Guitar Chords to Hallelujah by Leonard Cohen

guitar chords to hallelujah

This chord chart includes all of the necessary chords to perform Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah on an acoustic guitar! Learn to master this beautiful tune!

Intervals have an immense effect on how a chord sounds; for example, adding minor to major triads changes their sound drastically and melancholia can result from one while major to minor triads are upbeat and joyful – one of the first concepts you need to grasp when learning chord theory.

The Chord Progression

The song ‘Hallelujah’ is composed in C major. Its chord progression and melodic structure are rather straightforward, with below average scores for Chord Complexity, Chord-Melody Tension and Chord Progression Novelty in Theorytab.

Cohen says he spent years crafting this song’s verses and music, creating a masterpiece which explores themes such as love, betrayal, faith, and redemption in human experience.

Harmonically, this song features harmonic tension from its use of relative minor chords that alternate with subdominant IV chords, creating ambiguity and tension. Furthermore, secondary dominant chords provide tension-building devices while leading to chords which form part of the key; this technique is widely employed in popular songs today.

The Relative Minor Chord

Starting off this tender piano ballad with a minor chord sets the tone for an emotive ballad, yet its chorus moves into major with surprising sweetness – this phenomenon known as relative major/minor is responsible.

To switch from minor chord to major chord, all that’s necessary is moving up one minor third interval from the root chord. This transition is straightforward on a fretboard because every major scale has its own relative minor scale such as D major having A as its relative minor scale.

As an illustration, let’s consider the A natural minor scale. Like C major, it contains seven notes; when played ascending (going up), however, it sounds similar to regular minor with a lowered third note; but when played descending (going down), the A natural minor scale becomes major with an additional flattened 6th note added into its structure.

Secondary Dominant Chords

Secondary dominant chords serve to replace any diatonic triad or seventh chord in the key of their target chord, serving also to bridge keys in progression (for example G – C A7), as well as bridge between keys within one progression (e.g. G-C-A7). They’ve been widely employed throughout music from Bach to The Beatles, Willie Nelson Radiohead and Father John Misty among many others.

Care must be taken when using these chords, as they have the potential for creating parallel octaves and awkward voice leading. Therefore, these chords are best used when there are no melodic lines crossing between them and when played slowly enough for smooth diatonic movement.

As when working with a secondary dominant, when using its key as the primary, it’s wise to think in terms of it as you would the primary. This ensures any non-diatonic tones are integrated through melodic motion smoothly while augmenting or diminishing intervals remain avoided (except tritone ). This small musical detail can make all the difference when performing slower songs like Hallelujah.

The Verse

Leonard Cohen recorded “Hallelujah” for his 1984 album Various Positions without much fanfare or recognition from label executives; however, they were left perplexed at its lyrics; especially its last line: “This prayer is also a dance of gratitude.”

Hallelujah stands out from other songs in that it has more intricate components, scoring above average on both Chord Complexity and Melodic Complexity as well as Chord Progression Novelty. Furthermore, its six downward strums per measure may make playing it challenging for beginners.

One way around this problem is to arpeggiate rather than strumming chords; this will produce a more subtle sound while still allowing you to accent specific notes without overshadowing lyrics. Another solution could be using a capo on the first fret to transpose C major chord progressions.