Being the versatile instrument that it is, the guitar is primed to be the perfect conduit for expressing your love. Maybe you’re using an acoustic guitar and want to sing for your loved one. Or maybe you have an electric guitar and want to play a power love ballad. No matter the reason or occasion, it’s well worth adding some classic love songs to your song library.
Which is why today, we’ve put together a list of the 35 absolute best love songs that any beginner can play. So even if you’re lost for words sometimes, the guitar can do all the talking for you. We’ve made sure to include both tablature and video lessons for each song.
- All of Me by John Legend
- Can’t Help Falling in Love by Elvis Presley
- Heaven by Bryan Adams
- I’m Yours by Jason Mraz
- You’re Beautiful by James Blunt
- Wonderful Tonight by Eric Clapton
- Love Me Do by The Beatles
- Hey There Delilah by Plain White T’s
- I Don’t Want to Miss a Thing by Aerosmith
- I Will Always Love You by Dolly Parton
- I’ll Be by Edwin McCain
- More Than Words by Extreme
- It Must Have Been Love by Roxette
- Something by The Beatles
- Someone Like You by Adele
- Stand By Me by Ben E. King
- Stay With Me by Sam Smith
- You Are My Sunshine by Johnny Cash
- We Belong Together by Mariah Carey
- Your Body is a Wonderland by John Mayer
- A Thousand Years by Christina Perri
- Adore You by Harry Styles
- Don’t Let Me Down by The Beatles
- Brown Eyed Girl by Van Morrison
- Always on My Mind by Elvis Presley
- Hallelujah by Leonard Cohen
- Fallin’ by Alicia Keys
- Perfect by Ed Sheeran
- Wonderwall by Oasis
- Love Story by Taylor Swift
- Chasing Cars by Snow Patrol
- I Love You by Billie Eilish
- Halo by Beyoncé
- Just the Way You Are by Bruno Mars
- Marry Me by Train
All of Me by John Legend
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Let’s start off with a true love song, straight from the heart of John Legend to his wife Chrissy Teigen. The song is quite stripped down with just a vocal and piano section, but the wonderful thing about the guitar is that we can follow those chords and turn it into a guitar-based love ballad very, very easily.
Here we’ll be playing 2 chord progressions which each repeat twice to complete the song. The progressions are G, Em, Am, and D x2 followed by Em, C, G, and G twice. Because the original track is piano-driven, there is no set-in-stone strumming pattern, so you can use the one indicated in the provided lesson or feel free to switch it out for your own!
Can’t Help Falling in Love by Elvis Presley
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Next we have an absolute classic from the ’60s with one of the most memorable vocal lines ever. The song is fundamentally based on another love song called Plaisir d’amour, which Elvis was able to take and masterfully work into his own signature pop style. Its slow-pace and heartfelt vocal delivery are surely going to impress whoever you perform this to.
The song opens with an arpeggiated section, which requires a bit more technique than simply strumming chords. If you feel it’s too difficult to do this and sing at the same time, you can simply swap it out for strummed chords (detailed in the provided video tab).
Heaven by Bryan Adams
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Taking ourselves from the classic acoustic-love song over to the heavier side of things with Bryan Adams’ impeccable power/rock ballad Heaven. This went on to be one of his most popular songs of all time and a favorite amongst fans. He’ll often open for his live performances with this track. The song did great commercially, hitting the number 1 spot on the US Billboard Hot 100.
Don’t be put off by the rock nature of the song. You don’t need a drummer to make it sound good. If you are just a solo guitar performer, it’s very easy to either play this as a fingerpicked piece, in which you will outline both the bass and melody. If that’s too much (or you can’t be bothered), you can simply strum the chords which will also make it easier to sing over.
I’m Yours by Jason Mraz
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I’m Yours is a great example of how love songs can be presented in a variety of genres, with its reggae/folk vibe giving it just the right amount of feel-good and upbeat rhythm to make it a happy love song in the purest sense. Throw in Jason’s playful vocal performance and personality and we’re left with a great song that is appropriate for any occasion.
The main thing to note about this song is that it’s played in triplet timing. Which if you haven’t been exposed to before, can throw you off a little bit rhythmically. The easiest way to think about it is instead of counting music in 4’s like normal, we’re instead counting in 3’s. Once you start counting in 3’s and tap your foot along to the beat of the song, the rhythm will soon fall into place.
