The Beatles: Unique Chord Progressions

The Beatles has influenced and shaped popular music, one of their integration to the genre is the unique but chord progessions that sound nice.

The Beatles have once been known for their notorious chords and chord progression. Robert Zimmerman, a musician who was influenced and later influenced The Beatles once said: “Their chords were outrageous, just outrageous, and their harmonies made it all valid...I knew they were pointing the direction of where music had to go."

Early Songs

Bob Dylan referred to the chords of songs such as: I Want to Hold your Hand, It won’t be Long, From Me to You as outrageous. The harmonies of the songs fit to the unique chord progression. From Me to You uses chords such as G aug and G minor, there first time using such chords in their songs, a stepping stone for their Chord Progression. Gm6 later became one of John Lennon's favourite chords.

And I Love Her

And I Love Her uses the tierce de Picardie a technique which can be commonly seen in classical music. This is one of the first instances wherein it is used in Pop Music. Wikipedia defines the technique as: “A majority of this song switches back and forth between the key of E and its relative minor C#m. It also changes keys altogether just before the solo, to F. It ends on the parallel major of the key of F's relative minor, D.”

A Day in the Life

The information below is very brief, read this article for more

One of John Lennon's work, One of The Beatles’ masterpiece, it revolves around the Circle of Fifths, only one not changes per chord during the early part. The orchestra plays notes from the lowest E to the highest E, this creates an increasing volume effect, and next a different feel is added during Paul McCartney’s part adding a variety to the song. The song ends with the famous E Major Chord

I am the Walrus

One of John Lennon's work, all the chords are either major chords , seventh chords, or sixth chords and all the musical letters of the alphabet (A, B, C, D, E, F and G) are used. The song ends with a chord progression built on ascending and descending lines in the bass and strings, repeated over and over as the song fades. The bass descending while the strings ascending. The song portrays the psychedelic period of The Beatles. 

Mother Nature’s Son and Blackbird

The unique and strange chords in the song were made possible with Paul McCartney’s unique finger picking style; many guitarists try to imitate this technique.

Eleanor Rigby

The song only uses two chords instead of the normal three! It is one of the songs where none of The Beatles plays.

You Never Give Me Your Money

The song sounds like 3 songs fit into one, the introduction of the song is Paul McCartney playing the piano with some jazzy chords, after the introduction the songs progresses to a very boogie woogie influenced part where the chords play like crazy. The guitar enters the scene with a few solos based on chords. The latter part of the song seems to be in a different key and is completely different from the first part. The chords used were very creative.

Changing one Note at a time

Hey Bulldog

For No One

Penny Lane

More articles:

The Beatles and Pop Music

The Beatles and Studio Effects

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