Basslines: I-IV-V-vi

Basslines: I-IV-V-vi

Practice using the bassline of I, IV, V, vi chord progressions to recognise the chords with realistic music tracks in a variety of styles: Pop, Rock, Dance and Solo Guitar.

After completing this module: you will be able to recognise 4-chord (I-IV-V-vi) progressions in a variety of musical styles by listening to the bassline.

This module provides a large number of practice tracks which demonstrate various basslines to accompany I-IV-V-vi progressions in four styles and two different keys.

This will help you identify progressions by ear, by listening for the movement of the chord’s root note in the bassline.


  • Dance
  • Pop
  • Guitar
  • Rock


  • A Major (I-IV-V-vi = A-D-E-F#m)
  • C Major (I-IV-V-vi = C-F-G-Am)


  • I-IV-V-I
  • I-IV-vi-V
  • I-vi-V-IV
  • I-V-vi-IV

Module Preview


  1. Introduction
  2. Tips
  3. I-IV-V-I Dance Basslines
  4. I-IV-vi-V Pop Basslines
  5. I-vi-V-IV Guitar Basslines
  6. I-V-vi-IV Rock Basslines

How It Works

Each lesson has tracks for “Training” and for “Testing”.

  • The “training” tracks can be played directly from your web browser. These tracks announce each chord of the progression at the beginning (so that you know what you’ll be listening to) and at the end (to remind you what you have been listening to).
  • The “testing” tracks can be downloaded to play on “shuffle” on your media player or portable device. These tracks announce each chord only at the end, so that you can try to identify the progression as you listen.

Begin by listening to the “training” tracks to familiarise yourself with how the progression sounds in the musical style.

Then once you are confident, test your recognition using the “testing” tracks. Put the group of 6 tracks on your media player (e.g. Windows Media Player, VLC, iTunes) or mobile device (e.g. iPhone, Android Tablet, portable MP3 player). Listen, and see if you can identify the progression before the end of the track.

Each Training and Testing track is provided in two forms:

  • Solo Bassline
  • Full Track

First, listen to the solo bassline. Try to hear the movement of the root note through the progression.

Then listen to the full track to hear how the bassline fits in with the rest of the musical arrangement. This gives you practice in listening out for the bass part amongst other instruments and helps you connect the root note movement you’ve been listening for with the overall sound of the chord progression.

Example Lesson Excerpt: I-IV-V-I Dance Basslines
Bassline 1 of 3

Progression: I-IV-V-I


Bassline 1

This jaunty octave-jumping bassline starts on the tonic, then moves the pattern up a perfect fourth for the IV, then up another tone to reach the perfect fifth above the starting point for the V chord, before returning back down to the original tonic note.

Solo Bass

Full Track

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