Musicians: What Chords Do You Absolutely, Positively Have To Know?

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

As you apparently know, there are bags and bags of altered chords in music - aggregate from basal above chords to accessory 7ths to 13ths to suspensions to poly-chords. Someday, you ability wish to apprentice all those chords if you don't already apperceive them.

But meanwhile, there are 3 chords -- just 3 -- that you absolutely, absolutely accept to know. If you don't apperceive these three, there's hardly a song in the accomplished apple that you could play. But by alive just 3 chords, you can play hundreds, if not bags of songs!



Are you ready? Actuality they are:


Huh? What's all that about?

Here's what:

In every key there are 3 chords -- just 3 chords -- which are accepted as "primary chords" -- chords that action way added than added chords. They are like ancestors associates of that accurate key. They are groups of addendum congenital on the 1st agenda of the scale, the 4th agenda of that scale, and the 5th agenda of that scale. (Those are 3-note chords alleged "triads" -- in addition commodity we will get into 4 and 5 agenda chords.)

For example, actuality is the C calibration on the keyboard. It runs from C up to C and octave higher. The I ambit is congenital on the aboriginal agenda of the C scale, and so on:

So if I body a ambit on the "I" -- every added calibration agenda up from C, the ambit is C, E, and G -- accepted as the "C above chord".

If I body a ambit on the "IV" -- every added calibration agenda up from F, the ambit is F, A, and C -- accepted as the "F above chord".

If I body a ambit on the "V" -- every added calibration agenda up from G, the ambit is G, B, and D -- accepted as the "G above chord".

Please notice, if you haven't already, that those 3 chords accommodate ALL the addendum in the C scale!

So what?

So any melody - tune - in the key of C (as continued as it just uses the 8 addendum of the scale) can be harmonized just by arena one of those 3 chords!

Think about that -- that's a HUGE acumen that a lot of humans never get.

So, in any accustomed key you can play in, there are PRIMARY chordS -- chords that action way added than added chords. They are like ancestors associates of that accurate key.

At your house, let's say you accept 3 humans in your ancestors -- your spouse, your child, and you. On the aforementioned block, but down the artery a few houses, lives your accessory and her family.

At any accustomed moment, who are the a lot of acceptable humans to be in your house?

The Terminator?



I don't anticipate so.

It's possible, of course, but not too likely. If I had to guess, I would say it would be either you, your spouse, or your child. It ability be your accessory down the artery -- there's a abundant bigger adventitious of that than, say, David Letterman or Prince Charles -- but my best allowance would be to assumption that the ancestors associates would be there.

It's the aforementioned way with chords. In any accustomed key, there are 3 "family members" that are association of that key -- the I chord, the IV chord, and the V chord. They are far and abroad the a lot of acceptable chords to action in any accustomed key.

For example, if I am arena in the Key of C, and the aboriginal ambit is the C ambit and I accept to assumption what the next ambit is, I would assumption that it would be either the F ambit or the G chord. Why? Because those are the added "family members". So we accept narrowed the allowance a abundant accord just by alive who the associates of the ancestors are.

Does that beggarly that there are consistently just 3 chords in a song? No, but there are actually hundreds of songs that are fabricated of just 3 chords.

The Primary Piano chords ("the fam") Of All the Above Keys

Here are the primary chords (the ancestors chords) of all the above keys (remember that the primary chords are the I chord, the IV chord, and the V ambit based on the calibration of that accurate 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 accept to apperceive all these chords in all these keys?


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

But what you MUST apperceive is the 3 chords in whatever key you wish to play in! That agency that the abrupt abecedarian can apprentice 3 chords in just a few minutes, and be able to play forth with bags of tunes, because a lot of folk songs, hymns, country songs, and abounding bedrock songs just use the 3 basal chords. That's why humans who apperceive blank about music can aces up a guitar, apprentice 3 chords, and bombinate forth while singing aggregate from "On Top Of Old Smoky" to "Amazing Grace" to "My Country 'Tis Of Thee" to "Auld Lang Syne" to "Silent Night" to -- well, you get the idea. And not alone a guitar, but a piano, keyboard, or whatever.


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