As a songwriter you know that chord progressions are of the utmost importance to your music…but with all the choices available it can be hard to know which ones to put in your songs.
Luckily, songs in a variety of genres use fairly similar chord progressions, with the same few popping up again and again.
In this article we share chord progressions commonly used in modern music. Feel free to use them in your songs.
The Standard One: I V vi IV
This is the most standard progression of all. It has been used in dozens upon dozens of hits because…well…it just sounds good.
I V vi IV
Rihanna – California King Bed
Journey – Don’t Stop Belivin’
All American Rejects – Dirty Little Secret
The Beatles – Let It Be
U2 – With Or Without You
Here’s something that’s worth watching: The Axis of Awesome put together a compilation of many songs using this chord progression in this video.
The Resolving One: vi V IV V
This chord progression is a bit different, having two V chords in it.
The repeating V makes the vi V IV V progression excellent for transitioning on.
vi V IV V
Adele – Rolling In The Deep
Knife Party – Rage Valley
Skrillex – Scary Monsters And Nice Sprites
Michael Jackson – Smooth Criminal
Queen – I Want To Break Free
For a different sound, try using a I chord in place of the vi chord to create the I V IV V progression.
The Meaningful One: I IV vi V
Get ready to dump a whole bunch of seriousness on your listener with the I IV vi V progression.
I IV vi V
Kelly Clarkson – Breakaway
Boston – More Than A Feeling
Bryan Adams – Summer Of 69
Jason Derulo – Trumpets
Taio Cruz – Dynamite
The Transitional One: I V6 vi V
Rather than letting tension resolve, this chord only adds to it which makes it an interesting progression to place near the beginning of a passage.
I V6 vi V
Lady Gaga – Speechless
One Direction – Live While We’re Young
Travie McCoy (feat. Bruno Mars) – Billionaire
Christina Perri – A Thousand Years
ABBA – Mamma Mia
The Simple One: V IV I V
There’s nothing complex about this chord progression. All you have to do is start on the fifth, end on the fifth, and sound awesome in the middle.
V IV I V
Lady Gaga – Born This Way
Guns N’ Roses – Sweet Child O’ Mine
Train – Drive By
Green Day – 21 Guns
Johnny Cash – Ring Of Fire
Good luck with your songwriting!