October Ovation: Top Pop Hits

Do your students like to listen to current pop hits from Ariana Grande, Ed Sheeran, Charlie Puth and others? This month, we invite you to take a “colour tour” through the Hits, featuring top pop artists.

Our first lesson with Dr. Faber is a twofer with “No Tears Left to Cry” by Ariana Grande, and “Fake Love” by BTS. Both songs share the same three chords: F, G, and Am. We sometimes catch criticisms of popular music for “only having three chords.” But composers like Beethoven, Chopin, Beach—those we hold dear to our hearts—essentially composed within a three-chord paradigm: tonic (I/i), subdominant (IV/iv), and dominant (V). It’s what the creators do within this basic outline that makes the music sound fresh, interesting, and emotive.

Watch the video to see how these two masters of pop music invent within their three-chord paradigm. Maybe follow with your own jam session, putting these three chords to work in your studio as an exercise in creativity and “coolness.”

New to our Hits books? Explore the series, including ShowTime (Level 2A), ChordTime (Level 2B), FunTime (Levels 3A-3B), and BigTime (Level 4 and above).