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Three-chord songs

Songster Bob 27 Aug 09 - 09:35 PM
GUEST,Dan 27 Aug 09 - 05:42 PM
MGM·Lion 27 Aug 09 - 06:41 AM
GUEST,mandy ritchie 24 Jul 07 - 07:21 PM
leeneia 16 Apr 07 - 09:52 AM
Big Al Whittle 16 Apr 07 - 02:22 AM
GUEST,Big Al 16 Apr 07 - 12:20 AM
mrmoe 26 Mar 07 - 10:25 AM
GUEST 26 Mar 07 - 07:58 AM
Bee 23 Jan 07 - 07:38 PM
Uncle Phil 22 Jan 07 - 10:22 PM
Alec 22 Jan 07 - 05:44 AM
Scrump 22 Jan 07 - 04:38 AM
GUEST 21 Jan 07 - 06:37 PM
GUEST 21 Jan 07 - 03:13 PM
GUEST,RC 20 Apr 06 - 01:32 PM
goodbar 18 Dec 05 - 09:11 PM
GUEST,fatal_Error 18 Dec 05 - 02:22 PM
GUEST 18 Dec 05 - 02:15 PM
GUEST 08 Dec 05 - 09:23 AM
GUEST 26 Jun 05 - 10:59 PM
GUEST,Joe www.planet22.biz Speers 26 Jun 05 - 12:03 AM
Big Al Whittle 23 Nov 04 - 09:31 PM
Big Al Whittle 23 Nov 04 - 03:27 AM
GUEST,LUCKYsCHARMED /// Mr_r0cknr0ll 23 Nov 04 - 01:38 AM
M.Ted 23 Aug 04 - 01:10 PM
GUEST,www.jandamdeane@ntlworld.com 23 Aug 04 - 11:28 AM
The Fooles Troupe 30 Aug 03 - 02:33 AM
GUEST,Frank Hamilton 04 Jan 03 - 06:24 PM
GUEST 04 Jan 03 - 01:50 AM
GUEST,Frank Hamilton 21 Dec 02 - 10:49 PM
Genie 21 Dec 02 - 09:40 PM
Alice 21 Dec 02 - 10:07 AM
open mike 21 Dec 02 - 03:14 AM
GUEST,Frank Hamilton 20 Dec 02 - 11:32 AM
GUEST,Frank Hamilton 20 Dec 02 - 11:10 AM
Alice 19 Dec 02 - 10:55 PM
SINSULL 29 Oct 01 - 11:18 AM
Zorro 16 Oct 01 - 07:54 AM
JohnInKansas 16 Jul 01 - 09:30 AM
Louisa 16 Jul 01 - 09:02 AM
Ritchie 16 Jul 01 - 05:13 AM
wysiwyg 15 Jul 01 - 11:39 AM
_gargoyle 14 Oct 99 - 07:33 PM
M. Ted (inactive) 14 Oct 99 - 01:13 PM
Jack (Who is called Jack) 14 Oct 99 - 10:18 AM
_gargoyle 14 Oct 99 - 04:07 AM
sophocleese 14 Oct 99 - 12:24 AM
M. Ted (inactive) 14 Oct 99 - 12:16 AM
katlaughing 13 Oct 99 - 09:43 PM
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Subject: RE: Three-chord songs
From: Songster Bob
Date: 27 Aug 09 - 09:35 PM

I looked over this long thread and noted that no one pointed out why they three chords are used to accompany a song.

Let's take the key of C, which, as we know, has no sharps or flats. So a song in that key, usually, will have only the notes

C D E F G A B C

And the I, IV & V chords used to accompany a song in C are:

C F G (or G7)

So what are the notes (the "do, mi, sol") in each chord?

C = C E G
F = F A C
G = G B D
G7 = G B D F

Now, how many notes in the scale are NOT covered? None. And how many notes NOT in the scale are included? None.

That's why the I, IV, & V(7) chords work so well.

If you wanted to use the major chords for the notes in the scale, you'd add accidentals (sharps or flats) that are outside the scale:

C = C E G
D = D F# A
E = E F# G#
F = F A C
G = G B D
A = A C# E
B = B D# F#

As you notice, there are sharps (or corresponding flats) that aren't in the C scale, so it's an unusual song that includes those notes ("unusual" means maybe 5%-10% of songs, but some genres have a larger percentage). So it's less common to use those other chords.

