La Vie en Rose – Gypsy and Jazz Chord Study



La Vie en Rose – Gypsy and Jazz Chord Study

Let’s talk about your chord  playing and about your chord vocabulary.  
But , before we start, what are chords?

A better answer, for our needs, than the basic definition of a chord as a set of (at least) three notes played together, would be to think of chords more as a suggestion, a code, an invitation to explore and create various sounds.

If you play accompaniment for a song using the same few shapes in the same places on your fingerboard every time, then this article is for you. I would like to invite you to expand your chord vocabulary and explore different sounds, making your accompaniment playing more interesting.

What do you have in mind when reading the chord “G”? How many shapes do you think of?

A lot of us play one or two shapes all the time. But you have so many options!  Why be satisfied with two?

The aim of this lesson is to help you expand your chord vocabulary, using chord inversions. We’ll learn a few chord shapes that you can use for each one of these three main chord types:

  1. Major chords: Chords you can play for all the major chords (tonic or subdominant major chords) which don’t function as Dom7.
  2. Dom7 chords: Chords you can play for major Dom7 chords in no matter what function they play in songs.

3. Minor chords – Chords you can play for all minor chords, whether they function as tonic or subdominant

Feel free to change the fingerings I use to make them comfortable for you

Let’s take a standard chord progression that we can play as an accompaniment to La Vie en Rose. We have nine chords in this song; let’s classify them into our three main chord types:

Major chords: G, C.

Dom7 chords: D7, F#7, G7, E7, A7.

Minor chords: Am, Cm

The following chord diagrams are all in the key of G. They suggest one chord shape for each inversion. Transpose them to all the other chord roots that we have in this song and combine  them creatively:

Root position (Chords with the root as the lowest note):
First inversion (Chords with the 3rd degree as the lowest note):
Second inversion (Chords with the 5th degree as the lowest note):
Third inversion (Chords with the 7th degree as the lowest note):
Chord Etude:
Improvisation with chords

The ability to improvise when you play accompaniment – playing accompaniment to a song a little bit differently – with different chord shapes, bass lines and colors each time, gives you two important skills for jazz playing:

  1. Mastering the form of the song.
  2. Having the option to choose your preferred colors at any moment, according to the way your soloist is playing.


Facebook Comments
  • Randolph Koder
    Posted at 03:15h, 12 March Reply

    So beatuifully presented. I will learn muck from your demo. Most of what you have shown, I already know and understand. I didn’t see the way you have combined the chords for myself, nor do I have enough fluency to master it in one study, but your help is very much appreciated and I will love to devote some time to it. Thank you.

  • Randolph Koder
    Posted at 03:17h, 12 March Reply

    sorry about the typo
    I will learn much from your demo.

  • Donna Smith
    Posted at 05:07h, 19 March Reply

    You are such a good teacher, you know the true art of pedagogy!

    • Yaakov Hoter
      Posted at 05:11h, 19 March Reply

      Thanks Donna!
      Happy you love this lesson

  • Aslam Khudabux
    Posted at 09:27h, 19 March Reply

    Thanks Yaakov for free book. There are many types of G chords. Lots of them have technical attributes which defines what type of G chord it is eg G dom7 etc. As of now I don’t understand this or why this or how this. In the future I will know. But slowly because there is a mountain of guitar/ music theory on the Internet. Each slightly different and requires different ways of learning it so that it’s more organic to MY brain.

    • Yaakov Hoter
      Posted at 09:32h, 19 March Reply

      I will soon release a new e-Book that packs all the information needed about chord theory in one place.
      So stay tuned 🙂

  • Ron Villegas
    Posted at 11:15h, 19 March Reply

    Nothing better than finding a new lesson from you in the morning! Beautiful song, my left hand can grab most of the shapes but my mind and right hand are lagging behind, la pompe still eluding me,too many years of learning finger style arrangements from tabs.

    Thanks for the great lesson!

  • Peter Ritchie
    Posted at 12:11h, 19 March Reply

    Thanks from the mountains of British Columbia., Canada. As these chord shapes presently make more sense to my mind than to my fingers it’s only a matter of spending a few zillion hours to train fingers and then, boom, I’ve got it. Always so helpful to see you play these with such facility.

  • Manuel Guajardo
    Posted at 13:07h, 19 March Reply

    Love your style. I am elated that I ran across your vids/lessons. Wish I could have known this 35yrs. ago. I spent all that time trying to read classical music by sheet music and always had trouble reading and finding notes on the fret board, so I just gave up. About a year ago, a friend mentioned pentatonic scales, which I never knew existed, and it made all the difference in the world, although, it made me mad that I had wasted all those years. Oh, well. cest la vie. Now, I practice every day. I’ve learned more in one year than the last 45. It’s still a long journey, but I’m retired and have the time. Thank you senior Hoter. Keep up the good work. You’re an amazing musician.
    Manuel, Corpus Christi Texas.

  • Adam Royffe
    Posted at 03:17h, 20 March Reply

    Thanks Yaakov. I always enjoy your lessons, Things that seemed complicated become so straight forward. You’r a real inspiration.

  • Richard Flores
    Posted at 16:40h, 20 March Reply

    Beautiful chords the rhythm is very nice and slow you can hear the chords how about the melody Richard

  • runescape gold cannon
    Posted at 06:15h, 28 June Reply

    I got what you intend, appreciate it for posting. Woh I am glad to find this website through google.

  • rainbow unicorn onesie
    Posted at 17:18h, 04 July Reply

    Excellent p

  • koala onesie
    Posted at 00:56h, 10 August Reply

    What’s up, just wanted to mention, I enjoyed this article. It was practical. Keep on posting!

  • phil volckhausren
    Posted at 12:15h, 13 February Reply

    I am just starting to understand the theory of inversions and it is actually making sense to me. I just need about six months of practice to be able to get myself to be able to physically be able to learn and play them and then I can tell you what I think . Thank-you Yaakov

    • Yaakov Hoter
      Posted at 23:27h, 13 February Reply

      Sounds like a good plan Phil!
      Be consistent and you’ll have it.
      Best wishes

Post A Comment