October 6

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The 4 Chord Piano Trick

By declan@decplaypiano.com

October 6, 2020


4 Chords - Thousands of Songs

Popular Western music is built upon a very simple pattern of notes - the 7 note scale and the chords that follow this scale. There are 6 'standard chords' 3 major and 3 minor but you can play the vast majority of songs only using 4 of these chords.

In 'relative numbers' these are chords 1 4 5 6. Any song can be played in any musical key, each using a different starting note on the keyboard, but if we were playing a song in the key of C, chords 1 4 5 6 would be C F G and Am.

This is demonstrated superbly by Axis Of Awesome at the 2009 Melbourne International Comedy Festival. The Australian comedy group perform a very funny video sketch showing how dozens of songs use the same chords – proving the theory behind the DecPlay piano system!

In this case, they play the same 4 chords in the same order (the order being 1, 5, 6 and 4) and play a huge variety of hit songs, ranging from Journey – Don’t Stop Believing, James Blunt – You’re Beautiful to Lady Gaga – Poker Face, Aqua – Barbie Girl and even Waltzing Matilda! The video is courtesy of Network Ten Australia.

The songs include:-

Songs Included

Journey -- "Don't Stop Believing"

James Blunt -- "You're Beautiful"

Black Eyed Peas -- "Where Is the Love"

Alphaville -- "Forever Young"

Jason Mraz -- "I'm Yours"

Train -- "Hey Soul Sister"

The Calling -- "Wherever You Will Go"

Elton John -- "Can You Feel The Love Tonight" (from The Lion King)

Akon -- "Don't Matter"

John Denver -- "Take Me Home, Country Roads"

Lady Gaga -- "Paparazzi"

U2 -- "With Or Without You"

The Last Goodnight -- "Pictures of You"

Maroon Five -- "She Will Be Loved"

The Beatles -- "Let It Be"

Bob Marley -- "No Woman No Cry"

Marcy Playground -- "Sex and Candy"

Men At Work -- "Land Down Under"

Theme from America's Funniest Home Videos

Jack Johnson -- "Taylor"

Spice Girls -- "Two Become One"

A Ha -- "Take On Me"

Green Day -- "When I Come Around"

Eagle Eye Cherry -- "Save Tonight"

Toto -- "Africa"

Beyonce -- "If I Were A Boy"

Kelly Clarkson -- "Behind These Hazel Eyes"

Jason DeRulo -- "In My Head"

The Smashing Pumpkins -- "Bullet With Butterfly Wings"

Joan Osborne -- "One Of Us"

Avril Lavigne -- "Complicated"

The Offspring -- "Self Esteem"

The Offspring -- "You're Gonna Go Far Kid"

Akon -- "Beautiful"

Timberland featuring OneRepublic -- "Apologize"

Eminem featuring Rihanna -- "Love the Way You Lie"

Bon Jovi -- "It's My Life"

Lady Gaga -- "Pokerface"

Aqua -- "Barbie Girl"

Red Hot Chili Peppers -- "Otherside"

The Gregory Brothers -- "Double Rainbow"

MGMT -- "Kids"

Andrea Bocelli -- "Time To Say Goodbye"

Robert Burns -- "Auld Lang Syne"

Five for fighting -- "Superman"

The Axis of Awesome -- "Birdplane"

Missy Higgins -- "Scar"


Easy Way to Play 4 Chord Songs on Piano

The easiest way to play all songs on piano is to use the key of C which only uses the white keys. If yo uare not familiar with the note names of the keys, the fastest way for beginners is to sue the PianoTabz numbers system from 1 to 7 where C = 1, D = 2 etc.. Otherwise you can play piano accompaniment using guitar chords. You can get the free tutorials showing how to do this by entering your details in the box below:-

Get 3 FREE Tutorial Videos - Learn Piano with Ultimate Guitar chords & piano tabs.

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Below is another list of songs that use 4 chords, either for the entire song or for a main section (eg chorus or verse). The chords are shown in the key of C and also in relative numbers. You can learn how to play by either of these by watching the free tutorials above. Where there is an individual letter in brackets eg (Eb), this shows the original 'Key', which can be useful if you wish to use a transpose button to play along to the original recording.

