I guess I should finally comment on “the only four chords you need to know” phenomenon?
I’m not belittling this subject. This is an important chord progression and one that will bring you pleasure and will open up many songs.
I first came across this as a hint from various sources (even hearing about it on a news report one evening) but I’ve not seen a better summary or entertaining lesson than the following. As I write, they’ve had 48 millions hits on You Tube.
So these chords are the root/tonic (or I chord), then the perfect Fifth (V), minor 6th chord (vi) and finally the perfect fourth chord (IV).
Written as a summary they are shown as
I V vi IV. The vi is a minor and the others are major chords.
In C major these would be known as C Major, G Major, A minor, F Major. Play them on the piano in any way you can and you will notice they sound pleasing to the ear and quite familiar. For me I know them as the “Let it Be” chords – a song i love and play often.
There are countless videos and lessons on “YouTube” on this subject and this chord progression. It’s well worth spending some time watching a few of the big hitters.
More importantly, get on the piano and experiment with them. Play the chords in different rhythms, improvise melodies over them (whether playing on the right hand or singing), play in different inversions and (what I currently find most useful) is to learn in other keys other than C major. My knowledge and playing in various keys is quite basic, but this is a fantastic tool to learn some of the four most powerful chords in a major key.
Here’s some other useful links. Enjoy playing this progression and I hope you find it useful.
Until next month!
It’s that man again, Mr Bill Hilton. No better teacher to explain this concept.