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Melissa82
08-20-2009, 05:40 AM
I'm having a really hard time finding songs I can play in a key I can sing. They are either too high or too low and it's driving me nuts. :mad:

Kanaka916
08-20-2009, 05:47 AM
Transpose them to a key you're comfortable with using this handy little app (http://tabtransposer.com/) or this one (http://www.logue.net/xp/). For example, if the song is in the Key of C, you can transpose it to F (or whatever chord you may want) or whatever key you're comfortable in. The program is simple to use - just cut and paste, copy and transfer to Word or any word processing program.

Thumper
08-20-2009, 05:47 AM
Try using this site to move the song to a key that's more comfortable to sing.

http://www.logue.net/xp/

It's also great for moving the song to a key that flows better on a ukulele.

Melissa82
08-20-2009, 05:55 AM
Thanks for the links guys. The next problem I have is then in my mind, adjusting the song to the key. Like, I have no idea what note the song starts with singing wise because it doesn't list it on the chords, just the chords and words. Maybe I need to learn some music theory?

Blrfl
08-20-2009, 06:17 AM
... I have no idea what note the song starts with singing wise because it doesn't list it on the chords, just the chords and words.

That's one of the down sides to working with just chords: you kind of have to know how the song goes before you can play it. There are a bunch of Hawaiian songs I have the chords for but can't play because I've never heard them before.

Instead of transposing, I would suggest using a capo, which will shift the entire instrument up one semitone for each fret you clamp off. If C (for example) isn't your key but D is, you can put the capo on behind the second fret, and when you play a C, it becomes a D (two semitones: C#, D). When you want to play a song with others or with someone who can sing in C, remove the capo and you're back to playing in C using the "standard" fingerings everyone else is using.

You also have the option of re-tuning your uke. You can tune down as many semitones as you like (or until the strings get too flappy to play) or up one or two. I wouldn't go much higher than that unless you know the extra string tension won't cause damage.

--Mark

ihavenotea
08-20-2009, 07:21 AM
Thanks for the links guys. The next problem I have is then in my mind, adjusting the song to the key. Like, I have no idea what note the song starts with singing wise because it doesn't list it on the chords, just the chords and words. Maybe I need to learn some music theory?

Here is a trick that usually works: Play through the chords of the song, particularly the chords in the final phrase of the song. By listening to the chords that end the song you will almost always be able to pick out your starting note. (Try singing along in your head while you play.)

You should find that hearing the chords for the final phrase settles the songs key in your head and also sets you up for the opening note.

I always do this. If you see a video where the vocals start before the ukulele, I can promise you that I played something before the part you see to help me get that opening note correct.

There are more tricks you can use to find the opening note with some music theory, but in the end none are nearly so useful as training your ear. Listen to the chords and then try and find it. It may take some practice, but you will get there.

If you really want to strengthen your ear for melodies, get a Harmonica. If you learn to play that by ear you will get really good at picking out melodies.

Melissa82
08-20-2009, 07:28 AM
Good ideas guys.

Haha, I just told my husband I'm going to get a harmonica. He said no because he doesn't like them and is afraid I will serenade him with it.

LazyRiver
08-20-2009, 07:34 AM
Just a few "tricks" that usually work:

1. The last note of the song is usually the key in which the song is written (e.g., if last note is G, last chord will be G and key signature of song will be G)

2. I recommend looking up circle of fifths

--- pick any three adjoining entries
--- the one in the center is the root (e,g,, I) chord (G in the above example)
--- the one CCW is the IV chord
--- the one CW is the V chord, often V7 (seventh)
--- these three make up most folk songs, often only 2 are needed
--- to transpose, just rotate the three chords CW or CCW
--- 7th chords resolve to the CCW chord

I wrote about the circle of fifths here: http://lazyriveruke.blogspot.com/2009/07/36-circle-of-fifths.html

Others have written about it also. Use the Google thingy.

