The House of the Rising Sun chords

by The Animals

Words & Music to The House of the Rising Sun are from a Traditional Folk Song. The song was arranged by Alan Price from the band, The Animals. It was recorded May 18, 1964 and released June 19, 1964 in the UK and August 1964 in the US from the album The Animals.

Key: C Major / A minor ( see below...Tips/Tabs)    
Time: 4/4 (Triplets) or 12/8 or 6/8     Tempo: 78 - 82 bpm (♩.) 12/8
Chords: Am, C, D, F, E
The Animals

House Of The Rising Sun by The Animals

Intro: 6/8 
   |   Am   |  C  |  D  |  F  |  Am  |  E  |  Am  |  E  |

         Am     C       D       F            Am      C        E  |  E  |
1. There is a house in New Or-leans___ They call the Ri-sing Sun 
             Am       C      D             F         Am     E       Am
   And it’s been the ruin of ma-ny a poor boy___ And God I know I’m one

          (one)
Instr: |   Am   |   C   |   D   |   F   |  Am  |  E  |  Am  |  E  | 

      Am       C     D     | F  |   Am      C         E  |  E  |
2. My mo-ther was a tail-or___    Sewed my new blue jeans
      Am       C     D         F      Am      E      Am
   My fa-ther was a gam-blin’ man___ Down in New Or-leans

         (leans)
Instr: |   Am   |   C   |   D   |   F   |  Am  |  E  |  Am  |  E  | 
         
           Am      C      D         F            Am        C   E  |  E  |
3. Now the on-ly thing a gam-bler needs___ Is a suit-case and trunk
           Am     C         D      F          Am       E     Am
   And the on-ly time he’s sat-is-fied___ Is when he’s on a drunk

        (drunk)
Instr: |   Am   |   C   |   D   |   F   |  Am  |  E  |  Am |  E  | 
       |   Am   |   C   |   D   |   F   |  Am  |  C  |  E  |  E  | 
       |   Am   |   C   |   D   |   F   |  Am  |  E  |
       |   Am   |   C   |   D   |   F   |  Am  |  E  |  Am |  E  | 

      Am       C          D     |  F  |       Am      C       E  |  E  |
4. Oh mo-ther tell your chil-dren___   Not to do what I have done
     Am         C       D            F             Am           E      Am
   Spend your lives in sin and mi-se-ry___ In the House of the Ris-ing Sun

          (sun)
Instr: |   Am   |   C   |   D   |   F   |  Am  |  E  |  Am  |  E  | 

              Am       C       D      |  F  |    Am          C        E  |  E  |
5. Well I got one foot on the plat-form___   The o-ther foot on the train
        Am    C       D       F          Am        E        Am
   I’m goin’ back to New Or-leans___ To wear that ball and chain

         (chain)                                                 (well there)
Instr: |   Am   |   C   |   D   |   F   |  Am  |  E  |  Am  |  E  | 

              Am     C       D       F            Am      C        E  |  E  |
6. Well there is a house in New Or-leans___ They call the Ri-sing Sun 
             Am       C      D             F         Am     E       Am
   And it’s been the ruin of ma-ny a poor boy___ And God I know I’m one

          (one)                                                         Hold
Instr: |   Am   |   C   |   D   |   F   |  Am  |  E  |  Am  |  E  |   
       |   Am   |   C   |   D   |   F   |  Am  |  E  |  Am  |  E  | Am/addG  |

C Major / A Minor

Fingers 1, 2, 3, 4 : Notes played
A column of 1's: Barre 1st finger over marked strings
Unmarked strings: Play open 
x: Don't play string

Right-Handed Chord Tabs   
         Am                 C                 D                 F                 E              Am/addG
  e |---|---|---|   e |---|---|---|   e |---|-2-|---|   e |-1-|---|---|   e |---|---|---|   e |---|---|-4-|
  B |-1-|---|---|   B |-1-|---|---|   B |---|---|-3-|   B |-1-|---|---|   B |---|---|---|   B |-1-|---|---|
  G |---|-3-|---|   G |---|---|---|   G |---|-1-|---|   G |---|-2-|---|   G |-1-|---|---|   G |---|-3-|---|
  D |---|-2-|---|   D |---|-2-|---|   D |---|---|---|   D |---|---|-3-|   D |---|-3-|---|   D |---|-2-|---|
  A |---|---|---|   A |---|---|-3-|   A |---|---|---|   A |---|---|---|x  A |---|-2-|---|   A |---|---|---|
  E |---|---|---|x  E |---|---|---|x  E |---|---|---|x  E |---|---|---|x  E |---|---|---|   E |---|---|---|x
Frets 1   2   3         1   2   3         1   2   3         1   2   3         1   2   3         1   2   3 