Now, when you need those other chords, which ones are the most common? Well, the II chord (D in the key of C, for example) is common, but mostly as a leading tone. The II leads to the V (D --> G) regularly. That is the V chord of the V chord, if you look at it. Some even call the II chord the "double dominant" since the V chord is the dominant.

An aside - the I chord gives you the tone, so it's the tonic chord. The V chord is the dominant chord, pushing you toward the tonic (which is why it dominates). The IV chord is the sub-dominant (under the dominant, of course). And the II is the double dominant.

Back to the chords. We see that C --> D --> G is a common pattern. And D is the V of G which is the V of C.

What's the V of D? Why, A is. So a pattern you hear now and then is C --> A --> D --> G --> C. This circular pattern of V chords is sometimes called "the circle of fifths," which shares the name of the key patterns mentioned above (that clock face). By the way, it's normal to use the 7th version of the chords except the I (so you get the "Don't Let Your Deal Go Down" pattern of C/A7/D7/G7/C, for example).

So you can use the circle of fifths to determine key signatures (number of sharps or flats), the I, IV, & V chords (from any place on the circle, the IV is one step anti-clockwise, and the V chord is one step clockwise), and which chords to play when the I, IV & V aren't the only ones.

Learn that circle; it's good for you, it's the "Mandala of Western Music" as I saw it in a chart on the web. It's Gospel!

Bob


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Subject: RE: Three-chord songs
From: GUEST,Dan
Date: 27 Aug 09 - 05:42 PM

Here is a free lesson about three chord songs including a long list of songs:
Three chord songs
Hope it will be useful.


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Subject: RE: Three-chord songs
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 27 Aug 09 - 06:41 AM

No-one in all this thread has pointed out that many songs in the minor can be played with two chords — i.e. the tonic{1} minor + the RELATIVE MAJOR of the dominant{5}.

To illustrate: someone mentioned Drunken Sailor a bit back: — play a D-minor to accompany the first line; a C-major {relative major to A-minor, the 5th of the scale of D-minor} thru the 2nd line; D-minor again thru the 3rd line; and the fourth line in C-major apart from returning to D-minor for the last syllable ['-ning']. Try it and you will see what I mean. This technique can be adapted to many, indeed most, songs in the minor.

[To put it slightly differently, avoiding what may be confusing refs to 'relative majors/minors': play your minor key tonic chord [e.g. D-minor] alternated with the major chord one tone below [which would then be C-major].


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Subject: RE: Three-chord songs
From: GUEST,mandy ritchie
Date: 24 Jul 07 - 07:21 PM

hi just wondering if glommy winters noo awa do you know the song with banjo chords could you send them if you don't mind is will ye no come back again is three a chord also i know the song is in key of C which way is it on banjo if you know the sang please could you send the song with banjo chords if you don't mind my email is mandyritchie@tnt21.com


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Subject: RE: Three-chord songs
From: leeneia
Date: 16 Apr 07 - 09:52 AM

In response to WyoWoman's original question, which was "What are some of your favorite songs using three or four simple chords (no ninth diminished suspended with chili, please)?", I am submitting my list of songs to play on the dulcimer. I can't guarantee that the songs will have only three chords, but seven years have passed, and maybe she's learned more chords.

I've submitted this list before, but I think it's been lost in a crash. I can't find it now. Anyway, I keep adding songs to it.

The songs under DAA are major, under DAG are minor. The letter at the right is the note the song starts on on the dulcimer. (I don't know why the line lengths vary so much. They don't in the original document.)

