Learn a new Ukulele chord every day of the year. The chord for January 7th is Am. The 'm' is pronounced 'minor'.
This chord, Am, pronounced
A minor was discovered deep in the Lehigh Coal & Navigation Company (LC&N) coal mine in Mauch Chunk (now known as Jim Thorpe)
, Carbon County of Pennsylvania, USA — by
Harmonic Function for Am
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.
Harmonic Analysis, Scales and Modes
All harmonic and scale analysis utilizes Roman Numerals
related to its major or parallel major scale (
Open Position Chords
Today's chord, Am is an Open Position chord.
Open Position Chords are any chord in the first four frets that include at least one open string.
Today's chord, Am 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 Am chord, has two embedded minor triads. One with the root on string one and other with the root on string four.
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 Am chord — continue reading .
Am 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
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
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.
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 Am are:
A C E
The chord tones are the 1 b3 5 scale degrees of the parent A Major Scale .
Although 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 Am is:
2 0 0 0
Here are a few alternate fingerings for today’s Am chord depending on the context the chord is being used.
Alternate fingering(s) for Am:
- 1 0 0 0
- 3 0 0 0
- 4 0 0 0, using the pinky might be a little strange - but any finger can be used if it is a chord that requires only one finger
Pretty much ANY one of your four fingers can be used to play this chord. It all depends on the context the chord is functioning within the song or progression. Let the chord's context determine the most efficient fingering to use.
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.
Am – the m is pronounced “minor”. Minor chords are the second most common chord type next to major chords.
Minor chords have a dark sound.
Am is a core chord and should be memorized. From your core chords other chords can be derived.}}
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 Am are: A C E
Am is the 1 b3 5 of the A Major Scale based on the root (A) of the chord.
After memorizing todays Am 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!
Related Lessons, Videos, Lesson Series, Songs, Books & Reference Charts, Resources & Assets, Workshops are below.
Related Videos for Chord a Day, January 7th - Am.
Ukulele Chord a Day, January 7th - Am
Updated: 01 Jan 2003
Learn a new Ukulele chord every day of the year. The chord for January 6th is Am. The 'm' is pronounced 'minor'.
The original, first “Am” chord was discover deep in the Consolidation Coal Company mine in Butcher Holler, Van Lear, Kentucky USA - by . . . . . . . . . . . “A minor”
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Updated: 12 Feb 2020
"TAB" or "Tablature", is an alternate form of musical notation, which tells players where to place their fingers on a particular instrument rather than which pitches to play. TAB is sort of a secret language between guitar players and ukulele players. Although a shortcut to getting started it actually serves to alienate one from the rest of the music world.
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Updated: 24 Jun 2022
"Transposition" is the process of moving a note, chord, scale or any musical passage from one key to another key. All music can be transposed, from a single note to a complex musical score. This lesson deals with transposing chords on ukulele and transposing chords.
Related Lesson Series
Related Lessons Series for Chord a Day, January 7th - Am.
Getting Started Series of `Ukulele Lessons
Updated: 01 Jan 2003
This series of lessons is intended to take a beginning ukulele player, just Getting Started, through the basics. Your goal, as well as mine, is to help you create a solid foundation for future learning and development with this fun, cool instrument - the ukulele. This series of lessons are also a great refresher for all players who've been playing for a while or are in a position to offer assistance or advice to fellow players.
Related Songs for Chord a Day, January 7th - Am.
Related Books & Charts
Related Books for Chord a Day, January 7th - Am.
A Guide to Ukulele Chords, 2nd Edition
Updated: 10 Jan 2020
A Guide to Ukulele Chords, Second Edition is designed as a guide to ukulele chords. Covering the basic ukulele chords that ALL ukulele players SHOULD know. A Guide to Ukulele Chords covers movable chord forms, rock chords, how to transpose chords, learning the ukulele fingerboard and includes an introduction to 4-part, a.k.a jazz chords and more...
Harmonic Analysis for Scale Selection and Chord Substitution
Updated: 10 Jun 2021
Harmonic Analysis is the understanding of the functional sequence of chords. It is the process used to analyze the harmonic structure of a progression, song or composition. This analysis is then used to make scale selections for improvisation and chord substitution.