Traditional Patterns Lesson 1

The three progressions we are going to look at in this lesson are based on the principal chords in each key. The principal chords are based on the I IV and V scale note in each key therefore in the key of G Major they will be the chords of G the 1st scale note, C the 4th scale note and D the 5th scale note.

In traditional harmony the V chord generally resolves to the I chord. Classical harmony used by the great classical composers of the 17th and 18th centuries Haydn and Mozart was based almost solely on this V to I relationship. Variety and contrast was achieved by changing the tonal centre by brief excursions through related keys.

Since this time to the present day popular western music has been very much centred on this form. For example early country music by artist/composers such as Hank Williams used the I IV V progressions almost exclusively. Traditional Blues music grew to prominence based on the same three chord progression and heavily influenced the early Rockabilly music which gave birth to Rock’n’Roll.

Just a few songs that are based on this progression are:

Hank Williams “Hey Good Lookin'”
Elvis Presley “Blue Suede Shoes”
Little Richard “Good Golly Miss Molly”
Robert Johnson “Crossroads”
Bob Dylan “Blowing In The Wind”
Jimmy Buffet “Margaritaville”

Here are the chords we will be using during this lesson.

G Major Chords

Remember to keep the left hand fingers curved and only use the finger tips to fret the notes.

Traditional Pattern 1

The chord formula for Traditional Progression 1 is I V I Traditional Pattern 1

Listen closely to the sound of the progression, in particular the relationship between the V chord and the I chord. Notice that the V has a strong pull toward the I chord.

Remember a lot of great music has been written with just two chords.

Here are a few examples:

Joe Cocker “Feelin' Alright”
Hank Williams “Jambalaya”
Chuck Berry “Memphis Tennessee”
Eric Clapton “Tulsa Time”
The Equals “Baby Come Back”


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