Matt Edwards

Associate Professor of Voice, Shenandoah Conservatory Artistic Director of the CCM Vocal Pedagogy Institute

Technology Thursday: Finding chords and lyrics for pop/rock songs


CCM ad with SU narrowIf you start teaching pop/rock students, you will find that they will often come to lessons excited about a new song but are unable to find sheet music. Luckily there is a great app for your phone and/or tablet that enables you to easily find chords and lyrics for thousands of songs. GuitarTapp has an easy to use interface on the front page, that enables you to either search by band name or song.


Enter an artist’s name, in this example Katy Perry, and press “search.” The next window will show you a complete list of the songs that are available by that artist.


If you click 0n a song, it will show you multiple version from which you can choose. The selections under the “chords” menu are what you will want to look at. The other options are for guitar and bass players. I usually select with the highest rated version, in this case version one.


When you click on version one it will take you to a lyrics sheet with chords over top.


This particular song says “Standard tuning w/ CAPO  on 1.” This is a note for guitar players. If you put a capo on the first fret, it raises the tuning of the guitar by a half step but the guitarist will still play the same chords beneath the capo. If it said “CAPO on 4,” it would mean that the actual song is played four half-steps higher (however the guitar player will still be playing the chords as written). For piano players there are two easy solutions. Either transpose up on your electric keyboard by the corresponding number of half-steps or click the menu button at the top to pull up the transpose option.


When you click on transpose you will see these options:


If the song says “CAPO on 1” transpose the song up by one and you will get the correct chords above the lyrics.


If you are not familiar with how to turn these chords into piano patterns, check out these books that I blogged about a few months ago.

You can find the app here for $2.99 via the iTunes app store. I’m not sure if it is available on other platforms, but I’m sure there are variations. If you are using a standard laptop, search for “(artist name) (song name) chords and lyrics” and you will find similar websites.

Do you have a favorite website for finding chords and lyrics? If so, please share the info in the comment section below.

Thanks for reading!



3 comments on “Technology Thursday: Finding chords and lyrics for pop/rock songs

  1. Joseph A. Roberts
    February 25, 2016

    I have been using capo. It helps me learn music by slowing it down. I can select a difficult passage and create a repetitive loop. It transposes, so I can give vocalists demo recordings in their key. It also identifies chords, just doesn’t give us any lyrics…


  2. Julie Dean
    February 26, 2016

    Ultimate Guitar app. It’s $20 for iPad. I use it everyday. Excited about checking this one out!


  3. Sachin Saini
    January 24, 2018

    I have been using capo. It helps me learn music by slowing it down. I can select a difficult passage and create a repetitive loop.


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This entry was posted on February 25, 2016 by in Misc. Thoughts.

Ranked the #1 New Release in "Vocal and Singing" on (October 2014), "So You Want To Sing Rock 'N' Roll?" covers voice science, vocal health, technique, style, and how to find your artistic voice in a way that is beneficial to both singers and teachers. Order your copy today!

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