21 May 2008

Beginner Guitar Chords Progression In A

In my last post you learned example chord progressions in the key of G. If you learn and practice chord progressions in different keys you will get several benefits. One of the most useful is that knowledge of chord progressions will help you to learn and memorize songs more easily.

Let me demonstrate with a song I learned recently, "All I Want Is You" by U2.

The first verse of the song is 12 bars long. But there is no need to memorize all 12 bars if you realize that a simple two chord progression is used. Each chord is played for one bar.

The I-IV Progression

The progression in this verse is called a I-IV progression. That's musician speak that means the first and fourth chords of the key are played (the I and IV are the Roman numerals for 1 and 4).

The second verse of the song is 16 bars long, but uses the same progression. Rather than memorize 12 or 16 bars for each verse, you only have to remember one two-chord progression; much easier I'm sure you'll agree.

This same technique can be applied to just about every pop or rock song. Progressions of 2, 4 or 8 bars are most commonly found. These short patterns are repeated to make verses of 16, 24 or 32 bars.

The same progression is repeated throughout the verse in all but the most sophisticated songs. With a knowledge of common progressions and a little observation you will find it a whole lot easier to learn and remember songs.

Now that you can see why knowledge of chord progressions is useful to you, let's take a look at some more examples. This post takes the same G key progressions and puts them in the key of A. Changing the key of a progression or song like this is called "transposing".

Practice each progression in a loop - strum each chord four times, at the end of the last chord return to the first and play it again.

Example progressions in A

Example I-IV-V-I
||: A | D | E | A :||

Example I-V-IV-I
||: A | E | D | A :||

Example I-IV-I-V
||: A | D | A | E :||

Example V-IV-V-I
||: E | D | E | A :||

Once you are comfortable with those you can play them alongside the examples in G you learned last time. Compare the examples to see how the progressions have a similar sound.

Song Building Blocks

Remember that chord progressions are one of the important building blocks of songs. Your knowledge of them will help you to learn and remember songs more easily.

In the next post in this series you'll learn more about transposing so that you will be able to do it for yourself. In the meantime if you have any questions on chord progressions please leave them in the comments.

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