Ukulele Chord Melody-What’s Next?

Ukulele Chord Melody-What’s Next?

Ukulele chord melody sounds great, but what’s next?

You love the sound of hearing both melody and chords at the same time. And the sound of fingerpicking the strings. It sounds like a classical guitar but with the ease and comfort of the smaller ukulele. So, are the Ukulele Sisters going to write some playable chord melodies for you to learn?

You want music that isn’t too hard to play. You don’t want to shift your left hand up and down the neck of the ukulele a lot. You’d prefer music lower than the 8th fret. You don’t want a lot of barre chords. And you want instruction on what to do with your right hand. Can the Ukulele Sisters provide this kind of music?

We’re planning to offer an online course with both sheet music and video lessons. We have two different ideas for this course.

Ukulele Folk Songs as Chord Melodies

This course would include 10-12 ukulele chord melodies of folk songs. It would include video lessons to go with these folk songs. The videos will show close-ups of both the right-hand and left-hand techniques you need. The course will also go over right-hand variations, such as fingerpicking and claw-hammer. These variations create different effects on these songs. The songs are simple, so they are a good place to learn these new skills.

Classical Ukulele Chord Melody Arrangements

This course would have easy classical arrangements for ukulele. We will include music by Bach, Pachelbel, Schumann, and Beethoven. This music is a little more difficult than the ukulele folk songs as chord melodies.

Which one interests you more?

Why don’t you leave a comment below? We’re trying to decide what products to create next, based on your interests.

You want music that isn’t too hard to play. You don’t want to shift your left hand up and down the neck of the ukulele a lot. You’d prefer music lower than the 8th fret. You don’t want a lot of barre chords. And you want instruction on what to do with your right hand. Can the Ukulele Sisters provide this kind of music?

In the next part of this article, I’ll describe how we’ve developed our chord melodies over time to make them both easy to play and beautiful to listen to.

 The Development of Readable Ukulele Tab and Sakura

Over the past few years, we have been working on writing readable ukulele chord melody. Beautiful and clear sheet music helps people learn this skill from the beginning. We spent a lot of time trying to find a format that would make sense to people. You can read this article about Sakura to find out more. We asked people to let us know what format they liked best. Here is what we came up with.

 

We left the lyrics, strumming pattern, chords and melody on the top staff. People can sing and strum the song if they want. We notated the chord melody music in the bottom staff with rhythmic stems. People can figure out how to play the chord melody. This way the song fits onto one page and you can do it many different ways. We also gave people a chance to comment on the different types of notation here.

Sakura is in our book, 21 Easy Ukulele Folk Songs. I was so inspired when I heard Jake Shimabukuro play Sakura in the park in my community. He played so beautifully and we were so moved. I was happy to offer this song at an easier level. My version is something that less experienced players can access.

 

Do you want to play easy and full-sounding music?

A couple of years ago we developed an online course that teaches you to play ukulele chord melody. This course consists mainly of Christmas music. We offer it once a year between Thanksgiving and Christmas. Here are a couple of examples of the music in this course, Jingle Bells and Silent Night.

Can non-singers enjoy the ukulele?

Chord melody is perfect for when you want to play and you don’t want to sing. Whether you’re a good singer or not, it’s sometimes more fun to practice when you can hear the melody without singing it. You can combine chords and melody together at the same time. You make your own satisfying arrangement of the song.

Where can you get easy chord melodies?

Several of our books offer chord melody arrangements. The books that have chord melody are 21 MORE Ukulele Songs: Learn Intermediate Ukulele the Easy Way and 21 Easy Ukulele Folk Songs. Our Hymn Kits also offer up to 21 more chord melody arrangements.

Wow, chord melody sounds rich and full, with melody and chords at the same time!

But it’s probably too hard for me. Not true!
In this course you’ll learn easy full-sounding music using techniques you know.

Get your course now

Ukulele Hymns and Carols Are Similar Yet Different

Ukulele Hymns and Carols Are Similar Yet Different

Do you want to play hymns and carols?

Both types of music are spiritual and uplifting. Hymns and carols are similar, yet they are different.

Things are tough right now. You would like a hobby that lifts you up and brings you joy. Having a chance to focus on joy and gratitude with your ukulele, sounds great. You want to play uplifting music on your ukulele. Both hymns and carols will do that for you.

