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Thread: Finding songs in a key I can sing

  1. #1
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    Default Finding songs in a key I can sing

    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.

  2. #2
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    Transpose them to a key you're comfortable with using this handy little app or this one. 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.

    Nana ka maka; ho`olohe ka pepeiao;
    pa`a ka waha.

    Observe with the eyes; listen with the ears; shut the mouth.
    Thus one learns.


  3. #3
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    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.

  4. #4
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    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?

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Melissa82 View Post
    ... 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
    Mainland CMM-S | Makala MK-S and MK-SD | Unknown Japanese uke from the '70s ("The wreck of the old '77")
    It's pronounced "Blrfl."

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Melissa82 View Post
    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.
    óGregory (has no tea)

  7. #7
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    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.

  8. #8

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    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/200...of-fifths.html

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

    Lazy River Uke blog
    Learning to play the ukulele - a journey up the Lazy River

  9. #9
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    What husband doesn't want to hear their wife hummmm a harmonica.

  10. #10
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    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.
    UWC; only those who have not been can rationalize not going.

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