This Pop Chord Progression Will Help You Play Hundreds of Songs


– So you’re interested
(upbeat percussion) in learning how to play
pop music on the piano. Well your piano teacher
Tim has you covered because today I’m gonna
show you a chord pattern that’s literally used in hundreds, if not thousands of pop songs, so if you really get this down, you’re gonna be able to learn
those pieces a lot better. Breaking down the lesson, first I’m gonna explain
what the chord pattern is. Next I’m gonna show you that
pattern in the key of C, the easiest of all keys it can appear in. And then I’m gonna show
you how to transpose or how to play the
pattern in different keys because a lot of times
you’re gonna have pieces in other keys than the key of C. And then we’re going to wrap
up the lesson after that because I’m going to
demonstrate how this pattern is actually gonna help you play pop music. So let’s get started. Now what is the pop
song chord progression? Well let me show you on the pattern here, on the pattern, on the keyboard here! Okay, so here’s how we’re
gonna learn it first. We’re gonna learn it in the key of C. And the first thing you want to do is you want to play a C
major chord, (plays chord) then you want to go to a G
major chord, (plays chord) you want to go to an A
minor chord, (plays chord) and then go to an F major
chord. (plays chord) Now why is this progression of chords (plays chord)
C major, G major,
(plays chord) A minor,
(plays chord) (plays chord)
and then F major, why is that so good for pop music? Well it uses majors, but they sneak in a minor chord in there and if you think about it, pop music a lot of times has a very kinda mixed melancholy kinda feel. It’s usually not all happy feelings, not all sad feelings. It’s a mixture of the bunch. So if you think about it, this chord progression
perfectly exemplifies that. So practise the progression
over and over again in the key of C ’cause you
really want to get it down in one key first before
you start branching out. Okay, before I’m going to explain how to play this in different keys, I want to explain a little
bit of the theory behind this. Now if you don’t understand
everything I’m talking about, it’s totally fine, but it is
really important to understand. I’m gonna do my best to make
this as simple as possible. So for every key, right,
a key tells you what? It tells you what sharps
or flat throughout a piece, and consistently, right, so if you have an F sharp
in your key signature, all Fs in the entire piece are sharped unless it tells you otherwise. So that’s how a key works. Now if you put all the notes of a key in order from the starting note, so if you’re in the key of
A, you’re gonna start on A, and you play all the notes in between, including any sharps
or flats you may need, we call that a scale.
(plays A major scale) So that’s the A major scale. We’re gonna bring you back
to C major for a second. The C major scale is the
easiest one to understand ’cause it’s just from one C to the next C with all the white keys in
between, and why is that? Well the definition of the key of C major is that it has no sharps, no flats, so you don’t have to worry
about a single thing, and that’s one of the reasons we teach you about the key of C first. So there are eight total
notes in this scale: One two three four five six seven eight. However, the beginning and last note, we usually don’t call this
eight, we call it one again, because it’s actually
literally the same note. So really you have seven individual notes, one two three four five six
seven, and then it repeats one two three four five
six seven, like that, ’cause first and last one are the same. Now, seven notes, right? One two three four five six seven. You can build a chord
on each of these notes, and, (plays chords) that will give you all of the chords that exist in a certain key. This is really useful in not
only playing this progression that I’m showing you, but writing music as well. Because what a progression is, is, it will use these chords
I just showed you, (plays chords) but it will use them in a certain order repeated over and over again, and that’s what a chord progression is. So this chord progression,
specifically the pop song one, is, the first chord is
what we call a I chord, it’s built on the first note of the scale. The next chord is a V chord, meaning that we go five notes (plays) three, four, five notes
up the C major scale, or whatever scale you’re in, you play that note, and hey that’s our progression so far, C major,
(plays chord) G major,
(plays chord) remember the next chord was A minor, that is six notes up the scale, one two three four five six, so we call that the vi chord, that happens to be minor. And then we go to the IV chord,
which happens to be major. So, I,
(plays chord) V,
(plays chord) vi,
(plays chord) IV.
(plays chord) Now why did I explain all that? What was the point of going
through the theory behind it? Well once you understand
the theory behind it and how the chords are constructed, you can begin playing this
in pretty much any key. Now it does help to know your
key signatures really well, because you also have to
have the sharps and flats in the chords to have it work right. But let me show you in the key of G. The key of G is the
perfect key to show next because it only has one sharp, (plays G major scale) and that’s the next to last note, F#. So now, let’s play the I, V, vi, IV, also known as the pop
song chord progression, in the key of G. Now here’s the thing,
this changes everything, changing key, because your
starting note now is G, which makes that chord the I chord now. So now the G chord, before was
the V chord in the key of C, So you just gotta be careful
that you’re shifting gears or you’re really counting now
from a totally different note. So beware of that. So you got G major, now we gotta go up to V right,
one two three four five, (plays chord)
D major, E minor,
(plays chord) now it’s not E major
because we don’t have a G# in the key signature, and the V chord did have
one, because you have an F#. So there’s the V chord, (plays chord) you got the vi chord, (plays) back to IV, so, G,
(plays chord) D,
(plays chord) E minor,
(plays chord) back to C.
(plays chord) So that’s it in the key of G. Let’s together, together figure it out, this pattern in the key of D. And this will be the last one and then I’ll show you
something different. If you’re finding this
lesson helpful so far, make sure you smash that like button because it let’s other students know that this is a quality lesson that they can learn from as well. All right, on with the lesson. Okay the key of D. Now the thing, I’m just
