Major Chords Progression

major chords progression

Major chord progressions are among the most frequently used in modern music. Constructed using scale degrees of their key signature, major chords when combined form a major triad.

Modulating up a minor third and back down to the tonic can add tension and add excitement to any song, as well as keep movement going through your chord progression.


I-V-vi-IV progression is one of the most utilized major chord progressions in modern music and an almost ubiquitous presence within any song, used by numerous artists across genres and generations. Although commonly referred to as the “pop-punk progression”, its use predates this term; doo-wop artists used similar orderings while Pachelbel used this type of chord sequence too!

This progression is great for building tension and creating movement before returning back to its root chord. Strummable, you can use its drop D version (by adding fifth string to this progression) for easier chord changes. A great major chords progression to learn for any guitarist player; its timeless appeal gives rise to songs built upon it! Furthermore, it serves as an excellent basis for writing lyrics and melodies to accompany this progression.


Harlan Howard of Nashville states: “All you need are three chords and the truth”. With this knowledge in mind, it becomes easy to see why this progression is used so frequently across pop, rock, jazz, soul R&B and classical genres.

This progression is an ideal way to demonstrate your ability to switch chords in any key without losing its harmonic integrity, as well as adding tension and resolution through various minor chords.

To varying the sound of this progression, try lengthening or shortening chord durations to add rhythmic tension and variation. Alternate between lengthening or shortening chord durations in order to add rhythmic tension and variation; or swap out IV for II (Example 1) or use hopscotch schema where VII is replaced with vi (Example 7). Note: Doing this may change the tonic of your major key and require you to change chord inversions accordingly, though if familiar with Circle of Fifths this should not pose as much of an issue!


I-V-IV-I is one of the most ubiquitous progressions found in music. It can be found both in classic doo-wop songs from the 1950s as well as modern pop hits, such as Ben E. King’s “Stand By Me” or Sam Cooke’s “Chain Gang.”

Easy chord memory comes easily as Roman numerals refer to specific notes of a major scale without sharps or flats, making chord progressions in any key sound identical.

Your song structure and melodies can benefit greatly from using chord progressions to build them. Make sure the chords you choose fit well with both lyrics and melody, and experiment with various combinations and orders until you find what sounds best. When ready, practice new progressions until they feel natural to you on a bassline or your hands; once ready start writing your own!


Chord progressions featuring thirds stacked over minor triads are an effective way to generate emotional and powerful chorus swells in music, such as those featured in Green Day’s “Good Riddance” verse and Howie Day’s “Collide”. This technique can be found throughout many songs including these two examples from Green Day: one verse “Good Riddance” by Green Day and its chorus from “Collide”.

These progressions sound the same regardless of what key you’re in because their interval movements remain the same from start to finish, since they use interval movements from the major scale which have consistent intervals from any starting point.

This progression can be found in many songs, but is particularly popular in modern pop music. It gives songs an air of motion and energy, making it perfect for faster tempo (upbeat) songs. A good song needs to take you on an emotional journey, so this progression is an effective way of keeping the music going forward.