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I am beginning guitar and still playing notes on the B and E string while learning.

We have this song to play:

ode to joy

Can I please enquire as to why e.g. the first bar says "C", while the notes are E E F G.

marked as duplicate by Shevliaskovic, Bob Broadley, Matthew Read May 30 '15 at 15:22

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    Shouldn't it be for example dotted-quarter, eighth, half note instead of quarter, quarter, half in the fourth bar? – Hagen von Eitzen May 3 '15 at 18:06
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    @HagenvonEitzen: it's evidently a beginner arragement, simplified to only use crotchets and minims. But, I also cringe at this kind of mutilation... – leftaroundabout May 3 '15 at 18:42
  • The notes shown are the melody. The most obvious example of this is in most any popular song with vocals -- the person is singing notes that can be different from the root of the underlying chords. If every instrument played the same note as every other it would be incredibly boring (and wouldn't sound great either). – Matthew Read May 5 '15 at 15:47
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The letters over each bar relate to the chord that will fit with those notes. The bar saying C will work because a C major chord is made up from the 3 notes C, E and G. It may have more than one of each when played on a guitar, for instance, but will have those 3 notes, sometimes at different octaves.

The notes played in that first bar are E,E,F,G so the majority of them fit the chord of Cmaj. Bar 2, with G,F,E,D will fit over G, or better still, G7,which contains G,B,D,F.. Again, most notes from the chord. Interesting, bar 12 usually has a D or D7 for the first part. It works as D7 is D,F#,A,C. Your next question may be so why is bar 6, with the same notes as bar 2, showing an F, not a G?

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    The F chord makes the G in the melody an unprepared suspension and similar to an accented passing note as it resolves step-wise. – Andrew Leach May 3 '15 at 22:10

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