How to Apply Gospel Progressions In Songs

Basic progressions can help you shape your next gospel composition.
notes de musique image by Philippe LERIDON from

A progression in music is a series of two chords or more that lead from one to the next. A chord is a series of three or more notes from a scale, played simultaneously. A complete progression should lead back to the chord that you started with. Progressions are derived from the Circle of Fourths, describing relationships between the twelve tones on the chromatic scale and their keys. Gospel progressions are generally played in the key of C, using the chords C, D, E, F, G, A, and B. In every progression, the intuition of the writer plays a role in the order of the chords.

1-4-5-1 (C-F-G-C) Use this basic progression as the main body of the song. Chord "1" is a C chord comprised of the notes C-E-G. Chord "4" is the F chord and is made up F-A-C, and Chord "5" is a G chord made up of the notes G-B-D. This set of chords is commonly used for church hymns.

3-6-2-5-1 (E-A-D-G-C) Choose this progression for smooth, instrumental or vocal solo backing music. Chord "3" is an E chord comprised of the notes E-G-B, chord "6" is an A using notes C-E-A, chord "2" is a D chord using notes D-F-A.

1-5-1 (C-G-C) Place this progression at the end of the song. At this point in the song, the G chord in this progression gives a prevailing sense of return to the C chord.