Left-Handed Chord Tabs 
      Am                 C                 D                 F                 E              Am/addG
 |---|---|---| e   |---|---|---| e   |---|-2-|---| e   |---|---|-1-| e   |---|---|---| e   |-4-|---|---| e
 |---|---|-1-| B   |---|---|-1-| B   |-3-|---|---| B   |---|---|-1-| B   |---|---|---| B   |---|---|-1-| B
 |---|-3-|---| G   |---|---|---| G   |---|-1-|---| G   |---|-2-|---| G   |---|---|-1-| G   |---|-3-|---| G
 |---|-2-|---| D   |---|-2-|---| D   |---|---|---| D   |-3-|---|---| D   |---|-3-|---| D   |---|-2-|---| D
 |---|---|---| A   |-3-|---|---| A   |---|---|---| A  x|---|---|---| A   |---|-2-|---| A   |---|---|---| A
x|---|---|---| E  x|---|---|---| E  x|---|---|---| E  x|---|---|---| E   |---|---|---| E  x|---|---|---| E
   3   2   1         3   2   1         3   2   1         3   2   1         3   2   1         3   2   1 Frets
    

Notes

  • Level Of Ease: Easy - the timing is a little tricky at first but you get used to it pretty quickly once you get the hang of it.
  • Key Signature: C Major / A minor... the song seems to take a little out of both key signatures. For intermediate and advanced players who may be interested - here's a little excerpt I found in a forum at guitar-music-theory.com. It is written by Desi Serna, a noted & respected author on guitar theory. It helps to clear up some confusion relating to the key signature of this song.
The guitar chord progression to "House of the Rising Sun" by The Animals includes chords from more than one scale.

The Am, C and F all fit into the C major scale (A Natural Minor or Aeolian Mode).

The D chord requires an F# note. This could be thought of as stemming from the G major scale (A Dorian Mode - A B C D F# G) or A Melodic Minor scale (A B C D E F# G#).

The E7 requires a G# note. This changes the scale to A Harmonic Minor (A B C D E F G#) or A Melodic Minor scale (A B C D E F# G#)..

As you can see, this song is a bit complex when you break it down. It's actually a combination of keys. You could call this using "borrowed chords" because you're borrowing from other keys, or "modal interchange" because you're interchanging different modes. I don't think the writers had this intention. They probably just combined the chords by ear rather than considering the theory. If you want to play lead guitar over this, then you'll have to either switch scales when the chord requires it, or just think A minor (C major) the whole time and avoid the notes that clash. Another option is to play A minor pentatonic over the whole thing. Try it!— Desi Serna
  • Here is one of the popular patterns for the Am pentatonic scale

    A minor pentatonic scale

  • Time Signature: 4/4 or 12/8 or 6/8... consider the following:
  • If you use the 4/4 time signature, each beat of the bar is treated as 4 x eighth-note/quaver triplets (a group of three notes is played in the same time as 2 notes of the same kind OR three evenly spaced notes played in one beat). Therefore a bar which you may normally count as | 1 2 3 4 | OR | 1& 2& 3& 4& | would now be counted as | 1&& 2&& 3&& 4&& | etc. with chord changes generally occurring on the 1st and 3rd beats of each bar... the following chart shows you a sample of the timing in triplet segments... the count includes rests which are actually the bass notes in the bass clef - written for piano.

    Please Note: The chart represents 'cut time', written as 2/2 (2 half-note/minim notes per bar) which is clearly played by the notes in the bass clef. 4/4 time signature is discussed here to show each set of triplets clearly as 1beat.

    Simile Mark

  • This could also be given a key signature of 12/8 which would look like this - written for guitar. There are 12 eighth-note/quaver beats per bar. This can still be counted as above with 12 segments per bar.

    Simile Mark

  • If you use the 6/8 time signature, there are 6 eighth-note/quaver beats per bar and each bar count is simply | 1 2 3 4 5 6 | etc. with chord changes occurring on the first beat of each bar... it would look exactly like the 12/8 time above except that each bar is halved with a chord change for each bar.

    We have used the 6/8 time in our song sheet for simplicity with 1 chord change per bar.
  • Tempo: ~ 82 bpm
  • Using a Metronome or click track:

    At 4/4 the sound will occur on every beat 1 2 3 4

    At 6/8 the sound will occur on every 3rd beat 1 2 3 4 5 6 - (1 chord change per bar)

    At 12/8 the sound will occur on every 3rd beat 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 - (2 chord changes per bar)
  • The Fermata Symbol   fermata / pause symbol - the last chord of the song is strummed and held till it rings out.
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