Faricelli
08-20-2009, 07:35 AM
What husband doesn't want to hear their wife hummmm a harmonica.

salukulady
08-20-2009, 07:46 AM
You can use those transposing sites, but learning to change the key to a song is easy and will help you learn a little theory.

if the song is in the key of C, and you want it in the key of G


C D E F G A B C

G A B C D E F G


If it's a C then you change it to a G, if it's a F then its a C, it's simple and fun. Sharps and flats transfer over most times and sometime you have to pick up your uke play it thru and tweak things a little. This is really good for your brain to learn and will help you learn the vocal starting note by singing it over and over. The more you do it the better you get at transposing also. Pretty soon you'll be able to do it without writing it out.

Blrfl
08-20-2009, 07:55 AM
Haha, I just told my husband I'm going to get a harmonica. He said no because he doesn't like them and is afraid I will serenade him with it.

Escalate the threat to accordion or bagpipes and see how it goes from there. :D

--Mark

ihavenotea
08-20-2009, 08:23 AM
Escalate the threat to accordion or bagpipes and see how it goes from there. :D

--Mark

That is how I got my Uke.

Uncle Rod Higuchi
08-20-2009, 08:37 AM
You might have to feed your Ukulele Acquisition Syndrome (UAS) by purchasing a few ukes and have each tuned a bit higher or lower so you can try singing with a particular uke.

You'll probably have to name them according to the key they are tuned to so you'll know what key you're singing and playing in.

One advantage (?) is that you don't have to change how you finger your chords. If you like playing the C chord family of chords, you will be able to use the same fingering on ukes of various tunings and end up playing in different keys! See, you need more ukes!

It's a silly suggestion, but then again....

Something to think about.

ihavenotea
08-20-2009, 08:46 AM
You might have to feed your Ukulele Acquisition Syndrome (UAS) by purchasing a few ukes and have each tuned a bit higher or lower so you can try singing with a particular uke.

You'll probably have to name them according to the key they are tuned to so you'll know what key you're singing and playing in.

One advantage (?) is that you don't have to change how you finger your chords. If you like playing the C chord family of chords, you will be able to use the same fingering on ukes of various tunings and end up playing in different keys! See, you need more ukes!

It's a silly suggestion, but then again....

Something to think about.

*laughs*

I am working on a couple of songs in Eb.

Eb is an absolute joy to sing in. Not so much fun to play.

I am tempted to retune or capo. However, learning to play those chords will prove more useful in the long run, so I have stuck with it. Often time second position chords can be your best friend when playing in some keys.

Melissa82
08-20-2009, 08:56 AM
*laughs*

I am working on a couple of songs in Eb.

Eb is an absolute joy to sing in. Not so much fun to play.

I am tempted to retune or capo. However, learning to play those chords will prove more useful in the long run, so I have stuck with it. Often time second position chords can be your best friend when playing in some keys.I know what you mean. I seem to be able to sing along better to songs that have E, Eb, Bb, D. And of course they are all the chords I have trouble with. Maybe I just need to learn more chords?

ihavenotea
08-20-2009, 09:09 AM
I know what you mean. I seem to be able to sing along better to songs that have E, Eb, Bb, D. And of course they are all the chords I have trouble with. Maybe I just need to learn more chords?

Playing in D is a breeze once you get the D itself down.

It took me a little while to really get that, but once I did it was great.

These days D is my go-to key when I am just messing around.

Melissa82
08-20-2009, 09:13 AM
Playing in D is a breeze once you get the D itself down.

It took me a little while to really get that, but once I did it was great.

These days D is my go-to key when I am just messing around.The thing with the D is deciding which way to play it for me. Like in songs that have D7, I play the D by baring the 2nd fret and putting my pinky on the 1st string 5th fret. Songs that don't have the D7, I just use the regular way of doing D. But it's hard just switching from fret to fret. Oh the joys of being a beginner.

salukulady
08-20-2009, 11:20 AM
The thing with the D is deciding which way to play it for me. Like in songs that have D7, I play the D by baring the 2nd fret and putting my pinky on the 1st string 5th fret. Songs that don't have the D7, I just use the regular way of doing D. But it's hard just switching from fret to fret. Oh the joys of being a beginner.

hawaiian D7 is an option too

a-0
e-2
c-0
g-2

Melissa82
08-20-2009, 11:22 AM
hawaiian D7 is an option too

a-0
e-2
c-0
g-2Funny you mention that, I JUST saw that somewhere else. :D

Uncle Rod Higuchi
08-20-2009, 11:51 AM
You guys can bring back the "D" tuning ( A-D-F#-B) for those who want to use the C chord fingering.

