The "HIDDEN SECRET" Within Thousands of Songs!

Are you aware of the "Primary Chords?" They are often referred to as the "Three Chord Theory." This process of chord harmony is the cornerstone of musical ideas and it makes up one of the most important principles when it comes to musical arrangement. If you've never heard of this theory before then this lesson will be absolutely fantastic!

The 3-chord theory of "Primary Chords,"  is often referred to as chord types that are functioning out of the “Primary Chords” category from within a key center.

This means that the 3-chord theory is based upon the; Tonic, Sub-Dominant and the Dominant chords of a key, (the “I – IV – V”).

When using these three chords in music, we find that they have the same relationship to each other in any key, and when they get used in songs of any style they make up the “3-Chord Theory.”

Study this idea, and watch for it happening in the songs that you learn and listen to and try composing your own original riffs using this idea as well. It’s an incredibly popular concept in music, and one that every serious musician must become well aware of.


The process for this principle occurs from the 1st, 4th and 5th chords of a key centers harmony.

Study the harmonized key of "C Major" example shown below. The chord steps highlighted make up the chords of the "Three Chord Theory."

The chord progressions below each outline different aspects of the way that the "Three Chord Theory" can be used in a rhythm jam. Study the examples and then work at making up a few of your own as well.

Example #1).
“I – IV – V” (Key of “C” Major)
Common application (chord sequence in order)

Example #2).
“I – V – IV” (Key of “C” Major)
Varied chord sequence (out of harmonic order)

Example #3).
“I – IV – V” (Key of “A Major”)
Transposed to a new key signature (fast pop style)

Example #4). “I – IV – V” (Key of “F” Major)
Transposed (with quick-change off of the Root chord)

Example #5).
“Im – Vm – IVm” (Key of “G” Minor)
Tonality Shift (the theory chord theory in Minor Tonality)

Now you know how to understand and use the famous “Three Chord Theory.” 

It's an easy process and to take it further, all you need to do is practice the basic structure behind this principle, invent new orders and sequences, and listen for its use in music.

The good thing is - this lesson does all of the leg-work across this idea for you. Including the breakdown in theory and some practical examples - they’re all done here.

So, study these examples reviewing them so you fully understand them and spend time listening for them in music. 

In no time at all you’ll be able to go forward and notice how the 3-chord theory is occurring in the thousands of songs it gets used in all the time.

The 3-chord theory is incredibly popular and once you have the background behind the principles of the “3-Chord Theory” you'll notice how the concept is used all over the place!

Thanks for joining me, if you liked this video, please give it a thumbs up and subscribe for more, (and remember to hit that bell when you subscribe so that you’ll never miss any of my lesson uploads here on YouTube).

I also want to let you know about the guitar courses that I have over on my website at

The web-site has step-by-step; Beginner, Intermediate and Advanced courses that work alongside of in-depth elective programs to form the best guitar courses available.

My courses are fantastic for helping you learn to identify what's required to get you up to that next level of guitar playing, in a very organized step-by-step way, that totally makes sense.

So, I look forward to helping you further at my website;

Until next time, take care and we'll catch up again on the next lesson. Bye for now!



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  1. I have just signed up to the "creativeguitarstudio"members and am trying to find my way in the abundant supply of guitar lessons on the internet.
    Being retired I have the time but not the resources so I hope that you are OK with my watching the video on you tube and the readings on
    Thank you
    Stuart Arnold
    Jazz guitar main interest, purely for my own pleasure