| play guitar | Van Morrison
Learn Guitar: Van Morrison, 3 Tips For Acoustic Guitar
Bright Side Of The Road, Gloria, Moondance, Brown Eyed Girl, Have
I Told You lately, who doesn't have a favorite Van Morrison song?
Like Cat Stevens, Don McLean and James Taylor, Van Morrison's
songs sound great with just one guitar, you don't need a band to
enjoy these great songs.
Another neat thing about Van Morrison's material is that there's
something for everyone in his repertoire: "Moon Dance" for the
Jazz fans, "Gloria" for those who enjoy rock, and "Have I Told
You Lately" for lovers.
With songs like "Brown Eyed Girl" in your guitar repertoire you
will be the life of the party. Here's 3 tips to help to play
professional versions of Van Morrison songs.
Tip 1: Open Chord Voicings - Moondance - minor seventh chords
The key to playing songs like Moondance is playing open voiced
minor seventh chords. Every popular song has a musical ID, it
may be a lead guitar riff, a unique sounding chord progression or
a particular rhythm, something that immediately enables the
listener to identify that song.
When a song is well written it only takes 2 or 3 seconds for the
listener to know what song is being played, even without the
With Van Morrison's "Moondance" the first two chords correctly
played is all we need ... the chords are Am7 to Bm7, now while
there is nothing new about these chords, it's the way Van
Morrison arranges the notes in the chord that makes the song
What do we mean by open voiced chords? The first step is to know
what notes are used to build each chord, Am7 = A, C, E, G / Bm7 =
B, D, F#, A.
Notice with the chord spelling for each chord how the notes are
arranged in an alphabetical style sequence: Am7 = A then the next
note that occurs in the chord is C then E etc, obviously certain
notes of our standard alphabet have been omitted, but you get the
idea, study the Bm7 chord to make sure you understand the
When the notes for each chord are arranged in alphabetical order
this is called "root position", our next step is to create four
part open voiced chords.
Four part open voiced chords are usually played upon the 6th, 4th
3rd and 2nd strings. The 5th and the 1st strings are muffled by
the fingers playing the other notes.
The idea is to avoid note duplication. By using chord-structures
that have no duplication of chord tones it is much easier to
alter the basic chords to form further altered chords.
Example of a "Am7" four part open voiced chord: A=6th string, 5th
fret, G=4th string, 5th fret, C=3rd string 5th fret, E=2nd
string, 5th fret. This is the first chord for "Moondance", move
this shape up two frets and you will have the second chord Bm7.
Tip 2: intervals - thirds - Brown Eyed Girl
Brown Eyed Girl has a simple yet effective lead guitar
introduction that instantly identifies the song.
If you played the intro as a single note melody in the key of "G"
the notes would be as follows: B, C, D, C, B the next phrase
would be E, F, G, F, E then back to the first phrase B, C, D, C,
B and finally F#, F# G, A.
This single note melody is then supported by adding additional
harmony notes played underneath the melody. The harmony notes are
placed at an interval distance of a third below the melody.
To work out the harmony notes simply count backwards from the
melody e.g. to work out the harmony note for the given "B"
melody note count back three. B=>A=>G.
Here is the first five melody notes B, C, D, C, B, the harmony
notes a third below indicated by [ ].
B [G], C [A], D [B], C [A], B [G},
Tip 3: chord progressions - 1-3-4-5 Bright Side Of The Road.
Learning to recognize chord progressions of by ear is a great way
to remember songs.
Each key has a series of chords that are created from that
In the key of C the basic chords are C, Dm, Em, F, G, Am, B dim.
C = chord 1, Dm = chord 2, Em = chord 3, F = chord 4, G = chord
5, Am = chord 6, B dim = chord 7.
The opening chord progression for Van Morrison's "Bright Side Of
The Road" is a 1-3-4-5 progression which when played in the key
of C becomes C-Em-F-G. This is the same chord progression Van
Morrison uses for the opening chords of "Have I Told You Lately".
So you can see, by identifying the sound of chord progressions it
makes the process of learning new material much easier.
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