21 Guns - Green Day (F) 6 4 1 5
Acha - Khaled (Am F C G) or (6 4 1 5)
Africa (chorus) - Toto (Am F C G) or (6 4 1 5)
All Along the Watchtower – Bob Dylan/Jimi Hendrix (Am, G, F)
All I Want - The Offspring (Am F C G) or (6 4 1 5)
All of the Stars – Ed Sheeran (F, C, Am, G)
Apologize - One Republic (Eb) 6 4 1 5
Baby Baby - Corona (Am F C G) or (6 4 1 5)
Be With You - Akon (A) 6 4 1 5
Black Widow - Children of Bodom (Am F C G) or (6 4 1 5)
Broken-Hearted Girl - Beyoncé (F) 6 4 1 5
Building a Mystery - Sarah McLachlan (Am F C G) or (6 4 1 5)
Bullet with Butterfly Wings - The Smashing Pumpkins (Am F C G) or (6 4 1 5)
Butterfly - The Pale (C G Am F) or (1 5 6 4)
Can You Feel the Love Tonight - Elton John (C G Am F) or (1 5 6 4)
Cannonball - Damien Rice (Am F C G) or (6 4 1 5)
China Roses - Enya (C G Am F) or (1 5 6 4)
Complicated - Avril Lavigne (Am F C G) or (6 4 1 5)
Con te partir - Andrea Bocelli (C G Am F) or (1 5 6 4)
Counting Stars – One Republic (Am, C, G, F)
Crawling - Linkin Park (Am F C G) or (6 4 1 5)
Cryin' - Aerosmith (C G Am F) or (1 5 6 4)
Dammit - Blink-182 (C G Am F) or (1 5 6 4)
Don’t Forget Me - Red Hot Chili Peppers (Am F C G) or (6 4 1 5)
Don’t Stop Believin' - Journey (C G Am F) or (1 5 6 4)
Down Under - Men at Work (C G Am F) or (1 5 6 4)
Electrical Storm - U2 (Am F C G) or (6 4 1 5)
Fall at Your Feet - Crowded House (C G Am F) or (1 5 6 4)
Farmhouse - Phish (F C G Am) or (4 1 5 6)
Feeling This - Blink-182 (C G Am F) or (1 5 6 4)
Forever Young - Alphaville (C G Am F) or (1 5 6 4)
Four Five Seconds – Rihanna (C, F, Am, G)
Freedom - DJ BoBo (Am F C G) or (6 4 1 5)
Glycerine - Bush (C G Am F) or (1 5 6 4)
Good - Better Than Ezra (C G Am F) or (1 5 6 4)
Hallelujah – Leonard Cohen (F Am F C G C) or (4 6 4 1 5 1)
Hand in Hand - Dune (Am F C G) or (6 4 1 5)
Hands - Jewel (Am F C G) or (6 4 1 5)
Head over Feet - Alanis Morissette (C G Am F) or (1 5 6 4)
Hearts of Olden Glory - Runrig 1987 (Am F C G) or (6 4 1 5)
High - Lighthouse Family (C G Am F) or (1 5 6 4)
Higher Love - Steve Winwood (F C G Am) or (4 1 5 6)
Ho Hey – Lumineers (Am G C) or (6 5 1)
Holiday - Green Day (Ab) 6 4 1 5
Hurt - Nine Inch Nails V-vi-IV-I
I Hope You Dance - Lee Ann Womack (Am F C G) or (6 4 1 5)
I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For – U2 (C, F, G)
I’m Yours – Jason Mraz (C, G, Am, F)
If I Were A Boy - Beyoncé (F#) (Am, F C, G)
It’s My Life - Bon Jovi (Am F C G) or (6 4 1 5)
Just A Dream - Nelly (F#) 6 4 1 5
Just Ace - Grinspoon (C G Am F) or (1 5 6 4)
Just the Way You Are – Bruno Mars (C, Am, F)
Let Her Go - Passenger
Let It Be - The Beatles (C G Am F) or (1 5 6 4)
Life - Des’ree (C G Am F) or (1 5 6 4)
Like a Prayer - Madonna 1989 (F C G Am) or (4 1 5 6)
Little Baby Nothing - Manic Street Preachers (C G Am F) or (1 5 6 4)
Love Is on the Way - Celine Dion (C G Am F) or (1 5 6 4)
