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Jazz Guitar Lessons • God Bless the Child Chord Melody • Chord Chart, Vocal Melody, Video Lessons

As a guitar instructor at Long & McQuade, I have taught countless students (beginners to advanced) how to play or improve their chops.

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Repeat, Dal Segno, Coda

Repeat, Dal Segno, Coda

God Bless The Child Chord Chart

This is the original chord chart for the chord melody arrangement. These are standard jazz changes. The arrangement is condensed into one page with the use of repetition and ending signs. Play the first ten measures, from the forwards facing repeat barline to the backwards facing repeat barline. Then, of course, repeat those ten measures for the second verse. On the second pass, skip the first ending (measure ten) and move to the second ending (measure eleven). Play the bridge section, from measure twelve to measure nineteen. The D.S. al coda sign means Dal Segno al coda, and is telling you play from the Dal Segno symbol (the sign that looks like two s's with a dividing line), at the beginning of the piece to the marking 'to coda', at the end of measure eight. Skip from measure eight to measure twenty on this pass and play the coda (the symbol that looks like a capital O with crosshairs).

All in all, you will have played two verses, the bridge and one final verse with the ending (the coda). I have found many students struggle with this, but once you understand the meaning of the symbols, it is quite easy to follow the arrangement.

Designation MarkShort FormMeaning

Dal Segno

D.S.

repeat from the Dal Segno sign

Da Capo

D.C.

repeat from the beginning

Coda

indicates and end to a movement or piece

First Ending

1

is just that, do not repeat on second pass

Second Ending

2

skip first ending and play from here

Chord Chart

jazz-guitar-god-bless-the-child-chord-melody
jazz-guitar-god-bless-the-child-chord-melody

God Bless The Child Rhythm Guitar

The Melody

This is the vocal melody arranged for guitar. Most of the measures are in the parent key of G Major (one sharp, F). The only note that is altered from the key of G Major is F sharp, moving to F natural in some measures. This moves the melody line into the key of C Major (no sharps or flats). The F natural occurs over the Dm chord and is the third degree of the chord. Dm is the second chord in the key of C Major. Improvisation over the chord progression would result in more alterations to the G Major scale, but the melody sticks to chord tones contained in the scale. For example, improvisation over the E7b9 in measure eight would force a G sharp (third), as well as F natural (flat ninth) into the G Major scale, but he melody line sticks to the notes, D and B natural, the seventh and fifth of the E7b9. Try arpeggiating the chord and resolving back into G Major for the Am7 in measure nine (or more precisely, move into A Dorian). The safest and most musical way to improvise over these changes would be to elaborate on the vocal melody.

Chord Interval Comparison Chart

This table reveals notes that are common to the chords. Compare these intervals to the melody notes. The recurring B and D natural show up in many of the chords.

ChordChord Construction

G Major

G B D

C6

C E G A

Dm

D F A

G7

G B D F

G#dim7

E B D G#

CMaj7

C E G B

Cm(Maj7)

C Eb G B

Bm7

B D F# A

E7b9

E G# B D F

Am7

A C E G

D7

D F# A C

C7

C E G Bb

B7

B D# F# A

Em

E G B

Em(Maj7)

E G B D#

Em7

E G B D

Em6

E G B C#

F#7

F# A# C# E

E7

E G# B D

The Melody

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jazz-guitar-god-bless-the-child-chord-melody
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jazz-guitar-god-bless-the-child-chord-melody

The Melody Video

I have performed the melody with some embellishments in the second verse. Please see I've Still Got The Blues, and What A Wonderful World for more information on bending in pitch. The ending run is simply the last chord from the rhythm guitar chart, arpeggiated an octave higher.

God Bless The Child Melody

Chord Melody

This is one of the hardest songs I have ever attempted to arrange. Recording the transcription was no walk in the park either. I voiced the melody in a lower octave for the majority of the tune, in order to blend in with the chords, many of which are open shapes. In measure twelve, I took the melody up an octave and voiced it on top of more traditional jazz chords. This change only lasts for four bars. This arrangement is more of a folk-jazz cover.

Fingerpicking is essential to the sound, although it could be played with 'hybrid picking' (a combination of pick and fingers). Once again, this is played in free time. The two bar turnaround (beginning at measure ten) involves quite a big stretch for the D11 chord.

The bridge (beginning at measure twenty two), employing the minor, minor/Major7th, minor 7th, minor 6th, is a very common progression found in many songs from all genres. Tunes that come to mind: Summer Rain (Johnny Rivers), Something (The Beatles), and Into The Great Wide Open (Tom Petty). The GMaj9 (actually a GMaj6/9; for some reason the program would not let me name this chord correctly) at the end has a very pleasant resolution sound. Try playing this at the tenth fret. Voice the G on the tenth fret, fifth string as the lowest note. This chord has the same intervals and achieves the same sound.

When approaching learning and memorizing any song or solo, try to break it down into smaller phrases. Make sure the phrases make sense, that is, they have a beginning and an end. I have found this to be much easier than bar to bar.

Fretboard grids for the chords

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jazz-guitar-god-bless-the-child-chord-melody
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God Bless The Child Chord Melody

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© 2012 Lorne Hemmerling