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How to Play Total Eclipse of the Heart Chords on Guitar

“Total Eclipse of the Heart” is a classic power ballad by Bonnie Tyler that was released in 1983. The song was written and produced by Jim Steinman, who also wrote songs for Meat Loaf, Celine Dion, and Air Supply. The song features a dramatic arrangement with piano, keyboards, drums, guitar, and backing vocals. It reached number one in several countries, including the US, UK, Canada, and Australia.

In this article, we will show you how to play the chords for “Total Eclipse of the Heart” on guitar. We will also explain the chord progression, the strumming pattern, and some tips to make it sound better.

The Chords

The song is in the key of F minor, and uses the following chords:

[Verse 1]
Am                                         G
(Turn around) Every now and then I get a little bit lonely, and you're never coming round
Am                                         G
(Turn around) Every now and then I get a little bit tired of listening to the sound of my tears
C                                          Bb
(Turn around) Every now and then I get a little bit nervous that the best of all 
the years have gone by
C                                          Bb
(Turn around) Every now and then I get a little bit terrified and then I see the look in your eyes
Eb            Ab
(Turn around, Bright eyes) Every now and the I fall apart
Eb            Ab                                     G
(Turn around, Bright eyes) Every now and the I fall apart
 
[Chorus]
      Em              C            D                  G
And I need you now, tonight, and I need you more than ever
           Em           C              D             G
And if you only hold me tight we'll be holding on forever
          Em                C                  D
And we'll only be making it right 'cause we'll never be wrong
  C                            D
Together we can take it to the end of the line
     Em                          A
Your love is like a shadow on me all of the time
  G                             D
I don't know what to do and I'm always in the dark
      Em                         A
We're living in a powder keg and giving off sparks
                     G        D/F#         G       C
I really need you tonight, forever's gonna start tonight
   D
Forever's gonna start tonight
 
G                      Em                  B7                    C      C/D
Once upon a time I was falling in love but now I'm only falling apart
        Am                  D                    G    Em   C   D
There's nothing I can do, a total eclipse of the heart
G                          Em                   B7                           C     C/D
Once upon a time there was light in my life but now there's only love in the dark
Am                   D                    G    Em   C   D   G
Nothing I can say, a total eclipse of the heart
 
[Instrumental]
Am  G  Am  G
C  Bb  C  Bb
 
[Verse 2]
Eb            Ab
(Turn around, Bright eyes) Every now and the I fall apart
Eb            Ab                                     G
(Turn around, Bright eyes) Every now and the I fall apart
 
[Chorus]
      Em              C            D                  G
And I need you now, tonight, and I need you more than ever
           Em           C              D             G
And if you only hold me tight we'll be holding on forever
          Em                C                  D
And we'll only be making it right 'cause we'll never be wrong
  C                            D
Together we can take it to the end of the line
     Em                          A
Your love is like a shadow on me all of the time
  G                             D
I don't know what to do and I'm always in the dark
      Em                         A
We're living in a powder keg and giving off sparks
                    G         D/F#         G       C
I really need you tonight, forever's gonna start tonight
   D
Forever's gonna start tonight
 
[Outro]
G                      Em                  B7                    C     C/D
Once upon a time I was falling in love but now I'm only falling apart
Am                   D                    G    Em   C
Nothing I can say, a total eclipse of the heart
  D                    G    Em   C
A total eclipse of the heart
  D                    G    Em   C
A total eclipse of the heart
  D                    G    Em   C

You can use a capo on the first fret to make it easier to play some of these chords. For example, Fm becomes Em, Eb becomes D, and so on.

The Chord Progression

The song has four main sections: the verse, the pre-chorus, the chorus, and the bridge. Here is the chord progression for each section:

  • Verse: Fm Eb Bb C (repeat four times)
  • Pre-chorus: Ab Db Ab Db C (repeat twice)
  • Chorus: Fm Eb Bb C (repeat four times)
  • Bridge: Cm Gm Ab Bb (repeat four times)

The song ends with a chorus followed by an outro that repeats Fm Eb Bb C until fade out.

The Strumming Pattern

The song has a slow tempo of about 60 beats per minute. You can use a simple strumming pattern of downstrokes on each beat, or add some upstrokes for more variation. For example:

Fm       Eb      Bb      C
D   D U D   D U D   D U D   D U

You can also accent some of the beats to create more dynamics. For example:

Fm       Eb      Bb      C
D > D U D > D U D > D U D > D U

The symbol “>” means to strum harder or louder.

Tips to Make It Sound Better

Here are some tips to make your guitar playing sound more like the original song:

  • Use a clean or slightly overdriven tone for your guitar. You can also add some chorus or reverb effects for more depth and richness.
  • Follow the melody of the vocals with your guitar. You can play some single notes or octaves to mimic the vocal lines. For example, in the chorus, you can play these notes over the chords:Fm Eb Bb C e|————————–| B|————————–| G|————————–| D|————————–| A|-8–8–8–6–6–6–1–1—| E|———————3–3–|
  • Add some fills and embellishments between the chords. You can use some hammer-ons, pull-offs, slides, or bends to spice up your playing. For example, in the verse, you can play something like this:Fm Eb Bb C e|————————–| B|————————–| G|————————–| D|-3h5p3p0—8p6p3—3h5p3p0| A|———6——–6——–| E|———————3h5p3-|

Conclusion

“Total Eclipse of the Heart” is a great song to learn and play on guitar. It has a simple but catchy chord progression, a memorable melody, and a powerful emotion. By following this article, you can master the chords, the strumming pattern, and some tips to make it sound better. Have fun and enjoy playing this song! 🎸

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