Do Parallel 5th sound good? These 5 Famous Songs Use Them

Author: Tommaso Zillio

One thing that makes me laugh every time: when people tell you that parallel 5ths are forbidden in music theory.

That may (MAY!) have been true during the Baroque period, but already Mozart was using parallel 5ths without too much restrains.

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Turns out, parallel 5ths not only are not forbidden.

They are COMMON.

Because they sound GOOD.

Now, just to clarify, power chords are not parallel 5ths (a typical misconception). Parallel 5ths are when two lines/melodies that are supposed to be independent make more than one 5th between them consecutively.

(Ok. That was the shortest but maybe not the clearest explanation. Nevermind.)

Thing is, parallel 5ths are actually one of the best kept secrets of songwriting. They have been used on a lot of the music you listen to…

… and since they are FORBIDDEN by (people who don’t understand) music theory, they are going to stay ‘secret’ for a while.

Like everything in music theory, the important thing is to HEAR what all of this means.

So why don’t we give some examples?

Here are 5 famous songs that use parallel 5ths. I bet you didn’t even notice that anything was “wrong” with them ;-)

Have fun!

About the Author

Tommaso Zillio is a prog rock guitarist and teacher with a passion for Music Theory applied to Guitar. To know more do not forget to subscribe to his youtube channel.

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