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Batch Process to Memorise Chord Sequences

The Simple Two-Five-One Chord Progression in Jazz

If you're new to jazz and feel overwhelmed by the number of chords in a piece, don't worry. Sometimes, it's better to zoom out a little bit and think in chunks. One of the most common chord progressions you'll find in jazz is the two-five-one. In this article, we'll explore what it is, how to play it, and why it's important.

What is a Two-Five-One Chord Progression?

A two-five-one chord progression is a sequence of chords based on the second, fifth, and first degree of a major or minor key. For instance, in the key of C major, the two-five-one progression would be Dm7-G7-Cmaj7. In the key of A minor, it would be Bm7b5-E7-Am7.

Why is it Important?

The two-five-one chord progression is essential to jazz because it occurs so frequently. Once you know how to play it, you'll recognize it in countless jazz standards. Knowing this chord progression will give you a solid foundation in jazz harmony and make it easier to improvise over the changes.

How to Play a Two-Five-One Chord Progression?

In this piece of music, the two-five-one chord progression is in B flat major for the first eight bars, followed by the same sequence in G minor for the next eight bars. The B section starts with two-five-one in the minor and ends with two-five-one in the minor.

The chords for the B flat major section are: 

- BbM7 - C-7 - F7 - BbM7 - Eb7 - AbM7 - D-7 - G7

The chords for the G minor section are: 

- G-7 - C7 - FM7 - Bb7 - EbM7 - Ab7 - DbM7 - Gb7

As you can see, the chords may look daunting at first, but if you break them down into four-bar chunks, it becomes manageable.

Batch Processing the Chords

To play jazz, it's crucial to learn how to batch process the chords. That means thinking in chunks of four bars and understanding how the chords fit together in those four bars. This way of thinking is how jazz musicians can process a lot of information quickly and play fast runs of notes.

Final Thoughts

The two-five-one chord progression is a fundamental building block of jazz. Once you've mastered it, you'll see it everywhere in jazz standards. Don't be intimidated by the number of chords. Break them down into chunks and practice them regularly until they become second nature. With time and practice, you'll be able to improvise over the changes and play jazz with confidence.

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