Empire State Of Mind

Empire State Of Mind

Chords and fingerstyle arrangement

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Empire State Of Mind chords and finger style arrangement


‘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.

Related Pages

Empire State Of Mind – Lyrics

Empire State of MindGrew up in a town that is famous as the place of movie scenes
Noise was always loud, there are sirens all around and the streets are mean
If I can make it here, I can make it anywhere, that’s what they say
Seeing my face in lights or my name on marquees found down on Broadway
Even if it ain’t all it seems, I got a pocketful of dreams

For complete lyrics, go to Empire State Of Mind lyrics.

Alicia Keys – Biography

alicia-keys-thumbNot many singers enter the charts instantly with their debut album. Usually, it takes not just months of preparation but also a soft release, a build and then a few more singles before the audience catch on.

When Alicia Keys released ‘Songs In Am’ in 2001, she could not have anticipated the huge success with 236.000 sales in the first week or the 12 million copies her debut album eventually sold worldwide.

To find out more, go to Alicia Keys biography.


Learning how to play guitar is best done through playing and learning from songs.

The intermediate songs require you to learn barre chords and pentatonic scales. This will be revolutionary for your understanding of the guitar fretboard.

To see all lessons in the intermediate course, go to Intermediate Guitar Course


All those open position chords you learned in the beginner course now become barre chords and pentatonic scales.

You’ll map out the entire fretboard at this stage. Chord progressions become easier to see once played as barre chords and little licks will start appearing in your playing.

Preview the exercises from the course here: Intermediate Guitar Lessons


Learn how to play famous intermediate songs.

‘1234’, ‘A Change Is Gonna Come’. ‘American Pie’, ‘Angie’, ‘Babylon’, ‘Beautiful’, ‘Breakfast At Tiffany’s’, ‘Dreadlock Holiday’, ‘Empire State Of Mind’, ‘Fast Car’, ‘Hey There Delilah’, ‘I Can’t Stand The Rain’, ‘I’m Yours’, ‘Kiss Me’, ‘Last Request’, ‘Mad World’, ‘Red’, ‘The Scientist’, ‘Starman’, ‘Sunny Afternoon’, and ‘Whistle For The Choir’.

To preview each song, go to Intermediate Acoustic Songs

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Including detailed, but bite-sized explanations on how the music theory of each song is applied to the neck.

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