5 popular chord progressions and why they work

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0:00 Introduction.
0:23 I V bVII IV.
4:43 the Significant scale climb.
6:11 Pure Upright.
6:57 .
9:26 the vamp.
11:20 IV I V.

5 popular chord progressions and why they work

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About the Author: Virtual Piano Online


  1. Even though my music theory understanding is basic, I enjoy a lot this videos! How do you “find” the chord progressions of a song? Is it by ear? Or is a known thing?

    1. Personally for me, just after years and years of playing I can notice a progression by ear, but usually I would just look it up. The app ultimate tabs has all the chords for every song

    2. I’m certainly no expert, but I think the ones shown here are “standard” progressions that have been used countless times, and are as old as popular music itself.

    3. Over time it becomes easier to identify chord progressions just by ear, and then you can also check them by looking at sheet music or chord websites. Although be aware that chord websites are often wrong or inaccurate 😊

  2. The Chorus of Sorcery & Sabotage by Church of the Cosmic Skull uses the I – V – bVII – IV chord progression

  3. A close relative to the Phrygian Vamp is the Phrygian Dominant/Double Harmonic/Flamenco vamp, I bII

  4. I’ve heard so many cool songs here in the mixolydian scale, I think I’ll write a song in mixolydian when my current ones are done.

    Thank you, David, for all the explanations of how and why these things work!

    1. Isn’t there a Tame Impala song that uses that same vamp? I can’t quite place it but I think it’s something with kind of a shuffle groove to it?

  5. Your teaching chord progressions with examples like this has really helped me internalize the ‘feel’ of each. Thank you for the amazing content!

  6. I always associate the first chord progression with two songs. Sweet Valley High’s theme song and Spacedust Alley/ Star City from Diddy Kong Racing.

    It will always remind me of the late 90’s to early 00’s. It still sounds “futuristic” to me.

  7. Another couple of examples of the I V bVII IV progression is Fat Old Sun by Pink Floyd and Dean Town by Vulfpeck
    Great video as always

    1. @Nikolai Hermansen Yeah its such a great tune to jam, David Gilmour’s live in Gdansk solo is one of his best as well

    2. Always loved that Pink Floyd song, Gilmour’s solo at the end is so good

  8. Three songs that immediately popped into my head for the first progression: “you make me feel like a natural woman” by Aretha, “she’s got issues” by Offspring and “hold on loosely” by 38 Special

  9. Thanks for doing another one of these. I’ve found them really useful for my own music.

  10. I love how on the IV-I-V progression David (perhaps inadvertently) plays Fatboy Slim’s Praise You but then does not include that song in the actual examples lol

    1. I didn’t here that until you pointed it out, but it sounded soooo good!

      I’ve listened to “Praise you” a thousand times but I didn’t hear it 😮

  11. I can’t think of where at the moment but I have definitely heard the first progression used as a way to extend the ending of other songs, where after the song resolves instead of ending it plays this progression just to add a little more power to the ending. It’s such a satisfying resolution

  12. Either you have an encyclopedic knowledge of music or you do an absolute shed load of research for every video you make! How on Earth do you find so many examples of songs which demonstrate the chord progressions you wish to discuss? I don’t think it’s the kind of thing you can Google very well. Fair play to you, Mr Bennett, well done for putting these videos together to educate us lesser mortals

  13. Brown Eyed Girl by Van Morrison was the 1st song I thought of for the I-IV- I-V progression. I find it coincidentally satisfying it was the first example you used for it.

  14. I have been watching your chord progression videos. there great, how about telling us about different progressions making different parts of songs?

  15. Hearing the IV, I, V, V. I first thought of Matter Of Time by Eddie Vedder. That chord progression is grained into my mind from that song, alone with Hanginaround by Counting Crows.

  16. Some other songs I’ve always associated with I V bVII IV and I IV I V were Fat Old Sun by Pink Floyd and Why Don’t You Get A Job by The Offspring respectively, always loved those songs

  17. If the 5 chord of the first progression were minor instead, it would just be another rotation of the Plagal Cascade that you haven’t talked about yet! By the way, love that you used OK Go as an example for that one- I’ve never looked at that chord progression so closely.
    Besides, I don’t think I realized that Do-Re-Mi used sequence.

  18. Great video as ever David, appreciate the work you put into these – thanks my friend, ^oo^

  19. I always learn something from these videos. Never heard of “sequencing” before, but it made a lot of sense. I did notice that the IV / I / V / V progression near the end is used for the Cinematic Orchestra’s “Build a Home”. I transcribed it to guitar a couple of years ago, and I use D/F# / A/E / E !

  20. When you just talked about the last chord progression, it actually sounded like a rather common variation of The Mixolydian Vamp; bVII-IV-I-I, which is the same chord in the relative mixolydian scale (if it’s written as F-C-G-G, it’s just a question of wether C or G is the Tonic chord).

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