On Jen Kwok’s appearance on Midnight Ukulele Disco, she and Jason Tagg were discussing playing classical music on the ukulele. There has been quite a bit of classical music arranged for the uke. John King’s The Classical Ukulele and Wilfried Welti‘s arrangements (you can download his tab here) leap immediately to mind. But they were talking about playing classical music by strumming rather than fingerpicking and I couldn’t think of any. So I decided to take up the challenge myself.
My aim with this was to make the easiest strumming classical piece it’s possible to play on the ukulele. I’ve chosen a very simply tune: Beethoven’s Ode to Joy. There are only two basic chords in the it C and G and the strumming is just a steady up and down. The melody notes are put inside these chords.
You don’t have to do anything to make these notes stand out. Because these are the only notes that are moving the ear picks them out as a melody (particularly with a well known piece like this).
The first part of the tune is very simple. Here it is played slowly:
When the tune moves to G it is a little more difficult to play and requires a bit of fancy little-finger work. Good luck with it.
Apologies for all the hacking and wheezing in the background of these mp3s. I’ve been laid up in bed with a cold all weekend. And apologies to everyone I owe an email or a message to.