Songs for dulcimer in D-A-A tuning

Across the wide Missouri/ Shenandoah---------- A
Adieu, Madras                                  A
All creatures of our God and king-----------------        D
All my trials (blues)        A
All through the night---------------------------------        D
Annie Laurie                                           F#
Aran boat song                                          B
As we march-ed down to Fenario......................D
Ash grove                                             A
Auld lang syne -------------------------------------- A
Aura Lee .............................................. A
Banks of the sweet primroses                            D
Barcarolle=========================== F#
Beautiful savior---------------------------------------        D
Believe me if all these endearing young charms F#
Bendemeer's stream---------------------------------        A
Bicycle built for two=================== hi A
Blest are they                                          A
Blind Mary..........................................E, key of A
Braw lads o' Galla water                                  C#
Bridget O'Malley ===================A (6.5)
Bright morning stars are shining                F# or C#
Camptown races...............................................E
Can ye sew cushions =================== F#
Cockles and mussels                                        A
Colorado trail (blues) .................................... C#
Come all ye pretty maidens, wherever ========D
Come Christians, for to sing------------------------ D
Come, lord, come lord Jesus (maranatha)          F#
Come ye faithful, raise the strain                         D
Come ye shepherds (Infant lowly)...................A lo
Courante - Praetorius =================== A        
Deck the hall............................................. hi A
Deryn pur                                                    A hi
Dillon Bay............................................. C# (6.5)
Dona nobis pacem                                             D
Down by the Riverside....................................F#
Down by the sally gardens---------------------------D
Down in the valley                                           A
Drink to me only with thine eyes........................C#
Country gardens.............................................A hi
Fanny Power                                                    A
Farewell to Ballymony -------------------------------E
Farewell to Tarawathie        .D
First Noel =======================F# or C#
Flow gently, sweet Afton---------------------------        A
For the beauty of the earth        D
Galway Bay------------------------------------------        E
Go tell aunt Rhodie                                           F#
God of day and God of Darkness                        D
Guantanamera ========================        D
Happy Farmer                                                 A
Happy Wanderer -------------------------E, key of A
He flies thru the air with the greatest of ease........
He shall feed his flock                                  A hi
Here I am, lord--------------------------------------- D
Hector the hero.............................................A lo
Hi lili, hi lili hi lo                                              A lo
Holly and the Ivy                                              D
Holy God, we praise thy name----------- ---------D
Holy, holy, holy                                                 D
Holy manna..................................................A lo
How brightly beams the morning star-------------        D
Huna blentyn....................................................A
I can't help falling in love with you                     D
I dream of Jeanie (uses G#) ============== B
I gave my love a cherry        A
I know where I'm going-----------------------------        D
I see the moon        A
In the bleak midwinter......................................F#
Irish washerwoman                                        A hi
Jacob's ladder ............................... F# or C# (6.5)
Kelvingrove        D
King of love my shepherd is------------------------        D
Kum by Yah                                             D or A
Lavender's blue-------------------------------      A hi
Leaving of Liverpool                                        D
Lo how a rose e'er blooming =============A hi
Loch Lomond-----------------------------------------        D
Long, long ago        D
Lord Haddo's favorite------------------------------        E
Lord of all hopefulness/be thou my vision        D
Lord, you have come                                       F#
Merry Widow Waltz--------------------------------        A
Minuet by Paderewsky (fifthlet)                      hi A
Mingulay boat song ......................................... A
Minuet in "G" - Bach                     A, G# in middle
Month of January                                             C#
Morning has broken                                  D or A
My gal Sal (blues) ?
My grandfather's clock ================= A
Never love thee more-------------------------------A
Now is the month of maying............................. D
O come, little children                                     A hi
Oh, Susannah....................................................D
Of the Father's love begotten ============== D
Old Black Joe---------------------------   A, key of A
O sacred head, surrounded                C#, key of A
On the bridge of Avignon==================D
On top of Old Smokey..................................... A
Only a shadow                                  A, key of A
Pack up your sorrows----------------------------   F#
Paper of pins (make up B line)                           A
Peace in the valley (blues) ============= A
Polly-wolly doodle        D
Plaisir d'amour (make up variations)                   A
Praise to the Lord------------------------------------        D
Preacher went down (blues)                            A
Red river valley        A
River (Bill Staines)        D
Roses from the south....................................... A
Salve regina                                        A, key of A
Seek ye first                                                    F#
Shepherd's wife's waltz                                  A lo
Shores of Ponchatrain-------------------------------        A
Since I met you, baby (blues)                            C#
Smile a while                                                   F#
Snowy-breasted pearl ================= A hi
Songs of thankfulness & praise                      A hi
Spring has now unwrapped the flowers        D
Stars of the summer night---------------------------        A
Steal away                                                       D
Stewball-----------------------------------------------        A
Table of plenty                                       F# or C#
Tennessee Waltz-------------------------------------A
10th Batn Highland Light inf'try c'ing the Rhine        D
Think on me ========================= F#
This joyful Eastertide                                        A
Ting, ting, ting---------------------------------------        F#
'Tis pretty to be in Ballinderry                            D
There's a wideness in God's mercy.....................D
Water is wide-----------------------------------------        A
Way down upon the Suwannee River C#, key of A
We gather together                                     E (6.5)   
When cockleshells (waly, waly) ========== A hi
When I fall in love, it will be forever ................   A
When you and I were young, Maggie               A hi
While strolling in the park one day===========
Wildwood flower   C#          key of A but uses a G
Who's gonna hold her hand?------------------------        A
Wild mountain thyme
With someone like you, a pal good and true         A
Wreck of the sloop John B ================A
Yellow bird ...................................................hi A

