4 Chords That You Need To Become A Famous Musician

Submitted by: cryswhatever 8 years ago in Entertainment

The Axis of Awesome prove that all you need to know are these 4 chords and you too can become a famous rock star.
There are 108 comments:
Male 870
I`ve always wanted to play accordion. I`m afraid it`s too complicated an instrument to pick up, though, so I settled for harmonica, several degrees of complexity lower.

[quote]Cy, the C Major scale is very different from, say, the Bb Major, or E Major[/quote]
I assume that you`re not talking about weird stuff like the Mixolydian mode but about simple transpositions of the major scale from one key to another, right? If that`s so, I can`t see (hear) a difference between C major or B flat major or any other major. I just looked up perfect pitch on Wikipedia, and apparently it comes in different varieties: for instance some people can identify the key of a piece of music though not an isolated note. Maybe you have some variety of that.

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Male 122
"Rearrange them, and you`ve got Pachelbel`s Canon... and for that matter, at least half of classical music."

Pachabel`s Canon has 5 chords: I V vi iii IV I IV V. But I know what you`re saying. And this video only accounts for poo pop songs, but I guess that was the point, wasn`t it? Also, no accounting for a minor key or mode in this video, is there?

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Male 737
Rearrange them, and you`ve got Pachelbel`s Canon... and for that matter, at least half of classical music.
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Female 340
The accordion is simple in theory, yet complicated in practice. *heh* It`s definitely the ultimate multitasking instrument, in my opinion.

Anyway, Suicism, I had to use "Raccoon1" for Youthink. Just so you know.

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Male 928
Oh, and for the people asking, this is in E major and the chords are E major, B major, C# minor, A major.
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Male 928
And I I6 IV. But hey, there are only so many diatonic chords. And right now everybody loves the IV I resolution. V I is out right now, classical music ran that poo into the ground. In fact, I think you`d be hard pressed to find a popular, contemporary rock song without IV in a major key or without VI in a minor key.
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Male 928
Oh I V vi IV, how sick I am of you. Of course, you could do the same thing with I V IV V or just I V IV... or a blues progression, or I iv IV V. There are a lot of overused progressions.
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Male 3,631
Raccoon; create a Youthink account using your same name and you should have an answer by tomorrow at this time. Very interesting what you have to say about the accordion`s harmonic approach; I`d be interested in learning more about it!
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Male 413
are they changing the words to each song slightly to avoid copyright?
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Female 340
I tend to like to use my own instrument of choice as examples. On the Accordion left hand, we don`t have suspended chords, major-sevenths, augmented... Nope. Every bass note has a counterbass above it, and FOUR chords under it: Major, minor, 7th and diminished. The four basics. When you get into more complicated music, yes, you use the other COMBINATIONS of the four basic chords, but that doesn`t make them NEW chords.
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Female 340
Augmented, suspended, major-sevenths... They are all still based on four main chords. They are the main chords in pretty much all musical theory, and taught as the building blocks on many instruments.
While it`s true that instruments in the winds and brass families play only one note at a time, their progressions are still based on the four main chords. Without those, you don`t have arpeggios, you don`t understand the various scales, and you have nothing to base musical phrasing off of.

Suicism, I think it could be inherent that you hear the modulations so well. However, the tonalities get my attention as well.

How long have you been a musical person, by the way? (This is just curiosity; I get nerdy when I come across someone else who`s so fluent in music.)

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Male 1,835
And by the way, not all instruments can play chords. Most can only play one note at a time.

every instrument used commonly in rock music uses chords. the exception being vocals. which require multiple people and even vocals tend to use chords.

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Male 58
And I`m with Suicism on the Lemmingboy being dead wrong thing. That`s just ignorant.
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Male 1,835
o.o that was amazing.
favorite key:C#m
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Male 58
"Whoa... Whoever said that all those chords are major doesn`t understand music chord progressions very well. No matter what key, you have four basic chords you can play, on ANY instrument. Major, minor, seventh and diminished. All other progressions: Arpeggios, combinations, phrases, etc. are based on these four chord types. Some will get into seventh-diminished chords, but they are still based off of the seventh and the diminished chords."

And augmented. And suspended. And major sevenths. And so on.

And by the way, not all instruments can play chords. Most can only play one note at a time.