Hey maybe there was a good reason why the older music was set to D-tuned ukes!

I'm all for learning to play in multiple keys. I used to do that when I was learning a few decades ago. I'd play a song in "all" keys, even if it was impossible for me to sing (too high or too low).

I learned to transpose and I learned a bunch of chords (that I still don't use!).

Maybe if more of us play and sing in B, Bb, E, Eb, and post our music in those keys, we might help others feel free to learn and use those chords. Otherwise there will be a lot of chord book pages never referred to!

Keep the faith folks!

ihavenotea
08-20-2009, 12:00 PM
The thing with the D is deciding which way to play it for me. Like in songs that have D7, I play the D by baring the 2nd fret and putting my pinky on the 1st string 5th fret. Songs that don't have the D7, I just use the regular way of doing D. But it's hard just switching from fret to fret. Oh the joys of being a beginner.

I bar the bottom three strings with my middle finger and leave the 1st sting open. I like the tone of this (2220) better than the 2225 (though I will almost always close songs in D by playing the 2225, as that ends with a nice high D).

Holding down those three strings without you finger touching the first one is tricky, but worth learning. I had no choice in the matter, as my large fingers don't fit well if I try and use a finger per string (I finally got this the other day; it was a relief that I can do it, but I still prefer the partial bar).

If you partially bar it like that you can slide you fingers over to the G and up to the A7 really quickly (which gives you access to a ton of 3-chord songs in D).

It is much harder to use the Fully barred D, as A7 becomes very far away.

Oh, and the Hawaiian D7 (2020) is great, but you will not want to use a 7 chord for the root chord of the key you are playing in. Put another way: If the song is in C don't use C7, if it is in D, don't use D7. For songs in another key (say G G), the D7 is what you want.

Ukulele JJ
08-20-2009, 01:12 PM
Like in songs that have D7, I play the D by baring the 2nd fret and putting my pinky on the 1st string 5th fret. Songs that don't have the D7, I just use the regular way of doing D.

If a song calls for a D7, and you're playing it as a plain ol' D barre chord (2225), why not just make it an actual D7 by moving your first-string finger down two frets (2223)?

The hurdle is the barring. Once you've got that down, making it a 7th chord is a cakewalk. :D

JJ

Ukulele JJ
08-20-2009, 01:28 PM
but you will not want to use a 7 chord for the root chord of the key you are playing in. Put another way: If the song is in C don't use C7, if it is in D, don't use D7. For songs in another key (say G G), the D7 is what you want.

Generally true. But there are exceptions

For blues songs, the root, IV, and V chords are often all dominant 7th chords, all the time. :cool:

Also, there are cases where you would want to play your root chord as a dominant 7th temporarily--particularly, when the next chord is the IV chord.

(That's because dominant 7th chords "want to" move down a fifth. And what's a fifth lower than the root? Yup. The four. But the theory isn't nearly as important as just hearing the sound of it.)

So for our song that's in the key of C, let's say that the part right before the bridge sits on a C chord, and the bridge itself starts on an F chord. (This is pretty common, actually.) For the last measure or half-measure of that C chord, you might play it as a C7. It'll set up that F perfectly.

JJ




P.S. Bonus theory ramblings... Another similar trick is to do an entire relative ii/V7 progression into the IV chord. Which is just a jargon-y way of saying that you'd play the V chord as a minor 7, the root as a 7, then the IV chord. So in C, it would be:

C
Gm7
C7
F

You're essentially in the "key of the moment" of F. You can hear this trick in songs like "Misty" and "That's the Way Love Goes".

Pippin
08-23-2009, 02:25 AM
I like to play songs that I already know lyrics and melodies. It helps that I have been doing this for so long, but there are songs that I hear and want to learn, so, I just listen to the melody and find the lyrics online. Nextthing you know, I am playing the tune.

When you have had some time with the ukulele (and your eventual guitar), you will get used to chords being used in patterns. For example, in country music, songs are often played with "G", "C", and "D" or "C", "F", and "G". Then "D", "G", and "A" are popular together.

