Perfect-a-Song Part 2: Simple Song Analysis

How to Play Ukulele

Perfect-a-Song Part 2: Simple Song Analysis
This is Part 2 of a 4-part series to help you Perfect-a-Song
  • Part 1 is here
  • You’re on part 2, Simple Song Analysis
  • Part 3: Strumming, is here
  • Part 4, Don’t overlook Playing with Confidence, here

Yesterday, I asked you to choose ONE song to focus on. A song that you know the tune of and would love to learn on the ukulele.

Today, I want you find a version of the song, and then we’ll analyze it.

Use Google and search for “your song title” plus “ukulele chords.” (For now, don’t use “tabs”—that’s something else, and not what we want).

We live in wonderful times and almost any song you can imagine is available somewhere online, usually a ukulele version!

Once you’ve got written music for you song, then this is the exact process I go through.

Mr. Sullivan’s Simple Song Analysis System

First Pass

  • Scan the page and get familiar with the parts of the song. Verses, middle section, ect.
  • Is there an introduction of funky ending to pay attention to?

Second Pass

  • Scan the page and look for new or unfamiliar chords.
  • Work out fingering for new chords. Remember—there’s no right or wrong way to finger chords, as long as it works for you

Third Pass

Those first two passes sort of go without saying. But most people don’t think to do this third pass.

One of the question I hear most in uke classes, is “how do I smooth out the chord transitions?”

And the answer is—it depends.

You can play C, for example, with any one finger.

But you may choose a different finger if you’re going from a C to an A minor than if you’re going from a C to an F, for example.

In other words, the context of the chords within the song will affect the chord fingering you choose.

You very likely will be noodling as you go through these passes, and that’s good—you’ll be getting the sound of the song in your head.

And tomorrow, we’re going to examine the most important aspect of all: strumming.

We’ll talk about choosing a strum pattern, and playing with confidence—to make the song sound good!

See you there,
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