Playing Hotel California

Today I have been enjoying the chord sequence from Hotel California.

A fantastic progression, but quite simple to learn as the shape is so strong, and there are always two bars of each chord.

B_m  –  Fsharp  –  A  –  E   –  G  –  D  –   Em  –  Fsharp.

I’ve been thinking about what makes it so great.  The chords live in pairs, the first three pairs follow a stepping down pattern, to reach D, then climbing back up through E minor and F sharp major, ready to spring back to B minor  on a perfect cadence. Or in other words

key chord; 3 down   …. wait

2 up;   3 down…..    wait

2 up;  3 down….. wait

1up; 1up…….wait

Back to key chord;  3 down……….   continue continue.

The baseline can follow the chord notes, or can follow a semi-tone stepdown to create some 1st inversion chords, nice.

  • B
  • Asharp  (1st inversion of Fsharp major chord)
  • A
  • Gsharp (1st inversion of E major)
  • G
  • Fsharp (1st inversion of D)
  • E
  • Fsharp

The chorus is also in 2 bar blocks

G D Fsharp Bm

G D Em Fsharp

Hey presto.


2 responses to “Playing Hotel California

  1. I learned something new today. Like most songs I know, I learned Hotel California by ear. Don’t have any musical training. Your insight was greatly appreciated. Thank you!

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