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.

 

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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:

Sakura Easy Ukulele Chord Melody

Sakura Easy Ukulele Chord Melody

 

Vote for the version you like:

I recently posted an easy chord melody version for Sakura. Chord melody on the ukulele means that you play both the melody and the chords at the same time. It sounds really cool, but has often been reserved for ukulele artists with incredible technique and musical background. I am writing out arrangements that newer ukesters can play, because they are easier.

Your opinion counts

Recently, I got a lot of comments on Facebook about how I could make my versions easier to read. Now I want to know which one you like better, the first or the second.  We are trying to create new and better content, so your opinion matters.

I want your opinion on which version is the most accurate. I also want your opinion on which version looks the least intimidating for learning the song.

Please leave your opinion in the comments below.

 

Sakura chord Melody version 1: 

This version has the lyrics and a simple sing and strum version on the top staff of music. The chord melody is written out below and has rhythmic stems added to help the player know what to do.

Sakura chord Melody version 2: 

This version has no lyrics. The upper staff is the same as the lower one with all the notes that you play written out.

Jenny and Sakura easy ukulele tutorial

I have always liked Sakura. It reminds me of how much I enjoyed the cherry blossoms on the University of Washington Quad when I was in college. The trees bloomed every Spring there and all the students enjoyed the blossoms. Some of these trees were a gift from the Japanese to the University. 

Sakura is in our newest book, 21 Easy Ukulele Folk SongsIf you would like like to learn a much easier version of this song, check out our easy ukulele tutorial for Sakura below. You can also get a copy of our book to learn this song and other easy folk songs. 

Get the Sheet Music to Sakura in 21 Easy Ukulele Folk Songs!

Do you want to sound convincing on folk songs? You know basic chords and strumming patterns. And you’re interested in folk music. You’d like to take it to the next level.

Get your copy now!

Singin’ in the Rain Ukulele Tutorial with Melody Tab

Singin’ in the Rain Ukulele Tutorial with Melody Tab

With this week’s easy “Singin’ in the Rain” ukulele tutorial, let’s learn an iconic song that’s also the title of a popular 1952 film. As with previous video tutorials, it includes ukulele chords and lyrics. Additionally, Jenny does a more extensive melody tab tutorial on this video. For beginners, learning to play a song on the ukulele is best when there are lesser number of chords. “Singin’ in the Rain” ukulele tutorial requires only four chords.

In case you want to check our previous ukulele tutorials, don’t forget to check our blog main page. And don’t forget to subscribe here to receive sheet music each time a new video tutorial is out. At this time, we publish new ukulele tutorials every two weeks.

Singin’ in the Rain Ukulele Tutorial

The four chords we need for “Singin’ in the Rain” ukulele tutorial are: C, Am, C#dim, G7. Despite the long and seemingly difficult name of the third chord (C#dim), it’s just an open two-finger chord.

We’ll follow a D-DU-D-DU (D-down, U-up) strumming pattern. Jenny also adds some chunking that you might want to try to spice up the strumming. Check the video to see how Jenny does the chunking using the heel of her hand.  Also, Jenny plays a melody tab on the middle of the song during the instrumental part. Plus, she gives some expanded lesson on how to play the tab at the end of video so be sure to watch until the end to check that out.

 

Singin’ in the Rain – Song History

Although “Singin’ in the Rain” is mostly associated with the 1952 film of the same title, the song was actually published more than two decades earlier. American lyricist and producer Arthur Freed, inspired by a man dancing while drenched in a downpour of rain, wrote the song in the 1920’s. In 1929, Freed included the song as part of a musical film called “The Hollywood Revue of 1929”. Ignacio Herb Brown collaborated with Freed and composed the music for the song. Cliff Edwards, a popular musician and actor in the 1920’s who is also known as Ukulele Ike, performed “Singin’ in the Rain” for this musical. Other notable artists also performed the song in the 1930’s and 1940’s such as Annette Hanshaw, Jimmy Durante and Judy Garland.

