The 6 Most Common Chords In Any Key
Practice Guide - Issue 8 - Key of G Major
As I mentioned in Issue #7, the first song that I ever tried to learn by ear was "Hey Jude" by The Beatles. I remember figuring out the melody fairly easily, but I had a lot of difficulty learning the chords.
Of course, if I had known the 6 most common chords in any key, I would have been able to get all of the chords for Hey Jude. Instead, I got frustrated and gave up -- at least for that moment.
And as a quick reminder - knowing the 6 most common chords in any key will allow you to figure out over 80% of today's pop songs.
Basic Chord Progressions
The key of G major has 1 sharp, so it's still one of the easiest keys to start with. If you're really new to music theory, all you really have to know is that a scale and the key of a song are the same thing.
The G Major Scale & the I Chord
The G major scale is made up of 7 unique notes...8 if you count the G twice. Why would you do this? Because a scale starts and ends on the same note.
Here are the notes of the G major scale: G - A - B - C - D - E - F# - G
If you remember, I had you learn a few scales back in Part 6 of my practice guide. Knowing and understanding scales, even if it's on the most basic of levels, will allow you to quickly figure out the 6 most common chords in any key.
The Roman Numerals represent chords built on a specific scale tone. For example, the I represents a one, and is the chord built on the first note of the scale, which is a G.
For practical use, you'll use the letter name for the chord symbol instead of roman numerals, but the roman numerals will help for this specific lesson and are commonly used in any college-level theory class.
To figure out the notes of the G major chord, start with the G, which is referred to as the root note of the G major chord, and go every other note in the scale to figure out the other 2 notes of the chord, which are B and D.
The V Chord
The second most popular chord in the key of G major is the V chord, which is the roman numeral for 5. The 5th note of the G major scale is a D, which is the root note of the V chord -- or the D major chord.
Starting on a D and going every other note in the G major scale, the other 2 notes in the D major chord are the F# and A.
The IV Chord
The third most popular chord in the key of G major is the IV chord, which is the roman numeral for 4. The 4th note of the G major scale is a C, which is the root note of the IV chord -- or the C major chord.
Starting on an C and going every other note in the G major scale, the other 2 notes in the C major chord are the E and G.