Sigur Ros – Hoppipolla (Tab)

Sigur Ros – Hoppipolla (Tab)

I think this tune has to be the most overused piece of music on television: reality shows, sporting montages, documentaries. And now it’s been covered by the guy off of G4. That would usually be enough to kill off any song. But this song is so magnificent it gives me goosebumps every time I hear it.

For the uke arrangement I’ve moved everything up a fret from the original to the more uke-friendly key of C. The first half of tune is all played campanella style (i.e. one note per string letting them ring into each other). I know a lot of people don’t like this way of playing but, screw it, it’s easily the best way of arranging a tune like this.

The most important thing to get right is the dynamics (quiet and louds bits). The original gets this one spot on. Obviously you’re not going to have the same dynamic range as a full band and a string section. But try to let the music swell in the first half and blossom in the second half. The dynamics are what gives emotion to the tune.

Another important thing to get right – which I completely failed to do in the video – is to keep an even tempo. I speed up much too fast towards the end. So do as I say not as I do.

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  1. Liam January 18th, 2013 4:49 pm

    I’ve just discovered this, and have been playing for the last half hour. I seem to be okay with most of it, apart from the 2nd verse bit.. I’m trying to not hold down strings separately like you do so it keeps the note held. I’m currently trying it with g : 3rd finger, c : first finger, e: 2nd finger and a : 4th finger. That seems to be the easiest way for me to move a finger up the c string. Still can’t get it right though.
    Anything you would recommend?

  2. Woodshed January 20th, 2013 8:53 am

    Liam: Sorry, I’m not sure which bit you mean by 2nd verse. What bar numbers is it?

  3. ah im confused March 29th, 2013 6:36 pm

    Did you change the tab? I’ve been learning it and now I’m so confused cause I checked the tab and its way different! Ahhh.

  4. Woodshed March 30th, 2013 7:49 am

    ah im confused: No, I haven’t touched it.

  5. Katrina March 31st, 2013 3:32 am

    Ahhhh I have such a crush on you woodshed!

  6. Woodshed March 31st, 2013 7:15 am

    Katrina: I’m blushing!

  7. ah im confused April 22nd, 2013 4:10 am

    Woodshed: First of all, I applaud you with a standing ovation. Second: I’m confused. I feel like I got the whole song down, but it doesn’t sound as good as when you play it. (It might just be me haha). Are you strumming it differently than what is listed on the tab sheet? Maybe I just don’t have the rhythm fully down yet? Thank you :) I read something about palm muting above? What parts of the tab do you do it?

  8. Woodshed April 24th, 2013 6:44 pm

    ah im confused: The tabs don’t always contain the exact strumming. For the backing strums you can really do whatever you think sounds best.

  9. ah im confused May 14th, 2013 9:39 pm

    thank you!! Sorry if I sound so dumb. I’m new to most of this. :)

  10. Woodshed May 15th, 2013 7:15 am

    ah im confused: Not at all. Happy to help.

  11. mark909 April 14th, 2014 1:29 pm

    Just wondering if anyone else had tried printing out the pdf for this? I just tried and all the tab numbers have come out wrong. For example all 4’s replaced by %. All 5’s replaced by &. Is this a formatting error?

  12. Paul December 22nd, 2016 8:03 pm

    Beautiful. Thank you for doing this. It’s a shame I have bananas for fingers, my attempt is terrible!

  13. Woodshed December 22nd, 2016 9:06 pm

    Paul: Thanks!

  14. MikeRedman July 11th, 2017 8:59 pm

    I want to be able to play this so desperately it hurts my heart a little bit. I’m in serious need of a tutorial ’cause I just can’t get to grips with it after the campanella section!

    Oh, and Woodshed, thanks for indirectly teaching me practically everything I know about the ukulele. You are a scholar and a gentleman.

  15. Woodshed July 14th, 2017 1:08 pm

    MikeRedman: Thanks so much! Yeah, this is definitely a tricky one.

  16. MikeRedman July 18th, 2017 8:20 pm

    Woodshed: Quick questions – how do you get the single notes on the high frets to ring out so clearly? I’m figuring it either has something to do with strumming technique or potentially difference in ukulele. Though you know what they say about a workman and his tools.

    Also, is there any chance you could note the strumming pattern you actually use? Bit tricky figuring it out – if not, no problem, worth a try!

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