Hymns

Can be played at any time of year-often used for worship

Expresses many different kinds of moods

Many different feelings depending on the text. Can offer a sense of comfort

Carols

Seasonal-associated with Winter and Christmas-not necessarily used for worship

Focus on the joy and festivity of Christmas

Feelings of coziness, warmth and togetherness. Positive, festive, popular

Both hymns and carols are religious songs.

Carols are associated with Christmas and are usually joyful. Some carols are about the Winter. Man of these songs, such as “Jingle Bells,” have become associated with Christmas. They evoke feelings of coziness, warmth and togetherness. They are positive, festive and popular.

We have two products that teach Carols: 21 Easy Ukulele Songs for Christmas and Learn Easy Ukulele Chord Melody Today. If you want to play the simpler carols, try out our Christmas book.

If you want to learn to play Chord Melody, sign up for our email list at Learn Easy Ukulele Chord Melody Today. Chord Melody is where you play both the melody and the chords at the same time. This course teaches you how to play Christmas songs as Chord Melodies. We offer it for a limited time between Thanksgiving and Christmas each year.

Hymns are for any time of year.

They are religious in nature and are often used for worship. They express many moods and can offer a sense of comfort. In our Hymn Kits, you’ll find something for varied learners from beginners to a little more advanced. You can click here to learn more.

We offer 34 hymns, many in two different keys, so you can choose the one that is easier to play or sing. We also offer fingerpicking and suggested strumming patterns. Finally, we offer 13 chord melodies so you can play both the melody and the chords at the same time. This product is always available. You can find out more here.

I hope you’ve enjoyed finding out more about Hymns and Carols. But don’t take my word for it. Look at what Randy has to say. Maybe you’ll want to try out both types of music just like he did!

I’ve purchased your Christmas Carol and Hymns books. I ordered your Christmas Carol book after purchasing my first ever ukulele in mid-November (first ever instrument in fact other than playing trumpet in my youth) with a goal of playing Silent Night on Christmas eve.   Turned out I not only played Silent Night, but I was playing through almost all the Carols by the end of the year and moved on to your Hymns book in January.  I’m a 61-year-old man who has been a singer all my life, but I’ve found it a blast to now be able to pick up my uke and play. So, thank you for your great product, it’s been a key to my early success and it’s very rewarding.

Randy Tofteland

Enjoy!

Do you want to play hymns with confidence?

In our Hymn Kits you'll find something for varied learners, from beginners to a little more advanced.

Get your Hymn Kit today!

Do You Want to Play Easy Full-Sounding Music (Chord Melody)?

Do You Want to Play Easy Full-Sounding Music (Chord Melody)?

One of my great joys in life is being able to pick up my ukulele and play many kinds of music, such as a chord melody arrangement. It’s great to have a portable instrument sitting right by my bed that I can grab. I play it before I sleep or when I wake up in the morning. Playing music that is easy and full sounding puts me in a better mood. The rich and exciting sounds take me to another place and uplift me.

In this article, you’ll learn how to play “up the neck” on your ukulele.

You’ll learn to shift to the higher positions in the song “Yankee Doodle.” It’s pretty easy to play melodies in the first three frets, but when the music goes higher it can get complicated. We’ll show you some principles of left-hand fingering to help you out as you play “up the neck” on your ukulele.

 

Here is what our customers have to say about our books and the joy they bring to them.

Our church is planning a good ole country gospel Sunday service. I am going to share hymns from my Hymn Kit. I love everything about your new chord melodies. You did an awesome job. 

Bruce Kempf

I am almost 66 years old and bought my first ukulele around the end of August right after my mother died. It has helped keep my stress down so much. My husband and I are raising two of our grandchildren. They are 4 and 2 so we are busy, but I make practice time every day. Your music has helped me so much.

Beth Sloan

As you get better at ukulele, it’s fun to try new techniques. Going on YouTube is great but having a guided course with video lessons and a printable .pdf  is even better. If you can play melody tab and three-chord songs, you are ready for the chord melody, which combines the two.

Click here to find out more about our chord melody course. It goes live each year in late  November.

Here are some common issues people have as the music gets harder.

