Music Charts

A chart is a representation of a song's basic chord structure and arrangement. Charts are a necessity in the studio and can also come in handy in live settings. Some nightclubs in major music hubs have chart jams, during which a singer/songwriter can get up and sing with the band and have them play along with the charts. This is scary, but fun.

California charts are used by some studio musicians, by many beginners, and by some touring bands who already know the key in which a song will be performed. A California chart is usually written with the chord name, followed by slashes to denote the number of beats a chord is played. There are many variations of this system, but a California chart for “You Are My Sunshine” might look like this:

However, the most popular charting system is the Nashville Number system, which allows you to use the same chart for a song in any key. This system can also be used to explain much of the theory you need to get off to a good start.

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