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Doctroid
09-01-2017, 05:47 PM
I'm going to be teaching some ukulele classes and we'll be covering the E chord (and several of the tricks/variants/downright cheats that can be used). But I'm thinking... if I'm going to make them play E, I'd better make them feel like it's worth it, right? In other words, give them a couple really good songs that depend on E.

So that's my question: What would you say are the absolutely best (in your own humble opinion, of course) songs that of necessity use the E chord?

What are the songs that make the effort worthwhile?

BONUS QUESTION: Same thing for Eb.

(And of course there are ways to just avoid E entirely, like transposing for instance. But that just evades the question (and sometimes creates other problems).)

robinboyd
09-01-2017, 07:50 PM
1979 by the Smashing Pumpkins. It was the song that really got me to work on the open-stringed E chord because of that transition from E maj 7 to E. https://www.ukulele-tabs.com/uke-songs/smashing-pumpkins/1979-uke-tab-19.html

UkingViking
09-01-2017, 11:43 PM
I think it is very individual.
What makes it worth it is that particular song that you just really badly want to learn. And that is not the the same song.

Doctroid
09-02-2017, 02:19 AM
Yes, it's individual. So what, for you as an individual, was that song?

Jarmo_S
09-02-2017, 02:55 AM
Yes what Bill1 told, plus also any song that is already in E-key to start with. Not so many as C is maybe the most popular key.
We are not talking about guitar blues as that is not imo an ukulele thing. If blues maybe an other key on uke ;)

Doctroid, teach them also 1x02 fingering, my fave with index finger muting the C-string.

Because I am new to ukulele, I also just today learned 4320 for non barre B7.

Doctroid
09-02-2017, 04:09 AM
OK fine. This is what I hate about forums: When you ask a simple question and the replies you get are "I'm not going to answer your question, instead I'm going to tell you what to do." Fine. Forget it.

WCBarnes
09-02-2017, 04:27 AM
Sweet Pea by Amos Lee really got my left hand working on the E chord as well as some other tough ones.

https://ukutabs.com/a/amos-lee/sweet-pea/

Pirate Jim
09-02-2017, 05:17 AM
For me it was Red Hot Chilli Peppers - Under the Bridge. If I want to play the intro I need to not transpose it (or I run out of frets on my soprano uke) so it was a great one for seeing the value of the E chord!

bunnyf
09-02-2017, 07:26 AM
This thread speaks to the fundamental issue of why you DON'T want to transpose sometimes. It can change the voicings and just not sound right. The licks or embellishments may fall less comfortably to play. But also certain keys have a tonal characteristic that you lose by transposing to a different key, so transposing isn't always the best option. Anyway, your thread got me thinking about what songs really need that E and my first thought was something bluesy. How 'bout "Nobody knows you" in G aka Clapton style. You need that E, then the E7.

UkingViking
09-02-2017, 08:30 AM
Yes, it's individual. So what, for you as an individual, was that song?

I remember struggling with the E chord on Bob Dylan's "One more cup of coffee", But I reckon that few people desire to learn that particular song.
I guess that going through some Beatles songs or something else popular at campfires, looking for E chords, will be worth while. I don't have a song book handy though.
Sorry for posting without any good suggestions.

Edit:
Just found this cool webpage though:
http://www.songkeyfinder.com/songs-in-key/e-major?page=2

Ziret
09-02-2017, 08:49 AM
Sweet Pea by Amos Lee really got my left hand working on the E chord as well as some other tough ones.

https://ukutabs.com/a/amos-lee/sweet-pea/

I'll second Sweet Pea. Fun and worth it.

bratsche
09-02-2017, 11:24 AM
I'll have to say that I don't entirely understand the question being posed here and some of the comments.... "the E chord"? There's more than one way to form chords, so, shouldn't that choice be dictated by the context you're using it in? Is there a "standard" E chord I'm not getting, that everyone implicitly understands by the word "the", rather than "a" or "an"?

When figuring out chord melody versions for tunes, I configure it (usually) so that the melody note of whatever chord is on top (or when I'm playing the melody somewhere other than on top, make the chords all follow so that the melody's always in line with itself, wherever it is...) the point being, the chords by the same names can be played with the notes in different places. Don't people do it that way for the most part when they accompany themselves?

