How to get the chords of almost any song (for free)

If there is a song you’d like to play on the piano but you don’t know how, then you can either:a) figure it out by ear; b) buy the sheet music; or c) try to find it online.

You’ll be happy to know that the internet has an incredible amount of simplified sheet music, either in the form of chord sheets or tabulature, a type of simplified notation that guitar players use.

Real sheet music of popular songs is seldom available for free. However, if we can find the chords (and the lyrics if you want to sing along) then we’re already half-way there.

To find the chords for a song, I just type the name of the song and the artist into Google, followed by the words chords and tabs.

For example, to search for the song “Landslide” by Fleetwood Mac, I’d type this into the Google search box (without quotes):

fleetwood mac landslide chords tabs

Usually you’ll get several matches of “sheet music” that other enthusiasts have already transcribed. Typically, this contains only the chord symbols and the lyrics — just what we need. And it’s free (although not necessarily correct!).

After digging around for a few minutes, I found what I was looking for:

C           G/B             Am7   G/B
  I took my love, I took it down
C           G/B                    Am7   G/B
  Climbed a mountain and I turned around
      C        G/B             Am7          G/B
And I saw my reflection in the snow-covered hills
         C         G/B        Am7
Till the landslide brought me down

Quick explanation: This part of the song only has three different chords: the C major chord (C), the G major chord with a B bass note (notated as G/B), and the A minor 7th chord (Am7). Excellent!

TIP: Check out the collection of so-called “fake books” in your public library. A fake book contains simplified sheet music called lead sheets, which list the chords, the lyrics, and the vocal melody for a song. Most songs can be found in a fake book somewhere.

Another place to look for free sheet music is keyboard and guitar magazines, which often have sheet music for a handful of songs each issue.

Read more articles on Piano Clues:

Basic Theory


Chords and Harmony


The Circle of Fifths


Arrangement, Improvisation and Composition


Reading Music and Sheet Music


How to Record Piano


Software and Virtual Instruments


Scales and Exercises


Digital Pianos


Links and Other Stuff


Comments

  1. Socratessa says:

    What a great website for piano learners! Very informative and generous.

    God bless you for doing this!

    All the best, S

  2. cindy says:

    I soooo appreciate what you have done for us, the piano learners.

    Thank you!!!!

    Best!

  3. Ruth says:

    Thanks a million. i find most of ur articles very useful, informative, educative, enlightening and inspiring. pls do not relent on ur efforts. Thanks again.

  4. It really look good. One dream Tool Google chords and Tabs.

    Appreciated

    Luis Laureano

Reverse Chord Finder

Reverse Chord Finder Pro for iPhone

This app lets you find out which chords you are playing. You select the notes on a piano keyboard and Reverse Chord Finder tells you the names of the matching chords. The ideal app for songwriters, musicians and music students. Get it from the iPhone App Store »

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