- Barre chords
- muted strumming
- strumming patterns
Torn as covered by Natalie Imbruglia is a really catchy acoustic pop song from the ’90s. Not many people know that Natalie’s version is, in fact, a cover. The original was written in 1995 by an alternative rock band called Ednaswap. You can find the original version on YouTube, see which one you like better. I for one, prefer Natalie’s version, the original is too dark for me.
So anyhow, we’re going to learn a great pop song, that uses barre chords almost exclusively. It will give you a huge barre chord workout, so learning to play Torn is a really effective way to improve your barre chord technique.
The song has a really cool strumming pattern as well, that will take you a bit of time to master since it has some muting and various things going on, but once you do, you'll be able to use it in other songs as well.
The song is written in the key of F major, so we’ll be using chords based on the notes of the F major scale:
F Gm Am Bb C Dm Em F
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
We’ll start the tutorial by learning to play the intro, and continue on to learn the chords of the verse, pre-chorus, chorus, and the interlude. The strumming pattern will be the same throughout the different sections of the song, so you just need to memorize the chord sequence and the strumming pattern.
Make sure you download the tabs to Torn from the supplemental material tab, it’ll show you the chord progressions and the overall structure of the song.
Once we go through the chords, we’ll start learning the strumming pattern. The strumming pattern is what makes this song so characteristic, and specifically, the sequence of muted strum. Did you notice them when just listening to the song?
Since we're using barre chords, we achieve those muted strums by loosening our fretting hand grip, but not letting go of the strings. So understanding this is important for learning this strumming pattern. Relaxing the grip will mute the strum, now you just have to learn to time and synchronize everything.
As a side benefit, our hand has some time to rest and regenerate during the mutes strums. Holding barre chords all throughout a song is tough work, so those muted strums are really handy in this respect.
Start learning the strumming pattern at a normal pace, you can speed up to the tempo of the song after you master the pattern and the chord progression.
At the end of our guitar lesson on Natalie Imbruglia’s version of torn, we’ll learn that simple solo you can hear in the original song.
Torn song details
Natalie Imbruglia released her cover of the song Torn in 1997 on her debut album Left of the Middle. Ironically, Natalie’s version of the song became a worldwide hit, while the original version from the band Ednaswap wasn’t very popular. Natalie Imbruglia even received a Grammy nomination for Best Female Pop Vocal Performance that year.
The song was very popular all across the world, reaching no.1 in many countries, and holding records such as Most Airplays on Australian Radio.
Here are a few of its chart performances, you can find the entire list here:
- US Billboard Hot 100 Airplay: #1
- Australia: #2
- Canada: #1
- Italy: #2
- UK Singles (Official Charts Company): #2
- US Billboard Adult Top 40: #1
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