You’re Beautiful by James Blunt
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With a voice that’s guaranteed to melt anyone’s heart, James’ unique tonality and style has set him apart and allowed him to carve out his own lane in the soft rock/pop space. This was released as the second single from his debut album Back to Bedlam and it went over exceptionally well, allowing him to achieve a great deal of commercial success right from the get-go, selling over 625,000 copies in the UK alone.
The chord voicings here are a little interesting and more colorful than what you might be used to if so far your only exposure has been to open chords. Here we’ll be playing G, D/F sharp (which you say as D over F sharp), Em7 and Cadd9. We’ll be using the strumming pattern D-D-UDUD-UDU.
Wonderful Tonight by Eric Clapton
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The perfect song to play both before a night out with your loved one or during it. Eric wrote this song while waiting for his then-girlfriend Pattie Boyd to get ready to attend Paul and Linda McCartney’s party. In it, he lovingly recounts how much he loves her and how great of a night they will have. Very touching!
This is an exceptionally easy song to play, requiring just a few, laidback and easygoing open chords throughout the entire song. They are G, a regular D (but if you can use your thumb to reach over the neck and press the second fret that’s great), C and finally a regular D without the thumb. The strumming pattern is D-UDUDUD, where the final D is actually the 1-count of the following bar.
Love Me Do by The Beatles
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Little did we know that Love Me Do, The Beatles’ debut single from their debut album was the beginnings of what would go on to be the biggest-selling band of all time. The song was actually written several years before the band had formed, with songwriter Paul McCartney writing the initial version while skipping school at the age of 16.
The original song uses a capo on the 10th fret, which makes all the frets that high up a little bit cramped and difficult to hold chords in. So to make it easier on ourselves, we’ll just play the chords in their regular open positions. The progression primarily jumps between A and D, with the E thrown in occasionally.
Hey There Delilah by Plain White T’s
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Released as the third single from their third studio album All That We Need, this song has since gone on to become one of the band’s biggest singles ever, reaching the number one spot on the Billboard Hot 100. To date, the song has been covered by numerous artists and has even sold over 4 million copies digitally.
This song uses what we might describe compositionally as an ostinato. That is to say, there is a higher-up melody (in this case, the second and third fret of the fourth and fifth strings, respectively) which is played consistently while the bassline continues to move around it. It might sound fancy, but don’t worry, it’s really very easy!
I Don’t Want to Miss a Thing by Aerosmith
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Next, we have a classic ballad from American rock titans Aerosmith, with a memorable chorus that both pulls at the heartstrings and makes you want to sing along. The nice thing about power-rock ballads is that they always translate to solo acoustic/singer performances exceptionally well. So whether you are an acoustic player or you have an amplifier on hand, this song is a great choice.
Obviously, as an electric-guitar centric song, it’s a little bit more involved than just strumming some chords. In that scenario, feel free to follow the provided tablature. But if you are looking to play it ‘chordally’ on the acoustic, you can use the chords: G, D/F sharp, Em7, Cadd9, and Am7.
I Will Always Love You by Dolly Parton
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When you read the title, your brain probably went to the Whitney Houston version, which is of course incredible, but we’re going to the root right now with Dolly Parton’s 1970s country hit. This song was purposely written as a farewell to her business partner, Porter Wagoner, as she wished to pursue her own solo career yet wanted to thank him for everything he had done for her.
For this song, we’ll be primarily outlining some arpeggiated chords which are playing underneath the lead ‘clean’ electric guitar part. But if either fingerpicking or arpeggiations are a little tough for you right now, the provided video lesson details a way of playing the song mainly using just strummed chords.
I’ll Be by Edwin McCain
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This is a pure love song through and through. With Edwin’s extremely rich-sounding voice, the passion and delivery behind the vocals of the song are impeccable. With a thick-sounding acoustic guitar section behind it and light drums, you’re left with a piece of music that delivers its message with unapologetic confidence.
Fortunately for us as guitarists, the song is not intended to be a complicated piece and as such, uses nice and simple chords that we can arpeggiate like the original song or the video lesson outlines a version with just strummed chords. We’ll be using the chords: B, Asus, E, and F sharp.
More Than Words by Extreme
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The beautiful thing about this song is that it’s so stripped down, with just a single acoustic guitar that’s not even recorded in stereo, plus the vocal section. This classic love song is primed for a beginner to learn. It’s actually a small deviation from their more traditional metal/funk style, but it is a welcome one and really proved their competence as musicians how well they pulled it off.
