SONGWRITING: the “six four one five” revisited
So I just did a lesson with a younger student who was absolutely dying to learn how to play “Let It Go”, from the Disney movie Frozen. Sung (and I guess played) by Idina Menzel (“Maureen” from RENT, and also the main girl in Wicked)…. immediately, I noticed the 6-4-1-5 progression in the key of Ab (F minor)….. but, with a slight twist in the very beginning…
The progression is 6-4-5…. with a II chord that feels/sounds like a Bsus4 to Bbm in bar 4.
Without getting too technical… my god, is this song catchy. It’s because of that insane 6-4-1-5 progression (in the chorus… as I – V – vi – IV), that has driven hit songs for over 50 years. Use it if you haven’t. I’ve found that this progression helps one come up with vocal melodies/lyrics almost instantly… it’s the magic of this progression, or ANY order you play it in:
vi – IV – I – V (Apologize by OneRepublic, this song’s chorus, and at least 947 other top 100 songs from the last ten years)
I – V – vi – IV (Let It Be by the Beatles, and every song The Axis of Awesome plays in the “Four Chord Song” YouTube video)
It’s overplayed, but it still rules the world.