What is a 2-5-1 chord progression? The 2-5-1 chord progression is a very common and strong sequence of chords, mainly used for ending songs or musical fragments. Now common in pop music, this chord progression has its roots in the classical music tradition. In music theory the 2-5-1 chord progression is called cadence.
The numbers 2, 5 and 1 refer to the positions on a musical scale. In music theory, chords are indicated by the following Roman numerals: I, II, III, IV, V, VI, VII. These numerals refer to notes on a musical scale. For instance, the Roman numerals accompanying the C major scale are:
Depending on different scales the Roman numerals denote different chords. So let’s say we are looking for the 2-5-1 chord progression in the key of C.
First step: Find the notes.
The next step will be constructing chords which are based on these notes. For the C scale for example, this comes down to Dm G C.
Here are few examples of 2-5-1 chord progression in other keys:
Gm – C – F
Bm – E – A
Cm – F – Bb
Em – A – D