There are thousands of songs that can be played with three chords. Now, just change the key to the chords that enable you to sing without straining.

BTW... play a country song backwards and your ex-lover comes home with your pickup truck, the dog returns, and the bottle is never empty.

CountryMouse
09-07-2009, 10:23 PM
I've only been playing ukulele for 2 weeks, but having played the autoharp helped a lot in knowing what chords "go together" in a key. I used to have a 15-bar aharp, and the chord bars were arranged so that everything you needed was together. Here is a picture (http://elderly.com/images/new_instruments/165N/OS73B_front-detail-2.jpg). (okay, I think the D is just thrown in there randomly, but everything else fits)

Re: capos: what kind should I get if I'm gonna? I read somewhere that mandolin capos are best for soprano? Where to buy, etc.?

Thanks!

CountryMouse

Kanaka916
09-08-2009, 03:10 AM
I have a Kyser mandolin/banjo capo pictured below. There are cheaper ones but I kinda liked the construction and sturdiness of the Kyser. You can find em at most music stores.

http://images.miretail.com/products/optionLarge/Kyser/224852jpg.jpg

CountryMouse
09-10-2009, 03:29 AM
I have a Kyser mandolin/banjo capo pictured below. There are cheaper ones but I kinda liked the construction and sturdiness of the Kyser. You can find em at most music stores.

Thanks!

CMouse

ricdoug
09-20-2009, 05:38 PM
Here's a free transposing wheel (Circle of 5th's) to print and cutout:

http://ukuleletonya.com/files/transposing_wheel.pdf

ricdoug
09-20-2009, 05:40 PM
Haha, I just told my husband I'm going to get a harmonica. He said no because he doesn't like them and is afraid I will serenade him with it.

For about $20 bucks, serenade him in 7 keys!:

http://folk-instruments.musiciansfriend.com/product/Hohner-Piedmont-Blues-7Harmonica-Pack-with-Case?sku=421179

The Hohner Piedmont Blues 7-Harmonica Pack with Case is a super value. Includes 7 harps with Hohner-quality brass reeds, aluminum plates, precision-molded combs, and a plush-lined nylon case. Keys: G, A, Bb, C, D, E, and F (lowest to highest).

An assortment of harps at a super low price!

Hohner includes a Bb harp for playing cross-harp in the key of F—a favorite key of harmonica greats like Little Walter.

Pick up a pack of harmonicas and be ready to jam in any key. $20.95

http://img3.musiciansfriend.com/dbase/pics/products/6/1/0/475610.jpg

http://img3.musiciansfriend.com/dbase/pics/products/6/1/2/475612.jpg

ricdoug
09-20-2009, 05:41 PM
...and learn how to play the harmonica for FREE!:

Download the free harmonica learning CD and workbook here:

http://www.harmonicast.libsyn.com

ihavenotea
09-20-2009, 07:56 PM
For about $20 bucks, serenade him in 7 keys!:

http://folk-instruments.musiciansfriend.com/product/Hohner-Piedmont-Blues-7Harmonica-Pack-with-Case?sku=421179

The Hohner Piedmont Blues 7-Harmonica Pack with Case is a super value. Includes 7 harps with Hohner-quality brass reeds, aluminum plates, precision-molded combs, and a plush-lined nylon case. Keys: G, A, Bb, C, D, E, and F (lowest to highest).

An assortment of harps at a super low price!

Hohner includes a Bb harp for playing cross-harp in the key of F—a favorite key of harmonica greats like Little Walter.

Pick up a pack of harmonicas and be ready to jam in any key. $20.95


Sweet!

I need to pick this up! These look like they use the same plates as the $5 cheapy multi-color horner's that my local music store carries; not bad harps for that price… Even cheaper in a set like this (and the color ones are all C).