Songs in D-A-G tuning
Are you sleepin', Maggie?                               ?
Banks and braes of Bonnie Doon                A 1st
Black is the color of my true love's hair------E 5th
Blow the candle out                                    A 1st
Bonnie light horseman                         A 1st (6.5)
Can't help but wonder where I'm bound---    E 5th
Cantigas (work on cantigas)
Come all you pretty maidens,
       wherever you be                                 C 3rd
Come you merry lads & lasses (madrigal).. D 4th
Darlin' Corey-------------------------------------G 0
Dissembling love                                        A 1st
Dove she is a pretty bird ---------------- E 5th (6.5)
Dowie dens of Yarrow=============== A 1st
Drunken sailor..................................   E 5th (6.5)
Elm tree branches----------------------------- C 3rd
Froggie went a-courting------------------------A 1st
Gather us in                                       A 1st (6.5)
    play 2nd phrase on parallel A & D strings
God rest ye merry, gentlemen ................... A 1st
The great silkie                                          D 4th
Gwcw fach==================    E 5th (6.5)
Here I sit on Buttermilk hill.............          F 6th
I got a mule and her name is Sal                A 1st
If you miss the train I'm on                        C 3rd
Jesus walked the lonesome valley ======= G 0
Johnny, I hardly knew you                         A 1st
Let all mortal flesh keep silence                A 1st
Man of constant sorrow.......................... E 5th
Masters in this hall                                  A 1st
Motherless child ================== E 5th
My lord, what a morning---------------    F (6/5)
Now the green blade rises (Noel nouvelet)A 1st
Nyth a gog                                              E 4th
O come, o come, Emmanuel ................. A 1st
Old Chisholm trail----------------------------A 1st
Row your boat to Jesus' side========= D 4th
Scarborough Fair                            A 1st (6.5)
Scheherazade themes
Singers, sing                                           E 5th
Star of the County Down-------------------C 3rd
Summertime Porgy & Bess ====== A hi 8th
Sweet the evening air of May................. A 1st
Sweet Willie and Lady Margot                E 5th
Swing low, sweet chariot-----------      F# 6 1/2
Turn ye to me---------------------------------A 1st
Two young brothers marched away         D 4th
Wayfaring stranger--------------------------A 1st
Wild Rover ====================    E 5th


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Subject: RE: Three-chord songs
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 16 Apr 07 - 02:22 AM

1 chord

sur le pont d'avignon


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Subject: RE: Three-chord songs
From: GUEST,Big Al
Date: 16 Apr 07 - 12:20 AM

Im surprised there is no mention of CHASING CARS by Snow Patrol.

Three chords    A E D ......ad nauseum


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Subject: RE: Three-chord songs
From: mrmoe
Date: 26 Mar 07 - 10:25 AM

....but what about a song about three chords?

http://media.putfile.com/Three-chord-cowboy


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Subject: RE: Three-chord songs
From: GUEST
Date: 26 Mar 07 - 07:58 AM

ella, billie Holiday, Etta James, Sara vough


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Subject: RE: Three-chord songs
From: Bee
Date: 23 Jan 07 - 07:38 PM

Holy cow, what a tremendously informative thread this was. I've had to save durn near all of it for homework.


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Subject: RE: Three-chord songs
From: Uncle Phil
Date: 22 Jan 07 - 10:22 PM

I learned "Black Jack Davy" as a one chord song and still play it that way - words and tune similar to BLCKJCK(2) in DT. I could use more chords than that, mind you, but somehow they never seemed necessary.