I was reluctant to enter this thread, as one who neither strums nor sings along, nor plays with conventional uke tuning, but the title, that is, the concept of "justifying E", made me very curious.

bratsche

UkingViking
09-02-2017, 11:58 AM
I'll have to say that I don't entirely understand the question being posed here and some of the comments.... "the E chord"? There's more than one way to form chords, so, shouldn't that choice be dictated by the context you're using it in? Is there a "standard" E chord I'm not getting, that everyone implicitly understands by the word "the", rather than "a" or "an"?

When figuring out chord melody versions for tunes, I configure it (usually) so that the melody note of whatever chord is on top (or when I'm playing the melody somewhere other than on top, make the chords all follow so that the melody's always in line with itself, wherever it is...) the point being, the chords by the same names can be played with the notes in different places. Don't people do it that way for the most part when they accompany themselves?

I was reluctant to enter this thread, as one who neither strums nor sings along, nor plays with conventional uke tuning, but the title, that is, the concept of "justifying E", made me very curious.

bratsche

The common way to play E major with gCEA tuning is 2444. That is a bit tricky.
The next possible way up the fret is probably 7444, which will not sound easy either to a beginner strummer, who plays most chords as close to the headstock as possible, preferable with some open strings.
Hence taking on the E major is a bit of a task for a beginner, and you might have to convince him/her why not to just avoid that chord.
Perhaps focusing on 3 string versions of the chord would be easier.

bunnyf
09-02-2017, 01:13 PM
Ubulele, don't get me wrong, I transpose often, or capo. As a beginner, I transposed all the time. Sometimes though , I was surprised that songs didn't sound right when I just hit that transpose button and put a song in a different key. Anyway, down the road, I now appreciate why things are in a certain key. That doesn't mean that I don't transpose or capo because sometimes the difference in sound (at least to my ears, and certainly as a beginner) is not enough to justify my not making it easier on myself.

bunnyf
09-02-2017, 01:32 PM
OK fine. This is what I hate about forums: When you ask a simple question and the replies you get are "I'm not going to answer your question, instead I'm going to tell you what to do." Fine. Forget it.
I had to laugh when I saw your response. I recently asked a question on AGF (I play guitar), why folks capoed rather than transpose. Who knew it would be such a controversial subject. It got a few thousand views and many pages of posts. Many telling you what you should do, rather than offering you insights on why it makes a difference (some were extremely helpful and gave me a greater understanding of the issue).

mountain goat
09-02-2017, 03:42 PM
But the simplest answer really is to transpose songs into A, Bb, Eb or E. Take any lowest-common-denominator songbook, like The Daily Ukulele: the songs are only occasionally in the "best" keys—mostly they were forced into one of the "easy" keys instead, so transposition may improve them in the aspects bunnyf mentioned. Most of the chords for A are shared with D; most of the chords for Bb are shared with F. Why the whinging when you got your answer and to spare??

Agree with everything written here.

Choirguy
09-02-2017, 06:57 PM
On related note, when I arrange for ukulele and voice, I keep two items in the forefront. First, the vocal range (as it is the melody in this case) and next the key. This allows me to choose any of 5 (major keys) most of the time (C, G, F, A, and D). That gives you most of the range options you would need to have. As a classically trained musician with a PhD in music, I understand the thought behind choice of key, which could be intentional or pragmatic (Bach, for example, composed in specific keys for which the organ at the church was in tune). There are great arguments for keeping things in original keys--particularly with classical music...until you start figuring in the changing nature of intonation and how A has changed over the years.

At any rate, I can also move a song to Bb, as Eb is easy enough to play on the ukulele. But I do try to avoid songs that require an E.

My only gripe about The Daily Ukulele is that most songs are too low. Our local ukulele jams attempt to have people transpose on the fly...but in reality, a lot of people just need to play the chords they see.

As for E, the only song that I regularly play that comes across it is "My Favorite Things," which switches from an Em chord to a E in the third verse. I often jump to 4447 when playing it, as the higher sounding chord is as much of an audio "surprise" as the major chord...it seems to work.

