Pop Tune Arranging

Pop Tune Arranging

In this lesson you will learn to use common keyboard patterns to accompany pop tunes that use the Doo-Wop Progression. The The Doo-Wop progression is one of the most enduring progressions in popular music. Perhaps the most famous use of this progression is Hoagy Carmichael/Frank Loesser's 1938 tune, Heart and Soul. But as you will see, many pop tunes are based on the "Doo-Wop" progression.

The Doo-Wop Progression

doo wop progression


Create an arrangement to perform as an accompaniment for a singer or instrumentalist.

  • Choose a song from the playlist.
  • Determine how the Doo-Wop progression is used in your tune. (Note! Some songs use it exclusively, while others do not. Additional chords are provided on the worksheet.)
  • Determine an appropriate keyboard pattern (see discussion below) or use the suggestion provided on the worksheet.
  • Perform with a singer, instrumentalist, or accompany yourself singing!

Song List:

Songs Using Doo-Wop Progression Exclusively

  • Bieber/Ludacris: Baby (Print Worksheet)
  • Springsteen: Hungry Heart (Print Worksheet)
  • The Beatles: Please Mr. Postman (Print Worksheet)
  • Ben E. King: Stand by Me (Print Worksheet)
  • Hoobastank:The Reason (Print Worksheet)
  • Sha Na Na: Those Magic Changes (Print Worksheet)
  • Village People: Y.M.C.A (Print Worksheet)

Songs Incorporating Doo-Wop Progression

  • Elvis Presley: Blue Moon (Print Worksheet)
  • Avril Lavigne: Complicated (Print Worksheet)
  • The Police: Every Breath You Take (Print Worksheet)
  • Regina Spektor: Folding Chair (Print Worksheet)
  • Rolling Stones: Hang Fire (Print Worksheet)
  • Martin/Blane: Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas (Print Worksheet)
  • CCR: Lookin' Out My Back Door (Print Worksheet)
  • Nazareth: Love Hurts (Print Worksheet)
  • The Beatles: Octopus's Garden (Print Worksheet)
  • Righteous Bros: Unchained Melody (Print Worksheet)
  • Sam Cooke: Wonderful World (Don't Know Much About History) (Print Worksheet)

Keyboard Patterns

Even though all the songs on this list utilize the same basic progression, there are many stylistic differences. Style is influenced by rhythmic patterns, chord voicings, and harmonic content. In popular styles, the recurring accompanying pattern is called a vamp. In the popular piano duet versions of Heart and Soul, the basic chord progression is made distinctive through a bouncy rhythm.

heart and soul progression

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