#1
I've been hearing this term thrown around all over the place and I was wondering if someone could explain to me what it is.

Note : I know a fair bit about music theory so you don't have to baby me, and please go into as much depth as possible.
Quote by Zaphod_Beeblebr
Theory is descriptive, not prescriptive.


Quote by MiKe Hendryckz
theory states 1+1=2 sometimes in music 1+1=3.
#2
Three chord trick? Isn't that just an IV-V-I progression? I believe that's what people are referring to. Or it may be more general and be any predominant-dominant-tonic progression.
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#3
Yeah its just making use of major I IV and V chords only i believe.
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#4
Quote by guitarplaya322
Yeah its just making use of major I IV and V chords only i believe.


Only in major or minor and modal aswell?
Quote by Zaphod_Beeblebr
Theory is descriptive, not prescriptive.


Quote by MiKe Hendryckz
theory states 1+1=2 sometimes in music 1+1=3.
#5
Quote by The_Sophist
Only in major or minor and modal aswell?

Pretty sure only major for example in E it would be E, A, and B or B7. The idea was that guitarists only had two learn these three chords and they could play tons of songs if they had those chords and a capo.
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#6
Quote by The_Sophist
Only in major or minor and modal aswell?


I'm pretty sure it's used to refer to only major progressions. It's slang anyway, so it could interpreted whichever way. Wikipedia has a page on it: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Three_chord_trick . They call it any combination of I, IV, and V.
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#7
Also called the "three chord special" referring to any song with three chords. If you know three chords and have a capo, you can play literally tens of thousands of songs.

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#8
Quote by axemanchris
Also called the "three chord special" referring to any song with three chords. If you know three chords and have a capo, you can play literally tens of thousands of songs.

CT

thats exactly it
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#10
I believe it was a Strangler's fanzine that had an article which said "This is an E chord. This is a C, and this is a D. Now form a band."
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#11
So just a combination of I IV and V eh. Does it rely on the perfect cadence or does the plagal work as well. I haven't studied much pop music (which I should, I just don't enjoy it so I jumped straight into Jazz and Classical) so I don't know. I know western tonality is strongly based around the perfect cadence, but does pop music and specifically the three-chord trick follow this?
Quote by Zaphod_Beeblebr
Theory is descriptive, not prescriptive.


Quote by MiKe Hendryckz
theory states 1+1=2 sometimes in music 1+1=3.
#12
Yes. They also have a neat trick which is to modulate the three chord trick up a half step for a Bridge-like section.
#13
Isn't that called something to do with a cheap truck driver or something?
Quote by Zaphod_Beeblebr
Theory is descriptive, not prescriptive.


Quote by MiKe Hendryckz
theory states 1+1=2 sometimes in music 1+1=3.
#14
Quote by The_Sophist
So just a combination of I IV and V eh. Does it rely on the perfect cadence or does the plagal work as well. I haven't studied much pop music (which I should, I just don't enjoy it so I jumped straight into Jazz and Classical) so I don't know. I know western tonality is strongly based around the perfect cadence, but does pop music and specifically the three-chord trick follow this?


For the most part, I believe so. Just listening to pop music you can hear V-I everywhere. There is also quite a bit of plagal cadences too. I feel like I hear V-IV-I almost as much as I hear I-V-IV. They're two very familiar progression for pop listeners, so straying from them isn't a great idea (pop is all about familiarity, remember).

Edit: Truckers Gear Change. 20Tiger talked a lot about it earlier this summer. The premise is to shift the key by a semitone or two to create a greater finale of sorts without introducing new ideas (familiarity again). The reason it's considered cheap by a lot of people is because it's lazy -- you're not creating anything new, you're just changing the key a bit.
Last edited by Eastwinn at Aug 3, 2009,
#15
The way I treat the term is as follows...

A song (or a section of a song) that simply repeats the same three chord progression over and over uses a three chord trick.

If the three chords are I IV V in that order then I tend to refer to it as the three chord trick.
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Last edited by 20Tigers at Aug 3, 2009,