View Full Version : Campanella

04-29-2015, 02:49 PM
For some time, I have been intrigued by the campanella style. From what I have listened to and read about, it seems this style works best with re-entrant (high G) tuning. Just recently, I found Jonathan Lewis on Youtube and his Irish arrangements make the ukulele sound like an Irish harp! He has a book of arrangements of Irish pieces in this style as he plays them on Youtube. I bought these at only $15 for 18 arrangements, a bargain as far as I am concerned.

My Kamaka Ohta-San really rings like a bell with these tunes. I want to really understand and "think" in this style to both do more Irish tunes myself and possibly apply this approach to other tunes instead of straight chord melody style, since campanella is so beautifully flowing. My Kamaka is perfect for this material, so I am fired up and ready to go.

On the guitar, this style is called "cross string" or "harp style", and is most often associated with open tunings such as DADGAD. The main idea is to play the melody across, rather than along, the strings, taking advantage of open strings as much as possible for that open ringing sustain. It is a different way of thinking about where to play various notes.

Does anybody else play in this style?


04-29-2015, 05:12 PM
I play campanella, mostly from John King's arrangements and a few slightly more... unexpected choices that my uke instructor has done for me, e.g. The Beatles' "Piggies." I think there was discussion a while back about why campanella doesn't really work well with low G but I might be mistaken; at any rate, I've rarely (if ever!) encountered a low G campanella arrangement. My instructor uses the technique occasionally in some sections of the low G part for ensemble arrangements, but I haven't seen any solo low G campanella arrangements.

Thanks for pointing me toward Jonathan Lewis - I was completely unfamiliar with him, I know less than nothing about Irish music, but I think I like what he's doing!

Luke El U
04-29-2015, 05:33 PM
In addition to John King's books,
Classical Ukulele
Famous Solos and Duets

Rob MacKillop's books are a great way to learn beautiful pieces in the Campanella style:
20 Gaspar Sanz
20 Celtic
20 Briggs

04-29-2015, 07:52 PM
Uke of Carl has some nice, relatively simple Campanella arrangements with tabs. Some are free, like his monthly movie/TV them, and others are in ebook form. Here's this month's: http://ukeofcarl.com/ukulele-tabs/last-of-the-summer-wine-ukulele-theme.

04-30-2015, 12:05 AM
Ukuleletim is a proponent of campanella. Search his posts or just go to his site: http://ukulelesecrets.org/2011/04/08/ukulele-secret-3-campanela-riffs/#riffs

Kiel9 provided a link to a dropbox PDF in this thread: Campanella Scales in all Twelve Keys! http://forum.ukuleleunderground.com/showthread.php?73251-Campanella-Scales-in-all-Twelve-Keys!

04-30-2015, 10:40 AM
Great responses all around! Thanks so much. I downloaded the pdf of the Campanella scales and will find that very useful. The book references and mention of John King, useful also. I have seen mention of Uke of Carl and will have to check that out too. I plan to learn a few arrangements along with playing through scales to get a real sense of how the notes are arranged across the strings. From there, I want to be arranging tunes that I pick out for that purpose. It will probably be a matter of "trial and error" to find tunes that work with this style. As mentioned, I like the free flowing movements of campanella and hope that anything I can do via chord melody, I can find a way to do with campanella too. It would just flow more smoothly.



04-30-2015, 12:23 PM
Yes, lots of us play Campanella style. Actually the name Campanella comes from the guitar world, too. It came before the vernacular terms cross-string and harp-style.
I too worked with the John King Campanella arrangements for quite a while, so they are most highly recommended. They are such a great teaching tool that I've re-worked most of these to incorporate even more cross-string playing, enabling myself to get even more legato. I've even done a few Campanella things for low G. High G Campanella is far simpler.

04-30-2015, 02:42 PM
Rob MacKillop's books are a great way to learn beautiful pieces in the Campanella style:
20 Gaspar Sanz
His Sanz book is one of my favorites. Even if you don't know who Sanz was (think classical, Spanish and baroque) the music is engaging, and MacKillop's interpretations are a lot of fun to play and really take advantage of the campanella style. This is definitely one I can wholeheartedly recommend. :)

04-30-2015, 02:56 PM

04-30-2015, 03:21 PM
Where did you find Johnathan Lewis's book? I like his performances very much. They remind me of Rob MacKillop's. How did you contact him? I've never seen him on this forum...

I have some free campanella arrangements in the Celtic style -

Anything we can do expand the repertoire in the campanella style will benefit all of us... John King and Ohta-san are my uke heros. Of course Ohta-san doesn't play campanella at all but John King was the greatest. I bet a Kamaka Ohta-san sounds great with a high G playing campanella...

Also, my all-time favorite campanella arrangement is John King's Ka Ipo Lei Manu, which was lovingly transcribed and tabbed by ukuleletim:


Tim plays it nicely but seek out John King's version on youtube. Heavenly...

04-30-2015, 03:23 PM
Where did you find Johnathan Lewis's book? I like his performances very much. They remind me of Rob MacKillop's. How did you contact him? I've never seen him on this forum...

The book is here: http://jons-ukulele.com/irish-tunes-for-campanella-ukulele - I just bought it thanks to this thread!

04-30-2015, 03:27 PM
Thanks, janeray...you just made another sale

04-30-2015, 03:42 PM
Thanks for putting up the link Janeray! It is definitely worthwhile. It contains links to the youtube videos so you can see and hear the tunes being played.

Many, many thanks Brimmer for your book and midi files! Wonderful job! Clearly, you are where I want to get to. :)