Forum - Banjo Ben Clark

D Chord, or B?

I am no musician, I have little talent, I’m stuck at the beginner level. I love good music but really don’t understand so much. Take for example one of the simplist of all melodies. “Happy Birthday”. Play it in “G”, the chords are G, D, and C. When I play “Happy Birthday to you”, the “YOU” is a D chord. But when I pick out the melody one note at a time, the “YOU” is a B. B is not even part of a D chord. How on earth does this work? This is making me crazy.

HI Bill!

if you’re ending up on a B note for “you” then you are playing in the key of “C”… (chords are C, G, and F)

as proof …the chord ofr “you” would = G, which has B in it as a chord tone…also you would be playing “happy” as G notes…which are chord tones of C chord

To play it in the key of G your first note would be D…then the “you” would = F#

Note of caution: all melodies are not written only with the major chord tones (triad) of the chord being played…

hope this is understandable…



Hi Bill

Check out this lesson with Bryan Haywood I am sure Ben will at some point address your query but he is real busy this weekend with the launch of the General Store

1 Like

“Happy Birthday to You” is repeated twice.

In the key of G, the first time you’re ending on the B note, which is the 3rd of the G chord. You should playing a G chord behind it (G-B-D)

The second time you’re ending on the C note, which is the root of the C chord (C-E-G).

first line of happy birthday in G = D D E D G F# …all G chord except you play D chord on the F# (you)

Second line = D D E D A G …All in D chord except you play G chord on the G (you)

Last (4th)line = C C B G A G …The last G is a good hint on the key = it ends in the root note of the I chord of the key of the song.

again…if you’re ending the first line of meilody with a B…you are in the key of C…

1 Like