A Minor: The “Rising Solar” Key

“There’s a home in New Orleans
They name the Rising Solar
And it’s been the break of many a poor boy,
And God, I do know I’m one.”
~Conventional folks tune as sung by The Animals

The Home of the Rising Solar could have been the break of many a poor boy and woman, however the tune, generally performed in A Minor, is a boon to guitar rookies. Most formal classes begin guitar rookies out within the key of C Main, however there’s no query that A Minor is a better key to play on guitar, utilizing fewer fingers, much less cramming, much less stretching than the important thing of C Main. See our earlier weblog publish for 5 nice tips about the best way to study new chords simply.

This tune can also be an important place to begin studying the arpeggio fingerpicking model that the Animals made well-known. Try our earlier publish on the best way to play fingerpicking guitar approach.

The important thing of A Minor has lengthy been related to religious, poignant, even tragic womanliness, making it an important component within the musical panorama. Romantic Period composers like Mozart, Liszt, and Paganini liked it for expressing tragic tenderness of their work. Fashionable composers like Ralph Vaughan Williams and Rachmaninoff discovered it the right car for manifesting the angst of twentieth century existence.

Eric Burdon and the Animals performed their hit “Home of the Rising Solar” in A Minor.

And naturally the Animals made it well-known with their model of the standard American folks tune, “Home of the Rising Solar.”

The important thing of A Minor is the relative minor of the important thing of C Main. Why? As a result of it has the identical key signature. Easy as that. What which means for you and your enjoying will grow to be clearer as you progress.

The A Minor Chord on the Guitar:


Not solely is that this chord pretty straightforward to play, it sounds nice! As a result of three of the strings are performed open, together with the low E and excessive E, the chord is very satisfying to play due to its full sound.

Idea and Follow: The Sample of the A Minor Scale Defined

Since that is the primary minor scale we’ll be overlaying, let’s take a second to look at the variations between a serious scale and a minor scale.

When you’ve already bought some music idea concerning the main scale below your belt you’ll know that the tones in a minor key go like this:

Complete Tone – Half Tone – Complete Tone – Complete Tone – Half Tone – Complete Tone – Complete Tone

In different phrases, the second and the fifth positions within the scale are simply half tones above their previous notes, and between all the opposite notes there are complete tones. All pure minor keys comply with this sample, so for those who ever wish to work out the accidentals for your self, simply begin with the foundation word and depend off the above sample.

Which means that the dimensions of the important thing of A Minor is made up of the notes A, B, C, D, E, F, and G. It’s the one minor key with no accidentals (sharps or flats) simply as C Main is the one main key with no accidentals.

Right here’s the A Minor scale, with A at its root and one other A, an octave increased, at its pinnacle.


In guitar tablature it seems to be like this:


Enjoying scales in your guitar is a complete lot simpler after you memorise your guitar’s fretboard notes. Here’s a secret approach utilized by many professional guitarists around the globe to study the fretboard.

To make issues a bit extra sophisticated, the sequence of kinds of chords utilized in minor keys is totally different than the sequence of kinds of chords utilized in main keys. In minor keys the sequence is as follows:

1st chord: minor
2nd chord: diminished
third chord: main
4th chord: minor
fifth chord: minor
6h chord: main
seventh chord: main

The A Minor chord, which types the foundation of the A Minor scale, is made up of the notes A, C, and E— the primary, third, and fifth notes of the important thing of A. On the guitar, utilizing the essential A Minor chord place proven within the image, these notes arrive on this order: E, A, E, B, C and E.

When you’d prefer to get a safer really feel for the idea behind the apply of music making, our weblog has a useful set of music idea articles. Realizing music idea will assist you to be a greater musician and provide the peace of thoughts that comes with figuring out what all of it means.

Chords and Frequent Chord Progressions within the Key of A Minor

“I’ll Be Gone,” by the Tom Waits

When you have been to make use of each chord in the important thing of A Minor, the next can be the chords you’d use. You aren’t strictly restricted to utilizing solely the chords in the identical key, but it surely helps to know them, so right here they’re:

A Minor – B diminished – C main, D minor – E minor – F main – G main

Why are the A, D, and E chords minor? As a result of, in contrast to the key scale, within the pure minor scale the chords on the first fourth, and fifth positions of the important thing are minor. All the time.

Why is the B a diminished chord? As a result of in the important thing of A Minor it sits within the second place, and in minor keys all second chords are diminished.

