COPYRIGHTS & PERMISSIONS: All arrangements and tabs in this blog are the original work of the blog owner, unless otherwise noted. They may be downloaded and copied at no charge, only for non-commercial church or home use. All other rights reserved. Ask for permissions-- I intend to be generous. Copyright information for each song is listed in its commentary. Arrangements and tabs of public domain songs are still covered by these copyright restrictions. Your cooperation is appreciated.

What's all this stuff about 7ths, 5ths, etc.?

Ever wonder why chords have such weird names? Here's a brief lesson on chord theory. See CHORD THEORY in the list of links at right. It contains explanations, charts, and a handy slide rule for finding chord elements and scales. Stuff every guitarist should know.

NOT included is an explanation of my own addition to standard notation- adding Roman numerals to show fret position-- where the barring finger goes in barred chords.

Nearly every chord that can be played on the guitar can be played in several ways. The most common of these alternative fingerings are distinguished by their position. For example, C can be played the regular way, or by barring an A at the III fret, or by barring an E at the VIII fret. Strange as it may seem, there is no universally accepted way to write these chord symbols so a guitarist will know which is meant, even though they sound quite different. After years of struggle, I gave up and invented my own way, based on the way classical guitar music shows position with Roman numerals. If anyone knows a better way, please tell me.

Otro año ha pasado

There are no hard chords in this piece. In fact, there are no chords at all! It's a relatively easy classical piece, based on the soprano and alto lines of the hymn in the Spanish hymnal. It's not in the English hymn book.

One of the hardest things to do in tablature is to convey a complex rhythm. This is even harder when working in a foreign language, particularly one like Spanish, where the words are often run together in peculiar ways when singing. So I wrote out a silly, little ditty in English to illustrate the way the rhythm changes:


Drink some lemonade / sitting in the shade
with a pretty girl / who you love.
Tell her everything / promise her a ring
make her laugh and sing like / Saints above!


Boys and girls are / often seen together
strolling slowly / walking hand in ha__nd.
Summer, winter / any kind of weather.
Ad-o-les-cent / love is truly grand.

These words have nothing at all to do with the actual lyrics of the hymn, and little enough to do with each other, but they do make a kind of sense, if you don’t look too closely! Divisions of measures within each line are shown by slashes.

The refrain (estribillo) is quite different from the verses, in melody, rhythm, and feeling. The verses have a serious tone, while the refrain sounds more like a children’s song. The last word in the second line of the refrain is drawn out, where the tab has a hammered-on C, on the 5th fret of the third string, added almost as if it were an afterthought. Other than that one note, every note of the song has a corresponding syllable in the lyrics-- both the real, Spanish lyrics, and my frivolous ditty above.

Oh, and yes, the phrase, con resolución, does indeed mean that it is to be played “with resolution!” How very appropriate, for a New Years song!

Dream A Little Dream Of Me

It’s not really LDS, or even religious, but it’s such a pretty lovesong, and a chaste one at that, that I couldn’t resist including it as a Valentine’s Day treat. Yeah, I know, it’s barely New Years, but it might take you a while to get this one down pat, as the chord progressions, while beautiful, are a bit unusual. I’m including two versions. If you like instrumental guitar solos, play the tab version. If you’re intending to sing it to someone special, the cheat sheet is probably better. Or, you can do as I do most of the time -- play the chords and sing it, but include some finger-pickin’ as an interlude.

The “cheat” version is intended to be strummed, either with a soft, flat pick or with the thumb. Strum slowly and easily, DOWN up-down-up, DOWN up-down-up, DOWN up-down-up, DOWN up-down-up. The song makes extensive use of barre chords, to bring out the melody, even when chording. They are not especially difficult ones, but you may find the use of the GVII chord (a barred C) difficult, if you are not used to it. I often play it as a four-string chord, which makes it much easier.

The transitions: CIII - B7II - Fm7sus & CIII - B7II - A7 are central to the song. The only really hard part of this is making the transition B7II - A7 quickly. I do it by just lifting the barre and sliding the whole chord two frets toward the nut. It may feel “wrong” to play A7 this way at first, but it’s lots faster than trying to change finger positions to play it the normal way, and it does pre-position your hand perfectly for the full-barre F which follows.

The song will sound LOTS better if you put in the melody notes on the F - Fm phrase. See the tab version for the exact notes to play. The AV - A6V - AV transition is even easier, as all you are doing is moving the little finger. You have to be quick to hit the following E7 and stay in the rhythm, but again, you can do it much faster if you just pick up the barring finger and move the whole hand, playing the chord with the “wrong” fingers. Try hard not to actually slide the chord. It sounds bad if you do, though sliding UP the bass string to the AV works really well. Barbara says it’s her favorite part of the song!

I wrote the tab version in 8/8 time, to make all the notes come out eighth notes, or very nearly all of them. I don’t know what the original time signature was-- 4/4, or even 2/4. I tried writing it as 4/4, and it just looked too “busy” to be easily readable. The hard thing is to make it sound slow and relaxed. It might take a month of practice, which is why I’m posting it now. If you haven’t been working on “Til There Was You” from last year, this makes an acceptable replacement, and it’s not nearly as hard. It even works well as a duet -- if one of you has a throaty, contralto voice like Mama Cass!

This is NOT in public domain, so -- SORRY! You don't get the full lyrics with the tab. I've included them with the cheat sheet, because you can't write a cheat sheet without the lyrics! The arrangements are all mine, including simplified (really!) chords. Papa Denny must be double-jointed, to play the chords he's written. I can't!