My interval song examples chart

These are the familiar songs I use to remember intervals.  To create your own list check out the Interval Song Chart Generator from EarMaster.

Interval Ascending Descending
Minor 2nd White Christmas (Irving Berlin) For Whom The Bell Tolls (Metallica)
Major 2nd Silent Night (Christmas) Three Blind Mice
Minor 3rd Seven Nation Army (The White Stripes) Hey Jude (Beatles)
Major 3rd Ob-la-di Ob-la-da (The Beatles) Swing Low Sweet Chariot
Perfect 4th We Wish You a Merry Christmas I’ve Been Working on the Railroad
Tritone Simpsons theme Black Sabbath (Black Sabbath)
Perfect 5th Twinkle Twinkle Little Star Feelings (Richard Clayderman)
Minor 6th The Entertainer (Scott Joplin) Love Story theme
Major 6th My Bonnie Lies Over the Ocean Nobody Knows the Trouble I’ve Seen
Minor 7th Star Trek theme (Original) Lady Jane; Chorus (Rolling Stones)
Major 7th Take on Me (A-Ha) I Love You (Cole Porter)
Octave Over the Rainbow (Wizard of Oz theme) Willow Weep for Me
My interval song examples chart

The 10 Most Common Chord Progressions in Rock and Pop

The following is a list of ten of the most used chord progressions in music today. Some are classic and have been used hundreds of times, sometimes in combination with each other or with slight alterations to make things a bit more interesting. If you learn these progressions and are able to pick them out of a song by ear, you should be able to play (or at least understand) nearly any song!

If you’re a songwriter, knowing these progressions will help you avoid writing the same song multiple times or copying your heroes’ music. These chord progressions are the musical archetypes of modern songwriting.

For those of you that know music theory, I’m providing the roman numerals. For those of you that don’t, I’ll give you the progressions in the key of G in parenthesis.

ee9f570ea9b6be4c9bb659f522e307f8

Number one is the Don’t Stop Believing Progression, I – V – vi – IV (G – D – Em – C). The Axis of Awesome did a great bit about this one in which they play 40 songs in a row that all have the same progression including, No Woman No Cry, Let It Be, I’m Yours, etc… and over the past few years, that list has become a lot longer!

The second is the 50’s Progression, I – vi – IV – V (G – Em – C – D). I call it this because it was hugely popular in the 50’s and 60’s and is still used today. Notably used recently by Justin Bieber for “Baby” (Justin was like baby baby baby oh… what a pity) and Sean Kingston for “Beautiful Girls,” though Kingston really just ripped off Ben E. King’s “Stand By Me”.

The third is the Canon, I – V – vi – iii – IV – I – IV – V (G – D – Em – Bm – C – G – C – D). It was the chord progression used by Pachelbel for his “Canon in D” (not in G, as notated above). The piece, forgotten soon after it was written (around 1694), was rediscovered in the early 20th century and has influenced a number of songwriters. It is, however, simply an extension of the basic I – IV – V – I progression that was used by nearly every composer for hundreds of years up to about 100 years ago.

The fourth is the Blues Progression, I – I – I – I – IV – IV – I – I – V – V – I – I (G – G – G – G – C – C – G – G – D – D – G – G). This is the way Chuck Berry played it in “Johnny B Goode” though the last 4 chords are often V – VI – I – V (D – C – G – D). There are 12 chords because it follows the standard 12-bar blues progression. In this progression it’s common to switch freely between major and minor. This progression has been used in thousands of songs outside of the blues from Cream’s “Sunshine Of Your Love” to Tracy Chapman’s “Give Me One Reason” and beyond.

The fifth is the Smoke on the Water Progression, ii – IV – V (am – C – D). It’s usually used as part of a larger progression and was used in Purple Haze, Iron Man, House of the Rising Sun, etc…

The sixth is the Good Lovin Progression, I – IV – V – IV (G – C – D – C). This was used in Wild Thing, La Bamba, Good Lovin’, etc.

The Seventh is the Sweet Home Alabama Progression, V – IV – I (D – C – G). Can’t Explain by The Who and  Sweet Child of Mine by Guns n Roses also use this progression.

The Eighth is a rearrangement of the Don’t Stop Believing progression vi – IV – I – V (em – C – G – D). I’m not sure what to call this one. The song that always gets stuck in my head with this one is The Red Hot Chili Pepper’s “Snow,” though I know Taylor Swift uses it in at least three songs (as well as most of the other progressions above…), Green Day used it in “Holiday,” and The Cranberries used it in “Zombie,” just to name a few.

