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Country Vocals Lessons: Nashville Number System - “Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain”

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All right, this is a very powerful lesson
in which we are going to decipher
the Nashville Number System.
We talked about it a little
bit earlier in the course.
This is a brilliant, very simple
system for representing chords and and
the arrangements of chords into a chart
like this actual structure of a song.
So that you can, as a musician,
write and then read the cords,
knowing the right cords to play,
the duration of the cords,
how long you play this particular cord.
And then be able write the entire song
in a very simple, single page chart.
We're gonna decipher
three country songs and
actually build the charts for each one.
The last one is gonna end up being
an exercise for you to complete yourself.
So you'll get to make your own chart by
the time we get to the end of this lesson.
All right, we're gonna build on your
knowledge of scales and chords,
and we're gonna apply that knowledge
to create charts for three songs.
We're gonna start with
Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain.
We're gonna start in the key of C,
if you remember
the number system doesn't refer to
a specific chord in a specific key.
In other words, we're not gonna be writing
out the actual names of the chords.
C, F, G, those are the chord
names that we would use for
Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain,
in the key of C.
The number system,
one of the brilliant things about it,
it is only referring to the chord
built on the number of the scale.
So, that it's very easy
to transpose that chart.
You can have a number chart that tells
you all the right chords to play
in whatever key you decide to play it in.
So we're gonna work in the key of C cuz
it's so easy to see on the keyboard and
we've had a little bit if familiarity
together already with the C major scale.
Starting on C, C, D, E, F, G, B, C.
And we numbered those notes of the scale
starting with the tonic, or the root,
the key that we're in being one.
So, one, two, three, four,
five, six, seven, one,
an octave higher, back to one,
and one an octave higher.
Blue Eyes Cryin' in the Rain,
here's Blue Eyes Cryin' in the Rain in C.
We've used
C and G.
Back to G.
Now we're going to F.
Now we're
back on C again and
then G, C
Back to G.
That's the verse in the chorus
of Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain.
This is what it looks like in
the Nashville Number System.
Our first chord is the C Major Triad.
Because that triad is built on
the very first note of the scale,
the root, the tonic, the one.
We call that the one chord.
C Major Triad.
And we're gonna write that one chord
as the first chord on our chart.
Now, we're working at this meter,
one, two,
three, four, one, two, three, four, one,
two, three, four, one, two, three, four.
So our time signature in that meter,
we've got four beats to a measure,
so the top number in our time
signature is gonna be four.
And we're using to sub divide
each measure four quarter notes.
We've got one, two, three,
four, one, two, three, four.
We've got 4 beats in each measure.
So, we're using quarter notes
to define each single beat.
So, our time signature is 4/4.
We would write that here in the upper
left hand corner of the chart.
So, that all the musicians we all
know that we are in 4/4 meter.
So, whenever the drummer counts
off that tempo, one, two, three,
four, one, two, three, four,
one, two, three, four.
Okay, so we wrote our first
chord in 4/4 time signature,
we know that we start on
the chord that we call one,
because it's the triad built on
the first note of the scale.
We stay on that cord, how many measures?
Let's count them,
how many measures did we just play?
One, two, three, four, two,
two, three, four, three,
two, three, four, four, two,
three, four, four measures.
So in a number chart, it's very simple if
we've defined our time signature as 4/4,
we're saying that every number that we
write is going to represent one measure.
So we've got four measures
of the chord we call one.
So four measures of one,
we would write four ones.
One, two, three, four, ones.
Now, I like to divide phrases,
four bar phrases, to make it very
clear for musicians to read.
I like to divide a whole section,
like if right now we're
gonna write the verse,
the chords for the verse.
I like to sub-divide those
phrases into four bar phrases.
So we've written our
first four bar phrase.
I like to put a little dot
here at the end of that phrase
to show that now we're going
to a new musical phrase.
And we're gonna write the next
four bar phrase on this side.
The next four bar phrase
goes to what chord?
[SOUND] The G, [SOUND] The G major triad.
What number would we call the G?
Well, we go back to our C major scale, and
see what number the G lands
on in the C major scale.
There's C, that's one,
two three four five,
G is the five chord in the key of C.
So from the C on the second
four bar phrase,
we go to
then back to C.
Now, how many measures of G do we have?
Well, let's count, two, three,
four, three, two, three, four.
So, we have two measures of G,
so, we'd right, two fives.
So, the first two measures of the next
four bar phrase is to measures of G, two,
three, four, three, two, three, back to C,
and we have two bars of C.
So we just wrote the next
four of our phrase,
two bars of G back to C for two bars.
we just wrote the first
half of this verse.
It's four bars of one, two bars of five,
the five chord, and
then back to the one for two bars.
Well, we know from our
familiarity with the song
that it actually repeats
that eight bar phrase for
the second half of the verse.
That's four bars of one,
here comes to bars of five,
four, two, two,
three, back to the one again,
two bars of one.
Great, we just wrote the whole verse.
Now we're gonna write the chorus.
What's the first chord of the chorus?
So that's the F chord.
What number corresponds with F?
Let's start on C, 1, 2, 3, 4, there's F,
the F major triad is the four chord.
And how many bars of F do we have?
Let's count.
four bars of 4.
That's the next four bar phrase.
I'm gonna put my little dot here
to signify that we're going
into a new four bar phrase.
This is the second half of the B section,
and it starts back on the C,
the 1 chord.
That was two bars of C.
And then,
back to the 5, two bars of 5.
Okay, that was our next eight bar phrase.
Now we're on the last phrase of the song,
of the form of the song.
Well that was four bars of
one again on the C.
And now the last phrase of the song,
we're gonna separate with that little dot.
We're back to the G.
So that's two
bars of G,
back to the one, two,
two, three four.
That's the whole form of
Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain.
Now, you might want to repeat a phrase for
what we would call the turnaround.
You're gonna let the guitar player
solo for after you finish singing.
And now you're gonna let
the guitar player play on the
Well, that was four bars of 1.
Let's go to the,
Two bars of the 5, two bars of the 1.
We let that become, let's say we're
gonna make that the guitar solo.
Now, I wanna come back in on the vocals.
So I'm gonna make a little note
here on the chart that those
eight bars there I just
made the guitar solo.
And then the next phrase, I'm gonna say
this is where the vocal comes back in.
And I'm gonna go back to that B section,
that chorus section,
on the 4 chord, on the F.
two bars of 4, three bars of the 4 chord,
four bars of the 4 chord.
Two bars of the 1 chord.
Two bars of the 5 chord.
Back to the 1.
That was four bars of 1.
New phrase,
two bars of the 5.
Back to the 1 for two bars,
I'm gonna tag it.
A tag is a repetition of
the last line of a song.
That's how I'm gonna finish the song.
So I go a repeat of the two bars of 5,
I'm gonna write this word, retard, here,
because when I get to the end of that tag,
I want the whole band to slow down for
the finish of the song.
It tells the band that
we're gonna slow down here.
And the slow it down and
play to here.
And on that beat,
I'm gonna write this symbol around
the last chord, this we call a diamond.
This symbol around the number tells
the musicians to play one big long
when they see that number
at that point in the chart.
We just wrote the number chart for
Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain.