Last updated on August 11th, 2023
Frere Jacques is a traditional French nursery rhyme. The English translation of this song is known as Brother John. In this post, we cover the chords, sheet music for the melody including guitar tabs and also a finger-style arrangement. Let’s get started.
How to read the guitar chord charts
To clarify how to read the chord charts in the next section, the top horizontal line represents the high E string and the bottom horizontal line represents the low E string. The vertical lines separate each fret. The numbers in the blue dots tell you which fingers to use on the fretting hand.
For example, on the A Major chord, you use the:
- 1st finger on the 4th string, 2nd fret
- 2nd finger on the 3rd string, 2nd fret
- 3rd finger on the 2nd string, 2nd fret
- Circles represent open strings
- On some other chords, X means to avoid the string
You can check this link for more on how to read guitar notation symbols.
Frere Jacques guitar chords
Try the following chords one at a time until you feel comfortable switching between them. These chords will be written above the melody in the next section.
Here are some other resources on chords:
- What are the first chords you should learn on guitar?
- 6 tips to get better at switching between chords on guitar
Frere Jacques guitar tabs
For the sheet music below, keep in mind that the chords and melody are meant to be played as separate parts. We’ll look at how to connect these parts later in the arrangement section of this post.
The numbers next to some notes on the top staff indicate which fingers to use on the fretting hand.
When playing the chords part, continue playing the same chord when switching to a measure that doesn’t show one. For example, you would play A Major for the first two measures.
You can refer to this simple guide to understanding music symbols if needed.
By the way, you can get all the PDF’s of this post below.
Frere Jacques lyrics
Here are the original lyrics in French:
Frère Jacques, Frère Jacques,
Sonnez les matines! Sonnez les matines!
Din, din, don. Din, din, don.
Frere Jacques (Brother John) English lyrics
Are you sleeping? Are you sleeping?
Brother John, Brother John,
Morning bells are ringing! Morning bells are ringing!
Ding, dong, dong. Ding, dong, dong
Reference: Frere Jacques. wikipedia.org
Frere Jacques guitar arrangement
In this section, we are essentially connecting the melody and chords together using a finger picking method of playing. If needed, check out this post to learn how to finger pick on guitar.
If you like this style of playing, you can check out this post to learn how to connect a melody and chords on guitar.
Want to learn more songs? Check out the sheet music with guitar tabs resource on this site.
All the best,
JG Music Lessons