The E Chord also shows up in my Hal Leonard Hymns for Ukulele "A Mighty Fortress Is Our God," printed in the 1402 variety...and what is funny is that I just play it without thinking about it.

All that said, I don't stop practicing the E chord in its various formations--and I am one of those players currently working on learning all the positions of all of the standard chords on the ukulele (jazz chords...another story), as well as picking up ability in fingerstyle and chord melody (closely related but not the same).

I don't try to convert all E to Em or E7 (as suggested by some), and my musical training and practice involves some level of stubbornness that if a song requires a chord, that I am going to play it. That said, I do see many instances of major chords used in songbooks or charts where the Dominant 7th should be used, and I'm not afraid to play the (harmonically) right chord in that instance.

So...I have offered a couple of song where I see E, as well as discussed my own thoughts on use of key...covering all the bases of answering the original question and going slightly off-topic or beyond topic at the same time. :)

JackLuis
09-02-2017, 08:50 PM
Or, play it on a baritone? :rolleyes:

ripock
09-03-2017, 01:00 AM
An easy E song (not to be confused with an Eazy-e song such as "Gimmie That Nutt") is "I Love Rock and Roll"; it is just a blues progression in E

mountain goat
09-03-2017, 01:13 AM
C'mon man, every song ever written in a major key can be transposed to E.
Justification? Do we need any? Really?
We use key changes to maximise either our voice or playing limitations/abilities on our instruments
of choice since time immemorial, right?

Jarmo_S
09-03-2017, 09:43 AM
Why is Beatles so favored in this forum. I like their songs to listen, but to play along? Or what key, really? Or to play their songs just with ukulele with no other?

Their tuning was a bit off from what we tune our instruments and play:
http://www.beatlesnews.com/blog/the-beatles/200802040726/musicians-know-the-beatles-were-not-out-of-tune.html

Ukecaster
09-03-2017, 11:25 AM
There is no justification...ever. There...I said it. ;) ha ha

Jarmo_S
09-03-2017, 01:14 PM
Shows us what to think of your opinions.
Oh a big fan I guess? Or just a violent person?

I was just trying some constructive criticism, instead too hard to judge what I like too about their music. I guess for some people their songs are a religion.

Ukecaster
09-03-2017, 02:20 PM
I love the Beatles...even in E ;)

anthonyg
09-03-2017, 05:21 PM
Justification? I think the OP asked the question the wrong way but by all means teach some songs in the Key of E. The key of E is important if you want to play popular guitar songs in their native key.

I transpose to E all the time because it suits my voice but I can't say it has a special sound to me. My case is somewhat different though because I'm not in standard tuning. I tune mostly E,A,C#,F#. This effectively is guitar tuning or baritone tuning with a capo on the second fret and then I just play ukulele G shapes or guitar D shapes. Guess what? LOTS of guitar songs that you may want to cover are guitarists playing D shapes with a capo on second fret so therefore in E.

Anyway. It would be a good learning exercise to teach students that its possible to take a song in many keys and transpose them to E to see if it suits their voices in E. A lesson in transposing.

E is also common because its fairly easy on guitar. Its A in standard ukulele tuning.

zztush
09-03-2017, 05:51 PM
Hi, Doctroid!

The second part and third part of Departure Suite by Jake Shimabukuro are written on the key of E. This song is one of the favorite songs in the album of Travels. This second part is my favorite tune to play. Part 3 may be bit difficult to play but part 1, which is not key of E, and 2 are worth to try in your class.

igorthebarbarian
09-03-2017, 07:04 PM
In my life - Beatles uses the Eb chord IIRC

anthonyg
09-03-2017, 07:19 PM
Some songs can end up in some uncommon keys. The thing you need to know is that, these songs in odd keys usually were NOT played on standard tuning instruments. Using a capo to transpose is REALY common on guitars. Different tunings is pretty common too.

Now there maybe some really good studio musicians in the world that can use bar chords and play in any key they like at a moments notice but many of the songs that your trying to play in an uncommon key weren't originally played that way without a capo.

ripock
09-03-2017, 07:52 PM
The Beatles are popular with ukulele for a number of reasons, I don't know them all.


