor seven to C seven, then D minor seven, the G seven, you say there's no one chord in there, it goes to five, and then moving on to a different to five. Oh, you know what, I missed one right here, too. Let me just fix that real quick for you. That's going to F, okay. All right. So at the beginning here, we have G minor, seven to C seven to F six. Okay, so there's my minor chord going up a fourth, so dominant, going up a fourth to a major, remember, a six chord is still a major chord, okay? It's a major sixth chord. And then you see it goes G minor seven, the C seven to F six. Alright, there's another 251 progression. Now the G minor seven, C seven over here does not resolve to anything, okay? Instead, it then goes to a different to five D minor, seven, g7. To c seven, you see, I put this in yellow, just because it's a little bit different than your typical major, you know, Major, one chord. 16:15 There was no one I missed here as well, this one going up to a, right so B minor seven to E seven, a six, there's another two, five, B minor, seven, E, seven, a six and other two, five, D, G to C is a two, five D, G to C is a two, five, G, C to F lists that one, two, F, there's another two, five right there. Okay? So you can see we got so many, two, five ones. What about this one here, G to C to D minor? Is that a 251? Or just a two, five, G minor seven, to C seven to D minor? Okay, well, G minor seven, it's a minor chord goes up a fourth, okay to see, yeah, that's a dominant. Alright, so we got the two and the five, what about up a fourth from C, that should go to where C up to F, it should be F major, but instead it's being played as a D minor. So that is not a 251 progression, it's just a two, five. Now, the thing to understand about jazz is that we will have many different 251 progressions, or two, five progressions, and they do not necessarily always have to be within the key signature. Okay, this song right now beyond the C is written in the key of F, okay? So in the key of F 251, is G minor seven, C seven to F, that's 251. But you'll see here that I have D minor, seven g7. Well, that's listed as a two five as well. And you might think, well wait a minute, D minor, seven is six in the key of F, G seven, doesn't even really even function the key of F, right, because there's seven in the key of F, it should be a B flat, right? That should be your two chord. Now it's a dominant chord, what's going on there, and then moving down a little bit further, you have B minor to e to a, well wait a minute, that's not in the key of F either. Well, the song happens to modulate into the key of A for the bridge. But regardless, that doesn't matter. The point is, you will find pockets of two, five progressions, or like littered throughout a jazz standard, okay. And then what that means is that we have key centers, so the song might start in the key of F, it might continue through the entire song in the key of F might never modulate. Now this song, like I said, Does modulate temporarily to the key of A right and then modulates over here to the key of C for a little bit, right, okay, and then it modulates back to the key of F. Okay, so there's a little bit of modulation there. But you will find some states that do not modulate really, but they will have these pockets in which they move to different two fives. So you might have a two five in F G to see the app. But then as you're going along, you might have a C minor to F seven to B flat, what just did a two five to the four chord doesn't mean that we're now in the key of B flat, it just did a two five progression to the forecourt. So the thing to understand that the thing to remember is that your two five progression does not always have to be two and five of the key that you're in, you might start in the key of C to five A, B, D to G, but you might have a bunch of other two five progressions within that same song, even though you never modulated outside of the key of C. Okay, gets complicated, sure, but the more you do it, the better. You get at Alright, so anyway, if you have questions, feel free to join me on Thursdays at 1pm. The link is right in the site under live training. I answer all of my confident improviser questions live every Thursday, one o'clock eastern time. And that's it for me guys. So I will see you in the next podcast episode. Thanks for joining me

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