December 2012

Now we know the construction of all commonly used chord forms, Soooo ….. What to do with them.

First thing about rules in any art form. The rules are made to be broken. The rules are nothing more than a guideline and a teaching tool. None the less the RULES are a valid place for a start.

Fortunately there are several common chord patterns in popular music. Chord patterns are the repeated background lines that support song melody lines. Many very differant songs share those back ground sounds or lines. More than that songs can be transposed from key to key using those background patterns.

The chord patterns are based on the major scale. If a tune is in the key of “C” the C major scale is the basis of everything in the music theory discussion. The TONIC note of the “C” scale is C. Therefore C is note number one. The fifth tone in the “C” scale is “G”. A tune using chords based on the first and fifth tones would be known as a 1 / 5 pattern song. Usually simple folk songs will use the i / 5. In “C” the chords would be “C” and “G7”. If we wanted to play the same tune in the key of “Bb” (B flat) we would use the same 1 / 5 pattern. The two chords will be “Bb” and “F7”. To play it in “F”, use “F” and “C7”.

In any case the proper name for the chords are TONIC (1) and DOMINANT (5). NOTE: The dominant chord is normally used with the flatted seventh added. (Dominant seventh)

The next most important chord is a minor built on the sixth tone of the scale. Also known as the RELATIVE MINOR. In the key of “C” a 1 / 6 pattern would use “C” and “Am” (A minor) chords. Bb = Bb and G’m. “F”= “F” and “Dm”.

Another very important chord is the SUB DOMINANT or fourth. Typicaly used in a 1 / 4 / 5 pattern. In “C” that would be “C”, “F”, and G7. Often this will be a BLUES pattern. Four measures of “C” chords, two measures of “F” chords, two measures of “C” chords, one measure of G7, one measure of “F”, one measure “C”, one measure “G7”. REPEAT. IN “Bb” use “Bb”, “Eb”, and “F7” chords, “F” = “F”, “Bb” and “C7”

Another very common chord pattern is the 1 / 6 / 4 / 5 pattern. Think “Blue Moon” the Everly brothers “Dream”

or the piano teacher classic “Heart and Soul”. In the key of “C” the chords are “C”, “Am”, “F”, and “G7”. Commonly used as one measure each and repeat. …. “Bb” = “Bb”, “G’m”, “Eb”, “F7” …… “F”= “F”, “Dm”, “Bb”, “C7”.

Important names here are Tonic, Dominant, Sub Dominant, and Relative minor.

So these are the most common chord patterns in three very commonly used keys. Actually learning to use these is very, very usefull to any budding musician.

For referance:

! 6 4 5

A F#m D E7

E C#m A B7

Eb Cm Ab Bb7

G Em C D7

D Bm G A7

Less common popular patterns: 1 / 2 / 3 Cma7, Dm7, Em7, Dm7 repeat. Think Michael Jackson’s “Billie Jean” or “Thriller”

1 / 3 / 6 / 2 / 5 / 1 / 4 repeat. …. “C”, “E7”, “A7”, “D7”, “G7”, “C”, “F” Think 1920s classic “Five Foot Two”