1 4 7 Chord Progression

4 min read Jun 17, 2024
1 4 7 Chord Progression

The 1 4 7 Chord Progression: A Timeless Classic

The 1 4 7 chord progression is a musical staple, appearing in countless songs across genres. Its simplicity and effectiveness make it a go-to progression for both beginners and seasoned musicians.

Understanding the Basics

The 1 4 7 progression is based on the major scale. It consists of three chords:

  • I (1) chord: The root chord, built from the first, third, and fifth notes of the major scale.
  • IV (4) chord: The subdominant chord, built from the fourth, sixth, and eighth notes of the major scale.
  • VII (7) chord: The dominant chord, built from the seventh, second, and fourth notes of the major scale.

Example in C major:

  • I chord: C major (C-E-G)
  • IV chord: F major (F-A-C)
  • VII chord: G major (G-B-D)

Why it Works

The 1 4 7 progression creates a satisfying sense of resolution due to its inherent harmonic relationships:

  • IV to I: The IV chord contains the third of the I chord (in C major, it's E), creating a strong pull to the I chord.
  • VII to I: The VII chord is a dominant chord, which inherently wants to resolve to the I chord. Its leading tone (B in C major) strongly pulls to the tonic (C).

Versatility and Applications

The 1 4 7 progression is incredibly versatile, appearing in various genres:

  • Pop: From early Beatles hits to modern chart-toppers, the 1 4 7 is a pop music staple.
  • Rock: Classic rock bands like Led Zeppelin and The Rolling Stones frequently used this progression.
  • Jazz: This progression is a foundation in jazz harmony, often extended with altered chords.
  • Folk: The simple beauty of the 1 4 7 resonates well in folk music.

Exploring Variations

While the basic 1 4 7 progression is effective, it can be expanded upon:

  • Adding 7th chords: The progression can be enriched by using 7th chords (e.g., Cmaj7, Fmaj7, G7).
  • Using minor chords: Substituting the IV chord with a minor chord (e.g., Fm) creates a more melancholic feel.
  • Adding inversions: Inversions of the chords create different harmonic textures.
  • Using substitutions: Chord substitutions (e.g., using a ii chord for the IV chord) add complexity and jazz flavor.


The 1 4 7 chord progression is a powerful tool that can be used to create countless musical ideas. Its simplicity and effectiveness make it a fundamental element in music theory and a great starting point for exploring harmony. Experiment with different variations and discover the endless possibilities that this classic progression offers.

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