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Male 58
I think that this kinda serves as an un-example. It`s not like every song has piano quarter notes in the background. The variety in rhythm (and key) in the songs shows that it takes more than a chord progression to make a song. It`s what you do with it that makes the music. And as far as what Suicism - great points, by the way - was saying, the difference in fundamental texture in between CM and BbM is the basis of learning perfect pitch. If your song doesn`t sound quite you might want to fool around with the key until you like it.
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Male 3,631
Thanks for clarifying that Raccoon, but I still have to point out one thing: the progression featured did NOT contain any diminished chords, though you are correct in stating that for most pop-intents and purposes, those four characteristics are indeed a good way of generalizing the genre. There are also a lot of suspended 4ths & 2nds, which help give all these `different` songs their respective texture. I think Cy was trying to look at the concept of chord-progression in an objective, interval-related way. The distance from 1 to 5 always sounds the same, RELATIVE to the key you`re in. Establishing that relativity (or not) is where things become interesting. You`re right in a subjective sense, however; to you, CM might sound fundamentally better for certain textures than BbM; I know I certainly run into these curious distinctions when composing or even performing, as in transposing the intro to "Light my Fire" into any key other than one ending on Ab7 chord;
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Male 3,631
I have to wonder if it`s because I`ve been CONDITIONED to hearing it resolve a half-step up from GM, or if there is TONALLY something which ultimately prevents the progression from sounding as natural in any other key (interestingly enough, Manzareck`s organ is tuned about 34-cent up from 440 in the original recording - maybe that has something to do with it); ultimately, it`s a matter for the individual to determine and usually their vocal, or even instrumental range will play no small role in this determining factor.

Interesting musical background you seem to have by the way; is Accordion quite the bit more popular as an introductory instrument in Canada than America?

P.S.

Baalthazaq, check your PM

miauw, I might be able to help you (that is if you’re not too occupied with exams to reply)

amaqdrinker, point-taken, and thank you MaFSotL for confronting that perplexing claim so that I didn’t have to.

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Male 413
35 songs not including casey chambers twice...

oh btw i love you tim minchin and your canvas bags... if you want more minchin check out the adam hilsong

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Male 413
they more than proved their point. nice way to end it as well with missy higgins
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Male 432
The A-Ha part was epic.
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Female 340
Ike, Blues was the inspiration for Country. Everything has been inspired by something else. If you hear early rock `n` roll, it sounds an awful lot like blues and country, doesn`t it.

Cy, the C Major scale is very different from, say, the Bb Major, or E Major. Then you have minor scales. They changed the keys to make them ALL SOUND THE SAME, despite the fact that they aren`t.

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Female 1,516
I came back to watch this again I found the picture of A-Ha quite disturbing.
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Female 134
Um, how many different keys are there in music? not that many, so of course people can double up on different songs, especially during the singing. The backgrounds are always cord progressions, and they are all very similar.
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Male 381
lol unbelievable that i never actually realized that
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Male 1
To those that don`t like the repetition in music:
*points at jazz and 1970`s progressive rock*
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Male 1
Those songs are all in different keys they just played them all in the same key to try and simplify them. The blues are I V IV, I suppose thats all the same too in their moronic opinion
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Female 213
Awful nasaly voice.
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Male 322
i don`t know if i would say "famous".
i`ve only heard about half of them.
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Female 76
lame sauce. there`s really only so many chords u can use and those were a few that always sound good, you have to give them credit for the melody and the song writing, chords are only part of what makes a good song.
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Male 367
Eventually you run out of chords so why not use someone else`s?
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Female 189
eh music is music, stay in the sauce long enough, you`ll figure out the ingredients
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Male 886
Banjo Patterson kinda looked like Steve Carell. (2:54)
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Female 121
To me, all that proved was that he could fit multiple songs` lyrics to the same chords. That`s not how most of those songs sound. And I couldn`t stand to listen to his awful nasally voice for more than a minute in a half, so I guess it could have gotten better after I stopped watching.
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Male 2,148
I hate talking about music theory and music history. I`ll tell you what I think sounds good and what I think sounds like crap (Jonas Brothers). Studying the history of what genre gave way to another genre and such is just stupid to me.
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Male 2,148
I think the Jonas Brothers already proved you only need to know four chords... God thehy`re so damn bad at music/life.

Also, Alicia Keys is hot.

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Male 20
"screw defining art, just let your senses react to it. institutionalized art has had very little effect on art`s progression and usually just leads to stagnation."

Defining art and creating "rules" (I prefer the term "norms") make breaking those rules possible and profound. for example: If there was no concept of perspective in visual art, we would still paint like artists in the middle ages, and Picasso would have just been another dude with a paint brush. defining art is imperative if you want any kind of progression

also...while Mozart was a musical genius, Bach was a COMPOSITIONAL genius. Mozart did not contribute nearly as much in the art of composition as Bach or Beethoven.

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Female 393
miauw, I dunno what key they were playing in, but if you play

G--->D---->Em---->C you can do all those songs.

