Tears In Heaven chords

You can learn how to play Tears In Heaven by Eric Clapton!

Tears In Heaven is a single from the album Rush by Eric Clapton. However, most people recognize the live version from the Eric Clapton Unplugged album.

The song forms a genius chord progression that uses small variations and slash chords to keep the harmonic interest on top.

One of the best harmonic tricks that Tears In Heaven uses is the key change from A major to G major during the m8 section.

Making the m8 section start on chord IV, is truly a masterclass in modal interchange. To learn more about chord progressions and modal interchange, check my mini-course chord progressions in the SEPR.

Eric Clapton’s fingerpicking technique

The fingerpicking arrangement is almost piano-like in its approach, bass notes are alternated with the rest of the chord.

Adding techniques such as Hammer-Ons and Pull-Offs makes it sound more guitar and bluesy. This is the main strength of Clapton’s, to fuse the blues with more traditional singer-songwriting harmony.

Tears In Heaven is a real benchmark song, so much can be learned from it, but far too many complex details to get into here.

To begin with, the original live recording had two guitars, I transcribed both note for note, then developed guitar 1 slightly, and guitar 2, heavily.

You can see/hear both arrangements in the playlist above, as well as the first recording I did back in 2008.

Tears In Heaven chords and lyrics

The intro sets us up with chords that are similar but not the same as the verse. This is also repeated for the instrumental section.

| Aadd4 E/G# | F#m F#m/E | D/F# D/E E7 | A |

Notice how the verse varies from the intro. This is a masterclass in chord progression writing.

| Aadd4 E/G# | F#m A/E | D/F# A | E A/E E7 |
Would you know my name, if I saw you in heaven?
| Aadd4 E/G# | F#m A/E | D/F# A | E A/E E7 |
Would you feel the same, if I saw you in heaven?

The bridge mainly has one chord per bar, interrupting the pace of the verse, and drawing us in.

| F#m | C#/F | A7/E | F#7 F#7sus4 Bbm7 |
I must be strong and carry on, ’cause I
| Bm7 | E7 |
know I don’t belong here in heaven.

The bridge then moves to the instrumental section (same as the intro) and we repeat the verse with new lyrics.

The m8 section, with its modal interchange, looks like this with lyrics.

| C G/B | Am D/F# | G D/F# | Em D/F# G |
Time can bring you down, time can bend your knees.
| C G/B | Am D/F# | G D/F# | E A/E E7 |
Time can break your heart, have you begging please, begging, please.

The m8 then goes to the solo, which is the same as a verse.

Finally, for the outro, the chords change again.

| A E/G# | F#m F#m/E | Bm7 | E7 |
| A E/G# | F#m F#m/E | D/F# D/E E7 | A |

Eric Clapton licks

Clapton’s main strength as a player lies within all of those tasteful licks that he constantly adds to his songs.

Tears In Heaven is no exception. Clapton constantly adds notes from the modal scales around the chord shapes.

In the last lick of the song, Clapton follows the A major scale but still relies heavily on the Major Pentatonic. This final lick is a great example of how he delicately balances blues and pop harmony.

Course preview (Guitar Lesson – Step 1)

In the first video above (starting at 4:29) you find a preview of the course. I show you the first two examples of how to play the verse for Tears In Heaven here.

Here’s example 1 in TAB.

Tears In Heaven TAB for the Intro

Example 2 is the beginning of the verse. Looks like this in TAB. In the course you get play along TAB loop videos, making sure you can play all parts of Tears In Heaven as loops before you attempt the complete arrangement.

Tears In Heaven TAB for the Verse

Tears In Heaven – Guitar Lessons

Tears In Heaven by Eric Clapton has in this series of lessons been transcribed note for note. The part is so well written that it stands up on its own without the band.

The 2nd part has some excellent licks which have been transcribed, developed, and combined with some bass lines and extra chords.

Go to Tears In Heaven guitar lessons.

Tears In Heaven – Lyrics

Would you know my name, if I saw you in heaven?
Would you feel the same, if I saw you in heaven?
I must be strong and carry on,
’cause I know I don’t belong here in heaven.

Go to Tears In Heaven lyrics.

Eric Clapton – Biography

As well as a member of bands like Derek & The Dominos, The Yardbirds and Cream, Clapton has successfully played sessions for more stars than any other guitar player.

His long career earned him three inductions into the Rock and Roll Hall Of Fame.

Go to Eric Clapton – Biography.

Advanced Acoustic – 18 Songs

You can learn how to play these 18 advanced acoustic songs!

Angel Eyes, Angels, Baby Won’t You Please Come Home, Blackbird, Cannonball, Don’t Wait Too Long, Dream A Little Dream Of Me, I Shot The Sheriff, I Wish, Over The Rainbow, Roxanne, Scarborough Fair, Sunshine Of Your Love, Take Me To The River, Tears In Heaven, Tenderness, Wish You Were Here, and Why Don’t You Do Right.

Go to Advanced Acoustic Songs.


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