The main thing you’ll notice is that there are a lot of ‘percussive mutes’ used throughout the song, which is essentially where you smack the strings down using the thumb of your right hand to make a little ‘click’ sound. This is designed to emulate a snare drum and give a little more rhythmic intrigue to the piece.
It Must Have Been Love by Roxette
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Next up is a power ballad from the pop/soft-rock group Roxette. It was released as a Christmas single/love song without an associated album. Despite that, it ended up being one of their best-selling songs, going platinum in multiple countries. Although the song has been released in a few different versions, for our purposes we’re just playing a stripped-back solo acoustic piece.
Here we’ll be using the chords: F, C, Dm, and G. The main challenge of the song (I say challenge, but it’s still easy) is the fact there are multiple different choruses that require learning a unique pattern/progression for each one.
Something by The Beatles
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Here we have what is generally considered a love song that George Harrison wrote for Pattie Boyd (who we mentioned earlier). Although it does contain an interesting mix of melancholy and even a little sadness while still maintaining that energetic and upbeat feel. A unique song to say the least.
There are quite a lot of interesting (but not difficult) concepts going on instrumentally with the song. The main one that might be unique to you as a beginner is the use of chromatics. That is to say, notes from outside of the intended scale/key are used to musical effect. Where the opening riff descends chromatically until it resolves back into the key.
Someone Like You by Adele
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This song doesn’t discuss the idea of being in love so much as coming out of it, inspired by the ending of a relationship and coming to terms with things. Obviously, Adele is a modern legend with the absolute highest level of songwriting, production, and performance. As such, this song has seen commercial success that matches its quality. Selling over 17 million copies and has been certified 6x platinum, a truly incredible feat.
Vocal delivery aside, from a guitar point of view we only have to worry about outlining the chords correctly, which in this case is extremely easy. We’ll be using the chords: G, D/F sharp, Em, and C. You can also learn the introductory fingerpicked part, which is a fun way to get more exposure to the technique as it’s exceptionally easy.
Stand By Me by Ben E. King
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Heading to the ’60s next with an iconic track from Ben E. King which talks about how as long as his beloved is at his side, he fears nothing and can achieve anything. It’s from his album Don’t Play That Song! and was also featured on the soundtrack of the movie also named Stand by Me. Because of its prevalent use in various media including advertisements and movies, it’s been able to accumulate over $23 million in royalties alone.
Although this song does primarily use open chords, there’s some nice movement (also referred to as passing tones) that leads us from one chord to another. In this case, they are just single notes and very easy to play. You’ll also need a capo on the second fret to make the chords a little easier to hold.
Stay With Me by Sam Smith
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Sam Smith always delivers when it comes to heartfelt and moving performances. Although taken from his very first album, titled In The Lonely Hour, it immediately shot him to commercial success. The official music video for this song sits at over 1.1 billion views on YouTube. To date, this is still his most successful single.
Fortunately for a beginning guitarist, this song is about as easy as they come, needing just 3 chords to play: Am, F, and C. The strumming pattern is a little more involved, which requires learning a unique pattern for each chord. But if you follow the provided video lesson, you’ll have it memorized in no time.
You Are My Sunshine by Johnny Cash
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This song has been covered by over 350 artists to date and is probably one you are already intimately familiar with. It’s a simple song with a simple message expressing to the recipient how much she/he means to them. It’s a great tune for a beginner to learn and if there’s someone you’re looking to play it too, it’s sure to be well received.
This song is ideal for beginners. Due to its various incarnations, there are no hard-and-fast rules about how you need to perform it exactly. It uses just three chords which are A, D, and E. Feel free to strum it however you like!
We Belong Together by Mariah Carey
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As tough as it might be to match Mariah Carey’s ludicrously-challenging vocal riffs and runs, this is definitely a song that you can translate to the guitar exceptionally well because of its catchy chord progression and rhythmic beats. This is taken from her 10th album The Emancipation of Mimi and this song was called by some her ‘musical comeback’ after a mediocre period of sales between 2001-2004.
With the percussion elements being such a driving force in the song, this is a great chance for you to expand beyond just percussive mutes and start introducing the bass drum. Combining this all together with the fingerpicked chords is going to offer a solid challenge for a beginner, but will also expand your capabilities. With a little practice, you’ll have this mastered.
Your Body is a Wonderland by John Mayer
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John Mayer is well known and respected for being a high-level guitarist with a tremendous amount of technical ability on the instrument. But he also combines that with good songwriting sensibilities and his empowering and moving voice to create world-class music that is worth anyone’s time to learn.
