Is G Minor Really All It’s Cracked Up to Be?

The Beatles are the most successful music group of all time. It is estimated that they have sold over one billion units of their music world wide and the legacy of their music lives on to this day with thousands of pensioners and children alike being able to hum along to Hey Jude or Yellow Submarine. The success of the Beatles is often explained by the fantastic song writing partnership that Paul McCartney and John Lennon had, with George Harrison of course making his contribution as well. So, why was the song writing with the Beatles so successful? Efficiency.

Efficiency in economic terms just means that resources are allocated in a manner most optimal towards everyone. In terms of the Beatles’s song writing, we could take the chords they used to compose the songs as the resource used to produce the product (their songs). Now of course there is no definitive way to say which of the Beatles songs were the “best” or “most efficient”, but we can say which songs have been particularly well received and think of these as efficient. For this particular example I will be analysing the songs which appear on the Beatles greatest hit compilation “1”. The CD is composed only of songs by the fab four which made it to number one in the charts. So these songs could be considered, at least in terms of commercial success as the most efficient Beatles songs.

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So in terms of the Beatles number one songs the most frequently used chord was G being used in 19 out of 27 of their number one songs. Closely followed by C and D which were used in 16 out of the 27 songs. It is evident here that there is a definite relationship between those chords and a song performing highly which could lead us to say that in terms of writing number one songs G, C and D are more efficient than other chords that could be used.Which brings me back to my initial point of, is G minor really all it’s cracked up to be?

by Daragh O’Leary


2 thoughts on “Is G Minor Really All It’s Cracked Up to Be?

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  1. The purpose of the article isn’t really looking at why the chords used were determined by the Beatles but more just to show the efficiency of using those certain chords in progressions when writing pop songs. You do have a point in saying it is easier to play certain songs in certain keys depending on instrument used but that’s not really what the article is looking at. It’s just to show the occurrence of certain chords arising over and over again in pop music.
    This wikepedia entry discusses it in more detail–V–vi–IV_progression


  2. Surely chords used are determined by key, which is largely determined by singing range and/or instrument (easier to play a song in e on guitar than piano, easier to play a song in c or g on piano). I don’t know what key each Beatles song is in but G is either root, third or fifth in each of these keys. So I’d say it’s the key that matters, not chords within that.

    Liked by 1 person

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