Explore a four-chord vocal mash up – video guide

About the resource

Students learn how to vocalise basslines, chords and melodies to build a vocal performance


Explore vocals by building a whole class mash up based on the four-chord pattern I, V, VI, IV (we suggest using F, C, Dm, Bb as this sits well within the vocal ranges of most students.) Start with a body percussion or beatboxing line to hold it together and then layer bassline, chords and melody.

Keeping aural learning central to this approach, why not ask students to use voice recorders to record individual lines or the full piece to take off into small groups to rehearse refine and create their own mash ups.

There are hundreds of songs that fit this chord pattern. Suggestions for songs that fit can be found on our sharing wall. The choruses of the following three songs start on the first note of the bassline and are a good start point for students to pitch: Price Tag (Jessie J), Someone Like You (Adele) and Living on a Prayer (Bon Jovi).


Find Your Voice was created in collaboration with The Sage Gateshead

Audio and Video

Building a 4 chord vocal mash up
Three chord mash up with riffs
Shlomo performing a four chord medley
Using small group work to refine 4 chord performances
Explore technology using voice recorders

Excellent workshops ‑ extremely accessible for all abilities and levels.

Claire Armour, City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra