Skip to content
Notifications
Clear all

Hi folks

5 Posts
5 Users
0 Likes
792 Views
Welshman
(@welshman)
Estimable Member
Joined: 16 years ago
Posts: 99
Topic starter  

As I have mentioned on previous postings I am a keen folk music fan and on the web there is a plethora of folk song lyrics along with MP3's and midi files of the songs. However finding chords for most of these songs is almost impossible so .. and probably for the best I need to learn how to identify what chords need to be played to accompany these songs. Just one wee slight problem - how fo you do it?????

Any tips and guidance would be appreciated

D

What did the guitarist do when he was told to turn on his amp?
He caressed it softly and told it that he loved it.


   
Quote
Fretsource
(@fretsource)
Prominent Member
Joined: 17 years ago
Posts: 973
 

As I have mentioned on previous postings I am a keen folk music fan and on the web there is a plethora of folk song lyrics along with MP3's and midi files of the songs. However finding chords for most of these songs is almost impossible so .. and probably for the best I need to learn how to identify what chords need to be played to accompany these songs. Just one wee slight problem - how fo you do it?????

Any tips and guidance would be appreciated

D

Fortunately, folk songs usually have simple and common chords, mostly restricted to majors, minors and sevenths. Advanced folk guitarists tend to compensate for that by including intricate fingerstyle arrangements, (eg., John Renbourn, Bert Jansch).

Let's assume the key of A for everything:

Major key songs will mostly use chords A D E (E7) & F#m
Minor key songs will use chords Am Dm (or D major) and E major( or E7 or E minor) and G major

As a Welshman, I suspect you might be most interested in the folk music of the British Isles, especially of the Celtic variety.
A lot of that music is modal, meaning (to a folkie) that instead of songs being composed from notes of the major and minor scales, a lot of them will be composed of notes from other scales known as modes. The practical significance of this is that those modal songs will use sets of chords that you don't normally get in normal simple major/minor songs. Knowing the mode tells you which chords to expect.
You'll sometimes see me and some others here discourage beginner guitarists from obsessing about modes, but this is one area in which some knowledge of them is actually useful.

Three modes are in common use: (examples again in A)

Mixolydian (especially Scotland and Ireland)
Most likely chords are A Bm D Em F#m & G

Dorian (especially North England, Scotland and Ireland)
Most likely chords are Am C D Em and G

Aeolian - Ireland - maybe not so common elsewhere
Am C Dm Em F & G

I'm not sure about Wales. All the Welsh songs that are coming to mind as I write this are just major.


   
ReplyQuote
Denny
(@denny)
Reputable Member
Joined: 16 years ago
Posts: 452
 

For an easy way to find the chords, I'll play an E chord on the 3rd., 4th. and 5th. strings only. Then, I'll just slide up the neck until I hear that chord. As an example, if I'm on the 4th. fret, I know it's a G chord. The reasoning is that a Barre G chord has the Barre on the 3rd. fret and the E shape is on the 4th. fret. Then, if the first chord is a G, then it would go next to C and then to D. Now of course this isn't a hard and fast rule, but by knowing the root chord, you'll be able to figure where the song goes from there. I'm sure more knowledgeable folks here can help you further, but this works for me for major chord songs.

Denny


   
ReplyQuote
dogbite
(@dogbite)
Illustrious Member
Joined: 18 years ago
Posts: 6348
 

Denny is on the right track. I do it more simply. I use just the bass E string and follow the song.
with folk songs, unless they use open tuning, chords are straight forward.
if my E string sounds right on the third fret then I bet I have a G chord. then I suss out the progression. and that is straight forward too.

http://www.soundclick.com/bands/pagemusic.cfm?bandID=644552
http://www.soundclick.com/couleerockinvaders


   
ReplyQuote
causnorign
(@causnorign)
Honorable Member
Joined: 18 years ago
Posts: 554
 

I agree with dogbite, I just slide on up the E string until it sounds right. Once you've got that you're almost home free. Many if not most folk songs tend to be in the I-IV-V progression so if you're in E it would be E-A-B with the B often a B7. Thats been my experience anyway. Its amazing how good 3 chords can sound when fingerpicked.
Eric


   
ReplyQuote