Empire State Of Mind


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Watch this video lesson

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

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First Two Lessons For Free

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

‘Empire State Of Mind’ is a single by Alicia Keys that she co-wrote with Jay-Z.

Originally performed on the piano in the key of F#, we have adapted this to work on the guitar by adding a capo to fret two and think of it as in the key of E.

It’s a great lesson to take a song, originally performed on a different instrument and build your own arrangement. To do this you must understand key signatures, chords, progressions and how scales are used.

To learn how to do this for ‘Empire State Of Mind’ and other songs, including TAB for everything in the video lessons, is what you will achieve when you take the intermediate guitar course.

Chord progression

These are the chords for ‘Empire State Of Mind’, should you put a capo on fret two and think of this is if in the key of E.

The verse/bridge use chord I, IV and IIIx (G#).

| E | E | Amaj7 | Amaj7 | x4 | G# | G# |

The chorus starts on chord IV, goes back to chord I and finishes on chord V.

| Amaj7 | Amaj7 | E | B | x2 | Amaj7 | Amaj7 |

The m8 section introduce chord VI (a C#m), like this:

| Amaj7 | Amaj7 | Bno3 | C#m | G# |G# |

There is also an outro chorus and end section that contain some more chords.

Chord extensions

A few of the chords in ‘Empire State Of Mind’ have been extended, let’s look at them one by one:

Amaj7 – This chord is created by adding a maj7th interval to an A major triad.
Bno3 – This chord only has roots and 5ths inside it, it is neither major nor minor.
Aadd9 – This chord is created by adding a 9th interval (a B) to a normal A major triad.
Badd11 – This chord is created by adding an 11th interval (an E) to a normal B major triad.

To learn how to arrange a song like this, turn to the intermediate course.

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