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2-5-1 turn around

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by paul shadden, Dec 30, 2011.

  1. paul shadden

    paul shadden

    Nov 22, 2011
    Could somebody please explain to me the 2-5-1 turn around... I haven't had any training so it is new to me..
  2. Pacman

    Pacman Layin' Down Time Staff Member Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 1, 2000
    Omaha, Nebraska
    Endorsing Artist: Roscoe Guitars, DR Strings, Aguilar Amplification
    Since this is not technique related, moved to General Instruction.
  3. Bredian


    Apr 22, 2011
    Interesting you should mention.... We learned "My Girl" for a NYE gig a few weeks ago. Didn't sound right as we were doing the "turnaround" on the chorus as this per the tabs we downloaded:

    C ==>> F <<== G7 (back to C - the "1")
    My girl...Talkin' 'bout my girl

    That was a 1-4-5-1 turnaround, but it didn't sound right. Many tabs online have errors. Listened to the recording and it was a 4 chord instead of the 2 chord, a Dminor vs the F.

    This was correct:

    C F C
    I've got sunshine on a cloudy day
    C F C
    And when it's cold outside, I've got the month of May

    C / Dm / F / G /
    I guess you say,
    C / Dm / F / G /
    What can make me feel this way?

    C /// //// ==>> Dm /// <<== G7/// C
    My girl... talkin' 'bout my girl

    May or not be what they're talking about, but that's what I'm thinkn.

    Iconic bass and guitar lines, must be done.
  4. Normally Roman numbers are used when we write out chord progressions and Arabic numbers are used for individual notes. Why? So we easily know if the person is talking about chords or notes.

    ii-V-I is the chord progression. Used in Jazz quite a lot. Notice the minor chords (ii) are indicated by using lower case numbers and major chords are indicated using upper case numbers. OK - so...........

    The chord progression moves the song along. The chords used give the song movement and harmony. Movement - each verse should have movement. For example:

    Be at rest to start the verse. The I tonic chord is a good candidate, as ii is the minor super tonic chord it too can be used. Then somewhere in the first line of the verse the IV tension chord comes in and continues into the second line. Then somewhere near the end of the second line the climax chord (V or V7) is inserted and then resolution (rest) is achieved with the return of the I tonic chord. The chord progression I-IV-V7-I has been used in a zillion songs. Is that the only progression that will work?

    No, it was not used in the song mentioned or your ii-V-I. Why? Time to talk about harmony. The chords used should also harmonize the melody notes. If the melody does not have some of the notes that make up the chord your ear tells you something is wrong, you are out of harmony. So you find a new chord that does have some of the needed melody notes in it's makeup. Wow, that can be hard, yea, I know, but, take heart it is not really all that hard if we know a little theory. Remember Bredian said the chord progression they had just did not sound right, so he changed it -- pulling the song back into harmony. Read that again, that is something that gets left between the chairs. Took me years to finally release that. Once I had that I started to understand harmony and how chords work in the song. All those fancy chords (Db7#11) probably came about because the songwriter needed that #11 note to harmonize the melody that was running over the Db7 chord -- so he inserted the needed harmonizing note into the chord, instead of inserting another new chord and messing up his movement flow.

    My Girl started with C-F-C or the I-IV-I progression. That is about as basic as you can get. Then the song went into a classic ole time Rock Progression, i.e. I-ii-IV-V and ended using the I-ii-V7-I or C-Dm-G7-C. Notice it resolved back to rest using the I tonic C chord. A verse need not start with the I tonic chord, however, it will beg to resolve with the I tonic chord. Why? A verse brings up a thought, discusses it, and then ends that thought so verse number two can bring up more of the story. So --- you need to close verse # 1 before going to verse # 2.

    Go get some fake chord sheet music on the songs you play. Take a look at the chord progressions used in those songs. I bet you will find that they are using three or four basic chord progressions. Why? Well to harmonize the melody and the chord line the I IV V will have every note in the major scale and the three minor chords will have every note in the minor scale so --- sooner or later one of those three chords is going to harmonize your melody.

    Long story short -- ii-V-I is a classic chord progression that has been used in a zillion songs. For the rest of the story go to. Ricci Adams' Musictheory.net then click on Lessons and go to the one on Common Chord Progressions - it's deep into the lesson you will have to scroll down several pages. Now back to your question about ii-V-I.

    The ii chord is a sub-dominant chord (Ricci calls it Predominant) and likes to move to a dominant chord. V is a dominant chord.
    The V dominant chord likes to move to the I tonic chord. It does in your ii-V-I progression. If we let the chords do what they like it normally works out well. That site I sent you to will have where each chord likes to go.

    Have fun.
  5. Fergie Fulton

    Fergie Fulton

    Nov 22, 2008
    Retrovibe Artist rota
    Also in Blues a 2-5-1 can see you on the 9th bar to go to the ii the the V on the 10th bar then back to the I on the 11th bar using a jazz end turnaround of I-IV-ii- V through the 12th bar and back to the start.

    So in C on the 9th bar you go to the ii which is D-E-F-F# and carry on through the 10th bar which is now the V with G-F-E-D back down to the I and use a jazz end turnaround like I-IV-ii-V to finish ( C-F-D-G).

