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How to Play A Whiter Shade of Pale Chords by Procol Harum on Guitar

“A Whiter Shade of Pale” is a classic song by the British rock band Procol Harum, released in 1967. It is one of the most popular songs of all time, with over 10 million copies sold worldwide. The song features a distinctive organ melody, inspired by Bach’s “Air on the G String”, and a haunting vocal performance by Gary Brooker. The lyrics are mysterious and poetic, with references to a fandango, a miller, and vestal virgins.

If you want to learn how to play this song on guitar, you will need to know some basic chords, a capo, and a strumming pattern. Here are some tips and resources to help you master this song.

Chords

The song is in the key of C major, and uses mostly simple chords that are common in many songs. The chords are:

[Intro]
 
C C/B  Am Am/G  F F/E  Dm Dm/C  G G/F  Em Em/D  C F  G F G
 
 
[Verse]
 
C     C/B              Am     Am/G
We skipped the light fandango
F    F/E                     Dm    Dm/C
turned cartwheels 'cross the floor
G       G/F          Em      Em/D
I was feeling kinda seasick
C        C/B           Am         Am/G
but the crowd called out for more
F       F/E          Dm     Dm/C
The room was humming harder
G       G/F          Em    Em/D
as the ceiling flew away
C          C/B            Am     Am/G
When we called out for another drink
F       F/E          Dm
the waiter brought a tray
 
 
[Chorus]
 
G7          C  C/B        Am    Am/G
And so it was,___ that later,____
F       F/E             Dm  Dm/C
as the miller told his tale
G   G/F                  Em           Em/D
that her face, at first just ghostly,
           C    F        C    G6add11 G6
turned a whiter shade of pale
 
C C/B  Am Am/G  F F/E  Dm Dm/C  G G/F  Em Em/D  C F  G F G
 
 
[Verse 2]
 
C     C/B            Am     Am/G
She said there is no reason
F        F/E              Dm    Dm/C
And the truth is plain to see
G       G/F                Em       Em/D
But I wandered through my playing cards
C       C/B       Am       Am/G
Would not let her be
F       F/E           Dm      Dm/C
One of sixteen vestal virgins
G        G/F             Em    Em/D
Who were leaving for the coast
C           C/B           Am   Am/G
And although my eyes were o____pen
F       F/E                  Dm
They might just as well been closed
 
 
[Chorus]
 
G7          C  C/B        Am    Am/G
And so it was,___ that later,____
F       F/E             Dm  Dm/C
as the miller told his tale
G   G/F                  Em           Em/D
that her face, at first just ghostly,
           C    F        C    G6add11 G6
turned a whiter shade of pale
 
C C/B  Am Am/G  F F/E  Dm Dm/C  G G/F  Em Em/D  C F  G
 
G7          C  C/B        Am    Am/G
And so it was,___ that later,____
F       F/E             Dm  Dm/C
as the miller told his tale

Capo

The original recording of the song uses a capo on the first fret, which means that the chords are actually played one semitone higher than they are written. For example, the C chord is actually a C# chord, the Am chord is actually an A#m chord, and so on. This gives the song a brighter sound and makes it easier to sing along.

If you don’t have a capo, you can still play the song without it, but you will have to transpose the chords down one semitone. For example, instead of playing C, you will play B; instead of playing Am, you will play G#m; and so on. This will make the song sound lower and darker, but it will still be recognizable.

Strumming Pattern

The strumming pattern for this song is fairly simple and consistent throughout. You can use a basic down-up-down-up pattern for each chord, with some accents on certain beats. Here is an example of how to strum the first verse:

C   Em  Am   C   F   Am  Dm   F   G   Em  G   C   F   G   F   G7
D U D U D U D U D U D U D U D U D U D U D U D U D U D U D U D U 
1 & 2 & 3 & 4 & 1 & 2 & 3 & 4 & 1 & 2 & 3 & 4 & 1 & 2 & 3 & 4 &
*     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *

The asterisks (*) indicate where you should emphasize the downstrokes. You can also add some variations to the pattern, such as skipping some upstrokes or adding some muted strums. The important thing is to keep the rhythm steady and match the mood of the song.

Conclusion

“A Whiter Shade of Pale” is a beautiful and timeless song that you can learn to play on guitar with some practice and patience. You will need to know some basic chords, a capo, and a strumming pattern. You can also use some chord variations to make the transitions smoother and more interesting. You can find more information and resources on Ultimate Guitar or E-Chords. Have fun playing this song and impressing your friends!

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