There are a few different ways to create a chord progression. I am going to assume you understand the use of Roman numerals to represent chords: I, ii, iii, IV, etc.
The first thing to notice is that the V chord has a strong pull to the I chord. V7 has an even stronger pull.
Functional Harmony In Major Keys:
You can thwart the expectation that V will go to I, by having it go to vi or to IV.
I, vi, ii or IV can lead to V
I or vi can lead to ii or IV
IV can lead to ii
I can also lead to iv
For example, in the ’50’s, a popular progression was: I, vi, IV, V
Another example would be: I, IV, ii, V7, I
Here is a functional harmony chart that outlines what I wrote above:
When moving rightward on the chart, you can skip as many chords as you wish. Follow the arrows when moving leftward.
Another approach is to create a sequence.
This where you move around the circle of fifths in even steps.
For example, if I started with an E chord, I could go counterclockwise: E A D G C
or go clockwise: C G D A E. IIRC, that’s the progression to “Hey Joe”.
For a more exotic sounding progression, you can skip a couple of steps: E G Bb Db
Hopefully, this will keep you busy for a while.
©2016 Stephen L. Martin
Painting: Music by Henri Matisse