The popularity of the song “Singin’ in the Rain” reached new heights the following decade. In the 1950’s, Freed, who by then was a producer at MGM, wanted to create a musical featuring his songs, in particular “Singin’ in the Rain.” The end result is the movie named after the song which starred Gene Kelly. In probably the most memorable scene of the film, Kelly happily sings and dances to the tune of “Singin’ in the Rain” while literally drenched from the pouring rain. The unfortunate Kelly was sick and running a fever while filming the scene. And the rest they say is history. The American Film Institute voted “Singin’ in the Rain” number 3 in their “100 Years… 100 Songs” list. The list ranked the top 100 songs in American cinema of the 20th century.

Check out these other popular easy ukulele tutorial videos…

If you want to play the latest hits, you need to learn essential skills first. 21 MORE Songs in 6 Days will teach you these skills.

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Jake Shimabukuro and Sakura Easy Ukulele Tutorial

Jake Shimabukuro and Sakura Easy Ukulele Tutorial

This summer I had a wonderful opportunity to hear Jake Shimabukuro play “Sakura” in the park. First he played with The Acoustic Generation from Aloha City Ukes, and then he played a solo. The solo he chose was Sakura, a Japanese folk song meaning Cherry Blossoms. I also got to meet him and we talked about our ukulele books.

Spring and Cherry Blossoms

Sakura is a Japanese word which means cherry blossoms. During spring, these stunning cherry blossoms appear all over Japan but only last for several days. The cherry blossoms appear in Tokyo usually from late March to early April. In other parts of the country, they come out as early as January.

Hanami

The Japanese observe a ritual called “hanami” during the cherry blossom season. Basically, hanami is the Japanese custom of taking time to appreciate and enjoy the beauty of flowers or hana in Japanese. Frequently, these spring flowers are those of the cherry blossoms but there are others such as the plum blossoms.

Jake and the Koto

Jake imitates the sound of the 12-string koto, a traditional Japanese instrument, in his performance of Sakura. Here is a video showing what the koto sounds like.

 

Watch Jake Shimabukuro Play Sakura!

Here is Jake’s rendition of Sakura. Notice how beautiful the ukulele sounds and how well he is able to imitate the koto.

Jenny and Sakura Easy Ukulele Tutorial

I have always liked Sakura. It reminds me of how much I enjoyed the cherry blossoms on the University of Washington Quad when I was in college. The trees bloomed every Spring there and all the students enjoyed the blossoms. Some of these trees were a gift from the Japanese to the University. 

Sakura is in our newest book, 21 Easy Ukulele Folk SongsIf you would like like to learn a much easier version of this song, check out our easy ukulele tutorial for Sakura below. You can also get a copy of our book to learn this song and other easy folk songs. 

Get the Sheet Music to Sakura in our Newest Book

Do you want to sound convincing on folk songs? You know basic chords and strumming patterns. And you’re interested in folk music. You’d like to take it to the next level.

Get your copy now!

It’s a Small World Ukulele Tutorial for Beginners

It’s a Small World Ukulele Tutorial for Beginners

Our new video “It’s a Small World” ukulele tutorial is truly a great song for ukulele beginners.

It's a Small World cruise imageFirst of all, it’s easy to learn. You’ll need only four simple chords and all-down strums. Jenny does show another strumming pattern and a more difficult fingerpicking option if you’re up for the challenge. Otherwise, play with all-down strums and it’s still going to be great.

Secondly, “It’s a Small World” is a very popular tune just about everywhere. It’s the theme song for a Disneyland ride attraction of the same name. The dark attraction features hundreds of doll characters wearing costumes from different countries. And these characters are all singing along to “It’s a Small World”.  With five Disney parks showcasing the attraction in three continents, it’s no wonder the song has been played more than 50 million times.

Check out more ukulele lessons and video tutorials on our blog main page. To get sheet music emailed to you, subscribe here. You’ll get free sheet music for three different songs. Then, you’ll get bi-weekly emails featuring our ukulele tutorials and more free sheet music.

IT’S A SMALL WORLD UKULELE TUTORIAL – CHORDS AND STRUMMING PATTERN

As previously noted, you’ll need only four chords for “It’s a Small World” ukulele tutorial. The ukulele chords are C, G7, F and Dm.

Jenny uses a D-DU-D-DU (D-down, U-up) strumming pattern for the verses.

