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Music Theory

The Happiest Chords

Photograph of the blog post author, Annika Hope

Annika Hope


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Would you agree that the happiest chords used in songs are typically major chords? Particularly the I, IV, and V chords in a major key? It contains the 3 major chords of the regular major scale, the tonic, the sub-dominant, and the dominant. Is this still the case, or are musicians choosing a different route of just using simple minor chords. Let’s find out!

Happiest Chords

Happiest Chords – What Is A Major Chord?

A major chord is a musical chord that is constructed by playing the root note, the major third, and the perfect fifth notes together. It has a happy and bright sound.

Happiest Chords – What Is Chord Progression?

Chord progression refers to the sequence of chords used in a piece of music, often repeated throughout the song. It provides the harmonic structure and foundation for the melody and lyrics. It is believed that the happiest chord progression is Fm-Cm-Db-Ab, Bbm7-Eb7-Ab.

Difference Playing Happiest Chords On Piano Compared To Guitar

The difference between playing happy chords on a piano compared to a guitar lies in the technique and sound production. On a piano, the player presses down keys to produce the sound. While on a guitar, the player plucks or strums the strings. 

The chords themselves may also be different as the piano can play multiple notes simultaneously. While the guitar typically plays one note at a time. The choice of chords and the way they are played can also affect the overall mood & feel of the music.

Remember, varying the rhythm can add energy or enthusiasm to the progression. Which in turn will make the chords sound happier.  

Famous Songs Which Use The Happiest Chords

Some famous songs that use happy chords include; “Don’t Worry, Be Happy” by Bobby McFerrin, “Happy” by Pharrell Williams. Also, “I’m Yours” by Jason Mraz, “Best Day of My Life” by American Authors & Good Vibrations’ by The Beach Boys. And so many more! Who else made it onto our list?

Good Vibrations by The Beach Boys – Happiest Chords

“Good Vibrations” is a song by the American rock band The Beach Boys, released in 1966. It is known for its innovative production, featuring a complex arrangement of layered vocals, instruments, and sound effects. The lyrics are about the positive feelings and energy that come from being in love. The song was a critical and commercial success, becoming one of the band’s most popular and enduring hits.”

Don’t Worry, Be Happy by Bobby McFerrin – Happiest Chords

“Don’t Worry, Be Happy” is a popular song by Bobby McFerrin, released in 1988. The song features McFerrin’s acapella vocals and a catchy melody. It encourages listeners to adopt a positive attitude and not let their worries bring them down. It became a massive hit, reaching number one on the Billboard Hot 100 chart and winning three Grammy Awards. The song’s uplifting message and cheerful tone have made it a timeless classic. And it continues to inspire people to stay optimistic and enjoy life.

Love is an Open Door from Frozen

“Love is an Open Door” is a duet sung by Anna and Hans in the Disney animated film Frozen. The song is an upbeat and catchy tune that expresses the excitement and thrill of falling in love. The lyrics describe the feeling of finding someone who understands and completes you. In addition, the sense of adventure and possibility that comes with opening yourself up to love. The song’s melody and playful tone make it a memorable and popular addition to the film’s soundtrack.

Happy by Pharrell Williams

“Happy” is a song by American singer and producer Pharrell Williams. It was released in 2013 as part of the Despicable Me 2 soundtrack. The song features a catchy melody, upbeat tempo, and positive lyrics that encourage listeners to feel happy and express themselves. Its success led to the creation of a 24-hour music video. It featured people from around the world dancing to the song. It has been widely used in commercials, movies, and other media as an anthem of happiness and positivity.

I’m Yours by Jason Mraz

“I’m Yours” is a feel-good, upbeat song by Jason Mraz that was released in 2008. It features a catchy melody and simple, yet heartfelt lyrics about living in the moment and following your heart. The song’s laid-back vibe and optimistic message have made it a popular choice for weddings, parties, and other celebratory events.

Best Day of My Life by American Authors

“Best Day of My Life” is an upbeat and energetic song by American indie rock band, American Authors. The song was released in 2013 as the lead single from their debut album, “Oh, What a Life”. It features a catchy melody with a mix of pop, rock, and folk elements, and is known for its optimistic and uplifting lyrics about living in the moment and making the most of life. The song has been featured in various films, TV shows, and commercials, and has become a popular anthem for celebrations and special moments. Overall, “Best Day of My Life” is a feel-good song that encourages listeners to embrace life and enjoy every moment.

I Got You (I Feel Good) by James Brown 

“I Got You (I Feel Good)” is a soul and funk song performed by James Brown. The song was released in 1965 and quickly became one of Brown’s most popular hits. The song features Brown’s signature energetic vocals and a catchy horn section. The lyrics express a feeling of happiness and contentment, with Brown proclaiming that he feels good because he has found love. The song’s upbeat tempo and catchy melody have made it a staple of pop culture, with numerous appearances in movies, TV shows, and commercials. “I Got You (I Feel Good)” is widely regarded as one of the greatest songs of all time and has been covered by countless artists over the years.

House of Fun by Madness 

“House of Fun” is a song by the British ska/pop band Madness, released in 1982. The song is a playful and upbeat track that tells the story of a young man who goes to a funfair to buy some condoms, but is instead given a ticket to the “house of fun” – a euphemism for a funhouse or amusement arcade. The song features a catchy melody and a lively horn section, and is known for its memorable chorus and humorous lyrics. The music video for “House of Fun” features the band members dressed as schoolboys on a trip to the funfair, and includes scenes of them riding on rollercoasters and playing arcade games. The song was a commercial success, reaching the top 10 in the UK charts and becoming one of Madness’s most popular and enduring hits.

