Mad World Chords

Learn how to play Mad World on one acoustic guitar!

‘Mad World’ is a song written and first made famous by Tears For Fears in 1982. Two decades later Gary Jules has a Christmas #1 with it as a cover.

Spy Tunes version is a one guitar arrangement of Gary Jules piano ballad cover.

The song is not in the traditional natural minor (Aeolian, chord VI). Instead, Mad World’s key centre is over Dorian (chord II), just like ‘I Wish‘ and ‘Scarborough Fair‘.

Mad World chord progression

These are the chords for Mad World:


| Em | G | Dsus2 | A |


| Em | A | Em | A |

All chords are from the key of D major, however, D is not the home chord, Em is.

This is why you would say ‘Mad World’ is “in Dorian”.

Mad World in the guitar course

In the Intermediate Guitar Course, Mad World is studied in depth.

The full lesson cover:

  1. The meaning of the chord progression
  2. The picking pattern
  3. How to play it finger style
  4. The pentatonic scales that outline the intro melody
  5. A complete chart

See you on the other side!