Bass Chord Progressions
Although any selection of chords that sounds good may be used to write songs, usually chords will follow a certain numeric arrangement. These are called “chord progressions”. A chord progression might refer to the chords of an entire song or just a section of a song. When referring to the specific chords in a progression, it is standard to use Roman Numerals (some people prefer upper case for major and dominant chords and lower case for minor chords) which relate to each chord in the harmonized major scale. A few common chord progressions are listed below. These examples are in the key of C major. Since all keys follow the same chord order, just “plug in” the chords by number to recreate the chord progression in other keys.
All harmonized Major scales are made up of the same chords
I-IV-V Chord Progression
This very common progression forms the basic structure for most popular music and virtually every blues song every written. Other progressions sometimes appear within this progression as well.
ii-V-I Chord Progression
Most common in jazz, it sometime is used as a “turnaround” progression in blues and other styles. Often, ii-V-I’s from several keys are used together in the same some. This can be a fun challenge to sort through when soloing.
I-vi-ii-V Chord Progression
This progression was very popular in the 50′s (songs like Lollypop, etc.). In jazz circles, the progression is referred to as “rhythm changes” for the standard, “I’ve Got Rhythm.”
- Understanding Keys for Bass Players
- Analyzing Chord Progressions for Bass