It`s the same chord progression, maybe not key though. But then again, key doesn`t really matter :). You can put the progression in any key. G is just the easiest I think.

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Male 2,245
"IkeRay used the term "structure" and "ambigous," not "defined" and "institutionalized." J.S. Bach was an institutionalized musician. Are you telling me he didn`t have any impact on the course of Western musical evolution, including such modest accomplishments as perfecting 4-part harmony and the "Well-tempered Klavier," which is what we base most of our western tuning preferences on (the reason pianos are generally no longer tuned to a specific key as their counterparts were in the baroque era)?

I`d hardly consider that stagnation."

i said usually and bach is amazing but he is not mozart, or robert johnson, or john coltrane. and anyway, bach`s contributions to music came from him as an individual.

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Male 870
[quote]Raccoon said:
Now, all that Axis of Awesome did was transpose all those songs into the same key, which made it sound like they just used the same chords. They did, but in different keys, and used different phrasing, combinations and arpeggios, and combinations therein.[/quote]
I have to disagree about the different keys part. Maybe I`m missing your point, but how does the key in which a song is played have anything to do with the music? It`s exactly the same song no matter what note you choose to start on: it`s the relationships among notes that we hear, not the notes themselves. If this weren`t so, we would all have perfect pitch, which most of us don`t.
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Male 2,703
racoon, are you referring to blues as country? if so, then your history is 100% correct. Rock, pop, AND rap came from country...which sounds odd to say but its true.

It was half a joke about the classical music, but can you imagine the music they will be listening to? nobody in the early 1900`s could fathom rap or rock, they were all big band and jazz.

I have to say that some bands do a much better job of exposing the classical influence in rock than others. It`s noticeable to the non-musician via string quartet or orchestra compositions. such as the Orchestral versions of Pink Floyd music or Apocalyptica`s music (string quartet of Metallica).

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Male 190
ahha
thank god that there are actually some people here that know what they are talking about and that this hasn`t been filled with OMGZ WHAT ARE THOSE CHORDZ I IZ GONNA BE RICH
also on the whole classical music in a 100 years
no that wont happen
the modern day genres my start to be defined as "classic" like classic rock for instance
however classical music is now defined as a seperate genre.
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Female 101
hmm I wish they would show how to play the notes (my chords knowledge isn`t what it used to be) .I`m to lazy at the moment to find them myself (=>exams)
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Female 1,653
sux
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Female 340
"in 100 years, will this be considered classical?"

Probably not. All things considered, music started becoming `modernized` already almost a century ago with the Jazz era of the early 1900`s, followed closely by swing, jitterbug, and yes: blues. These gave way to rock `n` roll, which gave us the first instances of popular, or "pop" music. Classical music is VERY different from the other genres of music that have cropped up since, but has been a basis for almost every single one of them.

Now like I had said, all that Axis did was transpose these songs so that they would sound like all you need is those chords. They were just showcasing the basic four chords: Major, minor, 7th and diminished. You can hear these in ALL types of music. Some will omit one, and it depends on the major or minor scale, but these are the four basics of music.

Baal, you`re right. It`s refreshing to talk with someone who shares a passion for the language of music, and understands the s

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Female 200
They have some good voices
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Female 340
Anwar, I`m a girl. Just thought I`d let you know. *heh* But considering music is my second language (I was practically born an accordionist) I figured I would clarify some things, that`s all.

Suicism, I did pick up on it. It`s subtle. However, I figured since you had mentioned it in a previous post, that I wouldn`t touch on it; you seem to have done a good job explaining that part of the whole thing.

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Female 761
lame.
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Female 652
nice
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Male 355
OH GOSH! NOT THE TRUTH!!! NOT THE TRUUUUTH!!!!

ahahuhehuae

This is Axiswesome!

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Male 626
Yea the it goes with the tune but... after 5 minutes of just them notes it drives ya mad. The - con - stant - re - peat - of - notes - at - the - same - speed.
Its gives you that feeling that its leading you somewhere... then going nowhere. It`s blue-balling your ears!
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Male 985
Holay Molaaay
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Male 175
That was amawzome.
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Male 4,546
No sarcasm intended, it`s just a chat about Music and he knows his poo.
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Male 4,546
I concede all points to suicism on principle.
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Male 3,296
thank you iab, i am now going to be a rockstar
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Male 337
actually u only need to know 3 chords
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Male 20,908
i learned a lot from the comments in the forum. more than i have in all of 2009. thanks.
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Male 2,703
Suicism:

yeah, when I think of it, I think of Fry sitting in his 80`s apartment (the one "now with asbestos") turning on "I like big butts" and Leela says, "You can`t sit around all day listening to classical music" that is why futurama is SO much better than most of the adult cartoons (and slaughters MacFarland`s), those one line quipes.

