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"Secrets Of The Nashville Number System"

When you sing your new song to the musicians 
at the beginning of a recording session, 
you will notice one thing... 
They are writing. 

The may be making fun of you in Arabic, 
but it's more likely the Nashville Numbered Chord system. 
Outsiders can never understand it. 
It may be done just to intimidate us. 

I picked up some scraps on the studio floor, 
and I've been trying to decode it. 
I think it works like this. 
The One Chord a/k/a/ "1" 
is the chord you start and end the song on, if you're lucky. 
All the musicians should try to end on the same chord 
at approximately the same time. 

Even if you start on the wrong chord, 
it is still your One Chord, and you must stick with it all the way. 
It's OK if you are on the wrong chord. 
Just tell people it's jazz. 

The Four Chord is the one they use when going to the bridge or chorus. 
If the rest of the band plays something else, 
you should go to the Four Chord anyway. 
That'll teach 'em. 
If you keep a confident expression, 
everybody will think you're right and they're wrong. 

The Five Chord is what you play just before starting the song over. 
If you play it at the end of every chorus, 
the music has to keep on going and going. 
It's the law. 
You'll pick up a lot of overtime. 

The 2, 3, 6, and 7, chords are minors, 
so who cares? 
We don't use them enough in Country music 
to keep them from spoiling. 

So, now that you understand the Nashville Number System, children, 
go 4th and multiply. 

Copyright  March 10, 2007 Jack Blanchard. All rights reserved.
Reprinted by permission.

 

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