April 2017

“Hallelujah” Your Way

Consider how you might play Leonard Cohen’s oft-covered song.

Click on the thumbnail images below to access “Hallelujah” accompaniment charts for standard Modern Band ensemble instruments (guitar, keyboard, bass, drums).


A few notes about the symbols and terms here:  1) The guitar, bass, and keyboard charts all include thick, straight lines that denote the starts and ends of measures. In between these lines are smaller diagonal lines that stand for beats. There are six beats to each measure, meaning that the song is in 6/8 time. 2) The guitar chord diagrams show how the chords should look on the fretboard. Their positions on the neck are indicated by the numbers to the left of the diagrams, which tell you what the lowest fret is. The numbers inside the black dots indicate which fingers of your fretting hand to use on which notes. 3) The Xs above the guitar and bass diagrams represent strings that shouldn’t be played, while the Os are strings that should be played open. 4) The chord diagrams in the main section of the keyboard chart show that chords can be formed a few different ways by changing the order of their notes. A fancier word for this is inversion, which you may notice in parentheses next to these “different” chords. Sometimes the root note is on the bottom, sometimes it’s on the top, sometimes it’s in the middle. It’s still the same chord, but changing the note order brings out interesting new characteristics. 5) At the bottom of the keyboard chart, the Rhythm section shows two possible ways to play the chords. The Standard way is arpeggiated (meaning that the individual notes making up the chords are played one at a time), with the left hand (black) playing the root note and the right hand (light gray) playing the rest. The Easy way involves playing the root note with your left hand at the beginning of each  measure and then playing the remaining notes with your right hand in the middle of each measure, on beat 4.

If you still have questions about what’s in these charts, ask your teacher.