Ol' Waylon had a country music hit years ago with "I Don't Think Hank Done It This Way" which always sounded like a one chord song to me.
- Phil


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Subject: RE: Three-chord songs
From: Alec
Date: 22 Jan 07 - 05:44 AM

One chord songs were not unknown in the middle ages.Only (relatively) recent example that comes to mind is "Tomorrow Never Knows"


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Subject: RE: Three-chord songs
From: Scrump
Date: 22 Jan 07 - 04:38 AM

"Pick A Bale OF Cotton" only uses 2 chords, even easier to play.

Anyone know any 1-chord songs? Can't think of any just now.

Or you could sing a capella and not use any chords.


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Subject: RE: Three-chord songs
From: GUEST
Date: 21 Jan 07 - 06:37 PM

"Wicked Game" (Bm-A-E, till the cows come home) - by Chris Isaak


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Subject: RE: Three-chord songs
From: GUEST
Date: 21 Jan 07 - 03:13 PM

Gargoyle writes:

>>BTW....Jazz REALLY isn't difficult.

SUUUUUUUUUUUUUURE Gargoyle - and if it so easy, then why
can't people play it without a LOT of study?

LOL


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Subject: RE: Three-chord songs
From: GUEST,RC
Date: 20 Apr 06 - 01:32 PM

I am just starting and i play guitar for 3 hours a day and three chord songs are about all i play so for accept for "House of the rising sun"


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Subject: RE: Three-chord songs
From: goodbar
Date: 18 Dec 05 - 09:11 PM

almost everything i play is only 3 or 4 chords.


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Subject: RE: Three-chord songs
From: GUEST,fatal_Error
Date: 18 Dec 05 - 02:22 PM


matthew wrote:


--matthew-
i LOVE MUSIX


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Subject: RE: Three-chord songs
From: GUEST
Date: 18 Dec 05 - 02:15 PM

very cool


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Subject: RE: Three-chord songs
From: GUEST
Date: 08 Dec 05 - 09:23 AM

song bird by Oasis can be played in 2 chords G AND E i think


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Subject: RE: Three-chord songs
From: GUEST
Date: 26 Jun 05 - 10:59 PM

i dig songs the songs that have the 1, 4, 5, 6, and another interesting little funky chord to keep me on my toes and make me think i'm learning and getting better.


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Subject: RE: Three-chord songs
From: GUEST,Joe www.planet22.biz Speers
Date: 26 Jun 05 - 12:03 AM

Check out a great example of the circle of fiths/fourths in the song Mushrooms on the Wall pt. 2 at my band's site:
http://www.geocities.com/degistation/planet22mp3s.html

direct link: http://www.personal.psu.edu/users/j/c/jcg155/c1demo/Planet22Mow2.mp3

Most Jazz songs are 3 chord songs with passing notes added, and passing chords to spice things up.


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Subject: RE: Three-chord songs
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 23 Nov 04 - 09:31 PM

and the Manchester Rambler of course


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Subject: RE: Three-chord songs
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 23 Nov 04 - 03:27 AM

Three chords are all right but with two chords - if it sounds wrong you should probably be playing the other one.
The two chord song is a bit like the Haiku, simple and beautiful.

My favourites are How Much is that Doggy in the Window, One man went to Mow, Singing in the Rain, Jambalaya, I wanna be Your Man,He's got the whole world in his hands (start on G and the other ones D7)

Step it out mary, What shall we do with the drunken sailor (but these involve minor chords - don't mess with the mafia)

There you are not a career, but I've heard a lot worse floor spots!


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Subject: needs some information
From: GUEST,LUCKYsCHARMED /// Mr_r0cknr0ll
Date: 23 Nov 04 - 01:38 AM

i would like to know the other patterns on which i will add some guitar addlib on that guitar chords patterns....


