1 3 5 7 Chord Progression

5 min read Jun 17, 2024
1 3 5 7 Chord Progression

The 1 3 5 7 Chord Progression: A Foundation of Music

The 1 3 5 7 chord progression, often referred to as the major seventh chord progression, is a fundamental building block in music. Its simplicity and effectiveness make it a go-to for countless musicians, from beginners to seasoned professionals. Let's delve deeper into this ubiquitous progression:

What are the 1 3 5 7 chords?

Each number represents a degree within a major scale:

  • 1: The root of the scale (e.g., C in the key of C major)
  • 3: The major third (e.g., E in the key of C major)
  • 5: The perfect fifth (e.g., G in the key of C major)
  • 7: The major seventh (e.g., B in the key of C major)

These degrees are used to build the chords:

  • 1 Chord (Root Chord): Consists of the root, third, and fifth (e.g., C major chord = C, E, G)
  • 3 Chord (Major Third Chord): Consists of the major third, fifth, and major seventh (e.g., E major chord = E, G, B)
  • 5 Chord (Perfect Fifth Chord): Consists of the fifth, major seventh, and the root (e.g., G major chord = G, B, C)
  • 7 Chord (Major Seventh Chord): Consists of the major seventh, root, and third (e.g., B major chord = B, C, E)

The Magic of the Progression

This progression creates a sense of resolution, tension, and release.

  • The 1 chord acts as the tonic, the starting point, and the chord where the music ultimately resolves.
  • The 3 chord introduces tension, moving away from the tonic and creating a sense of anticipation.
  • The 5 chord builds further tension, leading towards the resolution.
  • The 7 chord resolves to the 1 chord, providing a sense of completion and satisfaction.

Variations and Extensions

  • Minor Seventh: Replacing the major seventh with a minor seventh creates a minor seventh chord, adding a darker, more somber feel.
  • Dominant Seventh: Using a dominant seventh instead of a major seventh in the 7 chord creates a dominant seventh chord that pushes the progression towards the tonic even stronger.
  • Suspensions: Incorporating suspensions like a sus2 or sus4 adds a unique harmonic flavor and creates a sense of anticipation before the resolution.

Examples and Applications

The 1 3 5 7 chord progression is used extensively in various genres, including:

  • Pop: Think "Let It Be" by The Beatles or "Happy" by Pharrell Williams.
  • Rock: "Stairway to Heaven" by Led Zeppelin incorporates this progression.
  • Jazz: This progression is frequently used as a foundation for improvisational solos.
  • Classical: Many classical compositions, especially those in sonata form, utilize this fundamental structure.

Learning and Exploring

Understanding the 1 3 5 7 chord progression is crucial for any musician. It provides a foundation for creating your own melodies and harmonies. Experiment with variations, different keys, and rhythmic variations to discover the versatility of this fundamental progression.

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