The ninth is the stereotypical Descending Flamenco Progression  vi – V – IV – III (em – D – C – B (not Bm!)). This one has been used in songs from “California Dreamin’” to “Stray Cat Strut“… I’m sure you can think of a few more! A variation on this is vi – V – VI – V (em – D – C – D), which arguably may be more popular today…

And the tenth that I see is the  While My Guitar Gently Weeps Progression. This one straddles two keys and it’s basic representation is ii – I – V6 – bVII (- VI) (am – G – D/f# – F (- E)). It looks like a variation on the Descending Flamenco Progression and is presented with slight variations by everyone that uses it. The Beatles actually substituted an am7/G  for the G chord and left out the E. Chicago, in “25 or 6 to 4,” focused on the root notes in the bass -> A – G – F# – F – E. Green Day’s “Brain Stew” used a similar motif.  Led Zeppelin and Neil Young have each offered their variations, as well.

These progressions are not the end of music. They’re used a lot but they’re not your only options! If you listen closely you’ll hear them everywhere, but most songwriters use them in combination with other progressions or with variations, creating something new using old building blocks. Please don’t think of this list as a set of rules! Just information to enhance your own understanding of the way music works.

LAST WORD

It really isn’t that difficult to learn how to play music on the guitar. Songwriters these days don’t really use that many different chord progressions.

With these chord progressions you’ll be able to play enough songs to last you a lifetime. These progressions also show up occasionally in other genres of music, so keep an ear out for them in your journey as an aspiring musician.

Keep in mind a basic rule of harmony is:

In a major key, chords are always:
1st: Major
2nd: minor
3rd: minor
4th: Major
5th: Major
6th: minor
7th: diminished

In a minor key, chords are always:
1st: minor
2nd: diminished
3rd: Major
4th: minor
5th: minor
6th: Major
7th: Major

Remember, start off with the key of G, then transpose to A, C, D, and E.  I’ve included a chart below to help you in memorizing the various degrees of each scale.

I ii iii IV V vi vii°
C D E F G A B
G A B C D E F#
D E F# G A B C#
A B C# D E F# G#
E F# G# A B C# D#
B C# D# E F# G# A#
F# G# A# B C# D# E#
F G A Bb C D E
Bb C D Eb F G A
Eb F G Ab Bb C D
Ab Bb C Db Eb F G
Db Eb F Gb Ab Bb C
The 10 Most Common Chord Progressions in Rock and Pop

Songsterr Review

A Little Background

In the simplest terms, Songsterr is an archive of guitar, bass and drums tabs. Any person with internet access can contribute new tabs or make changes to existing tabs, and according to their website, it is impossible to cause damage, as the software allows for easy reversal of errors. According to Oleg Lyubchenko, marketing manager at Songsterr, “recently, we implemented error report tools, so everybody can report errors in tab, vote up or down error reports that look useful or not useful, flag inappropriate error reports for deletion by moderators, or report off-topic, abusive, low quality, duplicates, etc.” Have you ever looked over an online guitar tab and said to yourself, “What was this idiot thinking when he wrote this? It’s completely wrong!”

Unlike other archive sites such as Chordie, where incorrect tabs are legendary, prevalent, and remain available online until enough people complain, this doesn’t seem to be the case at Songsterr. Experienced Songsterr editors check all tabs to ensure accuracy, and, as stated earlier, participant members can easily report any errors that might slip through.

Songsterr debuted in August 2008, a curious and perhaps unlikely collaboration of Russian and American technology and ingenuity. Songsterr now receives millions of visitors on their website, Songsterr.com, each year, and features over 90,000 songs and more than 500,000 tabs. Very impressive numbers, indeed

Why Choose Songsterr?

To quote reviewer Jason Kincaid in his article on http://www.techcrunch.com, “One of the problems with typical guitar tablature is that it does a poor job representing rhythm and the duration that each note is played – both of which are essential.

To remedy this, most people play a recording of the original song as they examine a tab so they can figure out when to play each note. But this process is frustrating and time consuming.  Songsterr skirts this issue by accompanying each song with an audio file that plays alongside of it.”

Songsterr Free and Plus

The Free plan gives one access to all tabs contained, and what is referred to as a “subset” of features; Playback, Mixer, Solo and Count In. One needn’t sign up for a Free plan to use the basics, but signing up will allow you to contribute to the archive and use favorites.

