View Full Version : Key ? When writing melodies and chords...

08-21-2011, 04:52 AM
Should I write what tuning I used for the Ukulele, or should I just put out three different versions for the three different tunings? Or does it matter? I know not everyone reads music and play by ear. I got the lyrics part down to a mad science, even venturing down paths not many Western writers venture down. I have been writing songs melodies mainly in the key of G on the guitar and they translate pretty good to the Ukulele, but I know it is an entirely different set of notes and chords I now see with the Ukulele so I am learning. Any help would be appreciated and I thank you in advance.

08-21-2011, 06:11 AM
Welcome to UU jhanover!

I would say it would be safe to use C tuning which is GCEA with standard high G re-enterent tuning. You will be playing familiar chord shapes from your guitar knowledge, but they will have new names in this tuning. The guitar D = uke G, guitar G= uke C, guitar A = uke D.
The uke is like a guitar with a capo on the 5th fret.

Also remember you can make the chord chart without chord diagrams, and let a G chord be a G chord no matter what the tuning/ fingering will be. With the basic chords in the common keys, it isn't necessary to show chord diagrams. Chord diagrams are helpful when you vary from the Major, minor and 7th group.

Hope that helps.

Ukulele JJ
08-21-2011, 06:27 AM
Yeah, it's going to depend on what you intend to write down.

If you're just writing lyrics with chord names over them, then it doesn't matter what type/tuning of ukulele plays it. For that matter, it doesn't matter what instrument plays it (guitar, uke, piano... whatever). As Lori mentioned, a G chord is a G chord regardless of tuning or instrument. What will change is how that G chord is played. But it still gets the letter G as its name.

If you're writing standard notation--a staff with notes on it--then it's the same deal. It doesn't matter (generally) what instrument plays it. Notes are notes. Standard notation just tells you what to play, not how to play it, so the type and tuning of the instrument used is not so important.

Pretty much the only time you'll need to worry about tuning is if you're writing down something that tells you how to play a chord or note. So if you're including chord diagrams along with the letter name of the chord, then you will need to take tuning into account. And if you're writing down tablature, then you also need to take tuning into account. That's because chord diagrams and tablature tell you how to play things--where to put a finger on what string and fret. That definitely varies with tuning.


08-21-2011, 12:02 PM
This helps greatly thanks. Today I just wrote a melodic version of a song I wrote the first time on the guitar for the Ukulele. " Up And Down The Orchid Spray " pretty easy-going song with two verses of five lines each no chorus and room for a solo or two...lol. I thank you both and anyone else who adds anything else. It helps me greatly. When I get more confidant and more rhythmic and polished I will upload for the song.