Who else has reclined on the bed of Elvis Presley’s croon and wished they might be able to sing along? Or wished that they might be able to serenade a loved one, to make them feel as special as you feel every time the record spins and it feels as though every particle of Elvis’s voice is addressing itself to you and only you? I know I certainly have. And now you can, with the handy help of this comprehensive tutorial and study of the song in question. Outlined below you will find the basic elements of the song, vital to musicians of all varieties, whether you are here for the song in all its original glory, or whether through the song as popularised by Twenty One Pilots.
The song itself was a number one hit in its day, finding home in the outstretched arms of his largely teenage audience, particularly those of hormonal females.
Written in 1961 by Hugo Peretti, Luigi Creatore, and George David Weiss for the feature film Blue Hawaii, the song saw separate release as a hit single by the popular demand of said audience, which was based on a previous song: ‘Plaisir d’amour’, a popular French love song, or chanson, composed as far back as 1784(!) by Jean-Paul-Egide Martini.
This aspect ought to be absorbed with a particularly wry outlook, considering the copyright case filed against the band Spiritualised when they used the song’s melody on their famous, eponymous track, ‘Ladies and Gentlemen We Are Floating in Space’. The melody isn’t even theirs to lay claim to!
The forlorn, passion-soaked nature of the track comes through in the lyrics and the music, the arpeggiated guitar chords laying an apposite bed for the longing croon present throughout.
The Song ‘Can’t Help Falling in Love’
The song is in a swung 6/8, so each chord will almost always be counted to its full 6 beats before changing, some even stretching to two whole bar measures.
As the chords are arpeggiated throughout, this might be a perfect opportunity to exercise your abilities in this regard, for the arpeggiation is at its most basic here, moving through the chord, travelling up and down in pitch before resolving to the next chord each time. There are more chords here than you might typically be used to, so familiarising yourself with the individual shapes before jumping right in would be a great idea, though I would strongly encourage you to engage, as this would be an ample moment to exercise the dexterity and relationship between both your fretting hand and picking hand.
The song, as can be seen in the corresponding film scene, is played with a capo on the 2nd fret, so here would also be a good place to practise transposition, an area that the guitar’s same-looking fretboard excels in. If you’re going to try playing without a capo, try working the new chords out yourself before using the guide below…
This tutorial’s tablature accompaniment will be centred on the ascension and descension through the arpeggios of the chord structure, so see if you can work out the chords of your own accord before googling them elsewhere. According your studies with as much of your own intuition and conscience as possible will ensure that your conscious and subconscious are engaged enough for this learning to be instilled within you and subsequently through your muscle memory as well.
The structure, once grappled with and played along to, shouldn’t pose a problem, being fairly typical of the pop medium popularised by Elvis throughout his career:
- Verse 1
- Verse 2
- Verse 3
As mentioned above, the song as heard originally is played with a capo on the second fret. If you, for whatever reason, are choosing to play without one then following the guide below will be vital if you are unable to work these chords out in their new form yourself, though I would strongly encourage you to give it a try first.
|With Capo||W/out capo|
Might I suggest, as the accompaniment for me works best arpeggiated, that you attempt to work out a new way of arpeggiating through this version of the chords of your own volition? I can’t stress enough how much this will propagate and bolster the strength of your neuroplasticity as it acclimatises itself to new things, and nowhere is this more immediately clear and applicable than in the study of a musical instrument.
If you have followed the instructions as above then there isn’t much more for me to say besides ‘happy crooning’! May these chords and arpeggios serve you well as building blocks on your journey skyward, to mastering guitar and harmony, and to harnessing it all for the furthering of your own creative ventures.