American Pie is an eight-minute long song, telling its tale through music that is both familiar and compelling.
Don McLean aptly commemorates “The Day The Music Died”. February 3rd 1959 marked a tragic plane crash that claimed three musical icons’ lives: Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens and JP “The Big Bopper” Richardson.
1. G Major
G Major is one of the most frequently-used key signatures in music, according to Spotify data, where more songs were composed in this key than any other.
It contains one sharp note and the standard EADGBE tuning allows you to play chords easily in this key. Some musicians add notes outside of triad chord tones for flavor or extension – for instance a Suspended chord (regular triad moved up or down by one whole note) or Seventh chord can also be utilized here.
Essentially, ‘inversion’ allows you to reduce distance between chords by placing the lower D an octave below the higher G. This technique can help create harmony in an otherwise dissonant soundscape.
2. C Major
C Major is an extremely popular and straightforward chord to play on guitar, as its all white keys allow for seamless chord transitions without sharps or flats. It is one of the simplest chords to learn in terms of guitar chord structure.
C is also the foundation of many famous songs like Carly Rae Jepsen’s ‘Call Me Maybe’ or Cee Lo Green’s ‘Forget You’. Mastering C will enable you to develop finger dexterity as well as understand how scales work on the fretboard.
Chords have their own characteristics and personalities that can add or take away from a song’s success or failure.
3. D Major
D Major is a seven-note diatonic scale with two sharps, and its relative minor is B minor. Well-known songs in this key include Bad Moon Rising by Creedence Clearwater Revival and Summer of ’69 by Bryan Adams.
To play chords in D Major, triads can be built by stacking thirds for every note in the scale and adding in 7ths as necessary to form either major or minor 7th chords.
D Major is easily memorizable through its sharps’ order; their sequence creates a perfect zig-zag pattern which alternates going up and down, which can be remembered with “Birds Eat and Dive Going Copiously Far.” This pattern is present both treble and bass clefs.
4. A Major
The key of A major is characterized by three sharps in its major scale. Therefore, symphonies and marches written in this key tend to feature powerful melodies with bold, triumphant notes.
American Pie is an enduring lyrical masterpiece written by Don McLean that details the tragic deaths of rock icons Buddy Holly, Richie Valens and The Big Bopper in a tragic plane crash. Don McLean’s song serves as an insightful comment on early rock and roll’s decline and social shifts which occurred during the 50’s; additionally it’s also an effective way to practice switching between 5 essential chord shapes and strumming patterns.
5. E Major
E Major is a key with four sharps and three natural notes, providing its scale a very straightforward framework that is perfect for creating various chords on an ukulele; particularly helpful are barre chords like Fmaj7 that require stretching of your ring finger.
Remember, major scales are created through whole and half steps, starting on your root note of E, then moving up by whole steps towards each successive note in the scale. To gain further knowledge about scales and chord construction click here.
6. F Major
Popular songs across genres use only four chords, making them great options for beginner guitarists looking for fun and easy songs to learn! Check out some of these top hits below.
American Pie is an iconic folk rock ballad by Don McLean that has become one of his signature ballads, famous for its cryptic lyrics and storytelling ability. Though long in duration, its chord progression remains simple using only G, C and D chords.
Recall that an octave is comprised of 12 semitones up from its previous note; so to reach F from C by moving your finger down an octave. This technique is known as “versioning” the chord and can help when playing songs with different keys.
The song opens with long strums before gradually picking up pace with each verse, changing up chord progression to add variety to its rhythmic qualities.
G/D# chord is a classic way of playing the second chord in this progression. This “slash” chord contains both G major chord and D bass note on either side – creating an intricate balance of notes between G major on the left and D bass note on the right side.
G/D# chord is often written simply as a G chord for ease of reading purposes; its appearance makes the D bass note easier to spot. G/D# serves as an excellent illustration of how enharmonics works within music: G major and D major are composed from different scales yet contain the same pattern of whole steps and half steps starting with their keynote notes.