For the chorus, Jenny does fingerpicking using the thumb, index and middle finger.

If you’re just beginning to learn the song, you can use all down strums throughout. Once you’ve got the hang of that, try the other strum pattern or fingerpicking.

So here’s the “It’s a Small World” ukulele tutorial before we proceed to some song history below.

 

IT’S A SMALL WORLD – SONG HISTORY

The idea of Disney’s “It’s a Small World” attraction began in 1960. Robert Moses, a New York City public official known as the “master builder,” requested Walt Disney to contribute to the 1964 New York World Fair. One of Disney’s contributions, in partnership with Pepsi Cola, was an attraction for the UNICEF pavilion. Disney initially called the attraction “Children of the World”. He planned to have the doll characters sing the different national anthems around the world. However, this caused some clashing sounds so he decided to use only one song instead. He asked the Sherman Brothers to compose a new song that conveyed the theme of the attraction. He also wanted the song to appeal to different countries and “be able to be translated into many languages.”

Robert and Richard Sherman went to work and came up with the song “It’s a Small World”. Disney liked the song. However, he did ask the brothers to change the original ballad version to a more up-tempo one.

The song’s message of peace and tolerance fit so well with the attraction’s theme that  Disney renamed the attraction to “It’s a Small World!”

 

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This Land Is Your Land Ukulele Tutorial

This Land Is Your Land Ukulele Tutorial

This week, we’re featuring “This Land Is Your Land” ukulele tutorial. “This Land Is Your Land” is a very famous American folk song. Woody Guthrie composed the first version of the song in 1940. Accordingly, Guthrie wrote the song because of  “God Bless America.” Guthrie was exasperated and weary of hearing Irving Berlin’s composition on the radio. Actually, he initially entitled the 1940 version “God Blessed America.” However, Guthrie later replaced the line “God blessed America for me.” This became “This land was made for you and me.” Subsequently, he renamed the title as “This Land Is Your Land.”

By the way, you might want to check our easy ukulele tutorial for “God Bless America”. Or visit our blog main page for a list of more ukulele lessons. Also, subscribe here  to receive bi-weekly ukulele updates including sheet music. Sheet music contains ukulele chords, lyrics of the song, strumming pattern and melody tabs.

 

THIS LAND IS YOUR LAND UKULELE TUTORIAL

To play along with “This Land Is Your Land” ukulele tutorial, we’ll need five chords. “This Land Is Your Land” ukulele chords are all open chords, no bars: C, C7, F, Am and G7.

In addition, strumming pattern follows a D-U-D-U (D-down, U-up) repetition. But there are some cases where Jenny rests on strumming to give focus to the lyrics. And also to give the song more interest.

 

 

GUTHRIE’S MOST FAMOUS AND INFLUENTIAL SONG

Although Guthrie composed hundreds of folk songs and ballads, many consider “This Land Is Your Land” as his most famous and influential song. The National Recording Preservation Board included “This Land Is Your Land” on the list of recordings to be preserved in the US National Recording Registry in 2002.

Many love the song for its powerful description of America’s beauty and promise. But many also consider it as a protest and political song. In fact, the original version of the song that Guthrie penned in 1940 expressed his sadness with the country’s economic inequality and apathetic greediness. When he recorded the song in 1944, however, he replaced several political verses in the song.

Woody Guthrie, singer, songwriter, dean of American folk artists in a 1947 publicity photo. (AP Photo/RCA Victor)

Nonetheless, the song’s influence, and Guthrie’s in general, cannot be disputed. “This Land Is Your Land” remains to be a revered American folk song. Some even claim it to be as popular as the national anthem. On the other hand, Guthrie influenced many generations of American singers and songwriters. To name a few, Johnny Cash, Pete Seeger, John Mellencamp, Bob Dylan and Bruce Springsteen cited Guthrie as an inspiration.

Like other popular folk songs, “This Land Is Your Land” inspired numerous versions and variations. In fact, singers from many countries have recorded the song. They adapted the lyrics to their own language and national narrative.

 

Do you want to sound convincing on folk songs? You know basic chords and strumming patterns. And you’re interested in folk music. You’d like to take it to the next level.

Get your copy now!