Here is a version of “Side by Side” I created for beginners. The first section repeats three times within the song and the middle section is based on familiar chord shapes so it’s not as complex as it looks.
It has been recorded by many artists, but is probably best known in a 1953 recording by Kay Starr. Harry Woods, who practised songwriting only as a sideline, wrote numerous 1920s standards, including “When the Red, Red Robin Comes Bob-Bob-Bobbing Along”, “I’m Looking Over a Four-Leaf Clover”, and “Try a Little Tenderness”. He composed his songs on piano, despite the fact that he was born without fingers on his left hand.
So, fellow uke-stars… If Harry M. Woods can compose those great songs on the piano with only one fingered hand, you all can learn this arrangement with two!
Just take it a couple of bars at a time. Master those bars before moving on. There is a lot of repetition, as in all of these songs, so once you get the first section, you’ll have half of the arrangement.
I recorded “Let it Go” last night using two ukes, one with a low g and one with a high g. I performed the two parts slightly different, in places, than the posted arrangement but I will update it soon so that it matches the recording.
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So let me know what you think of this duet. The middle part is pretty impossible to play but I wanted to stay loyal to the original version. You can either end it before the bridge or just skip to the bridge.
“Marie,” by Randy Newman is stunningly beautiful and sad. Though I consider it to be easy enough for beginners, you do need to be able to play the chord shapes in the song. I suggest starting with those. Then play just the top note of the TAB as that will be the melody. Then see if you can combine the melody with the chord shapes. Try to master (more or less) just a couple bars at a time. And skip around the tune. You’ll get more bang for your buck by learning it out of order. The reason for this will become clearer in time.
It’s a duet for high g and low g ukuleles. I transcribed the entire tune from the soundtrack, including much of the orchestral parts. The melody is transcribed almost exactly as Idina Menzel sings it. The chords are easy but much of the arrangement is for advanced players.
I will post the audio as soon as I can play it myself and get it recorded.
If you listen to the tune on YouTube, you can follow along on the chart.
BTW – On the soundtrack it’s in the key of Db. I lowered it to the more accessible and practical ukulele key of C.
Let me know if you try to play any of it. The intro isn’t too difficult and sounds JUST like the original!
What better activity is there to do on a welcomed rainy day than pull out the ol’ uke and learn a new tune!?
I’ve created an arrangement of “A Spoonful of Sugar” from Mary Poppins for two ukes. Though it’s arranged and played on high g and low g tuned instruments, it can be easily adapted for two of the same. (did that make sense?)
One of the most common complaints I hear from ukulele players is, “My playing sounds so boring!”
What chord charts show, especially free charts online, does not usually represent what professional musicians do on the recordings to which we all listen on a daily basis. There are subtle chord variations that keep the music interesting and exciting.
“How to Add Pizazz to Chord Progressions” addresses this frustration by showing you these additional chord variations and how to use them. What’s also cool about these progressions is that if you’re playing with another person or in a large group the other players can stay on one chord, if they are a beginner, while you play these variations. It all works together! If it doesn’t work together, your ears will notify you right away.
I will add an audio file to this asap so you can hear how these progressions sound.
I thought it would be really fun to arrange duets of classic pieces from the Big Band era. This first one, Stompin’ at the Savoy, was written by Chick Webb’s alto saxophonist, Edgar Sampson and made famous by Webb and, even more so, by Benny Goodman and his band.
I’ve recorded the song as follows:
1) Stompin’ Uke TAB vers. Low G – This version features the low g string uke with the high g uke playing quietly in the background. This part plays the melody (“calls”) on the “A” sections and accompaniment on the “B” sections.
2) Stompin’ Uke TAB vers. High G – This version features the high g string uke with the low g uke playing quietly in the background. This part plays the “responses” on the “A” sections and the lead melody on the “B” sections.
3) Stompin’ Uke TAB vers. ALL – This version has both ukuleles at normal volume.
All versions have Bass and drums functioning as the metronome.
If you have a third player or have enough players for a third group I recommend having the third part strum the chords to help keep the time and give it some drive.
Over the last 3 years or so I have immersed myself in ukulele, from playing and arranging songs to performing, and teaching workshops, classes, and private students. I have created this blog as a resource for ukulele enthusiasts, from seasoned veterans of the instrument to beginners. I will post free lessons, chord charts, and solo arrangements along with audio examples.
There are a lot of uke sites online that provide valuable uke information but I find fundamental concepts lacking on these sites that I feel I can provide. My training is in orchestral arranging and therefore my knowledge of chords and theory may be very useful to you.
So please visit often and tell your friends about it. All feedback is welcome.
Here is an original ukulele tune I call “No School Today” that takes some practice to master but is very fun to play…