This would be awesome—I often find I need a harp in a key I don't have… this will fill a lot of gaps really quickly for cheap. Thanks.

ricdoug
09-21-2009, 03:06 PM
Most Guitar Centers I have them in stock:

http://www.guitarcenter.com/Hohner-Piedmont-Blues-7-Harmonica-Pack-with-Case-103225843-i1134124.gc

I've given many of these sets away as birthday/Christmas gifts, along with ukuleles. Ric

mrplatypus70
09-21-2009, 03:41 PM
I'm having a really hard time finding songs I can play in a key I can sing. They are either too high or too low and it's driving me nuts. :mad:

I can only sing in the key of H and I can not find any chords that work!!!:mad:

Melissa82
09-22-2009, 05:43 AM
For about $20 bucks, serenade him in 7 keys!:

http://folk-instruments.musiciansfriend.com/product/Hohner-Piedmont-Blues-7Harmonica-Pack-with-Case?sku=421179

The Hohner Piedmont Blues 7-Harmonica Pack with Case is a super value. Includes 7 harps with Hohner-quality brass reeds, aluminum plates, precision-molded combs, and a plush-lined nylon case. Keys: G, A, Bb, C, D, E, and F (lowest to highest).

An assortment of harps at a super low price!

Hohner includes a Bb harp for playing cross-harp in the key of F—a favorite key of harmonica greats like Little Walter.

Pick up a pack of harmonicas and be ready to jam in any key. $20.95

http://img3.musiciansfriend.com/dbase/pics/products/6/1/0/475610.jpg

http://img3.musiciansfriend.com/dbase/pics/products/6/1/2/475612.jpgLol, that's awesome!

ihavenotea
09-22-2009, 05:54 AM
I can only sing in the key of H and I can not find any chords that work!!!:mad:

Try B Natural – turns out that is what H is (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Note#History_of_note_names).








Always glad to help.




(or whatever it is I do in lieu of helping…)

RevWill
09-22-2009, 06:54 AM
Look your songs up on Chordie. They have great options on the right side of the screen. Move the song to uke tuning, then you can transpose up or down by semitones.

Melissa82
09-22-2009, 07:24 AM
Look your songs up on Chordie. They have great options on the right side of the screen. Move the song to uke tuning, then you can transpose up or down by semitones.Yeah, but if you can't play those notes you are... out of luck. =/

RevWill
09-22-2009, 08:08 AM
It does put the new transposed chord diagrams up on the screen for ya. Here's a very popular song in two different keys. Note the chord fingerings on the right.

Melissa82
09-22-2009, 08:11 AM
It does put the new transposed chord diagrams up on the screen for ya. Here's a very popular song in two different keys.True... practice makes perfect I suppose. :o

RevWill
09-22-2009, 08:17 AM
Yeah, and learning new chords makes playing challenging but also fun. Seriously, struggle your way through a song. If it's too high click "-1 semitone" and struggle your way through it. Still too high, try "-2 semitones." Or if the chords look too hard after -1, hit -2 anyway and see if it looks easier.

As a guitarist I have found that female voices tend to appreciate keys like Bb and Eb, which are a struggle on the guitar unless I use a capo.

Everything new is a challenge, but it's part of the journey. Enjoy the journey!

Ukulele JJ
09-22-2009, 08:29 AM
I have found that female voices tend to appreciate keys like Bb and Eb


So do sax players.

JJ

RevWill
09-22-2009, 08:31 AM
So do sax players.

JJ

And hymnals. Which is why I spent $40 on a G7 capo that works flawlessly for my church guitars.

salukulady
09-22-2009, 10:30 AM
And hymnals. Which is why I spent $40 on a G7 capo that works flawlessly for my church guitars.

What denomination are they?

sukie
09-22-2009, 10:39 AM
I think he's Methodist. But then again whenever I go to Paul's mom's church -- Lutheran -- they have some of the same songs.

Or were you joking? About the guitars, I mean?

salukulady
09-22-2009, 10:47 AM
I think he's Methodist. But then again whenever I go to Paul's mom's church -- Lutheran -- they have some of the same songs.

Or were you joking? About the guitars, I mean?Yes, the guitars.....never met a "Church Guitar" before, but I own a "Car Uke" that rides in a 1996 Ford Van, but she's been known to take rides in other cars and can often be found hanging out at the beach working on her tan.

sukie
09-22-2009, 11:04 AM
can often be found hanging out at the beach working on her tan.

Stop that Sally. I am fading as we speak. It is so depressing.:(