ii V7 – I – Chord Progression

The Chord Progression  ii  V7  I   is the most common chord progression in Western Civilization Music.  This is huge!

In the key of C major the progression  ii  V7  I  is   Dm7   G7  Cmaj7

Notice the circle of 5ths movement in this series of chords.

I always teach my students, that the chord progression “ ii V7  I” is analogous to the word “ the” in the English language.  It is in every song.  Not just jazz either.  You see the  ii V7 I progression in Beethoven, Chopin and all the great classical composers.  It is just harder to see in classical pieces because they typically don’t write in the chord symbol above the notes.  But you can take it to the bank that these master composers knew of the strong tendency for chords to move by circle of 5ths.

Some songs are made up almost entirely of   “ ii  V7  I”.  Some examples are:

Satin Doll
When Sunny Get’s Blue

Some Classical pieces that use “ ii V7 I” quite a bit are:

Chopin’s Nocturne in Eb Major
Tchaikovsky’s  Romeo And Juliet ( Ballet )
CPE Bach’s  Solfeggietto in C minor

One of the most important drills a student can practice and conceptualize is his or her ii V7 I’s !

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Harmonic Patterns