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New Song: Unchained Melody
Posted on December 12, 2019
Let’s learn this classic tune you just can’t help singing along to! It’s one of the most-recorded songs of all time, but the most popular version was recorded by the Righteous Brothers, with a truly masterful vocal performance. It features an extremely popular chord progression (C-Am-F-G), which is often called the “50s progression” because it was so popular in the 1950s, but is still the most common chord progression in pop music today. Once you learn to listen for this distinctive sound, you’ll spot it a mile away!
Unchained Melody for Guitar
by: James Neilson, Music Education Designer for Guitar
In the cowboy chords exercise (level 4) you’ll play the main chords in the song: C-Am-F-G. This is an extremely common progression, well worth practicing and adding to your repertoire. The chords change in later sections of the song, so this exercise has been shortened to focus on the main progression.
In the main melody exercise (level 5) you’ll play along with the main vocal melody, along with an instrumental melody at the end. It’s been simplified slightly to remove some of the vocal flourishes so it’s playable on guitar, but it should still capture the essence of the tune. Watch out for the jump to high frets – if you know the song you’ll know when!
In the fingerpicking exercise (level 7) you’ll play along with the keyboard arpeggios – it’s a great way to accompany the song on guitar. The fingerpicking pattern should be fairly straightforward, but there are a lot of movable chord shapes so it’s quite a workout for your fretting hand.
Unchained Melody for Bass
by: Antti Halmetoja, Bass content specialist
In the basic bassline exercise (level 2) you’ll follow the basic chord progression of the song. Look out for the string skips during the bridge.
The full bassline exercise (level 5) includes the originally recorded bassline. Here you have to concentrate on keeping things simple and smooth – focus on the quality of the notes, and try to play every note at the same volume.
Unchained Melody for Ukulele
by: Joona Hasan, Music Education Designer for Ukulele
In the basic melody exercise (level 2) you’ll be outlining the main vocal melody, along with some of the string melodies. Try to get into the relaxed flow of this classic song, and try to land a few satisfying notes while you’re at it!
In the chords exercise (level 4) you’ll be playing mostly familiar chords, but there’s a surprise in there, so stay focused! You’ll be a part of the rhythm section, so try to get into the flow by listening to the piano, bass, and drums.
In the fingerpicking exercise (level 5) you’ll be playing a similar pattern to the piano. To help you get locked in, you can also lean into the drums for support. This exercise is also great for accompanying a singer!
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