Four Chords To Rule Them All!

Have you ever heard that rumor? That if you have the right chords, you can play the entirety of pop music? Those who claim that there is no creativity to pop, just different lyrics?

via MemeGenetator.net

Whether or not this is true, and whether or not I over-exaggerated “the entirety of pop music”, there is some truth to this. No matter what note you start on, it is possible to play 4 chords that resemble many pop songs. For any music geeks out there who might not know this yet, this is the chord progression of I, V, vi, IV. For non-music geeks, this just means the distance between the first and second chord, second and third chord, and third and forth chord are set, and are just relative to whatever note you begin with (the only catch being, it has to be a happy Major chord).

This week Andy made us aware of this phenomenon, and taught us 4 common chords where you can succeed with this. These chords are G, A, E minor, D, with different other qualities added to those chords, but we are not worried about that. They are different from the normal fingerings we might have learned before. In this one, you use what some people would call All Finger chords, because they use the pinkie and ring fingers (but to make it easy, these fingers never move for any chord). This makes it nice and easy because all of the changes are with your stronger middle and pointer fingers, and they are all involving almost parallel movement down the second and third fret rows.

The other trick Andy taught this week was a new strumming technique. It is the type so generic that you can use it for nearly everything, similar to the 4 simple strums we have done previously, but more exciting. It involves up-strums and a couple of parts that are off beat, but this gives the music non-static rhythm. You can see my video for a live example of this and the 4 chords application.

In the meantime, if you enjoyed this and want to try yourself, find a piano, guitar, or other chorded instrument, and google it. You will generally at base minimum know 4 chords. Please enjoy this video from Axis of Awesome as a live example of 4 chord songs (pardon the Australian humor and slight profanity).

Until next week, cheers!

4 Replies to “Four Chords To Rule Them All!”

    1. Hey Kyle,
      I definitely recommend checking out the video at the end. Axis of Awesome is an Australian comedy band/act. They did this famous 4 chords performance and it goes through everything from modern pop back to the Beatles, just looking 4 chords.

  1. I absolutely love this video and I can totally relate because I am finding that with my learning project of trying to learn the ukulele, I know very few chords but it allows me to play a lot of different songs.

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