The Royal Road Progression: 4536

Flowers in Chania

Preliminary info:

  • The strongest interval in music apart from an octave, is the fifth, on a keyboard up or down 7 half steps. C and G is one fifth, G and D is another. every note has two notes a fifth away, one a fifth up and one a fifth down.
  • In the major scale there are 3 minor7 chords, 2 major7 chords, 1 half-diminished chord, and 1 dominant chord. Chords are built by skipping one note in the scale after each note, example C major7 is made from C, E, G and B. The notes skipped were D, F, and A.
  • Chord progressions are titled based on the scale degree the first note starts on. In C major, the C is the first note of the scale, and so the C chord is also known as the 1 chord. Thus, a 2-5-1 in C goes from D to G to C.
  • The 5 chord is whats known as the dominant chord, it's a dissonant chord that feels uncomfortable, and is usually resolved to the 1 chord, as that is where it resolves to most satisfyingly.

    One of the most important and often used chord progressions in music is the 2-5-1. As it moves a fifth from the 2 to the 5 and a fifth from the 5 to the 1, it is an extremely strong cadence. A common change to the 2-5-1 is the 6-2-5-1, which is basically just going backwards by a fifth from the 2 chord

    Now, what the FUCK does any of this have to do with muh anime girls? Well, the 4-5-3-6 is simply an alteration to the 2-5-1 progression, as it uses a couple of things called chord substitutions. Think of chord substitutions as two different chords that share the same general "sound" as eachother, by way of sharing important notes. What are important notes? The notes in a chord that most strongly indicate it's quality are the third and seventh, In C major7 that would be the E and the B. But for now just take it as "chords that share notes are substitutional for eachother"

    Now, the two chords that work best as subtitutions for the 1 chord are, can you guess...? The 3 and the 6 chords, it makes perfect sense if you look at how they're built(CMAJ is C E G B, Emin is E G B D, look at all those shared notes...(drooling)) As for the 4 chord, it would be the 2 and the 6.

    So now we have some options, instead of a 2-5-1, we can substitute the 2 for the 4, and the 1 for the 3. Now we have a 4-5-3 instead of our lovely 2-5-1. And the 3 is, what do you know, a fifth from the 6. How nice.

    The Royal Road is a never ending cyclical nightmare that JPOP has been hypnotizing us all with for decades. the 6 goes into the 4, to the 5 to the 3 to the 6 to the 4, forever until we all die, and I would say 90% of the anime every season uses this hypnotic spell in it's opening or ending. Also it's used in Never gonna give you up by Rick Astley.

  • Tip! You can play these chords(1, 6, 2, 5) in pretty much any order, Cruel angel's thesis goes 6-2-5-1, I can't think of any song that goes 5-1-6-2, because starting on the dominant is pretty unusual, but I'd bet infinite money that it's been done.
  • Tip! Because the 1 chord can be substituted by either the 6 or the 3, this progression often skips the 3 and goes straight to the 6, making it a 4-5-6 instead.


  • Gate of Steiner
  • New Game OP
  • Watamote ED

    The JPOP Progression: 173651436251

    Flowers in Chania

    Preliminary info:

  • The most famous alteration on the Royal Road progression is the 1-6-4-5 progression, you hear it all the time in old rock songs from the 50s and stuff.

    You may have noticed this monstrosity from the last page, a whopping 11 chords! It's nearly unprecidented for a chord progression, so what the hell is going on here?!

    Again, this is simply a little twist on our old friend the 2-5-1. We start on the 1, we know the 6 is a nice place to go to from there, but if the 2-5-1 is the strongest way to resolve to a chord, why not put a 2-5-1 before our 6 chord? We'll play the 7 chord as a minor7, and we'll play the 3 chord as a dominant7. then after we're at the 6 chord the next chord we would commonly go to is the 4 chord, so we put a 2-5-1 before that too! And you get where this is going. It's a 1-6-4-5 with a bunch of 2-5s in between them, that's why the number of chords is so crazy. This progression is most famous in Hare Hare Yukai, Hare Hare has a little twist at the end, which you can read about in the Modal Mixture section of this site.

  • Tip! When you insert a dominant chord that is not in the scale, it's called a "Secondary Dominant"
  • Tip! The progression has a 3-6-2 near the end, you could consider this the same as a 2-5-1, only the 5 and 1 chord is minor. In the first recorded instance of this song I know of, Confirmation by Charlie Parker, he makes every chord at the end a dominant chord, to make it extra blues sounding
  • Tip! When this progression goes to the 7, most often it is not played as a minor7, but as the natural half-diminished chord, which is basically just a spooky sounding minor chord.
  • Tip! Ok, so technically, it's a 1-6-4-2 with 2-5s in between them, sue me. You get the idea.


  • Hare Hare Yukai (Ends with a b3-5sus-1)
  • Those Who Insanely Love Books Say (This little one ends with a little twist, particularly a backdoor progression(4minor-b7dominant-1))
  • Blend-S OP (Ends with a 2minor7-2dominant7-5-1)

    The Scissor Progression: 436?

    Flowers in Chania

    Preliminary info:

  • The b and # symbols mean flat and sharp respectively. A Db is the note one semitone below D, the D# is the note one semitone above it.

    My fav progression of the bunch, the 4-3-6-?... Why the question mark? Because this progression has had so many different endings that putting any one there would be unjust. I'll go over all the variations at the end.

    In C major, or A minor(read the tips section) The progression goes from Fmajor7, to Edominant7, to Aminor7. Now, I'm going to tell you something amazing. This is just a 4-5-6 progression. How?! Because the 3dominant and the 5dominant are substitutions for eachother! But how can this be? DIMINISHED CHORDS...!(Are you excited?)

    Diminished 7 chords are built with gaps of 2 semitones between each of their chord tones, a C Diminished7 chord goes C-Eb-Gb-A. Now, what happens if you lower one of these notes by 1 semitone? You get a dominant7 chord, and because diminished 7chords have the same number of gaps between each chord tone(the other chord with this attribute being the Augmented chord) You can lower any of these 4 notes and get a different dominant, and all 4 of these dominants are substitutions for eachother. Yes, that means from the 4 to the 6, you can use either the b2, the b7, the 5 or the 3 chord.

    So that's how it works, aint chord substitutions neat? Now here are all the ways I've heard this progression end: 1dominant, 5minor, b5halfdiminished, 2dominant, 6dominant. Of course, there are other ways to do it, these are just examples I've heard used before.

  • Tip! It can be played in either major or minor, because each major scale has a minor scale inside of it, if you start on the 6 instead of the 1. This is called the relative minor. The relative minor of Cmaj is Amin. The royal road and the scissor progression can be heard as being in either major or minor, since they both place emphasis on the 6 chord(Which would be the 1 chord if you were thinking ot it as being in the relative minor) This can be confusing since sometimes people call the royal road a b6-b7-1 progression, they call it this because they're thinking of it as being in a minor key.


  • One Summer's Day
  • Escaflowne ED
  • Nagatoro OP
  • Beastars OP

    Little things to know going forward:

  • The "root" of a chord is whatever note that chord starts on. The root of Cmajor7 is C. The root of the Cmajor scale is C. Simple.
  • These chord progressions can be altered wildy with chord substitutions and stuff, so they don't always use the chords I say they do