Major and Minor Chord Progressions for Music Composition

By Scott Jarrett, Holly Day

Part of Music Composition For Dummies Cheat Sheet

As you compose music, you quickly realize that some chords just sound right together, and some don’t. The following is a list of the tried-and-true major chord sequences that always sound good when played together:

  • I chords can appear anywhere in a progression

  • ii chords lead to I, V, or vii° chords

  • iii chords lead to I, ii, IV, or vi chords

  • IV chords lead to I, ii, iii, V, or vii° chords

  • V chords lead to I or vi chords

  • vi chords lead to I, ii, iii, IV, or V chords

  • vii° chords lead to I or iii chords

The minor chords that form good-sounding progressions echo those of the major chords, as shown in the following list:

  • i chords can appear anywhere in a progression

  • ii° or ii chords lead to i, iii, V, v, vii°, or VII chords

  • III or III+ chords lead to i, iv, IV, VI, #vi°, vii°, or VI chords

  • iv or IV chords lead to i, V, v, vii°, or VII chords

  • V or v chords lead to i, VI or #vi° chords

  • VI or #vi° chords lead to i, III, III+, iv, IV, V, v, vii°, or VII chords

  • vii° or VII chords lead to i chord