The Plus plan costs $9.90 per month and includes advanced player features, such as Print, Half Speed, Backing Tracks, Chromatic Tuner, Metronome, Focus Mode, Fullscreen, Loop, Tuner, and much more. Paid users can even download custom backing tracks now. Take it from me; you will want all the goodies paid membership provides.

And if you’re wondering whether Songsterr is legal, rest assured it is. The site’s paid subscribers allow Songsterr to pay royalties to artists, so everything is on the up and up. Unlike other tab sites that have been in and out of business, Songsterr isn’t going anywhere anytime soon.

The Songsterr iPad App

And finally, Songsterr launched a tab player App for iPhone, iPod and iPad in April 2011, allowing instant access to realistic playbacks of over 500,000 songs directly from Songsterr.com.

For those wanting to learn how to play a song and learn the words to the song this is a particularly useful app. In fact, it is a must have app for that purpose. In my testing I found that this app is really just a link to the internet to the Songsterr web site as the exact songs and some of the functionality is available on their website. Using my computer I could do some of the same things on the web site without paying $4.99 by using the Songsterr free version.

When I tried to use my tablet browser it told me to get the app. This is because the site uses Adobe Flash to play the music and Flash is no longer available for most tablets. The app allows it to play on your tablet. This app is more like the Songsterr plus product.

Because of its use of the internet this app will not work without internet connection. The available list of songs is extensive and they will help any person wanting to learn new songs. This app is more like the Songsterr Plus version on the web. It is ad free, it allows you to control the speed, listen to the solo mode and play songs in a loop so you can practice a part of the song until you get it down. You can even add songs to your favorite lists. You can see the words to the songs. This is a nice teaching tool and I rated it at 5 stars.

Permissions:
* Modify or delete the contents of your USB storage
* Full network access
* Google Play License check
* Receive data from the internet
* View network connections
* Prevent tablet from sleeping

The app contains Google Analytics and Mixpanel that tracks the user’s behavior while they are using the app. It also uses Crashlytics to monitor the software so the other analytics programs are redundant and it makes them look like they are just used to monitor user behavior. The app also uses Google Cloud Messaging to send push messages and it could be used to send spam to a user.

The app installed 11.38MB into my device memory. I manually moved it to my SD card and it left 4.17MB in my device memory and transferred 9.25MB onto my SD card memory.

There is a section called ‘History’ with a list of tabs available for offline mode. You can access these songs not only from History, but also from other sections, such as most popular, tags, search and favorite. You don’t have to play the whole song; you just need to wait a few seconds while the whole track is being uploaded to your device. “Also recently, in partnership with Jamplay.com, we launched a new section called Lessons in an iPhone version. This section gives you access to a few series of video guitar lessons.”

LAST WORD

While Songsterr has taken off like the proverbial rocket ship, there have been the inevitable detractors who compare and contrast Songsterr to older tab sites such as Ultimate Guitar and Guitar Pro. Having navigated through several of them myself, it appears those criticisms may have been unfounded. I particularly liked the rhythm notation and streaming audio file features on Songsterr, and found these to be very useful in helping me get a handle on certain tabs.

Songsterr Review

Chord Construction – Part 1 – Triads (Inversions)

[EDITORS NOTE: If you don’t read music (“notes” on the staff) and if you’ve never encountered any music theory in the past, this is a good place to start. Go slow, read on and don’t be afraid to ask questions!]

In the course of this series about chord construction, you’ll find some music theory info about triads and sevenths chords, how to add extensions, chord equivalents, diatonic chords and finally a neat theoretical process to understand what extensions are “allowed” on chords.

The goal here is to have you realize that you already know thousands of chords. (that is, if you already play a little bit) Why? Since any single chord can be put to use in many different contexts, it’s not a matter of learning more chords… it’s a matter of finding more USES for the ones you already know!

triads-chord-inversions

Generalities

  • “Chord” means that all the notes are sounded together, at the same time.
  • The major scale serves as reference when identifying chords by scale degrees… and that’s exactly what numbers mean on this page.For instance, 1 3 5 means to play the first, third and fifth notes of the major scale. It goes for any chord found on this page. Degrees are raised by a sharp symbol (#) and lowered by the flat symbol (b).
  • Chords are built in intervals of ascending THIRDS (2 or more)This works 99% of the time. A third is the space (called “interval”) between two non-consecutive scale notes, up or down. For instance C-E is an ascending third (say “C D E” in your mind). Same thing works descending: C-A is a third (say “C B A” in your mind) but with chords, we won’t deal with descending intervals.
  • So, a chord will usually contain ODD numbers like this 1 3 5 7 9 11 13, up to a maximum of 7 notes (on this website at least)

