There is this specific sequence of chords that I have always liked, it ascends by fifths at the same time it ascends by whole tones, ending on a melodic minor scale, scale which has always been my favorite for some reason.

You can hear it in this song (at time 0:08), with the chord sequence being A# - D# - C - F - D - Gm.

You can also hear it in this song (at time 0:57).

I have recognized it on other music pieces, but only very few times, all of them being orchestral music.

What is this chord progression called?
Could you give more examples of pieces of music where it occurs?
Could you provide any music theory on this progression?

2 Answers 2


It’s better to think of the first two chords as flats, Bb and Eb since the key is Bb in both songs. Also each 2 bar segment actually ascends in 4ths, not 5ths, although they do descend in 5ths, the inverse interval of 4ths.

There is no name for this progression I’m aware of, chord changes don’t often have names with some exceptions like “blues” and some others that might make reference to a particular song like “rhythm changes”. Progressions are also sometimes called by their analysis, 1-4-5 or 1-6-2-5.

This is an effective progression, it has a sense of climbing, because that’s what it does. It’s unusual in that it’s more common for progressions to continue the descending path of the cycle of 5ths. It makes use of secondary dominants going to IV,V and vi:

V/IV (also the tonic) to IV, V/V to V, then V/vi to vi.

Shortly after it goes back to I with possibly a V chord or something else to bridge the gap.

  • 1
    Yes, they ascend in fourths; I got my fourths and fifths mixed up. Thank you for the useful answer!
    – user75460
    Mar 1, 2021 at 7:01

As John says, most sequences aren't named, and this is no different. Also, B♭ and E♭ are more appropriate.

Let's put it into RN. Starting on B♭, call that the key. I>IV. V/V>V. V/vi>vi. Taking us to the relative minor of B♭ - Gm. Then a common turn-around, either IV>V>I or ii>V>I. Could almost call it the 'Do-Re-Mi sequence', as that's probably the song most people will know it from! The V>I, or V>i is undoubtedly the most common change in music. No wonder V is named the dominant.

The only song that comes to mind the opposite way is Hey Joe, which sort of breaks that mould.

  • I didn't know the Do-Re-Mi song was that popular. I wish I could had found more examples of this sequence. Thank you for the useful answer!
    – user75460
    Mar 1, 2021 at 7:02

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