A Conversation for Modern Popular Songwriting

The most common chord progression for those music geeks who care

Post 1


So far as I know, all mechanincal type song people only know one set of chords. The I-IV-V combination, popularized by the twelve-bar-blues somehow became a staple to all pop music. There are some excessivly stupid bands who use ONE chord the entire song (I don't know how they managed to play the whole thing in G) and several who use two. But most pop-rock-writer types use the standard I-IV-V.

The most common chord progression for those music geeks who care

Post 2

Mo Power (Itching Cucumber, Lord of Nonsense elect)

For people who really care, but have no experience in using harmonies:

G major - D major - C major - a minor/G major

That's actually 50% of all pop songs. Recent examples: "I try" by Macy Gray; "Blue" by Eiffel 65

The most common chord progression for those music geeks who care

Post 3

Stealth Munchkin

I-vi-ii-V is pretty common too... and *some* good songs have been written on one chord... Tomorrow Never Knows by the Beatles, some of Tom Waits' stuff, Once In A Lifetime by Talking Heads (or is that two chords? not many anyway...)

Common advanced progressions

Post 4


One of the more common advanced progressions are
I-Imaj7-I7,then usually followed by IV. This is used in Sinatras 'my way', Beatles 'Something' and Sixpence none the richer's 'Kiss me'

You could also substitute the minor chord in a I-'vi'-IV-V progression for the major form of the iii chord, often with a minor seventh attached. (for example, you could play E7 instead of Am in the
C-Am-F-G progression).This is a very common trick, really.

Also, it's quite okay to use the chords from the minor scales in the major scales. For example you may use the chords in the Dminor-scale in the Major D-scale.

Many musicians work with base notes, making them stay the same while changing the chord, or letting them move down or up in a intersesting fashion. Pink Floyd has an interseting example in 'Us and Them', and If you take a look at 'A whiter shade of pale', you'll see that the base is the F-scale played from F progressing downwards to the next F, at least for a start.

And don't forget you may add the -5 to the IV-chord. This togheter with a Major seventh sounds pretty good. Actually.

The most common chord progression for those music geeks who care

Post 5

Jimmy, Keeper of Hot Peppers, the Holy Hand Grenade, and the Occasional Pet Rock

The I-IV-V combo seems to be used pretty much everywhere in popular music today. Small variations on this theme include the I-I-IV-V, heard in Green Day's Time of Your Life, and (I know this is a bit of a stretch, since it's not exactly a I-IV-V) the IV-V-I progression in Pinch Me by the Barenaked Ladies. Also, speaking of bands using only one or two chords, I think Wheat Kings by the Tragically Hip is a I-V progression in G. smiley - smiley

If anyone wants a really interesting example of weird 1-4-5 based songs, listen to Stan Roger's Barrett's Privateers or Northwest Passage...


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