Home » A Look at the Most Commonly Used Chord Progressions in 80s Songs

A Look at the Most Commonly Used Chord Progressions in 80s Songs

by Kathy

Chord Progressions in 80s Songs

The 1980s were a time for innovation and experimentation in terms of music. Unique chord progressions that have become commonplace in contemporary pop music may be heard in many of this decade’s most enduring tunes. The 1980s were packed with unforgettable songs that still have an impact today, such as Cyndi Lauper’s “Girls Just Want to Have Fun” and Michael Jackson’s “Thriller.”

But which chord progressions appear most frequently in these timeless songs that people search for on Chordify in great numbers? Let’s examine some of the most utilized chord progressions from the 1980s in more detail to provide an answer to this topic.

Exploring different types of 80s chord progressions and their uses

Pop music experienced an irrefutably sharp increase in popularity in the 1980s, which sparked the creation of some of the most recognizable chord progressions ever. The I-IV-V progression, which consists of three chords: the tonic (I), subdominant (IV), and dominant (V) is one of the most well-known from this time period (V). From bouncy pop songs to somber ballads, a wide range of musical styles can be produced with this progression, and they have been – and they continue to be produced.

The I-vi-IV-V progression is another well-liked chord sequence from the 1980s that increases the complexity of each piece, hence its abundant use. As it switches between several keys, this development frequently produces a sense of tension and resolution. It’s also frequently employed in rock music, as it contributes to an upbeat sound that moves the song along. The I-vi-ii-V7 progression is the last progression and is also referred to as “the 50s Progression” due to its popularity in 1950s doo-wop music.

A comparison of classic 80s ballads and their chord arrangements

The 1980s were a decade of musical innovation and produced several great ballads. These songs distinguish themselves from other vintage music by usually having unique chord arrangements. The Police’s “Every Breath You Take” has a minor key progression in the verse and chorus, while George Michael’s “Careless Whisper” uses a major key progression in both the verse and chorus.

Additionally, many 80s ballads feature extended instrumental sections that allow for more intricate chord changes than traditional pop songs. This is especially true for power ballads like “Heaven” by Bryan Adams or “I Want to Know What Love Is” by Foreigner, which features long instrumental solos that showcase their unique chord progressions. By comparing these classic 80s ballads to one another, we can gain insight into how different chords were used to create memorable melodies during this era of music history.

An overview on popular key signatures used in 80s songs

Pop, rock, and even some jazz were among the many popular musical genres throughout the 1980s. Thus, the key signatures employed in 80s songs were equally diverse. C major, one of the most popular keys for pop music, was the key signature most often utilized in 80s songs. This key signature, which has no sharps or flats, is frequently employed for bouncy, upbeat songs. Other common key signatures included A major, D major, and G major, each of which had two sharps (three sharps).

Minor keys were also wildly popular and common at this time, with A minor (no sharps or flats) being the most widely used minor key signature.

A study of how 80s chord arrangements influenced music today

The popularity of synthesizers and electronic music increased in the 1980s, significantly impacting the chord structures utilized in modern popular music. Producers started experimenting with new sounds and methods during this decade, like layering many instruments and using chords that were more intricate. Hip-hop, house music, and synth-pop are just a few of the many genres that resulted from this experiment. These genres had distinctive chord progressions that drew mainly from production methods from the 1980s.

Many current songs still today have definite 80s influences. Many contemporary tracks have intricate chord progressions and multi-layered synths reminiscent of records from the 1980s. The same production methods from this era, such as sampling already-existing songs or using drum machines to create beats, are still being used by producers today. Many modern pop songs, as well as songs from other genres like EDM and indie rock, were influenced by the chord structures of the 1980s.

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