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Exploring Common Chord Progressions: A Beginner’s Guide – Song Chops

A progression is basically the chord series or the chords you choose to use and their order. If you’re just starting out, using some common chord progressions as your starting point can help get you past the blank page.

The article from Song Chops, titled “Exploring Common Chord Progressions: A Beginner’s Guide,” dives into the essence of musical harmony and its building blocks—chord progressions. It serves as an introductory guide for those venturing into songwriting or composition, emphasizing the significance of using common chord progressions as a foundation to stimulate creativity and overcome the initial hurdle of the blank page.

A chord progression is defined as a series of chords played in a sequence. The article highlights the importance of understanding the major scale pattern (W-W-H-W-W-W-H, where “W” represents a Whole note and “H” represents a Half note) and provides a free chord grid resource for guitarists. It discusses the emotional tone set by different types of chords, such as major chords (upbeat and happy), minor chords (sad and contemplative), and seventh chords (romantic or mellow), among others.

The guide presents an extensive list of common chord progressions in the key of C, explained through standard notation, the Nashville number system, and chord letters. These progressions include the simple I-IV, which is found in countless songs due to its versatility. The article also mentions famous quotes on songwriting, such as Lou Reed’s humorous take on chords and Harlan Howard’s iconic “three chords and the truth” regarding country music.

Moreover, the guide provides examples of songs from various genres that employ these common progressions, showing how they form the backbone of many hits across decades. From the folk simplicity of “Go Tell Aunt Rhody” to the rock anthem “Sweet Caroline” and beyond, the article illustrates the timeless nature of these chord sequences.

Finally, the article touches on more complex progressions and their uses, including variations that add tension or create a rolling effect, suitable for longer verses or specific song parts. It also explains the blues progression and the circle of fifths, two fundamental concepts in music theory that further expand a songwriter’s palette.

This beginner’s guide to common chord progressions is an invaluable resource for anyone looking to understand the basics of musical structure and how to apply them in their own songwriting endeavors.

Source: Exploring Common Chord Progressions: A Beginner’s Guide – Song Chops

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