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Subject: RE: Three-chord songs
From: M.Ted
Date: 23 Aug 04 - 01:10 PM

You should start a "CHORD REQUEST" thread so more people will know what you're looking for--


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Subject: RE: Three-chord songs
From: GUEST,www.jandamdeane@ntlworld.com
Date: 23 Aug 04 - 11:28 AM

does anybody know the three chords for robbie williams feel thanks jeff


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Subject: RE: Three-chord songs
From: The Fooles Troupe
Date: 30 Aug 03 - 02:33 AM

Refresh


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Subject: RE: Three-chord songs
From: GUEST,Frank Hamilton
Date: 04 Jan 03 - 06:24 PM

As soon as I posted that Oh Tannenbaum would sound funny with three chords, I heard a bluegrass version that sounded pretty good. Guess what? Three chords! They used a I chord to a IV chord in place of the conventional VI7 to a II minor in the second part of the tune.
So I was wrong.

Frank


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Subject: RE: Three-chord songs
From: GUEST
Date: 04 Jan 03 - 01:50 AM

SET ME A GIRL THAT WOULD HAVE HIS OWN HOMEPAGE ADRRESS THAT WOULD TEACH ME FOR A LEASON OF VIOLIN



THNKS!!!!!!!!!! BY LUCKYCHARMD


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Subject: RE: Three-chord songs
From: GUEST,Frank Hamilton
Date: 21 Dec 02 - 10:49 PM

Genie, Oh Tannenbaum has more than three in second part.
It goes into a VI7 to a IIm7. You could play it with three chords but it would sound peculiar.

Frank


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Subject: RE: Three-chord songs
From: Genie
Date: 21 Dec 02 - 09:40 PM

O Tannenbaum


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Subject: RE: Three-chord songs
From: Alice
Date: 21 Dec 02 - 10:07 AM

The Lakes of Pontchartrain


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Subject: RE: Three-chord songs
From: open mike
Date: 21 Dec 02 - 03:14 AM

two threads
one title


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Subject: RE: Three-chord songs
From: GUEST,Frank Hamilton
Date: 20 Dec 02 - 11:32 AM

Neo,
You asked a valuable question I think. Why do some chords sound right with a song and some not? Style...tradition....appropriateness with these. Also, whether the melody line suggests the right harmony. Some chords may clash with the melody line. In some cases, depending on the style such as blues, this is OK.

As to the need for theory.....there's no point in learning it if you can't use it. Theory must be applied for it to work. That's the problem with music schools. They teach you the theory but they don't show you how to apply it in any practical manner. I learned to write figured-bass four part harmony prevalent in Bach's time but have not used figured-bass much in folk music at all. Or even in jazz for that matter. There are some concepts such as voice-leading which are useful but the traditional music school doesn't generally address how to play music in the "real world". There are some notable exceptions such as Berklee, in Boston or Dick Grove in LA. Also, The Old Town School of Folk Music in Chicago.

Frank


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Subject: RE: Three-chord songs
From: GUEST,Frank Hamilton
Date: 20 Dec 02 - 11:10 AM

Joe,
The Circle of Fifths really should be called the Cycle of Sevenths or the Cycle of Fourths. It's purpose is to see the relationship in chords when you modulate. If you look at the Circle of Fifths backwards it's more helpful.

IE: C,F,Bb,Eb,Ab,Db,Gb(F#)B,E,A,D,G,and back to C again.

Here's how it's used. C7 leads to F. F7 leads to Bb. Bb7 leads to Eb.....and so on around the cycle.

Many early jazz tunes use a half-cycle or what is known as a back-cycle.

For instance, if you are in the key of C, the song may get to a B7 chord, go to an E7, ....A7.....D7......G7 and then back to C.

A part cycle tune would be Five Foot Two (Eyes of Blue)

C//// E7 //// A7//// //// D7//// G7//// C////............


Some songs use partial cycle..some more. THe modern jazz Toots Thielmann song Bluesette based on be-bop blues changes by Charlie Parker uses the entire cycle. Starting with Bb.

Bbmaj7/// /// Am7b5 /// D7b9/// Gm7/// C7/// Fm7/// Bb7///
Ebmaj7/// /// Ebm7/// Ab7/// Dbmaj7/// /// Dbm7/// Gb7(F#7)///
Bmaj7 /// /// Cm7/// F7/// Bbmaj7 (turnaround) G7+/// Cm7///
F7///

The song doesn't use the chords in exactly the same order as the cycle but pretty consistent.

The Cycle is used in jazz as a basis for understanding harmonies that modulate within a tune.

