What Is a Common Chord Music Theory?

Music is an art that brings together various elements such as melody, harmony, rhythm, and chord progressions. Chords are an essential part of music theory, and they play a crucial role in creating harmony. A chord is a combination of three or more notes played together to create harmonic richness and depth to music.

What Are Common Chords?

A common chord is a chord that is shared between two keys. It is also known as a pivot chord because it acts as a bridge between the two keys. For example, in the key of C major, the C major chord (C-E-G) is also present in the key of G major (G-B-D).

How Are Common Chords Used?

Common chords are used to create smooth and seamless transitions between two different keys. They provide a sense of familiarity for the listener by using a familiar chord from the previous key in the new key. Common chords can also be used to modulate or change keys abruptly or gradually.

Types of Common Chords

Pivotal Common Chords

Pivotal common chords are chords that are shared by both keys and occur at the point where one key ends, and the other begins. They are essential for creating smooth transitions between two different keys.

Linear Common Chords

Linear common chords occur when two adjacent keys share one or more chords. They are used to create gradual modulations between two different keys.

Examples of Common Chords


Common chords are an essential part of music theory, and they play a crucial role in creating harmony and smooth transitions between different keys. By understanding common chords, musicians can create more dynamic and engaging music that resonates with their listeners. Whether you are a beginner or an experienced musician, incorporating common chords into your compositions can add depth and richness to your music.