Guitar lesson for


by Leonard Cohen  •  Lesson #11

Video lesson

Get the PDF chord sheet (3 pages)

  • Support me on to get access to this and 200+ other PDF chord sheets I've made, plus new PDFs I make going forward (1-2 added each week).
  • The cost is $3/month (one month minimum, cancel anytime). Annual plans also available. Here's a free sample if you're on the fence. Thanks!
Download the PDF on Patreon

After clicking the button and logging in to Patreon, look for the PDF attached to the bottom of the post.

Editor’s notes

This video will teach you how to play “Hallelujah” by Leonard Cohen on acoustic guitar. I’ve posted the chords, tabs, and lyrics for this song at the link above.

Video timestamps

Chords w/ lyrics

    C ..... Am ..... C ..... Am .....

VERSE, pt1
         C                 Am
    I've heard there was a secret chord
         C                    Am
    That David played, and it pleased the Lord
        F                G               C         G
    But you don't really care for music, do you?

VERSE, pt2
           C                     F           G
        It goes like this... the fourth, the fifth
            Am              F
        The minor fall, the major lift
            G               E           Am
        The baffled king composing Hallelujah

                 F           Am
            Hallelujah, Hallelujah
                 F           C    G    C    G
            Hallelujah, Hallelu--------jah

    Your faith was strong but you needed proof
    You saw her bathing on the roof
    Her beauty in the moonlight overthrew you

        She tied you to her kitchen chair
        She broke your throne, and she cut your hair
        And from your lips she drew the Hallelujah

            Hallelujah, Hallelujah
            Hallelujah, Hallelujah

    Baby, I have been here before
    I know this room, I've walked this floor
    I used to live alone before I knew you.

        I've seen your flag on the marble arch
        Love is not a victory march
        It's a cold and it's a broken Hallelujah

            Hallelujah, Hallelujah
            Hallelujah, Hallelujah

    There was a time when you let me know
    What's really going on below
    But now you never show it to me, do you?

        And remember when I moved in you
        The holy dove was moving too
        And every breath we drew was Hallelujah

            Hallelujah, Hallelujah
            Hallelujah, Hallelujah

    Maybe there's a God above
    But all I've ever learned from love
    Was how to shoot at someone who outdrew you

        It's not a cry you can hear at night
        It's not somebody who has seen the light
        It's a cold and it's a broken Hallelujah

            Hallelujah, Hallelujah
            Hallelujah, Hallelujah

    You say I took the name in vain
    I don't even know the name
    But if I did, well, really... what's it to you?

        There's a blaze of light in every word
        It doesn't matter which you heard
        The holy or the broken Hallelujah

            Hallelujah, Hallelujah
            Hallelujah, Hallelujah

    I did my best, it wasn't much
    I couldn't feel, so I tried to touch
    I've told the truth, I didn't come to fool you

        And even though it all went wrong
        I'll stand before the Lord of Song
        With nothing on my tongue but Hallelujah

            Hallelujah, Hallelujah
            Hallelujah, Hallelujah

            (repeat chorus as desired, end)

Notes and tabs

Standard Tuning, No Capo

Let me note that I’m approaching this song in the key of C, to match the tone of the Leonard Cohen original, as well as the Rufus Wainwright cover. Other lessons out there instruct you to play this in the key of G with a capo. I won’t be doing that, sorry!

Guitar Chords Used

Here is how to play the guitar chords used in this song.

      C    Am   F    G    E

Optional Intro Tab

Here is an approximate tab of how I like to play the intro on solo acoustic guitar. This focuses on the notes I play between the C and Am chords – I’m assuming you’ll fill in the rhythmic gaps with whatever strumming / picking pattern you prefer.

D-|-----2---------2---------2------0--2----2----  ...with desired strum pattern
      C         Am        C              Am

End of Chorus Turnaround

Here is a fun little riff to transition from the G to C chords at the end of each chorus. This is optional as well. At the simplest, you can do this simple bass run up to the G chord:

       C          G

And if you want to take it further, I like adding this little riff with my pinky to the C and G chords that come before the tab shown directly above.

      C          G          C          G

On the Order of the Verses

One last note: I admit I am not an expert or a scholar on what the canonical number of (or, order of) verses in this song. Cohen’s studio version has different verses from many of the covers, and sometimes the order of verses is different. Above, I’ve included all the verses I’ve heard before in the order I prefer – and I’ll let you do with them what you will.

Chord progressions

| C . . . . . | Am . . . . . | C . . . . . | Am . . . . . |

VERSE, pt1
"I've heard there was a secret chord..."
| C . . . . . | Am . . . . . | C . . . . . | Am . . . . . |
| F . . . . . | G  . . . . . | C . . . . . | G  . . . . . |

VERSE, pt2
"It goes like this, the fourth, the fifth..."
| C . . . . . | F . . G . . | Am . . . . . | F  . . . . . |
| G . . . . . | E . . . . . | Am . . . . . | Am . . . . . |

"Hallelujah, hallelujah..."
| F . . . . . | F . . . . . | Am . . . . . | Am . . . . . |
| F . . . . . | F . . . . . | C  . . . . . | G  . . . . . |
| C . . . . . | G . . . . . |

Good luck!

Thanks for reading! I hope this helped you.

Enjoy my lessons? Buy me a beer!

If this and my other lessons have proven helpful to you, please consider making a one-time donation to my tip jar. Contributions of any amount help make this project possible (including the many, many hours I put into it).

You can also support me on Patreon. For only $3/month you'll get access to a print-friendly PDF of my notes for each new lesson (view free sample).


Subscribe to my YouTube channel

Be sure to never miss a lesson by subscribing on YouTube. I put out 2-3 new videos every week. These include full song lessons, as well as covers, practice tips, behind-the-scenes updates. Thanks!

Recent video lessons:

📝 Print-friendly PDFs now available for all new lessons I make, including all those listed below. Get a free sample »

Browse my all lessons

By lesson type

By song decade

By musical genre

By guitar technique

By musical key

By popular artist

← back to lesson list