Chord Progressions in Popular Music

Songs I’ve been teaching the past few months…

Writing only the chord progressions (without indication of how they are played) breaks a song down into it’s simple architecture and reveals patterns helpful for learning a new song or writing your own.

For example, a bridge or new section of a song often starts with the IV chord. Most popular music use all three major chords. Folk progressions rely heavily on walking the bass down to the relative minor, as in the Avett Brothers progression. Also neat to see progressions that break the rules, like the Amy Winehouse and Beck tune.

Author: aarondoerr

Owner of Fellow Musician LLC, a small music education business specializing in outreach and private study. I'm guitarist for musical theatre and production assistant at St. Louis Public Radio.

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