Friday, 15 February 2013

3-Chord Songs, part 3: Songs in the I-IV-I-V-I Pattern

If you look only at the chords alone and not how many measures each chord is played, the 12-bar blues changes are: I-IV-I-V-I. This same chord pattern, with slight variations, figures in many of the first 3-chord songs one comes across. You may have to repeat part of the pattern, you may omit an I chord somewhere, and this doesn't account for bridges or choruses at all; but the following are songs that more or less follow I-IV-I-V-I:
  1. Moonlight Bay
  2. You Are My Sunshine
  3. Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star/ABC/Baa Baa Black Sheep
  4. Popeye the Sailor Man
  5. Ring of Fire
  6. Cecilia
  7. Sugar, Sugar 
These songs start on the IV chord (IV-I-V-I):
  1. Aloha 'Oe
  2. On Top of Old Smokey
  3. Bye Bye Love
  4. P.S. I Love You
  5. This Land is Your Land
  6. 59th Street Bridge Song (Feelin' Groovy)
And these songs use I-IV-I-V, either in repetition or with a second part of straight I-IV-I-V-I:
  1. The Lion Sleeps Tonight (Wimoweh)
  2. Teach Your Children
  3. Swing Low, Sweet Chariot
  4. Show Me the Way to Go Home
  5. Another Saturday Night
  6. I Saw Her Standing There
  7. Act Naturally
  8. Rhythm of the Rain
  9. Brown-Eyed Girl
  10. Lean On Me
If the Roman numerals are confusing, just substitute the chords of C, F and G7 for I, IV and V, respectively—this means you'll be playing in the key of C. Play the chords in the order given; if you listen, you'll hear when to change chords.


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