Triads (Chord Inversions)

Triads are built of three notes. This is like the prequel to chord construction theory. There exists four main types of triads: major, minor, augmented and diminished. The reason behind this is simple: triads are three notes stacked up and between each note lies the interval of a third.

Triads construction:
1st NOTE -[space]- 2nd NOTE -[space]- 3rd NOTE

The [space] is the interval of a third. This interval can be qualified to be either major or minor.

Since there only exists two “types” of third interval, we are left with only four possible combinations of triads.

  • MAJOR TRIAD: 1 3 5
    Intervals : maj3rd then min3rd (as in C-E-G)
  • MINOR TRIAD: 1 b3 5
    Intervals : min3rd then maj3rd (as in C-Eb-G)
  • DIMINISHED TRIAD: 1 b3 b5
    Intervals : min3rd and min3rd (as in C-Eb-Gb)
  • AUGMENTED TRIAD: 1 3 #5
    Intervals : maj3rd and maj3rd (as in C-E-G#)

Other types of triads also exist such as SUS4: 1 4 5 and SUS2: 1 2 5. You can expect to see those two quite a lot in popular songs. The “SUS” means suspended, and in fact the note replacing the “3” in both cases is said to be a suspension of that “3”.

The two oddballs that I personally wish to leave with no names for now are 1 3 b5 and 1 b3 #5 … these are not common at all.

36 Triad (Chord Inversion) Shapes

To help you get started in taking these shapes to the fretboard, here are 36 chord inversions for major and minor shapes on the fretboard, all written out in C or Cm.

Closed Major Triads

To begin, here are closed shapes for major inversions. Closed guitar chords are those where the root position, and all inversions, fit within the space of one octave.

closed-major-inversions

Closed Minor Triads

We’ll now move on to the minor closed position inversions on three different string sets to experiment with during your practice routine.

close-minor-inversions

Major Triad Spread Voicings

You can now move on to exploring major chord inversions with spread voicings, which are shapes that expand beyond an octave but keep the same 1-3-5 construction.

major-inversions-spread-voicings

Minor Triad Spread Voicings

Lastly, here are those same spread shapes but written for minor chord inversions.

minor-inversions-spread-voicings

Last Words

As you can see, having a strong understanding of chord inversions will allow you to play any major or minor triad, in any area of the fretboard, and on any string set, which will open up your knowledge of the fretboard and of chord construction at the same time.

Chord inversions also play an important role in harmonizing melodies, as the root position of a chord is not always in the immediate area of the melody note, which is where chord inversions come to the rescue.

If reading and seeing fretboard examples is you’re preferred way learning, check out Gianca’s post at FaChords.com.  It explains triad construction in a simple, although different, manner that also includes fretboard visualizations.  Be sure to check out his online guitar games while you’re there, as well. I’ve found them to be excellent training aids and use them in my practice routine nearly every day now.

For further experimentation on the fretboard, see these excellent triad building videos:

Easy Triads By String Sets

Triads On Guitar

For eager beavers, here’s a huge hi-def chart of *all* of the triad voicings that you can have blown up and hang on a wall.  Just right-click to save it to your computer or device.:

Triad Chords Chart

Next we’ll discuss adding sevenths into our triads. If you have any questions or comments, please leave them below.

Chord Construction – Part 1 – Triads (Inversions)

JamPlay Review

JamPlay is $19.95 a month, with 7-day money back guarantee. It really should only take a few days to know whether you like a lesson site or not. It is always best to start a new website trial on a weekend or a point where you will have some time off. After all, if you are serious about learning guitar, you need to make sure all your money is well spent.

The Jamplay Forum

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As usual the first place I head is to the forum, and the first thing I notice is that the forum isn’t very active anymore. There are some recent responses, however it is clear their focus here is not on the forum. For some students this may not be a big deal, but I happen to be a more social guitar player. lol  If you look through the Stickies in each of the Topics, though, you’ll find a plethora of info written over the years by both members and staff of Jamplay. All in all, if you have questions about lessons, songwriting, general guitar points, even promoting your own band, the forum of JamPlay will probably suit your needs.

