I have a problem understand what to play on those chords here.

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As you can see from my markings I actually play the Am in the first line twice because I kinda feel weird having it only "ring" to the point I play the Gagain. Same with the second line where there is a long pause (by notation) from Am to C. I wonder what I have to do here? Play Am for two bars?.

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I hope I explained what my problem is well enough!

2 Answers 2


In that sort of notation, you're supposed to keep playing/strumming the chord until told otherwise.

In this song you play 

the same chord all the way

all the way 

from beginning to end, hooray

all the way
  • 3
    Some notation styles 'remind' you on the next line, but basically you're meant to already know the song & just use this as a quick cheat sheet.
    – Tetsujin
    Aug 19, 2019 at 16:42
  • 6
    No chord is very often notated "N.C."
    – trlkly
    Aug 20, 2019 at 0:47

I really hate that way of writing songs out. If you know the song and how it all fits together, then fine. (If you know the song do you actually need anything?!)

But, seriously, it's way too vague. It doesn't tell you how many beats or bars (there could be two or more chords in a bar) each symbol represents. And, like you are getting confused with, where in a bar the next line actually starts.

True, as the other answer glibly states, you carry on with the last chord shown until you see a change of chord, then play that. But it just isn't accurate and self-explanatory. I couldn't guarantee that I'd play it correctly from that song shown, and I've got a not bad idea of what I'm doing!

And to make it worse, the chords are often not on exactly the right syllable, and with songs that have a couple of chord changes , say at the end of a verse, there's no way on Earth of telling how long each chord lasts. I'm not sorry to say there's quality to this kind of 'sheet music'. Sadly it's low quality!

  • Yeah my problem is with the rythm. I have no idea what pattern I have to hit the strings - especially with those "free" parts. I just make something up that fits into the scheme somehow
    – xetra11
    Aug 19, 2019 at 16:34
  • 11
    Aside from saying "the other answer is right", this doesn't seem to be an answer - more of a rant. Aug 19, 2019 at 16:37
  • @ToddWilcox - thanks for the dv. The other answer is hardly right, and I didn't say it is entirely right. Yes there is some rant there, but that doesn't make it a wrong answer. Tell me you could play sheets like this accurately, given that 'you stay on the same chord till told otherwise'.
    – Tim
    Aug 19, 2019 at 16:51
  • 1
    IMO, the lyrics + chords notation is the perfect tool for many kinds of pop/rock situations. It's an excellent mix of just enough things to get the job done, but not too much to get in the way or be incorrect. Everyone has to know the song to some extent, listen to what happens all the time and react naturally. The notation naturally adjusts to improvised changes, for example if a few extra bars are needed before a verse or chorus. Special riffs and obligatos can be written next to the lyrics with traditional notation. Intros and other instrumental parts can be written as chords + barlines. Aug 19, 2019 at 17:00
  • 2
    "If you know the song..." fact: not many people know chords just from listening. TBF, I won't call this a "sheet music". This is just a chord reminder, that's all. The player is free to play how they want while using the chord as a guideline. The fact that some of them have misaligned chords is disappointing, but it's convenient enough for those who just want a casual "pick a familiar song and jam" (imagine "party/karaoke mode"); it's never meant to be a learning tool. (Disclaimer: I'm just a hobbyist who likes to transcribe chords from pop/rock songs by ears, using Roman numeral.)
    – Andrew T.
    Aug 20, 2019 at 3:44

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