Chord Progression Theory

You're playing piano, and wondering to yourself, what can this chord lead to next? Well, that's where chord progression theory comes in. It'll help you realize which options you have next when your improvising or composing.

Due to the popularity of the list of chord progressions I decided to come up with a theory behind the chord progressions. This will allow greater freedom I believe when utilizing chord progressions.

Chord Progression for Piano
Chord Progression for Piano
Chord Progression Theory Table

The I chord can go to any chord, but commonly goes to the IV or V chord.
The ii chord leads to the IV, V, V7, or I chord.
The iii chord leads to the IV chord.
The IV chord leads to V7, I, or V chord.
The V chord leads to the I, IV, or vi chord.
The vi chord leads to IV, ii or V chord.
The vii° chord leads to I, or iii chord.

In other words, in the key of C.

The C chord can go to any chord, but commonly goes to the F or G chord.
The D chord leads to the F, G, G7, or C chord.
The Em chord leads to the F chord.
The F chord leads to G7, C, or G chord.
The G chord leads to the C, F, or Am chord.
The Am chord leads to F, Dm or G chord.
The Bdim chord leads to C, or Em chord.

I hope the above chord progression theory helps you in your composing. Again, it's based off numerous popular chord progressions found in this list. List of Chord Progression.

If you take the time to memorize this list, I believe that you will be able to come up with chord progressions on the fly. Of course, once you attain enough skill, you'll be able to create your own chord progressions that do not hold to any rules. But a foundation will help you if you're beginning.