Create a Beautiful Piano Chord Progression in Any Key

Lisa Witt  /  Songwriting / Nov 26

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I’m going to show you how to create a beautiful piano chord progression in just a few minutes.

This is a fun lesson that I want you to try at home! Follow along, and do this yourself.

It’s supposed to be fun and a little bit of a time-waster, but it will also teach you really valuable skills about chords and scales 🙂

First, you need a key signature. I’m choosing the key of G.

Then write out ALL the diatonic chords of the key of G. That just means all the chords that naturally occur in the G scale. We have a full lesson on diatonic chords here.

In the key of G, those chords are: G major, A minor, B minor, C major, D major, and E minor.

I’m NOT using the 7th note of the scale (F# diminished) because it sounds crunchy and we want this to be beautiful 🙂

Start With Two Chords

To begin, pick two chords at random. These chords will form the basis of your chord progression.

Start simple, play the root note in your left hand, and try experimenting with some chord tones in your right hand. You can be as basic or as complicated as you like.

I like to play octaves in my left hand, and use the chords to form a melody in the right hand. We have a complete lesson on writing melodies here.

If you find a pattern that you like, you can try repeating that pattern over the chord changes to see what it sounds like.

Once you’re ready…

Add in another chord. Choose this chord the same way as you chose the first 2, by picking it randomly!

Then just apply the same principles. Play around with the chord tones. Try playing a repeating melody.

You can stick with 3 chords, or go up to 4 (or even 5). It’s totally up to you. Most pop songs have either 3 or 4 chords in their progressions.

It’s fun, but it’s also more than that

This is a great exercise to waste a bit of time with, but it’s not a waste at all!

What this does is help you get comfortable with chord progressions, scales, and diatonic chords.

A way to make this exercise really useful is to pick a key you are NOT super comfortable with and try to write a beautiful piano chord progression. By doing this you’ll have to write out all the diatonic chords, learn to play them, and then learn to play a melody on top of them using the scale. 

It’s an awesome way to learn new things and improve your skills.

Oh yeah, and make beautiful music at the same time.

Lisa Witt has been teaching piano for 19 years and in that time has helped hundreds of students learn to play the songs they love. Lisa received classical piano training through the Royal Conservatory of Music, but she has since embraced popular music and playing by ear in order to accompany herself and others.

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