Fortunately for us, this is not one of those technical songs and serves as proof that he can dial it back when needed and write a simple song with a powerful message. This is another song where you’ll be performing some ‘percussive mutes’ to act as the snare drum and provide that additional rhythm to the song.
A Thousand Years by Christina Perri
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This song rose to prominence after being featured in the exceptionally popular movie franchise Twilight. But the song really can stand on its own two feet, with its pristine production and powerful delivery. It has been certified at 10x platinum in the United States, selling over 3.5 million copies and the official music video is currently at over 2.3 billion views on YouTube!
Despite the song being piano/vocally driven, there is a distinct acoustic guitar part behind it that is holding down the chordal flow of the song. We just need to follow by using a capo on the 3rd fret of the guitar and using the chords: G, D/F sharp, Em7, Cadd9, and Dsus4.
Adore You by Harry Styles
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After discussing classics, it’s time to head back to the modern day with this song from Harry Styles, best known from band One Direction. Adore You was a single released from his second studio album Fine Line. It can be considered a fairly by-the-numbers love song, featuring sappy lyrics, some emotive guitar work, and modern production. An easy-to-play song you really can’t go wrong with.
As it contains both acoustic and electric guitar parts, you can pick and choose what you want to play. The main chord progression on acoustic uses a capo on the third fret where you’ll need to play the chords: Am7, C, F, and G.
Don’t Let Me Down by The Beatles
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When it comes to love songs, it’s very common to have the majority of the emotion and feeling be conveyed via the vocal performance, with the guitar being relegated to the supporting role with some kind of simple chord progression. This is not one of those songs. Don’t Let Me Down has some incredibly-moving passages and is a real treat for anyone looking to push their guitar technique a little further.
With the guitar being the driving force here, it’s definitely a bit more challenging than some of the others on this list. But it’s really something anyone can practice into. Don’t be afraid to give it a try. Be patient with it and you’ll be very handsomely rewarded.
Brown Eyed Girl by Van Morrison
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Rather than a song you might sing directly to someone you love, this is more of a nostalgic walk through time, recollecting interactions with a former lover. It was released as a single from his Blowin’ Your Mind! album and went on to do very well commercially. It’s been certified as platinum, selling over 1 million copies in the US, and has been performed by a huge number of notable artists, including the fantastic Adele.
This is one more for the electric guitarists out there, using the nicest-sounding chimey clean tone you have. There are lots of single-note harmonized lines to keep your fingers busy on the fretboard here. While nothing is particularly challenging, if you were looking for a song that can ease you into lead-playing this is definitely a good one to learn.
Always on My Mind by Elvis Presley
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This song wasn’t originally written by Elvis. It was actually first recorded and released in 1972 as a traditional ballad. However, it was really the Elvis Presley rendition released as a single in that same year that brought mass attention to the song. The King’s version was written and recorded just a few weeks after separating from his wife, Priscilla.
You don’t have to get fancy with the strumming pattern here, just play whatever you feel is appropriate for the feel and pace of the song. The chords you’ll be playing are G, D/F sharp (remember you play that F sharp with your thumb on the low E string), Em7, C, and Am.
Hallelujah by Leonard Cohen
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Although the Jeff Buckley version is a massively-popular rendition of this song, we’ve decided to go with the original, written and released by Leonard Cohen in 1984 as part of his album Various Positions. Following its appearance in the movie Shrek, the song enjoyed a resurgence in popularity, prompting over 300 artists to make their own renditions of the song. A true testament to its impactful nature.
The first thing to note about this song is that it opens with some arpeggiated chords. That is to say, played one note at a time. But it’s at such a slow pace it should pose no technical challenge regardless of your skill level. After that, we’ll be playing some larger 4-string chords.
Fallin’ by Alicia Keys
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When we think of love songs, we don’t often think of R&B, but this single from Alicia Keys perfectly demonstrates just how well it can work. This was her first single from her first-ever album. Right from the gate, Alicia enjoyed massive global success and shot straight to the number 1 position on the US Billboard Hot 100. The song even won THREE (yes, three) Grammy Awards in 2002.
As a primarily piano- and vocal-driven song, we need to take those chords and translate them to the guitar. In order to do this and maintain the original key of the song, we also need to use a capo on the second fret, allowing us to use the ‘open’ chord positions. But if you don’t have a capo available, the video lesson details a ‘capo-less’ version.
