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Musicians: what chords do you absolutely, positively have to know? - music

 

As you in all probability know, there are thousands and thousands of assorted chords in music - the lot from basic major chords to minor 7ths to 13ths to suspensions to poly-chords. Someday, you might want to learn all those chords if you don't before now know them.

But meanwhile, there are 3 chords -- just 3 -- that you absolutely, positively have to know. If you don't know these three, there's by a hair's breadth a song in the whole world that you could play. But by deliberate just 3 chords, you can play hundreds, if not thousands of songs!

Really?

Really.

Are you ready? Here they are:

I IV V

Huh? What's all that about?

Here's what:

In every key there are 3 chords -- just 3 chords -- which are known as "primary chords" -- chords that occur way more than other chords. They are like breed members of that actual key. They are groups of notes built on the 1st note of the scale, the 4th note of that scale, and the 5th note of that scale. (Those are 3-note chords called "triads" -- in a further clause we will get into 4 and 5 note chords. )

For example, here is the C scale on the keyboard. It runs from C up to C and octave higher. The I chord is built on the first note of the C scale, and so on:

So if I build a chord on the "I" -- every other scale note up from C, the chord is C, E, and G -- known as the "C major chord".

If I build a chord on the "IV" -- every other scale note up from F, the chord is F, A, and C -- known as the "F major chord".

If I build a chord on the "V" -- every other scale note up from G, the chord is G, B, and D -- known as the "G major chord".

Please notice, if you haven't already, that those 3 chords be full of ALL the notes in the C scale!

So what?

So any piece of music - tune - in the key of C (as long as it just uses the 8 notes of the scale) can be in line just by live one of those 3 chords!

Think about that -- that's a HUGE insight that most ancestors never get.

So, in any given key you can play in, there are Core CHORDS -- chords that occur way more than other chords. They are like ancestors members of that detail key.

At your house, let's say you have 3 ancestors in your breed -- your spouse, your child, and you. On the same block, but down the boulevard a few houses, lives your cousin and her family.

At any given moment, who are the most apt citizens to be in your house?

The Terminator?

Hillary?

Dubba?

I don't think so.

It's possible, of course, but not too likely. If I had to guess, I would say it would be also you, your spouse, or your child. It might be your cousin down the avenue -- there's a much change for the better attempt of that than, say, David Letterman or Prince Charles -- but my best odds would be to guess that the children members would be there.

It's the same way with chords. In any given key, there are 3 "family members" that are residents of that key -- the I chord, the IV chord, and the V chord. They are far and away the most possible chords to occur in any given key.

For example, if I am in concert in the Key of C, and the first chord is the C chord and I have to guess what the next chord is, I would guess that it would be each the F chord or the G chord. Why? As those are the other "family members". So we have conical the odds a great deal just by calculating who the members of the ancestors are.

Does that mean that there are at all times just 3 chords in a song? No, but there are exactly hundreds of songs that are made of just 3 chords.

The Core Piano Chords ("the fam") Of All the Major Keys

Here are the basic chords (the ancestors chords) of all the major keys (remember that the basic chords are the I chord, the IV chord, and the V chord based on the scale of that detail key):

Key of C: C, F, G

Key of G: G, C, D

Key of D: D, G, A

Key of A: A, D, E

Key of E: E, A, B

Key of B: B, E, F#

Key of F: F, Bb, C

Key of Bb: Bb, Eb, F

Key of Eb: Eb, Ab, Bb

Key of Ab: Ab, Db, Eb

Key of Db: Db, Gb, Ab

Key of Gb: Gb, Cb, Db

Do you have to know all these chords in all these keys?

No.

You can desire to play in just one key, or just a few keys.

But what you MUST know is the 3 chords in anything key you want to play in! That means that the stark beginner can learn 3 chords in just a few minutes, and be able to play along with thousands of tunes, as most folk songs, hymns, countryside songs, and many rock songs just use the 3 basic chords. That's why associates who know zilch about music can pick up a guitar, learn 3 chords, and strum along while singing the lot from "On Top Of Old Smoky" to "Amazing Grace" to "My Land 'Tis Of Thee" to "Auld Lang Syne" to "Silent Night" to. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . well, you get the idea. And not only a guitar, but a piano, keyboard, or whatever.

Duane Shinn is the dramatist of over 500 music books and goods such as DVD's, CD's, musical games for kids, chord charts, musical software, and piano lecture instructional courses for adults. He holds an complex extent from Southern Oregon Academic world and was the come to grief of Piano Academic world in Southern Oregon.

He can be reached at http://www. chordpiano. com. He is the dramatist of the admired free 101-week e-mail newsletter patrician "Amazing Secrets Of Exciting Piano Chords & Boiling Chord Progressions" with over 56,000 flow subscribers. Those attracted may attain a free subscription by going to http://www. playpiano. com


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