1 July 2011

Easy Beginner Chord Progression

Today’s lesson is an easy beginner chord progression in the key of C major. This exercise uses three open chord positions shown below.




In the key of C major these three chords are the I, ii and V. In music, Roman numerals are used to denote chords by their relative position in a key.


  • The first chord, also called the root, gives the key its name and is denoted by the Roman numeral I. The capital ‘I’ indicates that the chord is major.


  • The second chord in the key of C major is D minor. It is denoted by a Roman numeral ii; the small letters indicate the minor nature of the chord.


  • G major is the fifth chord in the key of C and it is denoted by the Roman numeral V.


The Roman numerals allow progressions to be described in a way that is independent of the actual key. You just substitute in the appropriate chords for whatever key you’re playing in.


The I, ii and V are often found together and the V is most often followed by a return to the I chord. The exercise below shows a I-ii-V-I progression in the key of C for you to practice.



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