gonna tell you right upfront about the key of D, it has two
sharps (plays D major scale) F#,
(plays D major scale) and C#.
(plays D major scale) So you gotta be careful that
when you construct the chords, if they have an F or a C in them, you have them sharped appropriately. So you have your first chord
built on the first note. What’s our next chord gonna be? It’s gonna be V, one two three four five, it’s gonna be a major chord, so D,
(plays chord) A,
(plays chord) then we gotta go to vi, you just go up one note (plays chord), and then we gotta play IV (plays), that major, so, in the key of D it’s D,
(plays chord) A major, B minor, G major.
(plays chords) So try playing this progression in at least those three keys. If you really have a good understanding of the theory behind
it that I talked about, try playing it in literally
every key that you can think of. So like the key of Bb, or any of the other ones
that we haven’t done. And try to learn as many keys as you can, because you’re gonna find
pop pieces or pop songs, that are in those keys, and
you wanna be prepared for that. Okay now it’s time to tie
everything I taught you together. And I’m going to actually
show you how learning this progression is gonna actually
help you learn pop music. So let’s get started. Okay so here we have the
song Soul to Squeeze, and it happened to be
in the movie Coneheads, but it is actually by the
Red Hot Chili Peppers, took me a second to remember that. Now the one thing to keep
in mind a lot of times, is pieces will have an introduction, like the first two, maybe three, maybe four lines, where the progression of
the song doesn’t really fit, it’s really, you’re really gonna find a different progression in the beginning. So what I’m gonna do is
after the intro here, where the real song comes in, I’m gonna show you we have
a progression down here. And luckily, in a lot of
this music, this pop music, they actually write in
what the chords are. Okay so, in the opening this F chord here, (plays F chord on piano)
F major. So we have one flat in our key signature. Now, knowing what your key signatures are is a whole different lesson, but I’m gonna give you the answer that we’re in the key of F. So if we’re in the key of F, and, our, chord, is F. (plays F chord)
That’s our I chord, right? So let’s figure out the
progression really quick in the key of F. So I (plays F chord), now we need to go to V, right,
you’re going up five notes, (plays F scale) in the F scale, so there’s V (plays C chord). You’re going to vi (plays D minor chord) you just go up one note, pretty simple, and then you go back to IV,
now you gotta be careful ’cause there is a Bb (plays Bb
chord) in our key signature. So F major,
(plays chord) C major,
(plays chord) D minor,
(plays chord) and then Bb major.
(plays chord) Gee, that sure looked
awfully familiar, right? Because that’s literally
what we were looking at right here with this bottom line, F major (plays piano accompaniment), and then C major
(plays piano accompaniment), D minor (plays piano accompaniment), and then Bb major, oh gees I remember this
song a lot from the 90s, (plays piano accompaniment) and then D minor
(plays piano accompaniment), and then F major again
(plays piano accompaniment), wait so we’ve repeated the progression, so what you’re gonna find a lot, and then C major there
(plays piano accompaniment). What you’re gonna find a lot,
is that these progressions repeat over and over again
throughout the piece. So here we have Out of the Woods, and if you notice right in the beginning, you’re gonna see this a lot in pop music, it says N.C., now what
in the world is N.C.? We don’t know any chords like that. That just means no chord, there’s not really any specific chord that’s being, you know, used right there, however I do think it kinda
outlines a C major chord. So, now the first thing we need to do is kinda ignore the intro ’cause that’s not gonna
be using any chords. The real piece just starts really at the third measure right there, where the C major chord comes in, (piano accompaniment plays) right there. And after that, what kind
of chords might we expect? The first thing we need
to do is figure out what key that we’re in. So we have no sharps no flats, and hey that makes things
really easy for us because (plays C chord) that’s the key of C. It could be an A minor, but taking a look at the
first chord of the piece, it’s a C major chord,
which if you don’t know, 99% of the time, the first
and last chord of the piece are gonna be whatever key you’re in. So, really easy. Let’s figure out what this
progression’s gonna be. We actually already did it. C major, G major, we’re gonna
expect next, we got A minor, and then F major, that’s
the first one we did today. So let’s take a look at the example and see if we have that. Well after the intro, we
have a C major chord here, (piano accompaniment plays) so that checks out,
(piano accompaniment plays) and now the next measure,
there’s nothing written here. That means you’re using the same chord as the measure before. Now we got a G chord, so that checks out. (piano accompaniment plays) Now let’s check out, what are we gonna expect
next in the chord? We’re gonna expect an A minor chord. Ho, look at that! Got’em. You got A minor right here,
(piano accompaniment plays) Oh hey and then back to F
major which is our IV chord! (piano accompaniment plays) So we’ve completed the progression, and hey look at this, we actually start kind of a new phrase here at the bottom, and we start the chord
progression all over again! (piano plays) And then you’d probably
expect the next chord in the next page which
I don’t have with me, to be a G major chord, which, 99% sure it is. So as you can see that, these chords are literally
used in these pieces, so the more familiar that
you become with playing them, especially in different keys, you’re gonna be so much better equipped to actually playing these pieces, ’cause half of the work is
gonna kinda be done for you, a little less than half ’cause you gotta do
the rhythms and things, but half of the note work is done for you. So it’s really, really
gonna save you a lot of time to become familiar, with not only this pop
song chord progression, but whatever genre you’re trying to learn, learn, you know, some rock
song chord progressions, things like that. To understand more about
how chord progressions in music theory works, highly recommend you check
out this playlist right here. Also check out some of
the other lessons we have on the channel, can help you learn a lot
about playing piano and music. So thanks for coming out today, it’s been your pee-juh,
piano teacher Tim here, and I’ll see you in the next lesson!

