Today’s lesson is going to dive into a bit of musical theory. I want to show you how to find the right chords to play together in a progression for any given musical key on the guitar. It’s one thing as a beginner to understand how to play an E, A, D and a G chord, but how do you know (without testing the sound) which chords fit well together?
In this article I’ll share with you how you can find the right chords for each key to play together and introduce you to a concept known as one-four-five. After reading this article and watching the example below you’ll be ready to grab your own guitar and start finding the right chords for each key.
So What is a Key?
This is sometimes misunderstood as a scale by some beginners. While scales have a lot to do with keys a scale and a key are not the same thing. Put as simple as possible music played for example in the Key of E is centered around the note of E major and uses some or all of the notes in the E major scale. How do you know what notes you should play? That’s what we’ll talk about next.
The Pattern of I-IV-V
By learning a pattern that naturally occurs and is used in most popular music you’ll be able to pick out the best chords to put together in any key. All you’ll need is this knowledge and the scale for the key in question.
I-IV-V (aka. One-four-five) is a pattern of notes from a given scale. It just happens that these notes naturally sound fantastic together in every key.
Let’s do an example in the Key of D
So first we’ll need the D major scale which is:
D E F# G A B C# D
Next we apply the one four five pattern above to the scale. To do this we take the one note which is of course the root note of D, then the Four note, being G and finally the Five note of A.
Playing those as chords and not just notes gives us the mix of chords in the Key of D that sound best together.
If that isn’t completely clear it will be after you take a couple of minutes to watch the video below. In it I’ll give you another example as well as some more insight into finding the I-IV-V for a key.
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