    Now pick a nice easy swing tempo and in C tie this together,
    Bar / Notes
    1 / C-A-A#-B
    2 / C-E-F-F#
    3 / C-A-A#-B
    4 / C-D-D#-E
    5 / F-D-D#-E
    6 / F-A-A#-B
    7 / C-E-F-F#
    8 / G-A-A#-B
    9 / D-E-F-F#
    10 / G-F-E-D
    11 / C-E-F-C#
    12 / D-F#-G-B

    and you are back to the top and way again with variation on this theme. So your I is C your ii is D your IV is F and you V is G.
    As rule it is C7 Dm F7 and G7, but experience and a good ear will make your decisions on how to "colour" what you play by what is going on around you.
    The first note of each bar tells you where you are, and as i said experience will teach you what to do as far as accents, light and shade, appearing in between beats etc and all the rest that makes it work in so many different situations.
    Listening pleasure..try Louis Jordan, he used it a lot, just go to youtube and enjoy:)
  6. Groove Master

    Groove Master

    Apr 22, 2011
    Author of Groove 101, Slap 101 and Technique 101
    Since you ask the question of the 2-5-1 it is because you don't know what it does mean regardless of the turnaround situation, right?

    2-5-1 which should be notated with Roman numbers II-V-I indicates the chords positions and functions in a tonality.

    In a major key it should read like this: IImin7-V7-I or Maj7.

    In the key of C it would mean: Dmin7-G7-C or C maj7

    The II-V-I is the most important chord progression to define a key or a tonality.

    Also it is a very useful device at the end of a chord progression that implies let say 2 bars of C major to replace the last bar of C with the Dmin7-G7 to make a nice turnaround to go back to the top of the song if it starts with the C again. This way you avoid having 3 bars or more of the same chord between two different sections of a piece.
  7. miltslackford


    Oct 14, 2009
    ii V I

    in roman numerals. If you don't understand what chords ii, V and I are in a major key, you need to find this stuff out. Look up 'diatonic' chords. (Diatonic means using the notes of a major scale).

    Intro To Diatonic Chords

    If you understand that, then the next thing to understand is that chord ii's root is a FIFTH ABOVE chord V. So when you go ii, V, I, your root is going down a fifth from ii to V and then a fifth from V to I.

    This downward fifth root movement (sometimes called a 'perfect cadence') is very harmonious and has a lot of drive - each chord is very pleasingly related to the previous chord, and overall the chords 'WANT' to move towards chord I (or Imaj7), their final destination.

    So what happens in Jazz is that in generating chord sequences they tend to use this 5th root movement a lot, as it creates harmonic movement that reinforces the key centre or the chord 1. It's a common way of adding chords whilst reinforcing the current key centre rather than confusing it.

    Incidentally, if you extend the ii, V, I by adding more PRECEDING chords whose root is a fifth above, then you extend the pattern to 6, 2, 5, 1 and then 3, 6, 2, 5, 1.

    Say you have a tune that is in C major, it may start off with chords that ii, V, I into C. But at a certain point, it may modulate, or change key. It may for example change into A major. When this happens you might start seeing a new set of ii, V, I chords, where chord I is A major.

    If you don't know the underlying pattern of ii, V and I, then all these chords may look randomly chosen. But if you understand the principle of ii, V, I, you can look at one section and instead of seeing it as Dm, G7, Cmaj7, you think

    "ii, V, I in C major"

    Then later on you see another section where there is Bm, E7, Amaj7, so here you think

    "ii, V, I in A major".

    Because this ii, V, I movement comes up A LOT in jazz, it's a good thing to practice, because once you can play through a ii, V, I in all keys, you can play most of what you'll come across in terms of chord changes.

    Once you've learned to play over a ii, V, I, you need to start looking out for it in pieces that you learn. Some jazz tunes are pretty much only ii, V, I.


    A Major ii, V, I - where the chord 1 is Major, or a ii, V, I in a Major key
    A Minor ii, V, i (note the lowercase i) - where chord 1 is Minor, or a ii, V, i into a Minor key.

    Case study could be 'Autumn Leaves':

    The verse of Autumn Leaves is good to study for looking at ii, V, Is. It is two eight bar sequences consisting of a major ii, V, I into Bb major, then a minor ii, V, i into G minor. (G minor is the relative minor of Bb major). I have written it below in Roman numerals so you can see how it breaks down.

    Autumn Leaves Verse:

    Cm7 - F7 - BbM7 - EbM7 - Am7(b5) - D7(b9) - Gm6 - G7 -
    Cm7 - F7 - BbM7 - EbM7 - Am7(b5) - D7(b9) - Gm6 - Gm6

    Now written in Roman numerals
    -----------Bb Maj---------- ---------------Gm---------------
    ii7 - V7 - Imaj7 - IVmaj7 - ii7(b5) - V7 (b9) - im6 - i7
    ii7 - V7 - Imaj7 - IVmaj7 - ii7(b5) - V7 (b9) - im6 - im6

    Now, you may notice that the minor chord sequence (Gm section) has some chord alterations. Instead of ii7 for chord 2, we have ii7(b5). Instead of V7 for chord 5 we have V7(b9).

    There are reasons for this, but I don't want to confuse you so just bear in mind that these alterations make the chord changes feel much more 'minor', which is why they are used. There are theoretical reasons for this but I'm not sure how off-topic I'll have to go to cover all the background, and if you're new to ii, V, I then understanding the Major ii, V, I really well is a good start.

    But learning Autumn Leaves is a great way to get started. You could start off just playing the root notes, and straight away, you're playing ii, V, Is. If you start including the chord tones from the chords, you'll start to get an even better feel for the harmony.

    Hope this helps.

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