The other day we were talking about chord progressions and I realized that some people don’t know how Roman Numerals are used in Music Theory. I would recommend reading this entire blog post and then perusing the chart to see how what I am saying compares to this “Circle of Fifths” chart.
Suppose we are in the key of C. We could also say that the C is the “tonic” tone. The tones of the C scale are the white keys on the piano C-D-E-F-G-A-B-C.
The I is the C Chord (C – E – G) (also known as the “root” chord)
The IV is the F Chord (F -A-C) (Also known as the perfect fourth or the subdominant chord)
The V is the G Chord (G – B – D) (Also known as the perfect fifth or the dominant chord)
Almost every country song, as well as the song Louie Louie, are written with a I-IV-V progression.
Three examples of the I-IV-V that you might want to try:
(1) I-IV-I-V song that starts with a C chord as the root (I) and then goes to and F (IV) and then back to a C (I) and then a G (V) and then repeats forever.
(2) I-IV-I-V song that starts with a G chord as the root (I) and then goes to and C (IV) and then back to a G (I) and then a D (V) and then repeats forever.
(3) I-IV-I-V7 song that starts with a E chord as the root (I) and then goes to and A (IV) and then back to an E (I) and then a B7 (V7) and then repeats forever.
If you want to get more complex, you might add some of the following minor chords: ii, iii, and vi . (Notice how these are written in lower case because they are minor chords.)
So… if we are in the key of C…
The vi is the Am Chord (A – C – E). A is the major sixth interval above C (six white keys above C), but it is also a minor third interval below a C (three frets = 3 half tones = a minor third interval). The key of Am is the relative minor to the key of C (because they have the same key signature). So Am and C sound good together. Try strumming these on your instrument!
The ii is the Dm Chord (D – F – A). D is the second note in the C scale, hence the ii. D is a whole step (two frets = a major second interval) above C. The key of Dm is the relative minor to the key of F, so Dm and F sound good together. Try strumming these on your instrument!
The iii is the Em Chord (E – G – B). E is a minor third interval above C. The key of Em is the relative minor to the key of G, so Em and G sound good together. Try strumming these on your instrument!
MORE STUFF TO LOOK AT
I dunno if that was too complex, but here are some visual aids to study that I stole from google image search:
Your new years resolution is to learn these –> http://www.guitarhabits.com/5-beautiful-ways-to-play-a-ii-v-i-jazz-chord-progression/
Now go back up to the top and review the circle of fifths chart!