View Full Version : song lyrics and chords?

05-16-2011, 06:36 PM
i would like to know when song lyrics have the chord symbol above them, how many beats are there? Is it always going to be four for each chord symbol?
I see some lyrics with the chords above them and some are very close together and other times they are not.
Here is a song from ukuleleHunt to give an example.
I hope i am making sense asking this question.
Thanks for any help.

05-16-2011, 11:58 PM
No,it is not always four beats to the bar: BUT
as a rule,if you are learning a song,play slowly
and play the number of beats that you find fit
in with what you are singing.The 'Strum Pattern'
as it is known,will be obvious if you know the
song before you play it.If it's a song you have
always liked and 'known' then you are halfway
there! Just strum slowly,make sure to get the
chord changes where they are shown,and see
how it sounds!
A warning though,many internet song sheets
are innacurate as to both the chords,and the
places where the chord changes!
Otherwise,go for it,slowly,and have fun!

05-16-2011, 11:58 PM
Andre, you can't tell from the lyrics in your link.

I found sheet music for that song that shows you that there are 4 beats per measure. It's here.

Hope that helps. :)

05-17-2011, 12:00 AM
luthien, we cross posted. Your reply is a lot more helpful!

05-17-2011, 12:58 AM

This confused me at first to. Sometimes there is one chord shown but you may have to repeat it two times or more. As Luthien says find a tune you really know well and listen to it closely. You should be able to follow the chord changes after a short while. I do this with a copy of the sheet and my remote control to stop and rewind the tune. I listen and write on the sheet how many beats (strums) of each chord. Then I have a more accurate sheet to work from. then I start playing slowly and eventually get to the correct speed with the correct strums and chord changes.

Another thing I learned is not to try and make the "strums" match the lyrics. If you listen to a favourite song you will notice that even if the singer has stopped, the strumming will continue.

It is all part of the fun of learning

Ukulele JJ
05-17-2011, 03:05 AM
That's one of the drawbacks to the "chord sheet" way of notating a song. Ideally, the chords line up with the lyrics, and you just play the chord whenever it's time to sing that particular word.

But as you've found, sometimes chords change when nothing's being sung. So the chord is just written sort of "out there in space", and you have to be pretty familiar with the sound of the song in order to sense when to switch chords.

The "lead sheet" style of notation (like Jumpin' Jim always uses in his books) is a lot more work to create, but does a much better job of conveying how to play the song, IMHO. And yes, "Blue Skies" is in "The Daily Ukulele"! :-)

And I'll also plug (as I often do!) the Nashville Number System, which not only tells you exactly where in each measure to play a chord, but is quick and easy to write, fits on one page (usually), and works for every key at the same time.