My reason is that they are objectively awesome. If you're going to learn a Beatles song, it isn't going to be C-F-G. As a rule of thumb, you're going to need about 10 chords and there are going to be a fair share of minor chords, sus4 chords, add9 chords, and maj7's. If you don't cheat with a capo, you're going to learn a lot of different keys. In fact, to some degree you could say that to know the Beatles is to know music. Okay, that's a bit over the top, but you will receive quite a musical education just by understanding their catalog.

UkingViking
09-03-2017, 09:24 PM
Why is Beatles so favored in this forum. I like their songs to listen, but to play along? Or what key, really? Or to play their songs just with ukulele with no other?

Their tuning was a bit off from what we tune our instruments and play:
http://www.beatlesnews.com/blog/the-beatles/200802040726/musicians-know-the-beatles-were-not-out-of-tune.html

I am not old enough to be alive when Beatles played. I am 34. But I guess that my high school music teachers were young when Beatles played, I remember Beatles songs appearing a lot in the material they brought to class. And when I put some on the stereo at home, my father would sing along. So for me Beatles oozes of something that can bring generations closer.
You could also say that about The Rolling Stones, but there is more risk of some of the lyrics being offensive to some. (Not to me)
And of course they have great melodies :-)
Most of them might have a lot of difficult chords, but that arrangement of 8 days a week we did in school was not hard.

jimavery
09-04-2017, 10:22 AM
"My Favourite Things" from The Sound Of Music

Reason being the E chord only appears once, but when it does, it's really satisfying to do some fret-hand damping to get a staccato effect leading up to "Girls in white dresses with blue satin sashes". It's like the E chord is the hero of the whole song!

Choirguy
09-04-2017, 11:52 AM
Just a couple more thoughts to the Beatles discussion...

1) George Harrison was a ukulele player and enthusiast, even in the unpopular years of the ukulele on the US Mainland. As such, the Beatles are instantly relegated to a higher status in the ukulele community.

2) More importantly, in terms of music history, we talk about the lasting qualities of music. In classical music, there have been millions of works by (likely) hundreds of thousands of composers--nearly all forgotten. Certain composers became represntative of their time, or showed a creative spark (or originality) that other composers did not. Those are the composers we remember. In a similar way, the Beatles were really the first modern "rock" group. While there were some precedesors to the Beatles, and many, many contemporaries--they emerged as the preeminent group. Not only did the expand and experiment with their own sound, they laid the foundation for all popular music after them. Their music directly impacted the lives of people currently in their 50s-70s, and their lasting legacy continues to impact musicians and listeners today.

3) On our music education technology podcast, we recently interviewed the CEO of UberChord, an app that helps guitar players learn how to play (ukulele is on their radar). The most requested songs to help people learn? Beatles tunes, by a wide margin.

Music has shifted so much that the sound of the Beatles may no longer be attactive to many young people--particularly those accustomed to heavy synthesized drum beats and other synthesized sounds. To those people, I would suggest that they expose themselves to the Beatles, perhaps through the "1" album (all their #1 hits), just to ground their own understanding of music and music history. The Beatles aren't going anywhere, however--they have earned a place in music history and will never be forgotten.

By the way, I don't know every Beatles tune, and I am not going to say that everything they ever wrote was great--there are people who believe that. But I will say that if you can cannot listen to and respect the Beatles for what they did, that's a problem.

Ukecaster
09-15-2017, 03:33 PM
.... There are great arguments for keeping things in original keys--particularly with classical music...until you start figuring in the changing nature of intonation and how A has changed over the years.


What did you mean "how A has changed over the years"?

Ziret
09-15-2017, 07:27 PM
What did you mean "how A has changed over the years"?
Noooooooooooooooooo!

70sSanO
09-16-2017, 08:00 PM
A song worth playing is dependent on the age and musical tastes if your students.

For an older set, you have good suggestions, but there may not be the same motivation from a younger crowd. Might even want to evaluate the genre.

John

Choirguy
09-17-2017, 04:48 PM
What did you mean "how A has changed over the years"?

I won't go into it. Sufffice it to say, some music has been pitched nearly a half step higher when originally performed than we perform it today. There are some people who argue that you cannot change keys of a song because it changes the meaning--but when intonation itself isn't a constant (to as much of a half step), how can you say that?