How to Play the 1-2-5-1 Chord
Progression on your Piano

On this page you will learn how to play the 1-2-5-1 chord progression on your piano.

On our main progression lessons page, an explanation is given for the term “progression.” A simple meaning for the term progression as it relates to music is, “to move from one note or chord to another.” Hence, our main objective on this page is to show you how to play the chord movements for the 1 2 5 1 progression.

It is very important though, that you have some knowledge about scales, chords and the basic theory on chord progressions. Why is this so important? If you want to progress fluently through this lesson, then you need to know about these concepts in music.

Click on any of the topics below if you want to refresh your memory. However, if you already have knowledge of these concepts, then you can continue to take part in this lesson.

Constructing and playing major scales

Constructing and playing minor scales

How to play major and minor chords

What is a chord progression?


Now lets us move on!

Like any other basic pattern of chord movements, the 1-2-5-1 chord progression is built according to specific degrees of the major scale.

The “1” is also called the root note of the scale which forms the root chord. The “2” in this progression is referring to the second note of any major scale which forms the 2nd chord. Please note that all “2nd chords” in all major scales are minor chords. The “5” in this progression is referring to the chord that is built on the fifth degree of any major scale.

Therefore if you should apply the concept of the 1 2 5 1 movement in the key of C major then you will be using the following chords.

C major chord (CMaj.) = 1 or root chord

D minor chord (Dm) = 2nd chord

G major chord (GMaj.) = 5th chord

Visit the piano chords page and learn the concept of chord constructs.


Here is a chart with illustrations showing the 1 2 5 1 chord progression in all 12 keys on the piano/keyboard. Please feel free to practice them at your own pace.



You can also use the chord charts below to assist you as you practice the progressions above.






Leave 1-2-5-1 chord progression page and return to home page.


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