It’s easy to play melodies in the first 5 frets, but when the music goes higher, the fingering is more complicated. In this video, we teach you how to shift so you don’t miss the higher notes. I show how to play “Yankee Doodle” as you move your hand up the A string to play notes in frets 5, 7, and 8.

There are some common principles that work on all stringed instruments. When you play with your fingering hand right by the tuning pegs, that is called the first position. As you move your hand to get the higher notes, it helps to “anchor” your first finger on a particular fret.

Principles of Left-Hand Fingering

  • First position-Finger 1 is on the 1st fret
  • Third position-Finger 1 is on the 3rd fret
  • Fifth position-Finger 1 is on the 5th fret
  • Shifting-Moving your hand to put finger 1 on a particular fret

If these ideas are confusing, watch the video lesson. I explain it all clearly there with pictures of what the music looks like while I’m demonstrating the skill. And, you’ll get to learn “Yankee Doodle!”

Adding Chords to Your Melodies

If you can play melodies up and down the neck of the ukulele pretty easily, you can start to add chords to your melodies. In this next video lesson, I teach you how to play a C Major scale plus five extra notes to take you up to the 10th fret. You learn about the first, third and  fifth positions for your left hand. You also learn easy chords “up the neck” of your ukulele. Finally, I introduce the concept of “movable chords” with two easy barre chords. Everything  is in the key of C, so you can use your open ukulele strings as much as possible to play chords.

Learn Easy Ukulele Chord Melody Today

Then you get to put it all together with a simple chord melody of Jingle Bells

In this arrangement, you play both melody and chords. You’ve learned the techniques you need in the other two video lessons.

If you like the full sound of Jingle Bells, you’re ready for our course, Learn Easy Ukulele Chord Melody Today. In this course,  you learn 7 songs with easy full-sounding music. The songs have accompanying video lessons and a pdf. All the songs can be played with either a
high G tuned ukulele or a low G tuned ukulele. I have lesson and performance videos for each song showing both the high G and low G versions.

The course is available from Nov. 24-Dec. 15 of 2020. Click here to get your name on a list to receive three free goodies. You’ll get the sheet music to accompany video lessons. In the video lessons, I teach you how to:

  1. Play the C Scale Plus Five Notes with Chords
  2. Learn How to Fingerpick an Arpeggio Study
  3. Jingle Bells Chord Melody

Then, be sure to buy the course when it goes live. You’ll be glad you did!

This is a really good course and it helps me to understand music better, as well as improving my left and right-hand co-ordination. I am able to play a lot better now.

Wow, chord melody sounds rich and full, with melody and chords at the same time!

But it’s probably too hard for me. Not true!
In this course you’ll learn easy full-sounding music using techniques you know.

Get your course now

Can non-singers enjoy the ukulele? Learn chord melody!

Can non-singers enjoy the ukulele? Learn chord melody!

I’m a terrible singer. Can I still learn to play the ukulele? What is chord melody? Can I learn chord melody? Are there simple versions?

Non-singers can learn chord melody

Yes, you can learn to play the ukulele even if you are a terrible singer. One of the greatest ukulele artists around, Jake Shimabukuro, does not sing.

Check out the following video for an example of what chord melody can sound like. Here Jenny plays “Wayfaring Stranger” as a chord melody solo.

As a beginner, you’re not going to sound great right away.

But there are steps you can take to learn to play simple chord melodies.

When learning a new song, first learn to sing and strum the song. All music has three elements: melody, harmony, and rhythm. For the ukulele that transfers to:

  1. voice=melody  
  2. chords=harmony 
  3. strumming pattern=rhythm 

When you’re first beginning you will need to concentrate on one thing at a time.

Then you can put them all together.

It’s important to sing or speak the lyrics when the chords change. Otherwise, you will not know where you are in the song. If you hate singing, you can play along with our online lesson videos or check out other YouTube channels. 

Here is a YouTube channel where you can play along with the artist.

You are practicing learning the chords and learning to keep the beat. You don’t have to worry about the lyrics and the melody. Check out  Ukeplayalongs

Not a singer?

I know many people don’t like to sing. And I understand. I get at least one YouTube comment a week that tells me to stop singing!

Here are some words of encouragement about singing.

