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Rock Music Theory for Beginners #2

January 3, 2016

We talk about "progressions" mostly because they provide a pattern to a song and how to figure out the rest of the song so that everyone can play or sing along, especially if you're in a band trying to learn a tune for an upcoming gig, or if you're just an individual musician curious and wanting to figure out a whole song.

 

 

 

We'll talk about a few more "familiar" progressions and where they fit in.  Although the I-IV-V progression and variations of it are important in rock, it didn't start there.  It was definitely in classical music, folk music, country, jazz, and so on long before rock.  The I-IV-V was a big start of rock and roll. 

 

Another pattern was the I-vi-IV-V, or "one, minor sixths, fourth, and fifth.  (The "vi" in lower case to indicate a minor chord.)  The '50's had the "Duke of Earl" pattern which was in a lot of "doo-wop" rock and roll singles, one of the most popular ones of course was "Earth Angel" by Buddy Holly, The Penguins and several others:

 

C                 Am    F           G7    C
Earth angel earth angel will you be mine
C           Am   F                G7   C
My darling dear love you all the time 
C          Am     F       G7        C
I'm just a fool a fool in love with you

 

Of course it still hung around, namely like with Led Zeppelin's "D'yermaker" 19 years later:

 

C         Am          F           G                              C 
Oh, oh-oh-oh, oh-oho, you don't have to go
C          Am   F    G                             C 
Oh-oh-oh-oho, you don't have to go
C        Am    F    G                             Am 
Oh-oh-oh-oho, you don't have to go

 

Note the end of the verse actually goes to an Am chord, but that's how they can make that transition to the next part of the song, it's a little more interesting than ending on the "C".  Of course they can do that, they're LED ZEPPELIN:

 

 

Now as we go along, are we going to go over every progression and keep getting into more complicated progressions and songs?  Not necessarily, the reason I started this blog topic was to show you along the way that even modern songs still have simple beginnings and you can learn some of them easily the more you listen and practice them out on your instrument or in your head....

 

 

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