Am - Open Position and Movable Forms

Published: Dec 28, 2010 Updated: Mar 18, 2011

ukulele | Subjects: chordsbeginnerintermediatecore

Open position Am and its movable form and variations.


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Open Position Chord

8_Am.png

Movable Form Chord

8_Bbm(movable).png

Two Roots?

In the open position and movable forms of this chord there are two possible locations for the root or letter of the chord.

String four and string one both contain the root of the chord and can used for transposition purposes. Here I've elected to use the root on string three for no reason other than it' i's the string closet to me in the playing position. It is also the lowest root note in the chord if using a low "G" tuning.

Movable Chord Forms

Movable chord forms are chords containing no open strings. These chords are transposable to different keys by moving the chord form the same number of frets up and down the neck.

Each movable form is based on a common open position chord. These movable forms allow you to play chords not found in the open position.

Movable form chords allow you to play in any key and transpose chords, progressions and songs to any key. From basic movable form chords more advanced chords can be created.

The functional range of a movable form chord up the fingerboard of your ukulele depends on the ukulele's size (soprano, concert or tenor), the number of frets to the body (10, 12, 14, etc) and whether you have a cut-away for access to higher frets. Not all chords can be transposed a complete octave (12 frets).

Movable form chords can be used along with open position chords. As you learn more movable form chords you'll have a variety of alternate voicings for any given chord.

Movable form chords can be transposed up and down the fingerboard using the root of the chord and a transposition chart.

Transposing Movable Form Chords

roots(2_blkandGray).png These lessons use the root of a chord to transpose to different keys.

Determine what string the root is on or would be on if not present in the chord's voicing.

Chord Transposition Chart

This transposition chart can be used for any chord where the root, or letter name of the chord is on string A.

transposition chart for A

The root is on string 1, the A string.

Use the Root or implied root of the chord to transpose to different keys.

A larger sized transposition chart is available in my book Ukulele Chords. This is the book these chord lessons are based on.

Chord Tones - A C E

The chord tones of an A minor ( Am ) chord are the 1st, flatted 3rd and 5th scale degrees of the A Major Scale ( A B C# D E F# G# A' ) or A C E

8_Am-chordTones.png
8_Am-chordTones-Names.png
  • 1 - the Root or letter name of A is A
  • b3 - the flat third of A is C
  • 5 - the fifth of A is E

Chord Fingering

Chord fingering is dependent on several factors. The chord your on, the previous chord, the next chord, your hand and fingers. All chord fingerings shown are recommended fingerings and not mandatory. Most chords have alternate fingerings dependent on the context. The same chord might even be fingered one way in one part of a song or progression and an alternate fingering in another part.

Remembering Chords Relative to Known Chords

A chord can be remembered or memorized relative to chords that you might already know.

Using the numeric chord formula for a major chord (1 3 5) and the formula for a minor chord (1 b3 5) you notice that only the third is different. For A major it is a C# for the third and for Am it is a C natural.

Open Position Chord

1_A.png

Movable Form Chord

1_Bb(movable).png

Open Position Chord

Movable Form Chord


sus or suspended Chords

A sus chord implies the *suspension* of the third of a major, minor or seventh chord. The most common and historical use of this suspension involves raising the third of a major or seventh chord to the fourth for a sus4, or 7sus4. In some contemporary music, the suspension can also be accomplished by lowering the third of a major or minor chord to a second for a sus2 chord.

add2/add9 Chords

Technically the add 2 and add 9 are different chords. Both the 2 and the 9 are the same letters but in different octaves. For all practical purposes, you can treat both the add2 and add9 chords as the same. Depending on whether you are using a low "G" or high "G", C tuning the added ninth might be a second. Whether you call it an add9 or add2 depends on whether the added note is in the same octave as the root of the chord.

Power Five Chords

A Power 5 chord contains the root and fifth of a major scale. With an optional octave of the root added for a three note power 5 chord. A power 5 chord is technically not a chord in the traditional sense but a dyad or interval. It's more of an implied chord sometimes major and sometimes minor.

A a sus or suspension displaces the third of a chord. An Am sus4 or Am sus2 would be the same as the sus4 and sus2 chords in lesson one's A major chord.


Chord Progressions

If you ukulele does not allow access to the higher frets for a particular chord, then substitute another movable form chord or an open position chord.

PRACTICE NOTE: To gain the most from these chord lessons and the practice progressions, memorize the location of each chord and the name of the chord.

I've pulled this trick question on a few of my private students after they have played a chord in a lesson. Typically this happens at the beginning of a lesson before we actually get into the lesson. I'll ask them to play a chord that I just saw them play. I'll say; "Play a D chord." Some will say they don't know chord so and so and yet it's a chord they just played it. Don't let a chord get lost in a particular song or progression. Know it name and it belongs to you.

A Minor 12 Bar Blues

week8_1Am(practice).png

Key of C Major

week8_1C(practice).png

Key of G Major

week8_1G(practice).png


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Ukulele Chords

This mini (1/2 size) chord book is the perfect size for every ukulele gig bag or case and a great addition to you music book library.

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