Saturday, October 22, 2011

The most popular chord progression in pop music

I was already conscious of this.  You might want to not watch this video if you choose to remain a more passive music listener, because after this you'll probably at least smirk quietly in recognition any time you hear a song like this.

The chord progression in question is I-V-vi-IV, that is, Do-Mi-So to So-Ti-Re to La-Do-Mi to Fa-La-Do and back again.  The upper case Roman numerals indicate a major chord, the lower case a minor chord.

I've had a sort of sub-genre of songs like this in my head for a long time.  Yes, sometimes I'm listening to a song and I think, "Oh, this is one of those one-five-six-four songs."  Almost as popular is a very similar progression, I-vi-IV-V.

Anyway, this video is a great demonstration of what seems to be an extremely popular, if not the most popular chord progression in pop music.


  1. That's an awesome video.

    It reminds me of the time I explained the 12-bar blues progression to my wife. She'd never noticed it before, but once I showed her how it worked and played some examples for her, she realized she'd been hearing it all over the place.

    And she was right.

  2. That's funny. I was explaining the blues structure to my young son the other day, and since then I've noticed it in a few songs that I had not noticed it in before.