My favorite musical reference on futurama has to be when they go back in time. "Zoidberg, you pick up the pieces....everyone else, take five" no 10 minutes on the same joke, just give the line and move on, the audience should laugh of its own accord.

but enough of that great show...back to topic at hand.

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Male 3,631
Amaqdrinker, IkeRay used the term "structure" and "ambigous," not "defined" and "institutionalized." J.S. Bach was an institutionalized musician. Are you telling me he didn`t have any impact on the course of Western musical evolution, including such modest accomplishments as perfecting 4-part harmony and the "Well-tempered Klavier," which is what we base most of our western tuning preferences on (the reason pianos are generally no longer tuned to a specific key as their counterparts were in the baroque era)?

I`d hardly consider that stagnation.

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Male 3,631
IkeRay, you do make a good point when it comes to the guitar. As most of us could have guessed, not ALL of these songs were written for E-major (though some of the ones I can recall off the top of my head would include "Take on me" and "Under the bridge," as well as "don`t Stop"), and to learn even the same THEORETICAL progression (I-V-vi-IV or i-IV-III-VII) on a variety of keys would require different placements and fingerings for the majority of chords (unless power-chords are your m.o., but even in that case placement is still paramount).

"in 100 years, will this be considered classical?" Ha ha, reminds me of that Futurama episode where Leela, in a rejection of its application as upbeat and/or dance-friendly, refers to Hip-Hop as that "stuffy classical music."

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Male 552
"screw defining art, just let your senses react to it. institutionalized art has had very little effect on art`s progression and usually just leads to stagnation."

true words. art is what you make it, it can`t be molded or shaped by anyone but the artist and perciever.

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Male 2,245
"the science is what attracts us to art...without structure many would find art ambiguous."

screw defining art, just let your senses react to it. institutionalized art has had very little effect on art`s progression and usually just leads to stagnation.

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Male 2,703
I have to disagree that ALL music is based on this. LOTS is, sure, but there are the originals.

also, the transposition is misleading. my brother said the same thing when he was learning guitar, all I need to know is 4 chords and I can play almost every song out now a days. right but wrong. you need to learn LOTS of chords, the rhythm and tempo are different and then you have a bridge which changes the chord progression usually. plus, it sounds retarded when you are transposing some of these songs, they work in their key but sound so forced.

btw, Maroon5 already plays on this in Songs About Jane, listen VERY closely to This Love, at the end they use She Will Be Loved as a closing (of a sort). that is, on the CD and not on the radio edit...radio kills us all.

in 100 years, will this be considered classical? imagine the music our grandkids and great grandkids are going to be listening to...

the science is what attracts us to art...without structure many would find art ambiguous.

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Male 2,245
art is not a science
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Male 476
Awesome
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Male 3,631
Ha ha ha, I`ve always enjoyed discussing my passions in detail. Thank you for the cookie.
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Male 2,076
Suicism does too, but I`m not as hesitant to point it out since his ego his suffocating the air.
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Male 2,076
Racoon actually does know what he`s talking about. Impressive the guy took out the time to transpose them...but yeah...not as straightforward as it sounds.
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Female 340
Whoa... Whoever said that all those chords are major doesn`t understand music chord progressions very well. No matter what key, you have four basic chords you can play, on ANY instrument. Major, minor, seventh and diminished. All other progressions: Arpeggios, combinations, phrases, etc. are based on these four chord types. Some will get into seventh-diminished chords, but they are still based off of the seventh and the diminished chords.

Now, all that Axis of Awesome did was transpose all those songs into the same key, which made it sound like they just used the same chords. They did, but in different keys, and used different phrasing, combinations and arpeggios, and combinations therein.

It`s impressive when you get it all together, but really not all that unexpected.

Trust me. I know what I`m talking about.

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Male 3,631
You`re on the right track Duckboy, but it`s known as Atonal music, and Lemmingboy, you`re just dead wrong.
The initial progression was I, V, vi (c# is minor), and IV. Furthermore, in any traditional Major scale (which is what we`re hearing here) the iii is NEVER III.

However, halfway through (and I`ll forgive most of you for not picking up on this) the progression DOES modulate to begin in E`s relative minor, c# (it`s after the comical A-ha venture) and proceeds to follow i(c#)-IV(A)-III(E, formerly the tonic) and VII(B, formerly the V). It then parlays back into E-major during the transition into Natalie Imbruglia.
Interesting stuff, I`d seen the guy from Five year Plan do a similar expose` when it was last posted here, except he sticks to E for I believe the whole time (really driving the point home).