No Woman, No Cry - Bob Marley (C G Am F) or (1 5 6 4)
Numb - Linkin Park (Am F C G) or (6 4 1 5)
Once in a Lifetime - Gregorian (C G Am F) or (1 5 6 4)
One Love – Bob Marley (C, F, G, Am)
One of Us - Joan Osborne (Am F C G) or (6 4 1 5)
Otherside - Red Hot Chili Peppers (Am F C G) or (6 4 1 5)
Peace of Mind - Boston (Am F C G) or (6 4 1 5)
Please Play This Song on the Radio - NOFX (C G Am F) or (1 5 6 4)
Quelqu’un m’a dit - Carla Bruni (C G Am F) or (1 5 6 4)
Red Red Wine – UB40 (C, F, G)
Right Here Waiting - Richard Marx 1989 (C G Am F) or (1 5 6 4)
Riptide – Vance Joy (Am, C, G, F)
Roses Are Red - Aqua (Am F C G) or (6 4 1 5)
Save Tonight - Eagle Eye Cherry (Am F C G) or (6 4 1 5)
Self Esteem - The Offspring (Am F C G) or (6 4 1 5)
Sex and Candy - Marcy Playground (C G Am F) or (1 5 6 4)
Sign of The Times - Harry Styles
Silverflame - Dizzy Mizz Lizzy (Am F C G) or (6 4 1 5)
Skulls - Misfits (C G Am F) or (1 5 6 4)
Sleepwalking - Canton (C G Am F) or (1 5 6 4)
Smash Into You - Beyoncé (C#) v 6 4 1 c 6 4 1 5
So Lonely - The Police (C G Am F) or (1 5 6 4)
Someone Like You – Adele (C, G, Am, F)
Soul To Squeeze - Red Hot Chili Peppers (Am F C G) or (6 4 1 5)
Stand By My – Ben E. King (C, Am, F, G)
Stay With Me – Sam Smith (Am, F, C, G)
Still Loving You - Scorpions (Am F C G) or (6 4 1 5)
Superman (It’s Not Easy) - Five for Fighting (Am F C G) or (6 4 1 5)
Suteki da ne - Rikki (C G Am F) or (1 5 6 4)
Take Me Home, Country Roads - John Denver (C G Am F) or (1 5 6 4)
Take On Me - A-ha (C G Am F) or (1 5 6 4)
Tears of the Dragon - Bruce Dickinson (Am F C G) or (6 4 1 5)
That Was a Crazy Game of Poker - O.A.R. (Am C G F) or (6 1 5 4)
The Kids Aren’t Alright - The Offspring (Am F C G) or (6 4 1 5)
The Man Who Can’t Be Moved - The Script
The Rock Show - Blink-182 (C G Am F) or (1 5 6 4); (Am F C G) or (6 4 1 5)
The Scientist - Coldplay (F) 6 4 1 5
Today - The Smashing Pumpkins (C G Am F) or (1 5 6 4)
Tonight She Comes - The Cars (C G Am F) or (1 5 6 4)
Torn - Natalie Imbruglia (C G Am F) or (1 5 6 4)
Tuesday’s Gone - Lynyrd Skynyrd (C G Am F) or (1 5 6 4)
Two Story Town - Bon Jovi (Am F C G) or (6 4 1 5)
Under the Bridge - Red Hot Chili Peppers (C G Am F) or (1 5 6 4)
What About Now - Lonestar (C G Am F) or (1 5 6 4)
What I Go to School For - Busted (C G Am F) or (1 5 6 4)
What Makes You Beautiful – One Direction
What’s My Age Again? - Blink-182 (C G Am F) or (1 5 6 4)
When I Come Around - Green Day (C G Am F) or (1 5 6 4)
Whenever, Wherever - Shakira (Am F C G) or (6 4 1 5)
Wherever You Will Go - The Calling (C G Am F) or (1 5 6 4)
Whistle – Flo Rida (Am, F, C, G)
With or Without You - U2 (C G Am F) or (1 5 6 4)
Yesterday - Toni Braxston (Dm) 6 4 1 5
You're Beautiful - James Blunt (Eb) 1 5 6 4
Zombie - The Cranberries (Am F C G) or (6 4 1 5)

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