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Happy Xmas (War Is Over): Welcome


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Happy Xmas (War Is Over)

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This song features 2 guitar parts, the strummed acoustic guitar that sets the mood & pacing throughout, as well as a guitar that plays an ornamental tremolo lead, reminiscent of a mandolin part. In this tutorial we'll be learning the main, strummed acoustic guitar.

This song winds back and forth between 2 key signatures: A major for the first 1/2 of the verse, D major for the second half of the verse as well as the chorus. Each section ends by using a V chord to set up the modulation to the next key signature. Cool device, songwriters take note!

The first half of the verse opens with a gentle swaying 6/8 rhythm chord progression outlining I-ii-V-I in A major. We'll take a look at how each chord gets an ornamental suspension which adds interest and variation to the part.

The second half of the verse uses the same strum, but the progression, I-ii-V-I is now in D major. The entire progression is modulated up a fourth, giving dynamic lift to the verse

The chorus starts on G major chord, which gives the impression the song has changed keys again up another fourth. The use of the A major chord indicates we are still in D major. The chorus progression winds up being IV-V-ii-IV, then I. At the end of the chorus they tack on an E major chord to use as a V chord to get back to the A major key of the verse.

If you do not yet use the "numbers" harmonic system, this song offers you the perfect opportunity to start thinking in this extremely useful, universal musical language.

This song features a simple form/structure, and has absolutely no introduction:

VERSE 16 bars
CHORUS 8 bars

We're in the key of A major (and sometimes D major!), in 6/8 time and playing at a tempo of 73 BPM.