By the way, in case anyone is wondering why our collection began with E-major? I have a hint for you: you`ll find your answer so long as you keep believin`.

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Male 50
Wow this has been used almost as much as the Incredible Bongo Band - Apache
beat in hip hop songs. Look it up the list of artist that sample the beat is huge.
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Male 437
The Zoinks Seal of Approval
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Male 228
I am so glad this point has been put into words. I have always heard it, but didn`t know how to say it. I`d say a good 70 -80% of pop music from the past 50 years has this same chord progression or a transposition of it.
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Male 516
This guy has already done this before, and better
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Male 3
you make a solid point my man.

cheers for the link.

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Male 3,646
Rob Paravonian
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JdxkVQy7Q...


The only "original" music one can make nowadays, are using 20th century techniques.
IE tonal music, where you take any scale and start on any given note on that scale using the same key signature, creating ones own scales, AKA 12-tone series, or 8-tone series, or any amount the you want, and of course their respective inversions.

And anyone who uses all major chords should be shot... what`s the point of music without dissonance?
In one of my original compositions I had it one note at a time, but sustaining the notes with the notes A, D, F, E, in that order. It sounds better than any pop music.

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Male 3
i must say i found it more interesting the first time i heard it performed by some comedian (name unknown) who made the point using pachelbel - canon. that was funny. this video seems to imply plagiarism. at the same time as being itself plagurised. (irony police anyone?)

i do not think that is the case. as mozart said "all the notes are there, they just need to be put in the right order." or words to that effect in hungarian...or whatever.

there only are 12 notes. do people really believe there is such a thing as an "original" composition anymore? or for that matter ever? music is inherently repetitive. this progression combined with the amen break are more often than not all there is to most contemporary music. and providing you can slap a pretty face on the cover or have some pointless pseudophilosophy attached to the music it should still market well.

regards etc

anonymous musician/producer

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Female 15,763
Wow... taht`s suspiciously simple.
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Female 7
im so confused
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Male 77
That is why I listen to jazz.
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Male 125
you could easily do the same with em c g d
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Male 2
none are minor? alright that works haha. I was basing my knowledge off a guitar world transcription of "Don`t Stop Believing" on guitar, and so i couldn`t remember tonality
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Male 633
ahhh yes the V II III I chord progression.
@magyar54, none of the chords are minor, all major.

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Female 609
holy crap! that`s INSANE!!!
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Female 192
Agreed, Emogangster... If I learn these, I`ll have some great gigs lined up at restaurants. :-D
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Male 243
that was very intriguing.
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Male 2
the chords are E, B, C#, A. I`m not sure about which ones are major or minor, but it shouldn`t be that hard to figure it out from there.
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Male 68
The singing in this is actually rather good in my opinion. Especially the harmonies, etc.
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Male 97
well there are a lot of good songs.
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Male 147
Tempo is same, Chords are different.
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Female 1,516
Wow... this was awesome! The vocals are amazing.
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Male 184
Does anyone know what those chords are? I play piano and I`m interested!
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Male 868
Goes to show the originality out there.
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Male 346
great voice on the A-Ha song lol. all over good clip though, some unexpected ones on their.
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Female 432
Alot of my favourite songs. And you can`t deny that it has a lovely melodic sound. I don`t mind that they reuse it. :)
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Male 181
What people don`t realize is the fact we have used/discovered just about every Chord Progression we can play naturally. If you really listen to most music you will find commonalities in almost every song, unless it is just random trash being spewed through a mic.

Plus this particular Progression is so friendly and easy to use, why not?

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Male 334
That is amazing. A lot of my favorite songs are on there.
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Male 3,819
That chord progression is just so melody friendly, though. You can sing almost anything on it and have it sound good!
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Male 1,556
Wow, that`s crazybeans.


I`m gonna search every song I hear for these chords.

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Male 287
and @amandalea

Music has been this way since the beginning. This band just wanted to do it with songs people recognized. it has nothing to do with "new music" not being as good as "old music"

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Male 107
wow. just wow.
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Male 287
That`s an impressive collection. Like you could pretty much do this with any progression, but the sheer number of songs these guys found is amazing.

I love comedy bands like this.

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Female 432
wow never really realized really cool
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Female 182
Wow.
I always knew there was an underlying reason I don`t listen to new music.
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Male 486
That was sick and so true!
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Male 66
Wow, Nice!
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Female 140
Link: 4 Chords That You Need To Become A Famous Musician [Rate Link] - The Axis of Awesome prove that all you need to know are these 4 chords and you too can become a famous rock star.
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