Chords I, IV, V and VI

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Definition

Chords I, IV, V and VI are important as, between them, we can form any of the four cadences.

In a major key, it is normal for chords I, IV and V to be major chords. Chord VI is normally a minor chord. In a minor key, it is normal for chords I and IV to be minor chords. Chords V and VI are normally major chords.

The easiest way to remember this is to think of the table below:

Chords I, IV, V and VI
Chord Tonality
I defined by key
IV same as chord I
V always major
VI opposite of chord I

So, if the key were F major, then chord I would be F major, chord IV would be Bb major (same), chord V would be C major (always major), chord VI would be D minor (opposite).

And if the key were D minor, then chord I would be D minor, chord IV would be G minor (same), chord V would be A major (always major), chord VI would be Bb major (opposite).

Examples


Explanation of chords and how they are formed.

Related concepts