IFR blog > Practice tips > Developing your ear > Next steps 2 chord major context

Next steps: The 2- chord in a major context

After completing the Recognizing Chords by Ear workshop, a logical next step is to master the remaining chords of the major scale. You can start by adding the 2- chord to your "ear repertoire". I recommend that you study it first in a major context where we feel note 1 as the tonal center.

The 2- chord is a minor chord, and in relation to the 1 chord it feels somewhat suspended, making your ear feel the need to return to the 1 chord. The 2- chord feels like it's "hovering" over the 1 chord.

IFR materials you will need

For all of the activities described below (and on the subsequent pages), you will need the following two resources:

IFR Jam Tracks Level 3: Pure Harmony Advanced
Sing the Numbers 3: Melody Paths

After you have purchased these two courses, all of the links below will take you directly to the appropriate lesson pages.

Let's get started!

To study the 2- chord in a major context I propose the following activities:

1) Practice with IFR Jam Tracks Level 3: Pure Harmony Advanced

Lesson 1 - Chords 1 and 2-
Lesson 2 - Chords 1, 2-, 5D, 1
Lesson 3 - Chords 2-, 5D, 1
Lesson 4 - Chords 1, 5D, 2-, 4
Lesson 5 - Chords 2- and 5D
Lesson 6 - Chords 2-, 5D, 1

Practice the following activities over each jam track:

a) Observe the sensation of the 2 chord. Just listen to the backing track and try to feel this chord without playing or singing anything. Just listen and feel.
b) Sing/play the roots of the chords over the backing tracks (in many keys).
c) Sing/play Melody Paths over the backing tracks (in many keys). The ultimate goal for this exercise is to be able to sing melody paths without the help of the instrument and without having to look at the drawing of the chord columns.
d) Improvise freely over the jam tracks.

2) Sing the Numbers 3: Melody Paths

If you want to have some extra time with these chords, you can also use the 'Sing the Numbers 3' audio tracks and sing the Melody Paths after me. This is an activity that you can do while you are cooking, commuting to your job, or jogging. As you sing, try to visualize the chord columns in your mind, and also feel the sensations of the chords behind you.

Lesson 11 - Chords 2- and 5D
Lesson 12 - Chords 2-, 5D, 1

For extra help, watch this Melody Paths singalong video:

3) Playlist of songs with chords 1, 2- and 5D

Listen to the songs on the list and try to follow the chord changes. Once you are oriented, you can sing the roots and Melody Paths over the songs.

Playlist on Spotify:

I'd Rather Go Blind by Etta James

| 1 | 2- | 2- | 1 |

Sunday Morning by Maroon 5

| 2- | 5D | 1 | 1 |

All About That Bass by Meghan Trainor

| 1 | 1 | 2- | 2- |
|5D|5D| 1 | 1 |

Island In The Sun by Weezer

| 6- | 2- | 5D | 1 |

He's So Fine by The Chiffons

intro and verse:

| 2-| 5D | 2- | 5D |


| 1 | 1 | 1 | 1 |


| 4 | 4 | 4 | 4 |
| 1 | 1 | 1 | 1 |
| 4 | 4 | 4 | 4 |


| 1 | 6- | 1 | 6- |

Voilà l'été by Les Negresses Vertes

| 2- | 5D | 1 | 1 |

What's Up by 4 Non Blondes

| 1 | 2- | 4 | 1 |

*What's interesting in this chord progression is that we can hear very clearly the movement from the 1 to 2-. But then, instead of going to the 5D chord, we go to the 4 chord which has a feeling suspension, and then we finally go back to 1. This cadence from 4 to 1, as we studied in Recognizing Chords by Ear, is a very gentle resolution like putting a baby in a crib.

4) Feel the chords

Chords 2- and 4, when they are in a major context, they have very similar roles. They both make you feel "suspended", and they are both often used before the 5D chord to prepare the tension. For example, the chord progression 4, 5D, 1, 1 has a very similar flow to the progression 2-, 5D, 1, 1. So a great activity you can do is to create a playlist with jam tracks tracks that have chords 1, 2- and 5D (from IFR Jam Tracks Level 3), mixed with jam tracks that have chords 1, 4 and 5D (from IFR Jam Tracks Level 2). Play them at random and see if you can recognize the chords and distinguish the difference between the 2- chord and the 4 chord.

5) Be creative with the 2- chord

Now you have many chords in your repertoire, and you can use them to create your own music with them. Get your hands on these chords and make up your own progressions. If you find something you like, you can turn it into a song and by adding a melody, a bass line and perhaps even some lyrics.

Practice tip

Don't underestimate the power of time, and the power of a fully present practicing. Realize that your mind needs time to develop a personal relationship with all of these sounds, and sometimes that can't happen until we relax and let go of our conscious struggle. So you just have to find the right balance between conscious struggle (the stimulation) and loving contemplation (the relationship).

Links to all extra activities

Lesson video: Where to go from here?
Next steps: The 2- chord in a major context
Next steps: The 1, 6-, 2-, 5D progression
Next steps: The uplifting movement from 1 to 3-
Next steps: Studying the 3- chord with its neighbors
Next steps: Chords 2- and 3- in a minor context
Next steps: The 6-, 5D, 4, 3- progression
Next steps: Studying the 7-b5 chord