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Caravan Gogh @ Al’s Den
Portland, Oregon December 2
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Portland, Oregon December 3
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Hillsboro, Oregon December 8
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Schedule | 2018

Ajijic Retreat
Ajijic, Mexico Jan. 17-20
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Allegheny Uke Soriee
Altoona, PA April 20-22
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Ukulele Festival of Scotland
Drumfries, Scotland April 27-29
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West Coast Uke Retreat
Pacific Grove, CA May 2-6
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Sorrento, BC, Canada June 15-17
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Olivet, Michigan June 22-24
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The Beatles In Three Chords-I Saw Her Standing There

Posted on: August 24th, 2011 by dville
I Saw Her Standing There is the first song on the first Beatles album released in the UK on March 22, 1963.  What makes this song so exciting?  The chords will tell us the answer to that!

The song is basically a three-chord progression in the key of E. So let’s first look at the notes contained in an E Major Scale so we can figure out the chords built on each of those notes (I repeat this process on every song I explore as a way to become familiar with the notes of each key).


E Major Scale (4 #)
E  F#  G#  A  B  C#  D#  E
 I     ii        iii      IV   V     vi      vii    VIII

The verse begins on the I7, which immediately introduces a tension to the proceedings.  Have you ever wondered why all those teenage girls could not stop screaming?  TENSION!    
I7  Well, she was just seventeen, you
It then moves not to the IV, but the TENSION-riddled IV7 then back to the I7
IV7 know what I  
I7  mean?  And the way she looked was way beyond com-
Then, of course, to the truly angst-burdened V7.
V7 pare.  So
Notice here the progression softens by returning, not to the I7, but to the restful I with the question…
I  how could I
The TENSION of I7 now forces the progression to the IV 
I7  dance with an- IV other, 
And now the unexpected magic happens!  The bonus bVI (flat 6 Major)!
bVI  wooooo, when I (Who wouldn’t start screaming here?)
The entire verse is next wrapped in a tidy TENSION bundle of I7-V7-I7
I7 saw her V7 standing  I7 there.
Second verse, same as the first, then on to the bridge.
The bridge is TENSION to the third power, moving quickly from the I7 to the IV7 where it holds on for an incredible SIX measures!
I7 Well my IV7 heart went boom, when I crossed that room, and I held her hand in
This incredibly TENSION-filled moment could only climax in one place…
V7 mi-eeeeeeeeen
Then back to the IV7
IV7 -eeeeeen
Moving to the restful I would put an end to all this wonderful TENSION they’ve built up, so before leaving the IV7 they sing two pick-up notes to start a new verse on the I7 and the roller-coaster ride continues!

IV7 Well, we I7 danced though the night, and we (notice here again the use of the two note pick-up,
and we, before moving to the next chord).

IV7 held each other tight, I7 and before too long, I fell in love with V7 her.  Now 
The song now repeats the last half of the verse we already learned simply changing how to now 
I  I’ll never I7 dance with an- IV other bVI woooo, since I I7 saw her V7 standing I7 there.

And now for the big finish which of course ends on the restful I.  But just for fun they throw in the I9 chord as the icing on the the tension cake.
I7 Yeah, since I saw her V7 standing IV there I (instrumental) I9.

Like I stated at the outset, this is basically a three-chord progression using the I-IV-V7.  Add in some tension-helpers, I7-IV7, and one unexpected bonus chord bVI and you’ve got the recipe for one screaming pop classic!  Before you even try to play along with the song, listen to it a couple of times paying close attention to the lyrics and where the chord changes occur.  Then, put the progression on your instrument, and soon you’ll never need to look at the chords for this song again.



This song is posted for educational purposes only.

One Response

  1. keith says:

    I've been playing uke for 4 months now. I just stumbled across your blog a couple days ago and I've spent half a day on it already. I love the way you break down the songs with explanation on how the chords fit together and I really appreciate your teaching style. And you explain the concepts so well. I never really understood the Circle of 5ths before your blog. Keep up the wonderful posts…I will have to order your DVD once I get done backpacking and get back to the States. Thank you.

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