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House of the Rising Sun: Introduction

 

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The House of the Rising Sun

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Now that we know some basic open position full chords, let's learn a song!

'House of the Rising Sun' is a well-known song that is in the public domain. This means that we can use it without violating any artist's copyright protection. The song only uses a total of 5 chords:

  • A minor
  • C major
  • D major
  • F major
  • E major

    Make sure you've got a good grasp on those chords. Practice switching between them over and again. Since the song is in 6/8 time, this means that we will count to 6 over and again: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 1, 2, and so on. Most of the time we will change chords in order to start a new chord on the beginning of each measure, the "1" count. This is also known as the "downbeat", the first beat of a measure. There is only one chord (the E major) that we will get to repeat for two consecutive measures. So it is very important that you are able to quickly and efficiently switch between the chords the song uses.

    Go slowly and go evenly at first. A metronome is a great tool for this purpose. Don't rush or try to go faster than you can while maintaining an even spacing of the chords. Eventually we will play along with a backing track. This means an audio recording that contains the drums, bass and keyboard parts to the song. Add in you guitar part and you've got a complete musical arrangement!

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