There may be one necessary factor that chord progressions in main and minor keys have in frequent. For selection and larger expressiveness, the fifth chord— E minor within the this case— can be performed as an E minor7. Why? As a result of it sits on the fifth place of the important thing of A Minor, giving it the honour of being the chord that asserts the ending of the musical phrase, simply as within the main keys.

Including the seventh word of the important thing of E Minor (D) to the E Minor chord, creating an E Minor 7, makes the E Minor chord “lean” a bit, as if it’s about to fall over onto the foundation chord (A minor) that normally comes subsequent within the chord development, or, in circumstances the place no chord comes subsequent, giving the musical phrase an unresolved sound.

Try our earlier publish on understanding and enjoying seventh chords and, don’t miss the sequence on studying and understanding music idea.

Along with your Uberchord app classes, take some time to mess around with the progressions under to grow to be extra aware of how these chords, relying on their order and context, create a way of starting, rising, falling, and ending.

So let’s have one other have a look at the chords in the important thing of A Minor: A Minor, B diminished, C main, D minor, E minor, F main, and G main.

Clearly you may’t simply begin enjoying all these chords and count on to sound good. The next are a number of frequent chord progressions on this key. A lot of the songs you hear are composed of mixtures of those chord progressions. As you play them and get used to their sound, you’ll in all probability recognise them as acquainted.

Notice: By far the most typical chord development for people, nation, and pop songs is loosely based mostly on I, IV, V, I. In the important thing of A Minor this turns into A minor, D minor, and E minor (or E minor 7). Attempt proper now enjoying these chords on this order:

A minor—D minor—E minor (or E minor 7)—A minor.

Discover how even on this brief development the music has a transparent starting, center, and finish, particularly for those who use E minor 7?

Now strive enjoying the chords to “Home of the Rising Solar:”

Am          C            D                      F

There’s a home in New Orleans

Am        C      E

They name the Rising Solar

Am          C        D                  F

And it’s been the break of many a poor boy,

Am        E              Am

And me, God is aware of I’m one.”

What offers this tune its unusual, tender sound is not only the tragic topic of its lyrics or the melancholy minor key; it’s the truth that the fifth chord, as an alternative of being performed as an E minor because it ought, is performed as an E main chord. This innovation in rural folks music was utilized by the famed Louisiana bluesman Leadbelly, in his tune “Black Lady.” these are simply two examples of how stepping out of the musical field can create fantastic new sound experiences that find yourself turning into classics.

Now apply enjoying by means of these progressions, getting a really feel for the musical messages they may carry.

  1. A minor—D minor—E minor—A minor.
  2. A minor—E minor—F main— D minor.
  3. A minor—F main— D minor——E minor.
  4. A minor—E minor—vi —C main—D minor—A minor—D minor——E minor.
  5. Blues: A minor— A minor— A minor— A minor—D minor—D minor—A minor— A minor—E minor—E minor—A minor —A minor.
  6. B diminished—D minor—E minor.
  7. A minor—D minor—E minor——D minor.
  8. E minor——D minor—A minor.
  9. F main— D minor—A minor——E minor.
  10. F main— E minor—F main— E minor.

A Few Nice Songs within the Key of A Minor

As we’ve identified many occasions, for those who’re in a position to decide up on it you’ll word that every key, and generally every chord, has its personal distinctive emotional flavour when performed on the guitar. Now that we’ve began wanting on the minor keys we are able to say with certainty that they sound extra darkish, sombre, severe, and unhappy than the key keys. The important thing of A Minor is not any totally different. Its uniqueness lies in its female aspect, its religious tenderness, its wistful love-longing.

It may be a mild warning to an harmless younger woman, akin to in Cat Stevens’s “Wild World.”

It may be a paean to a misplaced love, like Leonard Cohen’s “Well-known Blue Raincoat,” or the Rolling Stones’ “Angie.”

It will possibly sing of a lady’s ascent to Paradise, like Led Zeppelin’s “Stairway to Heaven.”

A Minor is certainly a part of the material of a self-examined life. Make it part of your guitar repertoire. By no means know once you may want it, and moreover, it’s rewarding to play.

And for those who haven’t downloaded the Uberchord app but, right here are 5 nice causes why it’s best to!



Rita Steblin (1996) A Historical past of Key Traits within the Eighteenth and Early

Nineteenth Centuries, College of Rochester Press, p. 123

  1. D. Mar (1981). Anatomy of the Orchestra, College of California Press, p. 349

Feelings of the Musical Keys

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