Frank


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Subject: RE: Three-chord songs
From: Alice
Date: 19 Dec 02 - 10:55 PM

R


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Subject: RE: Three-chord songs
From: SINSULL
Date: 29 Oct 01 - 11:18 AM

Refresh. Thanks, Bert.


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Subject: RE: Three-chord songs
From: Zorro
Date: 16 Oct 01 - 07:54 AM

I'd hate to be the only one not commenting. I agree with the early posts that most of my songs are three chords. When I get tired of doing the song I'll experiment by adding a chord or note or "something." I'm guessing that some writers of songs put in some of the wild, obsure chords just to make it hard to play. Not always the case however. There is an old story about a guitar player who auditioned for Hank Williams Sr. When Hank asked him to join the band the young man replied: "But I only know three chords, G, C. and D7th." and Hank said: "You mean there's something other than those?"

Z


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Subject: RE: Three-chord songs
From: JohnInKansas
Date: 16 Jul 01 - 09:30 AM

"One Hundred Fifty Songs With Just Three Chords," Ekay Music, Inc., 223 Katonah Avenue, Katonah, NY 10536, 1990, ISBN 0-943748-47-X, $16.95 (in 1995)
But as several people have pointed out - why bother. Borrow a copy of "The Ultimate Country Fakebook" from Mel Bay - any of the last 4 editions - and you get 700 songs you can play with just three chords.
Talk about a rip-off.

This has been a good thread, although I think WyoWoman asked for a sip, and several of us have aimed a firehose at her. I'm sure she has the good sense to duck, when necessary, and won't begrudge the rest of us some fun.
Since I'm not too much into heavy musical theory, I won't comment on most of the hard-core lessons there, but some might be interested in some side notes.
Several people have alluded to the "do-re-me" note names. Traditional lore is that back in the olden times when only the monks s(w)ung, and everything was in Latin, a common liturgical "song" had the notes of the major scale in ascending order. The first syllable of each of the words sung to this liturgy came into use as names of the notes. "DOminus REmulus MIxedicus FAcetius, etc." Obviously I don't remember the Latin, but you get the point. Since everyone knew the song, it made it easier to remember the pitches. It's a little like "Joy to the World" where the same scale is all in perfect DESCENDING order.
I've noted some discussion also of why some intervals sound "good" and some sound "terrible." Most of this discussion has been close to the point, but has sort of floundered around it. Some of us might be better off to recall the mountain dulcimists' mantra, "Find a Pleasant Tone," and leave it at that. My SO has been working on that for quite a while now, and may be ready for the next step ("find the same pleasant tone everyone else is playing"). For the very few of us who might benefit, I would suggest "Fundamentals of Musical Acoustics," Arthur H. Benade. Reprint of the 1976 2d edition by Dover Books is about $16. Another suggestion would be "On the Sensations of Tone" by Hermann Helmholtz. The original dates back to the 1870s, and poor Hermie made a few minor mistakes because his equipment was not quite up to modern standards; but for the most part his presentation is clear. The current Dover edition, probably about $15 or $18 now, is a reprint of the 2d English translation, which was made from the 3d German edition. It has stood up well. These books are suggested only for those who want the satsifaction of understanding "why" the world works like it does, so I don't suggest that anyone leap into them with the expectation that it will improve their playing. Some parts of them can be pretty heavy going, although neither book is "mathematical." And you only need to look at what is helpful to you. Most of us would really rather go practice a bit more - and that's good for the soul too.

John


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Subject: RE: Three-chord songs
From: Louisa
Date: 16 Jul 01 - 09:02 AM

someone's probably already mentioned it - Star of the County Down


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Subject: RE: Three-chord songs
From: Ritchie
Date: 16 Jul 01 - 05:13 AM

It was nice reading this thread again, well done Wyo. As I was reading through it I was suprised to see that I had contributed. It's been like reading a novel wondering which way it was going and where it was going to end. Some wonderful contributions from some of my favourite people and ...now i can play 'always look on the bright side of life' which has more than 3 chords.

so thank you all, oh yes and one of my favourite songs, which I now can play after learning by listening to Art's cd is 'A handful of songs' thanks Rick for reminding me.