 Uptown Girl by Billy Joel 

“Uptown Girl” is a classic pop rock song by American singer-songwriter Billy Joel, released in 1983. The song features upbeat piano riffs, catchy lyrics, and a lively melody that captures the essence of the 1950s rock and roll era. The song tells the story of a working-class man who falls in love with an affluent woman from the upper-class society, who he refers to as an “uptown girl.” The song’s lyrics and music video depict the stark contrast between the two worlds, with the man struggling to fit in with his girlfriend’s wealthy friends and lifestyle. The song was a massive commercial success, reaching the top of the charts in the US, UK, and several other countries, and has since become a beloved classic and a staple of pop culture.

Sun Is Shining by Bob Marley 

“Sun Is Shining” is a reggae song by Bob Marley and the Wailers. It was originally recorded in 1971 and released on the album “Soul Revolution”. The song features Marley’s signature upbeat rhythm and positive lyrics about the power of the sun to bring happiness and hope. The chorus repeats the phrase “Sun is shining, the weather is sweet, make you want to move your dancing feet” which has become a popular and recognizable refrain. The song has been covered and remixed by many artists over the years and remains a beloved classic of the reggae genre.

I Get Around by The Beach Boys 

“I Get Around” is a classic song by the American rock band The Beach Boys, released in 1964. The song features a catchy melody, intricate harmonies, and upbeat instrumentation, including a prominent saxophone solo. The lyrics celebrate the freedom and excitement of youth, as the narrator boasts about his ability to travel and explore different places with his friends. The song’s success helped establish The Beach Boys as one of the most popular and influential bands of the 1960s, and it remains a beloved classic of the era.

YMCA by Village People 

“YMCA” is a disco song by the American group Village People, released in 1978. The song became a massive hit, reaching number two on the US Billboard Hot 100 chart and becoming a staple of dance clubs and parties around the world. The song’s catchy chorus and energetic beat make it a favorite for group dances and sing-alongs.

The lyrics describe the various activities available at a YMCA, a popular community center that provides facilities for exercise, sports, and socializing. The song’s popularity has endured for decades, and it has been featured in numerous films, TV shows, and commercials. The iconic dance moves associated with the song, including forming the letters Y-M-C-A with one’s arms, have become cultural touchstones and are often performed at sporting events and other public gatherings.

Overall, “YMCA” is a fun and upbeat song that celebrates the joy of community and the power of music to bring people together.

Waterloo by ABBA 

Waterloo by ABBA is an upbeat and catchy pop song that was released in 1974. The song is about a woman who is surrendering to a man’s love, comparing it to the defeat of Napoleon at the Battle of Waterloo. The song features a driving beat, layered harmonies, and a memorable chorus that has become a classic of the disco era. The lyrics are playful and flirty, with lines like “My, my, at Waterloo Napoleon did surrender” and “I tried to hold you back but you were stronger.” The song was a massive hit for ABBA, winning the Eurovision Song Contest in 1974 and launching the group to international fame. Today, Waterloo remains a beloved classic and is often cited as one of the best pop songs of all time.

September by Earth, Wind & Fire

“September” is a classic disco-funk song by the American band Earth, Wind & Fire, released in 1978. The song is known for its catchy melody, upbeat tempo, and celebratory lyrics that evoke a sense of joy and happiness. The song features a prominent horn section, funky guitar riffs, and a driving bassline that make it a dancefloor favorite. The lyrics celebrate the joys of life and love, with references to the month of September as a time of new beginnings and positive change. The song has become a cultural touchstone, often played at weddings, parties, and sporting events, and has been covered and sampled by numerous artists over the years.

Love Really Hurts Without You by Billy Ocean

“Love Really Hurts Without You” is a classic soul and disco song by British singer Billy Ocean, released in 1976. The song’s upbeat tempo and catchy chorus belie its lyrics, which describe the pain of heartbreak and the struggle to move on from a failed relationship. The song’s production features prominent horns, a driving bassline, and Ocean’s powerful vocals, which convey the emotional intensity of the lyrics. “Love Really Hurts Without You” was a commercial success, reaching the top 10 in the UK and several other countries, and remains a beloved classic of the disco era.

Land Of 1000 Dances by Wilson Pickett

“Land of 1000 Dances” is a song originally recorded by Chris Kenner in 1962, but it was popularized by Wilson Pickett in 1966. The song features a catchy and upbeat melody with a strong rhythm section and brass instrumentation. The lyrics describe a party atmosphere and encourage listeners to dance and have fun. The chorus, “Na na-na-na-na na-na-na-na-na-na-na-na-na-na,” is iconic and often sung along by audiences. Pickett’s powerful vocals and energetic performance make “Land of 1000 Dances” a classic soul and R&B hit. The song has been covered by numerous artists and has been featured in several films and television shows. Overall, “Land of 1000 Dances” is a timeless party anthem that continues to be enjoyed by audiences of all ages.

I Want You Back by the Jackson 5

“I Want You Back” is a classic Motown song by the Jackson 5, released in 1969. The song features a catchy melody, upbeat tempo, and soulful vocals by lead singer Michael Jackson. The lyrics tell the story of a man who realizes he was wrong to let his love go and now desperately wants her back. The song’s arrangement includes a driving bassline, prominent horns, and a joyful chorus of backing vocals. “I Want You Back” was a massive hit for the Jackson 5, reaching number one on the Billboard Hot 100 chart and launching the group’s career as one of the most popular and influential acts of the 1970s.

Summary – Happiest Chords

The happiest chords in songs may be the most memorable because they tend to evoke positive emotions and create a stronger emotional connection with the listener. Additionally, the brain may be more likely to remember things that are associated with positive emotions. Remember, here at Music Gateway, if you have recorded music with those happy chords, and need some help distributing the tracks on DSPs, and promote it too, then just reach out. Your music needs to be heard, especially if it is going to be bring happiness to people listening to it.


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