As we are advancing more and more in several important music theory topics, I strongly recommend you to check all previous lessons. In music, as it happens in any other field, the overall knowledge comes from small pieces of content. If you’re not familiar with any previous topics, please read and practice a little more. Also, if you have any questions, you can write in the comments and I’ll reply shortly.

In the previous lesson, we were learning that each chord of a major harmonic field has a function (tonic, sub-dominant or dominant). We also learned a very common chord progression in popular music, extremely frequent in jazz and bossa-nova and pop music: the II-V-I progression:

Listen how it sounds like:

We can make it simpler, by playing just the triads:

Listen how it sounds like:

You can hear this progression for example, in the song November Rain, from Guns N’ Roses. But there is much more.

Today we will learn about another very used chord progression, mostly on pop and rock songs: the IV-V-I progression. In a C Major harmonic field, it would be like the following:

Listen how it sounds like:

These type of progressions, with the Subdominant/Dominant/Tonic movement are also called Authentic Cadences.

You can hear this progression in the song When I Was Your Man, from Bruno Mars.

It’s very common in pop and rock songs to hear a sub-dominant chord resolving directly to a tonic chord (II-I or IV-I). In traditional harmony, this is called a Plagal Cadence. One great example is the I-V-VI-IV-I progression. In C Major it would be like the following:

Now listen:

Do you recognize the progression? This famous one can be heard in songs like Let it Be, No Woman No Cry, I’m Yours, Don’t Stop Believing and much, much more.

Notice that I’m writing the examples in C Major key, but you can play it in any other key. Just follow the key’s harmonic field. For example, let’s transpose this progression to theĀ G Major key:

The idea is just to show you a starting point to compose your songs. You don’t need to create tracks using exactly the same chords and progressions. You’re the composer, so it is all up to you!

That’s it! In the next lesson, we will learn other commonly used chord progressions.

Good productions!