O'Reilly logo

Guitar for Songwriters by Leo Cavanagh

Stay ahead with the world's most comprehensive technology and business learning platform.

With Safari, you learn the way you learn best. Get unlimited access to videos, live online training, learning paths, books, tutorials, and more.

Start Free Trial

No credit card required

2I, IV, and V

YOU CAN PLAY THOUSANDS OF SONGS WITH JUST THREE CHORDS. In this chapter, we’ll examine these chords in the easy guitar keys, and later in all keys. Familiarity with playing the three main chords in all keys is a major step in getting comfortable with chords.

Musicians often refer to chords by numbers rather than by their letter names. You may hear someone say, “It goes one, four, one, five.” The person is referring to the relationship of the chords to the key of the song. The “one” chord in the key of C is C major; the “one” chord in the key of D is D major.

These numbers are often written in Roman numerals. “One, four, five” would be written I, IV, V. Music-theory students often refer to them as tonic, subdominant, and dominant ...

With Safari, you learn the way you learn best. Get unlimited access to videos, live online training, learning paths, books, interactive tutorials, and more.

Start Free Trial

No credit card required