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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.
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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 – V – IV – V ( C G 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
Three Chord Progressions…
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...
- La Cucaracha
- London Bridge
- Mary Had a Little Lamb
- Mexican Hat Dance
- Row, Row, Row Your Boat
- Skip to My Lou
- Three Blind Mice
- Tom Dooley
iRealPro Practice Progressions
Here are a few common harmonic cells, i.e., the chords that show up in basic songs.
You'll find that there a lot of common chord sequences that make of the songs that we all like and have heard many, many times over and over, over the years,
- I (Example in C Major: C)
- I IV (Example in C Major: C F)
- I V (Example in C Major: C G)
- I V7 (Example in C Major: C G7)
- I IV I V (Example in C Major: C F C G)
- I IV I V7 (Example in C Major: C F C G7)
Use iRealPro and several different styles and transpose. What sound good in one style might not sound good in another style.
iReal Pro - Practice Made Perfect • The essential instrument for every musician. Master your art by practicing with the world's most versatile virtual band, tirelessly accompanying you in any style, tempo or key. With thousands of chord charts in your pocket, you'll always be prepared for the next jam session.
Available for iPhone, iPad, Mac, and Android.
NOTE: - I (Curt, LearningUkulele.com, Learning Ukulele with Curt) Have been using iReal Pro, bought and paid for on several platforms ever since it first came on to music scene. It is a great tool and one I use with all students as well in my daily, persons practice sessions. iReal Pro was made by a very small team of passionate people led by Massimo Biolcati, a jazz musician in NYC who taught himself to code for his first iPhone so that he could build his dream app.
End of Lesson - Thanks, Hope You Enjoyed It!
Related Lessons for Three Chord Progressions.
Harmonic Analysis Lesson Series
Updated: 06 Jan 2020
Harmonic Analysis ( HA ) is the process used to determine the harmonic function of chords within a chord progression. A chord progression is defined as a sequence of chords, each chord has a root and has a particular chord type. The relationship of a chord's root to a scale determines its function within that scale's tonality. Once a chord's function is identified, scale selections along with chord and scale substitutions can be made. This process is called Root Movement Analysis ( RMA ). This series of lessons are extracted from my book for use with individual private and on-line students. Each lesson directly corresponds the chapters in my book Harmonic Analysis for Scale Selection and Chord Substitution by Curt Sheller (me).
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The "Major Scale" or Ionian scale is a diatonic scale, made up of seven distinct notes, plus an eighth which duplicates the first one octave higher. In solfege these notes correspond to the syllables Do, Re, Mi, Fa, Sol, La, Ti/Si, (Do), the Do in the parenthesis at the end being the octave of the root.
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Harmonic Analysis for Scale Selection and Chord Substitution
Updated: 10 Jun 2021
Harmonic Analysis is the understanding of the functional sequence of chords. It is the process used to analyze the harmonic structure of a progression, song or composition. This analysis is then used to make scale selections for improvisation and chord substitution.
Exploring Jazz Chords on Ukulele
Updated: 20 Apr 2022
Exploring jazz chords using a variety of common chord progressions based on songs from the standard jazz repertoire. Core Chords are the basic set of chords needed to play a wide range of music, in a variety of styles. This set of chords includes basic open position chords, basic movable form chords and the core 4-part "jazz" chords.
A Guide to Ukulele Chords for Lefties
Updated: 10 Jan 2020
Covering basic ukulele chords that ALL uke players MUST know, movable chord forms, rock uke chords, how to transpose chords, learning the ukulele fingerboard and an introduction to 4-part jazz chords and more... FOR LEFTIES - Tunings: C, G, or D Tunings. Low or high string four variations.
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Learn a variety of strums and rhythmic patterns in wide range of musical styles. One of the first skills a ukulele player learns is the art and craft of strumming, playing rhythm. This refers to an accompaniment technique suitable for the singer, singer - songwriter or someone who plays a support role for another instrument.
Modular Phonetic Rhythm, The Foundation and Workbook 1
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Modular Phonetic Rhythm represents a significant advance in the teaching and application of rhythm. Eliminating many inefficient aspects of rhythm education, Modular Phonetic Rhythm streamlines the traditional educational approach, resulting in a reflexive reaction to rhythm.
Related Lesson Series
Related Lessons Series for Three Chord Progressions.
Harmonic Analysis for Scale and Chord Selection
Updated: 01 Jan 2003
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.
Related Lesson Files, Resources and Assets
Related Assets for Three Chord Progressions.