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Guitar Chord Progression:

I-V-I - - Major

Other Major progressions

You can hear various I-V and V-I changes in thousands, if not millions of tunes. But there are not that many tunes where you have these two chords only. It may be a bit boring with just two chords. But the V chord creates a bit more tension than the IV chord.

You will often hear some lines that end on the V chord. It is as if the music takes a little break, but have not got home yet. This is what is called a half close. If you end with the V – I change, you have a full close. Just listen, and you will understand the concept.

The tune that many learn as their first song when they are beginning to play guitar – Tom Dooley – illustrates the concept, as it usually is played with only two chords. The first line end with a half close, and the second line with a full close.

If you try this in C, the chords are C (I) and G (V).

When I started on this little lesson, I was only thinking of Tom Dooley as an example of a song with only these two chords. But I was making the backing tracks, and where listening to them, other tunes started to pop up in my mind. Listen to these tracks, and you will probably start to think of other tunes.

These are 8-bar examples with the I-V-I progression, all played at 120 beats pr minute, with a country feel. Each example is played 32 times, and are 8:40 long. The first row are progressions with simple I-V-I. In the examples in the second row, I have chosen the V7 instead of the V chord, giving the I-V7-I progression. 151
I-V-I C D Eb E F G A Bb
I-V7-I C D Eb E F G A Bb

Recordings with the I-V-I progression - Annotaded

  • The Beatles - All Togehter Now -
  • The Beatles - I Should Have Known Better -
  • The Beatles - In My Life -
  • The Beatles - Yellow submarine -
  • Eric Clapton - Can't Find My Way Home -
  • John Lennon - Give Peace A Chance -

  • Books covering the progression -

    Further references:

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