Guitar chords lesson - Leonard Cohen

Swing jazz chords

Am6 is a typical swing jazz chord, used by Django Reinhardt. Leonard Cohen uses it in Dance Me To the End of Love, which is a very simple song, but very effective at creating a mood. The other two chords are Em7 and B7, which I've written out in two ways to suit the beginner or more advanced player. The swing rhythm is a 4/4, played with downstrokes, two bars on each chord.

Madeleine Peyroux recorded a great version of this song - the original is in Em, but she plays it in Fm, so you can use a capo at fret 1 to change the key for this version.

Personally, I like both versions of the song, and they are quite different.

More on jazz chords

  • Am6 has its root note on string 6, which is fret 5 = A.
  • If you move this shape up 2 frets, you'll get Bm6, and these are the first two chords for Summertime by George Gershwin.
  • If you wanted Cm6, just move up another fret, so you have fret 8 = C.
  • Three-note chords: note that you are using the same shape here, which makes it very quick to change between Em and B7, which is one of the most common chord changes in popular music of all forms. it's also less tiring than using a full barre chord shape, and you can slide into the chord or apply vibrato too. When I discovered these chords, I tried to use them in everything for a while, and it's really paid off.

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Comments 2 comments

Russ Baleson profile image

Russ Baleson 6 years ago from Sandhurst, United Kingdom

Hi Jon, and thanks again. I am a huge fan of Madeleine and will definitely try this although I'm not a jazz player. Russ


Jon Green profile image

Jon Green 6 years ago from Frome, Somerset, UK Author

Hi Russ, good luck with it - after the Am6 you could just use the first position Em and B7, will still work fine.Try muting a bit with your right hand, to get the swing feel.

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