“If you can talk, you can sing. If you can walk, you can dance.”

African Folk Saying

In teaching music, singing is a necessary part of it. You have to sing to understand the melody component of music.

Unfortunately, in our culture, we are all encouraged not to sing. Singing has become professionalized. And right now singing in groups is not considered safe, so learning how to play melody on your ukulele is a great idea!

Steps for learning from Beginning to Advanced

Beginner

You will need to sing or speak lyrics at first before you learn to play melody on your ukulele.

  1. Learn basic chord shapes.
  2. Add simple strumming patterns.
  3. Add your voice to complete the song.

Advanced Beginner

So, you don’t like to sing?

Then learn the melody tab. All our books have the melody written out in standard notation with tab underneath. Our video lessons teach you how to play the tab. Since you watch the videos to know how the song goes, you’ll be able to figure out how to play the melody. We teach you how to read the tab in our books.

Intermediate

Play a duet with a friend or relative. Here’s what one customer said.

I ordered 3 Christmas uke books. This one was by far the best. It uses beginner-friendly chords and has a clear tab for the melody. My 10-year-old and I can play duets with the melody and the chords. Now I’m looking at picking up the other books by these authors.

Advanced Intermediate

Learn chord melody. Here is an example of a chord melody version of Frere Jacques. As you can see, we’ve kept the chord melody simple. You add the notes of the chord underneath the melody on the first beat of each measure. If you start with simple material like this, you will be able to sound complete without singing soon.

Later you can go on to more complicated songs where you change chords a lot and you play notes higher up on the neck of the ukulele. But you will be happiest if you start with easier music first.

Here’s what an Amazon customer said about learning chord melody.

I was a beginner ukulele player when I bought my first Jenny Peters and Rebecca Bogart 21 Songs in 6 days. It took me a lot longer than that to learn all of it. Then I went to 21 More songs. I am just about done with it. I am learning solo ukulele with chord melodies, what fun and they sound recognizable without someone singing. They recently came out with a folk song book and soon will have a gospel book! I would consider myself an intermediate now🤗

All our books offer melody, melody tab, chord stamps and a suggested strumming pattern. Many of our books offer chord melodies too. We also offer online live lessons where we talk about learning melody tab and chord melody.

So, read more to find out more about our products and to sign up for our mailing list. You will be happy that you joined our community!

Wow, chord melody sounds rich and full, with melody and chords at the same time!

But it’s probably too hard for me. Not true!
In this course you’ll learn easy full-sounding music using techniques you know.

Get your course now

How to Play Silent Night Ukulele Chord Melody

How to Play Silent Night Ukulele Chord Melody

Learn how to play the chord melody of another Christmas song with our Silent Night ukulele chord melody tutorial. If you’re bored with the sing and strum method of playing the ukulele, trying the chord melody method is a great challenge to take.

Have you watched someone play a ukulele and convey both the melody and accompaniment of a song without actually singing and thinking it was really cool? You can learn to do that too. Or if you simply don’t want to sing and want to play the ukulele to do the singing for you, then playing the chord melody is the best option for you.

What is chord melody?  A chord melody combines both the melody and the accompaniment such as strummed chords into a single arrangement that one person can play. The following video tutorial shows Jenny teach how to play Silent Night ukulele chord melody.

If you’ve missed the videos on Jingle Bells ukulele chord melody, check them out here. You can also subscribe here to receive sheet music and get notifications of new ukulele lessons.

Silent Night Ukulele Chord Melody

To play the Silent Night ukulele chord melody, Jenny demonstrates how to use three techniques – pinch style, single pluck method and standard strum. Learn them all in this ukulele tutorial.

 

Chord Melody for the Rest of Us

You’ve probably watched and admired videos of the ukulele greats playing chord melodies.

And you thought, “Wow, that is really cool! I wish I could do that but it’s probably too hard for me.” Well, weep no more.

We’ve created a brand new course to give you everything you need to know to get started playing chord melody at an easy level. If you can play the songs in our books, you can learn easy ukulele chord melody with our new course.

Wow, chord melody sounds rich and full, with melody and chords at the same time!

But it’s probably too hard for me. Not true!
In this course you’ll learn easy full-sounding music using techniques you know.

