Chord a Day, January 6th - Em

Learn a new chord everyday of January.

Published: 01 Jan 2013 Updated: 12 Dec 2018Visits: 103Code: ULCAD0106

Topic: Chords Instruments: ukulele Subjects: Chords

Learn a new Ukulele chord every day of the year. The chord for January 6th is Em. The 'm' is pronounced 'minor'.

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Root Position Em

Harmonic Function for Em

The Harmonic Function of a chord is simply how is a chord being used, in context with other chords in a song or chord progression. Here are the most common harmonic functions for today's chord.

Em is a Full Diatonic , chord in the common Major key(s) of: C (III) , G (VI) , and D (II)

Em is a Full Diatonic chord in the common Minor key(s) of: Em (I) , Bm (IV)

Harmonic Analysis, Scales and Modes

All harmonic and scale analysis utilizes Roman Numerals related to its major or parallel major scale (I II II IV V VII VII, the 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 of the major scale). Technically, the modes are the same or can use a number relative to its parallel major scale. You will see the latter more than the former.

Open Position Chords

Today's chord, Em is an Open Position chord.

Open Position Chords are any chord in the first four frets that include at least one open string.

Triads

Today's chord, Em is a triad.

Triads • A three note chord, traditionally Major, Minor, Diminished, and Augmented.With contemporary triads including sus and add chords.

A real key to learning these triads is really and finally Learning the Ukulele Fingerboard . Memorizing the root of each triad for transposing to other keys.

Todays' open position Em chord, has one embedded minor triads with the root on string two.

Learn a New Chord Each Day!!!

This Learn a New Chord Each Day!!! series of lessons was created and published in 2013 (10yrs ago) and has been added to an expanded ever since. 2020 brought videos to the show. 2023 is bringing more Harmonic information.

For a further exploration of this chord and its movable forms visit the Movable Ukulele Chords Lesson Series page.

To find out even more than you would ever need to know about a Em chord — continue reading .

Em is a Core Chord

A core chord is a basic chord that other chords can be derived from - creating new chords from your known chords. Your ever expanding set of core chords creates a solid foundation for playing music on ukulele or any instrument capable of playing chords. There are just far too many chord shapes to memorize all the possibilities. Some chords you can simply create on the fly as needed based on known information and how chords work.

Chord Type(s): Minor

Chord Categories: Open Position Triad

ULCAD0106 Chord_grid_legand.png

Related Lesson: Understanding a Chord Diagram

Open Position chords typically do not show the location of the root or letter name of the chord as these chords are the first chords a ukulele player learns and are almost entirely learned by shape and sound – hopefully, the chords' name. Later on, one develops the ability to determine the location of the chord root(s) or letter name within the chord.

Standard Music Notation and TAB

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Standard music notation and TAB for C Tuning, Low and High G variations

The same numbering notation of TAB can be used to describe the open strings and frets to be played when using text only notation or verbal communications. Using an open position C as an example, we can describe it as 0003 indicating open strings four, three, and two with fret (3) being fingered on string one. An open position D7 indicated as 2020.

As you can see that are numerous ways to describe a chord, either verbally, Standard Music Notation , TAB , in text, graphically using a Chord Grid , etc.

Chord Spelling

Chord Spelling is simply knowing what the notes, the chord tones of a chord are.

The notes of all chords can be determined from its corresponding major scale based on the root of the chord and numeric formula.

The notes for Em are:

E G B

The chord tones are the 1 b3 5 scale degrees of the parent E Major Scale .

Recommended Fingering

LH_fingersAlthough additional fingerings are possible for many chords. Fingering for any given chord depends the science of how our fingers work and on the harmonic context the chord is being used in, what was the previous chord and what's the next chord. The goal is to play all the notes right behind the frets when possible. Remember longer fingers can reach the lower strings better and finger two and stack on finger three and finger three can stack on finger four.

Although you can play any chord with any finger — as long as it's yours, the recommended fingering for Em is:

Recommended Fingering
0 3 2 1

Alternate Fingering(s)

Here are a few alternate fingerings for today’s Em chord depending on the context the chord is being used.

Alternate fingering(s) for Em:

  • 0 4 3 2

Fingering Notation

Fingering notation for a chord using text only, without using a chord grid, is typically done using the finger numbers from left to right, string four to string one (nose to toes). Here is the text notation for January 1st C chord.

A Typical text representation of a chord fingering without using a chord grid.

Note: A Zero (0) fingering notation represents an open string that doesn't require using a finger.

Minor Chords

Em – the m is pronounced “minor”. Minor chords are the second most common chord type next to major chords.

Minor chords have a dark sound.

Em is a core chord and should be memorized. From your core chords other chords can be derived.

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Fingering Chords

Additional alternate fingerings might be possible for selected chords. If there isn't an overwhelming musical reason for one fingering over another, let efficiency be the determining factor. Something as simple as longer fingers can reach the lower string four and three goes a long way to being efficient when switching chords.

Factors such as playing notes right behind the fret takes less effort than in the middle of the fret. Less effort leads to overall efficiency in play, lower maintenance for maintaining your technique and efficiency leads to speed. This can help in determining what finger to use. Finger three can overlap finger four and finger two can overlap finger three a little allowing them to get closer to the fret.

Remember – the thumb's primary role is to support the fingers – not play notes. Think of the thumb as a Stagehand. He is unseen, doesn't get any lines BUT is a critical member of the team.

Chord Construction, Notes and Intervals

ALL chords can be be constructed based on the their intervals relative to the major scale of the root or letter name of the chord. The individual names of the notes of the chord can also be determined from the same scale.

The chord tones for Em are: E G B

Em is the 1 b3 5 of the E Major Scale based on the root (E) of the chord.

Next Steps

After memorizing todays Em chord and able to switch in time with other chords. The next step is adding various Strums , Fingerpicking patterns, and exploring the Movable Chord versions of today's chord, to your ukulele skills.


End of Lesson - Thanks, Hope You Enjoyed It!

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