Saturday, 12 January 2013

2-Chord Songs

One year ago the founding members of Yolo Y'Ukes gathered in a living room to teach ourselves ukulele. At that first meeting, we picked out songs from The Daily Ukulele which had 2, 3 or 4 chords—the number we could hold in our heads at the time.

Over the past year we've learned a few more chords, but it seemed fitting to start 2013 by revisiting our beginnings and trying to integrate all we learned in 2012.

So yesterday we looked at the Circle of Fifths and noted the I and V chords in a number of keys: C, F, G, D, A, Bb being the more common for ukulele songs. Then using the I and V7 chords, we played the following songs:
  1. Row Row Row Your Boat
  2. Mary Had A Little Lamb
  3. Buffalo Gals
  4. Banana Boat Song
  5. The More We Get Together
  6. Skip To My Lou
  7. He's Got The Whole World In His Hands
  8. Simple Gifts
  9. Clementine
  10. Jambalaya
  11. Iko Iko
  12. Polly Wolly Doodle
  13. Singin' In The Rain
  14. Taps
In the key of C, the two chords would be C and G7. In the key of F, the two chords would be F and C7. And so on. No music was given so that we could focus on listening for the chord change.

We played the songs in different keys. We played them faster and slower, varying our strum patterns. We played songs in a medley, in rounds, and on top of each other. We played with chord inversions and with alternating a couple of chords, an idea demonstrated here:


Clearly we're still beginners, but there is quite a lot that can be coaxed out of 2-chord songs. Do you have a favorite to add to the list?

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