Lessons for All Levels

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While JamPlay has its share of beginner lessons, it does seem to be a little more geared towards intermediate and advanced players. This is really not such a bad thing, as many players out there have gone over some of the basics before and sometimes need a nudge into something a little more challenging. This site is certainly not lacking on challenging lessons. They show you all the basics if necessary, but you quickly move into more complicated lessons.

Live Lessons is a cool and unique feature

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On their homepage they have a list of live lessons, and a schedule listing upcoming live lessons. What caught my eye immediately were the live lessons titled “Pentatonic Precision” and “Melodic Magic.” These lessons sounded pretty cool and they give a time when they will start so you can mark it in your schedule. Below live lessons they also have a news and updates section on some of the more specific lessons to come. I noticed they had many upcoming tutorials on specific Beatles guitar solos, and I just might be the biggest Beatles fan ever… so I have plans to check them out in the future, too. You can stream all lessons free on the website, but to download lessons to your computer or device you have to pay a small fee.

Live chats with instructors

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The member chat is typically lively and social.  Several instructors are scheduled throughout each day to teach and answer questions in a semi-organized environment. Topics are chosen by the members, depending on what everyone wants to talk about. Most of these discussions tend to be more advanced, although beginners and intermediate players are also encouraged to attend and ask questions.

Software tools and games

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Diving a little deeper into the site we find a tool section that has a number of useful items such as a chord library, scale finder, metronome, and the usual tools for guitar players. In this same tools section JamPlay also has music theory quizzes and games. Most musicians have trouble with music theory so it is a great attempt to put some fun into the learning process. Of course, points are kept track of so you can see where you stand with other players.

Earn points and badges (practice practice practice)

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Along with the points for the games they keep track of your past lessons; JamPlay has aa badge and point system for each lesson completed. Apparently the JamPlay points will be used in the future for special access and privileges. They even have individual progress reports to keep track of all lessons, playlists, and progress. If you are the type who likes keeping track of scores and achievements, then JamPlay provides you plenty of opportunities during your online courses. They even offer a referral service of one free month for every other person you get to sign up, which is a great deal!

Professional video quality and multi-angles

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The video lessons on JamPlay are great, most provide close-ups at multiple angles. This is a huge plus and one of the best things about the site. There are times where you just can’t tell where the instructors fingers are with online video lessons, but not on JamPlay. The video lessons are professional, with a lot of video editing, and a variety of angles.

Want to learn Hawaiian, Flamenco, Gospel, Celtic, Rock, Jazz, Country?

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The real treat on this site happens to be when you get into the intermediate and more advanced lessons. I always love unique styles, and they have lessons for genres like Hawaiian slack key, Flamenco, Celtic, Gospel, and of course the usual genres you see on most other sites. I decided to immediately try out some reggae lessons, and even learned a few new tricks. Variety is the spice of life and this site clearly has a lot to choose from. As you advance further into lessons they phase into specific songs. Of course these songs are mostly all rock, pop, country, and metal, but they seem to have the most popular ones that most students ask for. And you can also request future songs.

Learn how to write your own songs (mostly acoustic)

The final phase of advanced JamPlay lessons focuses on songwriting, using all the skills you have learned. Unfortunately for me, there are way more acoustic songwriting lessons and very few electric-centric pieces. It would be great if they had more of a balance so electric guitarists would get the same push to create their own music. Nevertheless they have more than enough lessons to get you started on songwriting.

Free Sample Video Lessons:

Sound Like a Pro Guitarist (2:05:07)  Join Will Ripley, a professional guitarist and teacher, on a journey through useful guitar techniques that can elevate your playing from amateur level to sounding like a pro in no time.  Go to the video

Pentatonic Precision Week 1 (1:01:35)  This is the first week of the “Pentatonic Precision” workshop on JamPlay.com with Chris Liepe. In this course we are going to learn a single scale pattern and explore EVERYTHING you can do with that pattern over 10 weeks. It’s time to get creative, have fun, and realize how little you need to know to actually play music. Go to the video

Useful links:

  • For more information about Jamplay click here
  • To get a free trial week of Jamplay click here
  • You can get 25% off first month by entering at the checkout the coupon code “1BA1E2“. After the first month be sure to cancel if you don’t want to continue.
JamPlay Review