Under the Milky Way
by The Church • Lesson #296 • Apr 19, 2020
Print-Friendly Song Sheet 3 pages
Follow along with my print-friendly guide for this song! It’s available for purchase at Musicnotes.com, the web’s leading provider of licensed sheet music.
On the fence? Here's a guide I made showing the purchase & print process, including answers to common questions about my song sheets.Buy at Musicnotes.com
Save 50% on this song sheet by applying the March 2023 code at Musicnotes checkout: FXSDV8DUHV (click to copy). Thanks for being a Premium supporter!
Song Notes Premium includes a 50% discount code you can use when buying any of my licensed song sheets. For the current month's code, upgrade to premium or log in.
Hey friends! In this lesson I’ll teach you how to play the 1988 song “Under the Milky Way” by The Church. The song combines slight hints of late 80s New Wave / alt rock sounds, along with multiple acoustic guitars (one of which is a 12-string). I’ll focus my tutorial on a solo acoustic version, played without capo, that best captures the combined sound of everything you hear on the album version. Chord-wise, things are fairly straightforward: A-minor and a few variations, Fmaj7 (easy!), G, and E-minor make up the bulk of what you’ll be playing. Strumming can be tricky, but I’ll break it down carefully and show a simplified version if you want something more accessible. Finally, at the end of the lesson I’ll do a full playthrough to show you how to put it all together.
Here’s timestamps for my video lesson:
- 0:00 Lesson overview
- 2:55 Intro chords
- 8:19 Intro strumming
- 10:18 Verse chords & strumming
- 13:11 Simplified strumming pattern
- 14:19 Chorus & refrain
- 15:45 Misc tips & advice
- 18:07 Full playthrough
Thanks to Patreon supporter Mark for requesting this one! This tune was a favorite of mine in college, when many of my roommates and I would watch Donnie Darko over and over again – which features a soundtrack with this and many other 1980 songs (here’s the scene with this song being used).
Lyrics with chords
No capo. Key of C (or, A-minor which has the same notes). Tempo = ~136 bpm.
See my sheet music for the full lyrics, with chords shown in context.
Getting right to the point, here’s 3 ways to play the intro chords. There are actually multiple guitars heard on the album version: one without a capo (playing “option 2” below), and the other capo 5th fret. I’m including “option 1”, which has an Am7 chord, because this Am7 captures the “sound” of the “Capo 5” Em7 chord. I prefer to play the “option 1” variation for the intro, as it best captures the sound of the recorded version’s intro. See my video lesson for reference!
See my sheet music for the chord tabs.
The first verse uses the same chords as the intro. Once the second verse starts (and the full band kicks in, specifically with the bass) – there’s a few changes. For one, the final chord “G” becomes an “E-minor”. Also, the second chord is played over an F# bass note – which is incredibly hard to pull off via solo guitar, but I wanted to include here. Personally, I use the Amsus4 version (“option 1” above) when singing the verse, as that chord goes well with the vocal melody.
See my sheet music for the chord tabs.
See my sheet music for the strumming diagrams.
See my sheet music for the chord progression diagrams.
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).
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!
March 27, 2023
Beginner Lead Guitar with the Star Spangled Banner
March 19, 2023
Brown Eyed Girl
March 14, 2023
Major Scales in Open Position
March 10, 2023
Tips for Strumming & Singing at the Same Time
March 7, 2023
Interstate Love Song
March 2, 2023
New Course: Beginner Chord Guide!
February 24, 2023
How to Fingerpick in 3/4 Time (feat. "Amazing Grace" & John Prine)
February 13, 2023
Adam Sandler's "Grow Old With You," Without Barre Chords
Browse my all lessons
By lesson type
- Strumming & Rhythm
- Walk-Ups & Walk-Downs
- Learning Barre Chords
- Travis Picking
- Learning Chords
By musical genre
By musical key
By popular artist
- Johnny Cash
- Tyler Childers
- Tom Petty
- Neil Young
- Chris Stapleton
- Willie Nelson
- Guy Clark
- John Prine