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jazz guitar

Practicing ii V I progressions in 4ths

In this ear-training and chord practice exercise, we move through the ii V I chord progression in each key in the order of the Cycle of 4ths.

The ii V I progression is the most common chord sequence in jazz and many other genres. Understanding it can give you ideas when writing music, and make it easier to jam with jazz cats.

The ii Chord wants to move forward to the V Chord, and the V Chord wants to resolve to the I (or the tonic).

You can think of a ii V I progression as Setup > Tension > Resolution.

The first section is the ii V I progression in the key of A Major. From A Major, we move up a 4th to D Major. This continues through all 12 keys. When you get to the end, cycle back around to the top. Not only does the I chord move up in 4ths, the ii and V chords do as well.

The below chart contains basic rhythmic notation, and no chord voices. The challenge here is work through this, using as many different chord voicings. The goal is to get comfortable playing ii V I progressions all over the neck.


ii V I chords in cycle of 4ths