Unlike “I’m Yours,” Jason Mraz‘s “I Won’t Give Up” is a ballad, requiring broken instead of block chords. Similar to “I’m Yours” the chord progressions repeat: A/E E | E | A/E E | A/E E | E | Bsus | B |
Mraz sings it in the key of E major. While this key is easy for the guitar, the four sharps a pianist has to remember is slightly more taxing though not impossible.
Will Koerten’s arrangement (lead sheet), which can be freely downloaded, specifies the 6/8 to feel in two. Similar to ““I’m Yours,” play the chord progression once as introduction, then three more times for the first verse before the chorus comes in.
The chord progressions for the chorus is A | E | C#m | B A | E | Bsus | B | and back to the A major with E in the bass etc.
Then it goes into a very interesting verse, as if in double time, nonstop, nearly no space for a breath:
I don’t wanna be someone who walks away so easily I’m here to stay and make the difference that I can make.
Our differences they do a lot to teach us how to use the tools and gifts we got, yeah we got a lot at stake
And in the end you’re still my friend at least we did intend for us to work. We didn’t break, we didn’t burn, we had to learn how to bend without the world caving in.
F#m | F#m | B | F#m | F#m | B | B | D| D| D#m | D#m | D | D#m B | E | before arriving at the end which is E | A | E | C#m | B | A | E | B | and repeat.
My piano students learned early on to do cross-hand arpeggios for warm-up. It’s a matter of practising the above chord progressions instead of the great white keys of C major and A minor as they’ve been doing all semester. “I Won’t Give Up” is a wonderful study in improvisation.
I tried it in the last class, running the arpeggios on the Baldwin baby grand piano. Against a Youtube version on our loudspeakers, my piano class and I got so carried away that we forgot sound travelled through the open doors and windows. We haven’t had air conditioning for more than a month, and we had to overcome the sound of four blazing fans, too!
I would love to find the official video for this song, for Jason Mraz has performed extensively unplugged, solo, with Raining Jane, with the talented Korean guitarist Sungha Jung, and others. There’s also a version for four-part choir, freely downloadable from the Web.