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Focusing on the left hand and all chords used in this song

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I think the material is excellent. I’ve benefited so much. I’ve now begun to improvise with some confidence and have written songs that feel authentic. I can now develop musically in a broad and rich way. Your work has illuminated an exciting path forward.– Roger

‘Beautiful’ is a single, written by Linda Perry but sung by Christina Aguilera.

Originally performed on the piano, it would have been tempting to use a capo when arranging it on one acoustic since the song uses chords like Eb, Ab and Fm.

Instead, for ‘Beautiful’ we use only barre chords throughout which does make it difficult for the fretting hand.

Some relief happens over the Eb chord which is in a C shape and can use the open G string. This doesn’t give the chord any strange extensions as it’s just the 3rd of the chord.

In these video lessons, you’ll see how to play all barre chords for ‘Beautiful’ from beginning to end.

Chord progression

The chords could be seen as if played in either the key of Eb or Ab.

Depending on which you choose, the roman numerals will be different. We look further into this when you take the full course.

Once translated to letters, this is what the chords become for the intro/verse/instrumental/m8 and outro sections:

| Eb | Db | Cm | B |

The chorus starts on chord I if you think of it as if it’s in the key of Ab. It starts on chord IV if you think of it as if it’s in the key of Eb.

| Ab | Fm | Eb Db | Cm | x2 | Fm |

Take the intermediate course and you’ll get complete TAB for exactly how it’s played in the video lessons.

Chord shapes and extensions

It’s tricky to fret chords in keys such as Eb and Ab when you don’t play with a capo. All chords will be barre chords.

To get some relief, I use a C shaped Eb chord. Because the chord Eb has a G inside it, we can use the open G string. I also add the little finger on string 1. This adds a 5th to the top of chord shape.

For the B chord, I use the open B string. Since it’s played in an A shape we lose the ability to make it a minor or major chord. It becomes just a 5 chord (a chord with no 3rd).

During the m8, a new B chord shape is introduced. This time it’s in an E shape. We still use the open B but now have a 3rd on the third string. The open E string is what makes this B chord a Badd11 chord.

Find out more about how to play ‘Beautiful’ in the intermediate guitar course.

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