Perfect by Ed Sheeran
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A fairly self-explanatory song from the perspective of a man who finds his lover to be perfect. Ed Sheeran has a very special way of writing engaging and interesting melodies, creating songs that are accessible while remaining musically interesting. Because of this, he is now considered one of the best musicians in the world.
This is a song where you’ll be putting your fingerpicking skills to the test, but in a relatively accessible way, where your fingers will mostly be plucking chords on the higher strings while your thumb plays most of the bass notes. You’ll also need a capo on the first fret of the guitar to make the chords as easy as possible to hold.
Wonderwall by Oasis
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Written by Noel Gallagher for his girlfriend at that time, Meg Mathews (who he later married). The best thing about this song is that absolutely everyone knows it, and it’s guaranteed to go down well. When Noel divorced his wife, he changed the meaning of the song to be ‘about a nameless person who will come to save you from yourself.’
Oasis have a particular kind of style where they fundamentally use a quite accessible and easy chord progression, but they like to play a lot with the voicings and include little tweaks to make the chords more interesting. In this particular case, we’ll be using the chords: Em7, G, Dsus4, and A7sus4.
Love Story by Taylor Swift
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While many of Taylor Swift’s songs revolve around a theme of love or relationships, this one is particularly apt in this scenario, as it’s just so catchy and unapologetic in its delivery. Some critics call it cheesy, but embracing that will allow you to enjoy the song on a whole other level.
For this song, we’ll be using a capo on the second fret of the guitar, which will make the chords quite a bit easier to hold. We’ll also be using 5 chords here, so it’s important to give our hands as much of a break as possible. We’ll be using the chords: C, G, Am, F, and Fmaj7.
Chasing Cars by Snow Patrol
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Described by main songwriter Gary Lightbody as ‘the purest love song that I’ve ever written.’ He is well-known for putting some kind of twist or ‘dark edge’ to his songs. But there’s no catch with this song, it’s about love through and through. Taken from their fourth studio album Eyes Open, it was released in 2005 to good commercial success, reaching the number 5 position on the US charts.
The majority of the song is building towards a large crescendo, but while there is this overall swelling of the instruments as they increase in intensity, the acoustic guitar is holding its consistent chord progression throughout. This is what we will primarily mimic on the guitar.
I Love You by Billie Eilish
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Billie Eilish burst onto the scene, making a huge impact with her off-the-wall style, unique sound design, and approach to songwriting. But on that same debut album When We Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go? sits this love song. Praised by critics for its lyrical content discussing the resistance one might have about falling in love.
Although this does use a fairly simple chord progression, it’s an entirely fingerpicked piece. If this is something new to you, I suggest trying your hand at it. As far as fingerpicked pieces go, this is certainly one of the easiest ones. Don’t be afraid to turn the BPM of the song down a little bit, so you can wrap your head around everything.
Halo by Beyoncé
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Beyoncé is a true superstar with no shortage of iconic songs under her belt. She’s said that this song is an all-encompassing expression of her love for her lover. Needless to say, it was a massive commercial success, with the official music video sitting at over 1.4 billion views on YouTube and winning all kinds of awards including Best Song at the 2009 MTV Music Awards.
This is primarily a pop and R&B song, so the larger focus is put on the string section and drums. This is where the versatility of the guitar comes in, as we can emulate the rhythm with our strumming and the notes with the chords we play. We’ll be using the chords: G, Am, Em, and C.
Just the Way You Are by Bruno Mars
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This unapologetically-sappy love song is about a man who finds his girlfriend absolutely perfect just the way she is. This was Bruno’s very first single from his debut album Doo-Wops & Hooligans and he hit the ground running. Although the song got some criticism from music critics, fans have decided it’s great, evidenced by it selling 12.5 million copies.
To get the guitar in key and make the chords as easy to play as possible, we’ll be using a capo on the 3rd fret. Although this is a fingerpicked piece, it tends to stay in a fairly tight area without many huge jumps all over the fretboard, so it remains completely accessible to beginners.
Marry Me by Train
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The nicest thing about this song is its sparing use of instruments. Simple acoustic guitar, vocals, and towards the end, just a light dusting of strings. It’s almost like it’s asking to be covered by us. This is taken from their fifth studio album titled Save Me, San Francisco. They noted that the song started off very short, but they were later inspired to expand upon it and turn it into a full single.
This song sounds incredibly difficult at first, but fret not! It’s much easier than it sounds. There is essentially a single picking pattern that you will repeat over and over. So once you have that right-hand rhythm down, you’re essentially already there. Then all that’s left is to memorize the left-hand notes.