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Oolongtea
05-16-2017, 09:59 AM
I have a confession to make, in two years of playing the uke, I've been making steady progress on fingerpicking & strumming solos, but the thing I still pretty much suck at is playing accompaniments from songsheets.
I have no problem practising from an actual music sheet or tab mainly because the note durations are written down, but with only chord notations slapped over a bunch of lyrics it's another matter entirely. I usually find it difficult to connect the beat to the lyrics, and very quickly lose track of what I'm playing.
Do you have any tips to work on this?

dhbailey
05-16-2017, 10:43 AM
Try listening to a song a few times, possibly by different artists, so you can really internalize the song. That makes it easier to play from a songsheet. Songsheets are really only meant to be memory aids, not accurate musical representations of the song, which means that a person playing from a songsheet has to already have a good idea of how the song should go.

PhilUSAFRet
05-16-2017, 11:37 AM
I've been playing using them for years as my memory isn't what it used to be. I continually "Get lost" and have a heck of a time catching up. I think not having and chords and the lyrics memorized put's one at a disadvantage.

Uncle Rod Higuchi
05-16-2017, 12:02 PM
you may also want to try 'reverse engineering' the song sheet.

What I mean by that is, try to get a clean lyric sheet with no chords, then try placing the
chords where you think they should go. You can use the sheet music or a chorded song sheet,
but if you will work with a lyrics-only page to begin with, it may help you figure out both the
timing and the flow of the melody and the accompanying chords that are to help you sing/play
the song.

it would almost be like creating a song sheet from scratch, except that you would have access
to the correct key and chord, just on another piece of paper.

anyway, by working it out for yourself, it may help you to 'make sense' of a chorded song sheet :)

keep uke'in',

Oolongtea
05-16-2017, 07:17 PM
you may also want to try 'reverse engineering' the song sheet.

What I mean by that is, try to get a clean lyric sheet with no chords, then try placing the
chords where you think they should go. You can use the sheet music or a chorded song sheet,
but if you will work with a lyrics-only page to begin with, it may help you figure out both the
timing and the flow of the melody and the accompanying chords that are to help you sing/play
the song.
I'll try that out. Lately I've been listening to songs and putting marks on the lyrics sheet where the beat is. It helps me keep track a bit, when the song isn't too complicated.

Imho I doesn't really help that most "lessons" aimed at beginners on youtube and such dumb down the whole thing to the point that the rhythm and beat of the song very rarely mentioned. Because who needs the beat anyway?

bunnyf
05-16-2017, 08:45 PM
As others have said, familiarity with the song is key when you are using just chord sheets. I listen to the song many times to get a feel for the song timing. This is especially necessary when grabbing a song sheet off the internet, where formatting issues may move a chord name over the wrong lyric. After a bit, you get a feel for the basic structure of the song. Starting out (or if you are playing in a group), it is certainly helpful to have the actual sheet music for actual timing, like in The Daily Ukulele. Or have it written out like Justin Guitar (and uke) does. He writes the song out like
Am /// F / C C7 / G //. The slashes indicating how many measures to stay on a chord and you can see if there is a Chord change within a measure too. When I'm first learning a song, I'll sometimes take a lyric sheet and mark it up with slashes as I'm listening to it and break it down into measures.

PhilUSAFRet
05-16-2017, 11:24 PM
Sounds like playing an unfamiliar song in a jam session. After a while, you get the feel and can follow the others pretty well. Thanks for the insight Uncle Rod.

Rllink
05-17-2017, 05:17 AM
When I hear a song that I like but I am not real familiar with it, I'll find the song sheet as you call it and a recording of it, then play and sing along with the recording. It is good practice, and it might help you. Also I do a little jamming with other musicians. I'm not talking about big group strum-a-longs, but two or three or four people getting together and playing. That helps a lot too. I might add, I get lost sometimes. It just comes with the territory. If you think about it too much, it just makes it harder to get into the groove, and that is where you want to be.

UkingViking
05-17-2017, 08:37 PM
Whenever I find a song sheet online, I copy it into good old windows notepad so I can add vertical measure bars between chords. Remember to use the courier or courier new font. Then all characters have the same width, which is handy - especially if you want to add tabs for the intro or something like that.

I might have to listen to the song a few times tapping my feet and counting on my fingers to count measures. Or pick it up from a sheet music preview online.

On a hard copy I add them with a pen, but that doesn't allow me to space out the lyrics as I want to.