When I think of Green Day, I think of power chords. “Holiday” is power chord tour de force. With the exception of the intro and break riffs, this song is composed entirely of power chords.
What exactly is a power chord? Well, it’s a two-note chord that uses just a root and a fifth above the root. In other words, a power chord is a major or minor chord with the third removed. In fact, the proper musical term for a power chord is “five” chord, e.g. “E5,” “F#5” or “D5.”
The sound of a power chord is very strong and yet it is still flexible. Its strength and flexibility come from its simplicity. A power chord only uses two notes.
The fewer the notes in the chord — or harmony — the more notes are available for the melody. Each note in the chords comes with a do-not-play list — a list of notes that don’t match. The fewer the notes in the harmony, the fewer the notes on the do-not-play list, leaving more available notes to create melodies with.
Green Day has literally made its living with power chords. They are fun, easy to play and the center piece to any punk-pop song.
For more information about me and the guitar lessons that I give in and around Baltimore, visit www.ewguitar.com.