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Simple Progression Examples You Can Use All Day Long

Any of these chord progressions can be used in any song section you got going on. You can use chord extensions if you wish but I listed only the triad numbers. 

For example: i iv v is 1 4 5 in a minor key and I IV V is the same but in a Major key. 

  • I IV V - Major Key progression
  • i iv v - Minor Key progression
  • I ii vi V - Major Key progression
  • ii V I - Major Key progression
  • iio V i - Minor version of a 2, 5 1 progression
  • I ii V I - aka ( 2 5 1  ) progression in a Major key
  • i viio v i - Minor Key progression 1 7 5 1
  • I ii vi V I - aka 1 2 6 5 1
  • I viio iii vi V I - Major Key progression etc…
  • I iii iv
  • I ii iii IV V
  • I V
  • I vi V IV - minor is i VI v iv
  • I iii vi ii V I
  • I vi iii IV V I 
  • I vi IV V 
  • i VI iv v

Now, remember if you don’t understand this stuff go back and study the Roman Numeral System

Lets take C Major and C Minor for all of the above progressions. In order here they are:


Cm Fm Gm 

C Dm Am G

Do7 G Cm - Harmonic Minor

C Dm G C

C Bo G C

C Dm Am G C

C Bo Em Am G C

C Em Fm - here I used the Fm from the parallel minor key. 

C Dm Em F G


C Am G F and Cm Ab Gm Fm

C Em Am Dm G C

C Am F G

Cm Ab Fm Gm

How to Use the Progressions

You can use these progressions to come up with melodies. 

You can use them to come up with arpeggios and arpeggio sweeps. 

You can use 1 or more per song section. 

You can have 1 or more chords per measure. 

Something you should do if you dont know your progressions in other keys is sit down for a few minutes and see if you can transpose these progressions to lets say B Major and B Minor. 

Can you do it to Bb Major and Bb Minor?

If you can't this is a good time to get started. The more you know your chords in a key the better songwriter you are going to be. You have a significant advantage over the guitar player that just wings it. 

I hope this has helped spark a few ideas for you and that you start writing your own songs. Its never too early to write your own songs. You will write a bunch of stuff that is probably not up to your standards but perseverance, and determination are going to be the character traits that will harden you as a songwriter and composer. 

I always welcome questions and comments. 

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Joseph Lopez
@josephlopez   2 years ago
Hi Michael, very good lesson, these progressions are very useful. Would all of them work on any section of a song? Or are there progressions more suitable for verses, or choruses? My guess is that the context should dictate that, but maybe there are progressions that work better on some parts of a song than others. Id'l like to hear your input on this!