Three Chords and The Truth Relatively
So it started out when Rock began which is the Sixties- no the Nineteen Fifties did, but it did not start evolving until the Sixties where more and more bands could set themselves apart by their own songwriting and skills. There were,of course bands that did sound an awful lot like some others to boost their potential, but it was really in the sixties that things would evolve and grow.
A lot of the times the songs that were being made had sounded rather simple. It sounded like they were playing three chord progressions. However, if you break down a lot of those songs you may be surprised at the ingenuity and how complex a small chord progression could get. These were the Beethovens and Bachs of their time.
The bands of the sixties played mainly by their own innovation. The decade before provided a base which to go upon not much else then what was mainly a same chord progression, that is for most of the pop songs though there certainly were others as well.
How could one know how the sixties was taking just such a major leap? There were bands providing a new chord framework which to go upon not merely a new sound. There were however influences from the Forties that have been clearly augmented and borrowed upon. It may seem as if each decade was growing upon the last, which has been true for awhile, yet the chord progressions were now seemingly entirely original and would influence the new decade- the Seventies quite a bit. For each different influence of each decade provided more and more ammo fro songwriting.
It appears if you listen to a lot of the sixties music, especially the guitars and keyboards that you might sense the ingenuity in their songwriting. A song such as ‘House of The Rising Sun’ by the animals seems in it’s progression to be rather simple yet it holds the entire song as one piece. Many of the Beatles songs would probably have the thought of them being simple yet it is only the time of the song and the chords that they used were quite ingenious and hearkened back to compositions of the Classical period. The use of minor and major 7ths in chords an in the songs was very well reinvented in the Sixties which ale had influence in some Seventies rock and folk bands. It was probably largely adopted form the music of the Fifties and their Blues influence which sculpted Rock and Roll.
Some bands are very able to make a song or maybe a hit or great song using the bare essentials. For any reason, whether there less skilled or juts sticking to a format or formula have crafted undeniable staples of songs using a three or four chord progression. Many of the more complex bands go into experiments of many chords and scales and experiments in chord usage as well as other musical experiments. Somehow if someone would turn the radio on, it’s those more simple songs that seem to grab and hold our attention the longest. Though there are many bands that are well versed in there music use the three and four chord progression usage to emphasize a part of their song or songs. Many of bands in both regular Rock and Harder types of Rock can stick to the simple three chord formula for their entire band’s lifespan. There are also many simple chord profession usage in many other types of music beside that of Rock and heavier Rock. Sometimes it takes more skill or a refined sense to keep things simple and overly complex. The opposite of this is Guitar based Metal and classical composers such as Bach where they give the listener a full on assault of 32nd notes or faster over a wide range of chords and inversions. It seems that we seem to crave both one being sugar and the other salt. It just seems though at times without simple songs and simple uses of structure and chord progressions that sometimes less is more and there is a lure to our senses of having the three chord truth say it’s truth. We can listen more and hear more of what is going on around us by less distraction and finesse. It’s hard to think during a Paganini solo but might be easier to a simple folk song or something by The Clash.