13 thoughts on “This Pop Chord Progression Will Help You Play Hundreds of Songs

  • May 12, 2019 at 1:12 pm
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    If you liked today's lesson than SMASH that like button and make sure to SUBSCRIBE and TURN ON ALL NOTIFICATIONS so that you get updated when the newest lessons come out!

    Subscribe here: https://goo.gl/hSGn5n

    Reply
  • May 12, 2019 at 2:31 pm
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    Thanks I have learned lots of chord progressions

    Reply
  • May 12, 2019 at 2:36 pm
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    Please go to:
    pianolessonsontheweb.net

    Reply
  • May 12, 2019 at 7:26 pm
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    Great lesson – nice and methodical, great instructor.

    Reply
  • May 13, 2019 at 4:53 am
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    You deserve more subs or atleast more views.

    Reply
  • May 13, 2019 at 10:49 am
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    Great tutorial. Thanks.

    Reply
  • May 13, 2019 at 8:15 pm
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    Thank I ve been trying to play Taylor swift all to well what u said makes sense I’m just struggling with the timing in the song now 🙁

    Reply
  • May 13, 2019 at 9:18 pm
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    EXCELLENT… thanks for keeping this instructions going…
    All the VERY BEST!

    Reply
  • May 22, 2019 at 8:44 am
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    Nothing against you, but the fact that this video exists is a sad reflection of the stagnation in the music industry

    Reply
  • June 12, 2019 at 12:12 am
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    This was very helpful thank you

    Reply
  • July 4, 2019 at 9:32 pm
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    Thanks, Tim – This is the 5th video of yours I've watched, this evening ,as a beginner.

    I will stick with these 5 while I build the muscle memory over the next few weeks, but wanted to say thanks for the videos. Really well presented, well explained and you show that you have a passion for teaching. Well played, man.

    Saludos desde España

    Reply
  • August 7, 2019 at 4:45 pm
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    Best explained you deserve more views and subs

    Reply
  • August 7, 2019 at 8:04 pm
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    Cheers

    Reply

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