Get your course now

Silent Night – Three Interesting Trivia

Here are three interesting trivia about the song Silent Night. We think these are also great reasons why you should learn how to play Silent Night ukulele chord melody.

  • most popular Christmas song

In an article published December 2014, Time declared Silent Night to be the most popular Christmas song ever. According to records from the U.S. Copyright Office from 1978 to 2014, Silent Night has more than 700 copyrighted recordings. In comparison, Joy to the World, which was the next song on the list had nearly 400 recorded versions.

  • fourth best-selling single of all time

As previously mentioned, Silent Night has over 700 recorded versions. Bing Crosby recorded this very popular Christmas carol in 1935. Crosby’s version is ranked the fourth best-selling single of all time with an estimated sales of 30 million copies.

  • message still resonates two centuries after it was written

In 1816, an Austrian priest named Joseph Mohr wrote a poem about peace, hope and Christ’s birth. It was written in German and entitled Stille Nachte. Two years later, Franz Xaver Gruber set this poem to music. Silent Night was first sung on Christmas Eve of 1818. More than two centuries later, people all around the world still sing and perform this famous Christmas song. Its simple message resonates to this day and transcends culture and religion.

Check out these other popular easy ukulele tutorial videos…

How to Play Jingle Bells Ukulele Chord Melody

How to Play Jingle Bells Ukulele Chord Melody

​This week, we present a video on Jingle Bells ukulele chord melody tutorial. For those that don’t enjoy singing, playing a chord melody is an entertaining way to share music without having to sing.

A chord melody combines both the melody and the accompaniment (for example, strummed chords) into a single arrangement that one person can play. With Christmas coming in a few weeks, what better song to try and play a chord melody to than Jingle Bells! In the following video, Jenny demonstrates how to play Jingle Bells ukulele chord melody.

Jingle Bells Ukulele Chord Melody – Tutorial

In this video tutorial of Jingle Bells ukulele chord melody, Jenny combines different techniques including “pinch” chords, single pluck and standard strum. However, if you are not comfortable with combining “pinch” and strum, you can play the whole song with your thumb. Jenny also shows this method near the end of the tutorial, so don’t miss that. Check out all the techniques shown by Jenny on the video. You can start with the simpler ones that you’re more comfortable with and add up the more complicated ones later.

 

Jingle Bells Ukulele Chord Melody – Performance

After viewing the lesson video tutorial, you might want to check the performance video as well.

 

Wow, chord melody sounds rich and full, with melody and chords at the same time!

But it’s probably too hard for me. Not true!
In this course you’ll learn easy full-sounding music using techniques you know.

Get your course now

Jingle Bells – Five Fun Facts

Here are five fun facts about one of our favorite Christmas song – “Jingle Bells”:

  • first song to be broadcast from space

On December 16, 1965, two astronauts aboard Gemini 6 played a prank to Mission Control in the spirit of Christmas season. Wally Schirra and Tom Stafford, the two Gemini 6 astronauts, sent a report that states the sighting of an object that looks like a satellite. They went on with this troubling report of a flying object and then unexpectedly broadcasted their version of “Jingle Bells”. While Stafford rang tiny bells, Schirra played a harmonica to the tune of “Jingle Bells”.

  • not originally intended for Christmas

If you notice throughout the song, there is no mention of the word “Christmas” at all. According to some historians, James Lord Pierpont, who wrote the song in the early 1850s, wanted the song for a Thanksgiving service. Nevertheless, “Jingle Bells” is now one of the most famous Christmas song around the world.

  • written by J.P. Morgan’s uncle

 James Lord Pierpont’s sister, Juliet, married financier Junius Spencer Morgan. Their first son, John Pierpont Morgan, founded the banking institution J.P. Morgan & Co.

  • initially named “One Horse Open Sleigh”

On its initial publication in 1857, the publishing house printed the title of the song as “One Horse Open Sleigh”. However, two years later, the song was published with the revised title that included “Jingle Bells”.

  • complete song includes a chorus and four verses

Most people, especially kids, are familiar with the chorus and the first verse only. However, the song actually has three more verses aside from the well-known verse that starts with “Dashing through the snow…”

Check out another Christmas song with chord melody ukulele tutorial: