Carl Orff – O Fortuna from Carmina Burana (Tab)

Carmina Burana (Tab)

Confession time. I originally started arranging this on the assumption it was a good hundred years or so old and would go in my How to Play Classical Ukulele ebook. Only after hours slaving over it did it occur to me to check. 1935.

But it’s such a hilariously pompous tune I couldn’t resist finishing off a version for the ‘umble ukulele. The piece is so over the top it’s almost always used tongue-in-cheek. The only people who don’t get the joke are those putting on displays of Aryan superiority.

Main tip for playing: after the big intro, keep the first part as quiet as possible to give you somewhere to go later. I’m quite tempted to redo this video with my Sceptre because the Ohana version needs more volume towards the end.

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This work by Ukulele Hunt is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License.

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  1. Ian Emmerson July 6th, 2010 10:08 pm

    You should redo it with the sceptre anyway, because it’s called a ‘sceptre’ and looks as OTT as the tune.

  2. Josh C July 6th, 2010 10:27 pm

    I can’t believe you got a sceptre.
    I would give my left arm for one

  3. Ron Hale July 7th, 2010 4:05 am

    I’ve always liked Carmina Burana and the opening and closing bits are exciting, especially with plenty of volume.

    A video that uses the music to good effect is –

    Carnival of Venice – Masks
    by: gilcarosio

  4. Alex July 7th, 2010 6:31 am

    i’m a big fan of Carmina Burana and actually did it in a choir once. So much fun.
    “The only people who don’t get the joke are those putting on displays of Aryan superiority.”

    i basically peed myself laughing after i followed the link lol

  5. muz July 7th, 2010 8:40 am


    I also forward the movement of the scepter re recording.

  6. J-Hob July 7th, 2010 8:59 am

    awesome! I definitely vote for the sceptre re-record, if only because I want to hear the sceptre… and it will be an interesting comparison to hear the sceptre compared to the ohana on the same song.

  7. mcnilly July 7th, 2010 12:30 pm

    Thats great al! Definatley do another with the scepter!

  8. melissa July 7th, 2010 3:18 pm

    Carmina Burana? You DIDN’T! OMG you DID!! Now I know why I love you so much!

  9. Humble Jeff July 7th, 2010 4:09 pm

    Al – Your playing is as much of an inspiration as your daily dose of ukulele words. Although you won’t accept masterful, I do think you’re on your way towards that direction. Thanks.

  10. Lucille July 7th, 2010 5:05 pm

    The first time I heard this music was in Hartford Ct on stage seeing the play about 25 years ago.
    I was so impressed with this wonderful and colorful show that I went back to see it a few more times.
    I just love that music. I just went to amazon and bought both a CD and a DVD. Thanks for making this avaiable to us.

  11. Vatsal July 7th, 2010 10:34 pm

    not really knowing how big of a deal this Sceptre is, I am also curious to listen to it. Can’t wait to learn this arrangement now.

  12. Woodshed July 8th, 2010 9:31 pm

    Ian, J-hob, mcnilly and muz: Thanks for the suggestion. I went ahead and redid it on Sceptre.

    Josh: Wouldn’t be much use without your left arm.

    Alex: I know. I couldn’t believe that won. I was behind that drumming kid.

    melissa: OMG I like totally did.

    Jeff: I hope I am moving towards it. A very long way to go.

    Lucille: You’re welcome.

    Vatsal: I don’t think it’s as big a deal to everyone else as it is to me.

  13. jonny July 27th, 2010 7:07 pm

    absolutely brilliant!
    only problem is I have a soprano and it has only got 12 frets :(

  14. Woodshed July 28th, 2010 8:29 pm

    jonny: Yeah, sorry. There’s not much getting around that with this one.

  15. Tooney May 3rd, 2012 4:10 pm

    This is terrific. May be beyond me, which only means it will keep me occupied for a good while – and the folks at work amused – during lunch hour. :) I do like this piece, but I LOVE pomposity+ukulele!

  16. Woodshed May 16th, 2012 11:21 am

    Tooney: Thanks! Good luck with the practicing.

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