Three Chord Progressions

PUBLISHED: Sep 10, 2013 • UPDATED: Jan 15, 2016 • LESSON CODE: UL59f • VISITS: 19

ANY ukulele leadsheet guitar Subjects: beginnerintermediateprogressionsrepertoiretheory

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Three Chord Progressions

Three-chord tunes, though, are more common, since a melody may then dwell on any note of the scale. Often the chords may be selected to fit a pre-conceived melody, but just as often it is the progression itself that gives rise to the melody.

The three-chord I - IV - V progression, a particularly popular kind of circle progression can be placed into a four-bar phrase in several ways that have been put to endless use in popular music. Using the Nashville Numbering System there are represented as 1 4 5.

  • I - IV - V - V ( examples in C: C F G G )
  • I - I - IV - V ( C C F G )
  • I - IV - I - V ( C F C G )
  • I - IV - V - IV ( C F G F )

The twelve bar blues and its many variants use an elongated, three-line form of the I - IV - V progression that has also generated countless hit records, including the most significant output of rock and rollers such as Chuck Berry and Little Richard. In its most elementary form (there are many variants) the chords progress as follows:

  • I - I - I - I
  • IV - IV - I - I
  • V - IV - I - I

WikipediA: Three Chord Progressions

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Songs

There are too many songs to list that only have three chords. Go to any music store and there will be books actually titles Three Chord Songs. but here are a few

  • All Shook Up
  • Amazing Grace
  • Away In a Manger
  • Battle Hymn of the Republic
  • Billy Boy
  • Blowin’ In the Wind
  • Blue Suede Shoes
  • Bye, Bye, Love
  • Camptown Races
  • Chantilly Lace
  • Don’t Be Cruel
  • Down By the Riverside
  • For He’s a Jolly Good Fellow
  • Frankie and Johnny
  • Goodnight, Ladies
  • Hang On Sloopy
  • Hail, Hail, the Gang’s All Here
  • He’s Got the Whole World
  • How Much Is That Doggie...
  • Jambalaya
  • La Cucaracha
  • London Bridge
  • Marianne
  • Mary Had a Little Lamb
  • Mexican Hat Dance
  • Row, Row, Row Your Boat
  • Skip to My Lou
  • Three Blind Mice
  • Tom Dooley

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Related Lesson Series

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Harmonic Analysis for Scale and Chord Selection

Harmonic Analysis is the process used to determine the harmonic function of chords within a chord progression or song. A chord progression is defined as a sequence of chords, each chord has a root and is a particular chord type. The relationship of a chord's to a scale determines its function within that scale's tonality.

This series of lessons are extracted from my book for use with individual private and on-line students-members.

Common Chord Progressions and Remembering Songs

Learning the similarities between chord progressions and songs helps you remember a lot of songs. There's a lot more in common between songs than one might think.

This series of lessons explores common chord progressions.

Remembering songs is lot like remembering the directions for a road trip. There are the turn-by-turn directions, road maps, signs and landmarks. Turn here, turn there, remember this and remember that landmark. With a songs it's the chords, the harmonic cells and form of the song.

With a few music tools and an understanding of the principles of how chords and chords progressions work. You can start unraveling what's going on in a song. There's a lot more in common between songs than you might think. Each song has it's own direction, signs and landmarks.

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