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How To Play Eye of the Tiger

Updated on December 21, 2014

Can you show me how to play Eye of the Tiger?

Can you show me how to play Eye of the Tiger from Rocky 3? The question came yet again, this time from a seven year old whose parents weren't even born when the film first showed. If I had $5 for every time I had been asked that question, I would be nicely set up now. Anyway, however old the Rocky films may be and however 1980s the song, it remains a firm favorite and the power of that first riff is a classic. So this page will tell you a simple way to play Eye of the Tiger and show you some more advanced versions of the song if you like.

Intro Image credit -

The front of the Philadelphia Museum of Art, including the famous "Rocky Steps", as well as the Rocky Statue.

21 April 2007

Photo by Bobak Ha'Eri

Permission CC-By-SA-3.0

How I play the Eye of the Tiger

Beginner version in B minor

Well, the original song The Eye of the Tiger by Survivor was in F# minor which is not an easy chord to simplify for beginners, so this version will be in B minor. That is the key I used to play it in with my band too, for vocal purposes. It works and there is nothing wrong with changing keys unless you are desperate to play along with the film or the CD. Singers and musicians do it all the time.

Can you play the Riff from the Eye of the Tiger? - Eye of the Tiger in B minor - Intro

Eye of the Tiger Riff
Eye of the Tiger Riff

The riff uses power chords, these are movable three string chords and you can play them along string 6. The numbers represent the frets your first finger goes to. The Xs are left hand muted notes. These are made by touching the string without pressing it fully down producing a percussive click. When I teach little kids the song, I usually go with:

BANG icky icky icky

BANG BANG BANG icky icky icky

BANG BANG BANG icky icky icky


Sounds silly, I know, but it works well with the actual rhythm!

It is a good idea to play the single note version with just the index finger on the fretting hand until you have memorised the order and the feel of the moves, then add the other fingers and move the power chord. Focus on the index finger being in the right place and also on the correct spacing.

The proper way to play a power chord is with fingers 1, 3 and 4 on your fret hand. Do NOT be tempted to play power chords with fingers 1, 2 and 3. Firstly playing like that will hamper you learning proper barre chords later (Check out power chords and barre chords here), and secondly (far more important) it will strain your fingers over time and may result in repetitive strain injury or Carpal Tunnel Syndrome which can stop you playing permanently!

Eye of the Tiger - Musical memorabilia from Rocky 3

Play the Chords for the Eye of the Tiger - Eye of the Tiger, beginner chords for guitar

Eye of the Tiger - Beginner chords
Eye of the Tiger - Beginner chords

Here are the easy chords for the Eye of the Tiger. I have given a four string version of Bm to avoid the necessity of a barre chord.

Eye of the Tiger

Sheet music versions from Amazon

The Eye of the Tiger is such an amazing song that it has been arranged for many groups. Here is a selection of some of the arrangements available.

Eye of the Tiger for mixed choir:

Eye of the Tiger - SATB Choral Sheet Music

Several songs including Eye of the Tiger for string orchestra:

Pop Showcase for Strings (For Solo or String Orchestra)

Standard sheet music for piano and vocal with guitar chord symbols:

Eye of the Tiger (Theme from Rocky III) - P/V/G Sheet Music

Arranged for beginner band:

Eye of the Tiger (Pop Beginning Band)

Eye of the Tiger in Big Notes for the visually impaired:

Eye of the Tiger Big Note

Conductor score for Eye of the Tiger for Marching Band:

Eye of the Tiger Conductor Score Marching Band Arr. Victor Lopez

This version is an arrangement for jazz ensemble:

Eye of the Tiger Conductor Score Jazz Ensemble

Flexi-band means you can miss out some of the instruments and it still works!

Eye of the Tiger - Flex-Band Score and Parts

This book of movie themes for piano also includes it:

Eye of the Tiger: movie theme (Robert Schultz Popular Music Made Easy for Piano)

Schaum Pop Favorites just had to include Eye of the Tiger amongst others!

Schaum Pop Favorites / A - The Red Book

If you want to play it with Concert Band, here is the score and parts!

Eye of the Tiger Conductor Score & Parts Concert Band

How the chords go for Eye of the Tiger - The complete picture for this beginner version

Eye of the Tiger - easy
Eye of the Tiger - easy

While you are learning the chords, simply strum down once on the letter, then once each on the slash lines.

When you know the chords, this is a really neat rhythm that sounds amazing:

Ding Dingading Ding Dingading Dingadinga

You would play that:

Down downupdown Down downupdown Downupdownup

Hard Rock Guitar Bible - Contains Eye of the Tiger and 36 other great classics


Various Artists - Hard Rock Guitar Bible - Music Book

The 37 rock songs include some personal favorites of mine: Ballroom Blitz, Bang a Gong (Get It On), Living After Midnight, Rock You like a Hurricane, School's Out, War Pigs, Welcome to the Jungle, You Give Love a Bad Name and of course the Eye of the Tiger!

Thank you for listening - I hope you enjoyed this little lesson :)

Can you play Eye of the Tiger - Has this page showed you how to play Eye of the Tiger?

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    • bernie74 lm profile image

      bernie74 lm 5 years ago

      I am going to send this link to this page to my daughter as she wants to learn the guitar, She has one but does not use it often.

      Blessed by a Squid Angel

    • FestivalGirl profile image

      FestivalGirl 5 years ago

      I want to learn!

    • LisaMarieGabriel profile image

      Lisa Marie Gabriel 5 years ago from United Kingdom

      @Musicalcroc LM: Thanks, I think this is a bug however as they were showing fine last night on Chrome.

    • profile image

      anilsaini 5 years ago

      nice lens

    • Musicalcroc LM profile image

      Musicalcroc LM 5 years ago

      Very interesting lens. However, some of the images are not showing (in how to play the riff and how to play the chords sections). Could you please re-upload them again?