After watching the play on BBC last night about John Diamond I feel very humble about life and as gargoyle keeps saying HAVE FUN whatever that means to you.

enjoy lots of love Ritchie 'the big man'


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Subject: RE: Three-chord songs
From: wysiwyg
Date: 15 Jul 01 - 11:39 AM

refresh


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Subject: RE: Three-chord songs
From: _gargoyle
Date: 14 Oct 99 - 07:33 PM

Enough jesting and nose tweaking.

In all seriousness.....if you are serious about becoming a serious musicianthe most important decision you will ever make is in the selection of your teacher. It is critical.

Listen to them play.
Go to a recital and listen to their students play.
If you are bold, give them a test on sight and ear playing.
Find out their background/training where do they play now?

Your lessons should include:
1. Learning and polishing pieces for performance
2. Sight reading notes and even tab
3. Theory (learn the what and why of things)
4. Techniques -insights - avoiding pitfalls,traps,bad-habits.
5. Ear training
6. Accompaniment
7. FUN!!!!...(you should admire the teacher, communicate well, and feel proud when your practice yields fruit.)

Wether one is a child or an acomplished professional we all need teachers.


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Subject: RE: Three-chord songs
From: M. Ted (inactive)
Date: 14 Oct 99 - 01:13 PM

In classical music, that certainly is right--the tonic/dominant modulation is just exactly that--tension and release(I am not sure how well that model explains to a lot of New Music, Schonberg and the twelve tone system, but then..)

It is interesting, isn't it, how when you play the separate intervals like that, that the chords turn out to have so much dissonance in them?

The major third interval, C-E. can sound especially dissonant, and this used to really mess me up when I first tried singing harmonies--the reason becomes clear when you look at the inversion- E-C, which is the augmented fifth interval that "Garg" mentioned earlier--

In renaissance and baroque music, the major third interval was regarded as dissonant, and they resolved to a minor third instead--(most of the melodies in folk music follow the music rules of this time period, which is why I bring it up)

If you are harmonizing in C major, and your are resolving, or ending your melody ends on a C, you could go to the A rather than the E and it will sound better--


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Subject: RE: Three-chord songs
From: Jack (Who is called Jack)
Date: 14 Oct 99 - 10:18 AM

Had a classical guitar teacher who taught that music is the creation and release of tension, and used to couplets to demonstrate. He showed the resolution from a Bdom7 to an E chord by playing the D#-A couplet followed by the E-G# couplet on the third and fourth strings. The first, dissonant couplet sounded weird, the second harmonic couplet sounded right, but the pleasure was in the transition. This view informed all his subsequent teachings whether the topic was chord structure, or the use of dynamic changes of tempo and loudness. The point was always to create and then release tension.


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Subject: RE: Three-chord songs
From: _gargoyle
Date: 14 Oct 99 - 04:07 AM

THANX again soph....after all... this is the 1,4,5 school...

posted "late" by San Diego time....so this must be MEAN


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Subject: RE: Three-chord songs
From: sophocleese
Date: 14 Oct 99 - 12:24 AM

And, as gargoyle keeps pointing out, you can play with it and enjoy trial and error. It won't hurt, unless you do it at mega-decibels in the middle of the night next to your trigger-happy and sleep-deprived neighbour (sorry, that's a small canadian joke about our american neighbours - which thread am I in?).


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Subject: RE: Three-chord songs
From: M. Ted (inactive)
Date: 14 Oct 99 - 12:16 AM

For you people who are keeping track--Gargoyle's music theory is not quite all there-- the added notes are generally called "accidentals"-the dimished and augmented question really has to do with harmonic intervals--if you took all the G's in a key of C melody and changed them to G#, that would be augmenting them, if you changed them to Gb, that would be diminished--If you just add a Gb in between an F and a G, it is an accidental (even if you meant to do it)--

If you plan on adding "accidental" notes to your scales, be aware that if the added note is on an accented beat, it will sound like you need to change chords--same is true if you add the accidental at the end of a melodic phrase--

If you know a little bit of music theory, you can figure out what those chords should be relatively painlessly--if you don't, you can use trial and error--


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Subject: RE: Three-chord songs
From: katlaughing
Date: 13 Oct 99 - 09:43 PM

Hnag around long enough Pete and you might understand why several of us are wary. The venom will return as it does so often. Terribly, boringly predictable.


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