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Standard Progressions


Chord Progressions

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Standard Progressions

"The “E-C#m-F#m-B7” Standard Changes follow the Circle of Fifths movement. The Standard Changes were used extensively in songs written in the 1930s and 1940s [and frequently used as Turnarounds]. The progression was employed for the most frequently played and recognizable piano duet of all time, the 1938 Heart and Soul. Due to the pervasiveness of this progression in twentieth century popular songs, songwriters and performers alike have often employed techniques of Chord Substitution in order to disguise or dress up this musical staple... Several songs such as the 1930 I Got Rhythm and the 1960 Try To Remember had verses that were originally written as “E-F#m-B7”, however, most performers now add the “missing” “C#m” chord when playing these songs." (Excerpt from Money Chords - A Songwriter's Sourcebook of Popular Chord Progressions © 2000 by Richard J. Scott) Two great examples of standard progressions are shown below in the key of C.

Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas (Judy Garland - 1944) A section progression

Cmaj7 / Am7 / Dm7 / G7 /

Without You ( Nilsson - 1972) chorus progression

Cmaj7 / / / Am7 / / / Dm7 / / / G7 / / /

Click below for the best in free Standard Progressions lessons available on the web as well as links to various song examples.


I-vi-ii-V-I Progression (Olav Torvund)
I-vi-ii-V-I Progression - Part 2 (Olav Torvund)
Ice Cream Changes (MoneyChords)
Substitutions for the I-VI-II-V Chord Sequence

Song Examples

Blue Moon (MoneyChords)
Heart and Soul (MoneyChords)
Heart and Soul Chart (MoneyChords)
I Got Rhythm (MoneyChords)
Sleigh Ride (MoneyChords)
Try To Remember (MoneyChords)

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