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Chord Progression Question

Music Theory
24 May 2011 09:08 | Quote
Joined: 11 May 2011
Hi All,

I'm sorry to sound dumb with this question but it's bugging me a bit!

Chord Progressions..

For ages I was playing chords in any order then I started reading up on some theory and noticed chord progressions. I found a chart online (

Here's my question: These rules for chord progressions, do I have to follow these rules?
If I use a chord that's not in the chart in a certain key is that wrong?
Should I not care? if the song sounds good to me should I do it? Of course I know in my head which chords just don't fit well together but I don't want to write songs and someone tell me I'm not going by the rules?!

I'm just so confused :s

Any advise would be great. also if anyone has any decent sites to explain chord progressions (ones that are easy to follow), I would appreciate it


24 May 2011 09:32 | Quote
Joined: 11 Apr 2011
United Kingdom
Lessons: 1
Karma: 12
You can do whatever you want as long as it sounds good and just because something isn't in that chart doesn't mean it's wrong.

For example you have the picardy third which is basically in the A minor scale replacing the A minor triad with an A major you also key changes, parallel harmony.

What I'm trying to say is use your ears there are so many instances in music theory where you can throw out of scale chords in and it will work great but in the end it's your ears that decide.

Although if you are starting you should maybe keep those chords in mind as guidelines till you are more comfortable.

As for what to learn I'd say learn the triads of the major and minor scale, for example is the triad built upon the 2nd note in the major scale major or minor etc, learn cadence, learn how the chords sound.

When that's done learn the circle of fifths to help you relate the different scales together and to start you off on learning key changes.

This is just how I did it there's no definitive way imo.
24 May 2011 09:34 | Quote
Joined: 23 Jun 2008
Lessons: 4
Karma: 35
Like in school, its up to you if you follow the rules... XD... well, yes and no.

If you use a chord that is not listed say major A, you play that chord outside of the Major A if you are FORCED to do a chord progression in Major A, its wrong, but in music or composing nothing that sounds good is not wrong.

Those roman numbers will help you a determine the chord progressions that sound professional.

I IV V chord progressions are used for the 12 bar blues, plus many rock, blue-grass, folk and many popular songs. The V chord is commonly played as a dominant 7th in order to create more tension or pull back toward the I chord (I think)... well... yeah, I think I leave others who are clearly more knowledgeable with theory fill the rest.

Hope this helps
26 May 2011 10:26 | Quote
Joined: 11 May 2011
Thank you so much for the reply. I will take both of your advice.

Thanks again :)
26 May 2011 15:11 | Quote
Joined: 22 Sep 2009
South Africa
Karma: 8
Yea just play what ever sounds good man! Break the rules, play outside the rule book, bend the rules! be different! and original!
26 May 2011 16:43 | Quote
Joined: 10 Jul 2010
United States
Lessons: 4
Licks: 19
Karma: 16
PRO = if you play the diatonic progressions all of the chords will sound great together.
CON = sticking to the progressions will make you sound predictable.

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