Sunday, April 6, 2014

Pop Music Chords

Everyone listens to music but only trained musicians can make sense of what they are hearing. While songs do not share the same melody, It might be a bit of a surprise to learn that many songs share the same Chord progression. 


Chords are simply triads (3 notes -every other one- played simultaneously) starting a particular scale degree. Scales contain 8 notes. For example, C D E F G A B C. So a I (1) chord (we each by a Roman Numeral) would be based on C and would contain C E and G.  A IV (4) chord would have F as the root of the chord and would contain F, A and C. (Note that C is a common note between the two chords).  A V(5) chord would have G as the root and would contain G, B and D. AVI(6) chord would contain A, C and E.

A CHORD PROGRESSION, then, is the particular order in which chords are played in a given song where the melody fits the notes in that chord progression.  One of the most common chord progressions is I, V, VI, IV (or VI, IV, I V).  Many, many, many pop songs contain these chords.

One example is Eyes Open by Taylor Swift.
Other examples include:
21 Guns, Green Day
Apologize, One Republic
Can You Feel The Love Tonight, Elton John (Lion King)
For The First Time, The Script
Gone, Gone, Gone, Phillip Phillips
Hey Soul Sister, Train
I'm Yours, Jason Mraz
Jar of Hearts, Christina Perri
Kids, MGMT
Let It Be, The Beatles
Paparazzi, Lady Gaga
Perfect, P!nk
Pictures of You, The Last Goodnight
Someone Like You, Adele
Take Me Home, Country Roads, John Denver
Wake Me Up, Avicii
When I Come Around, Green Day
When I'm Gone (The Cup Song), Anna Kendrick
Where Is The Love, The Black Eyed Peas
With or Without You, U2
You're Beautiful, James Blunt

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