Usually many people use their ukulele to play chords to songs. But, did you know that you can play melodies too! Read on and I will show you how you can make your own melodies!
An ukulele can be used to play chords to songs but also to play melodies. Now I will show you a way to compose your own melodies and also improve your skills as a composer!
The C tuning
I assume that your ukulele is tuned and in this lesson I will base my article and the note names on the C tuning. This means that your first string with the highest pitch is tuned to A, the second string to E, the third string to C and the fourth string to G. Some people tune their ukulele in D which means that the strings are a whole step higher.
Learn the notes on the third string
We will start by learning the note C on the third string. You can play this note by pulling the string without pressing down a fret. The next note to learn is the note D. To play this note you need to press down the second fret on the third string. You can play the strings with your right hand thumb.
Time to compose
Now that you have two notes at your disposal you can start to practice composing. Maybe you think that two notes are too little material to compose but it is an excellent exercise to start making the most of two notes. You can vary the rhythms and the number of times you play a note.
Well, if you have tried to use these two notes to create melodies and rhythms you will now have three more notes that you can use. They are on the second string. E is on the open second string, F is on the first fret and on the third fret you will find G. Now you have a total of five notes to use to create your own melodies.
I suggest that you try to learn the note names as you play as a preparation for the song you will soon learn to play. A tips is also to use your left hand index finger to play the notes on the first fret, your middle finger for the second fret and so on.
Learn Mary Had A Little Lamb
This melody can be played with the notes you have learned. Here is the melody:
E D C D E E E D D D E G G
E D C D E E E E D D E D C
Try to figure out by yourself how long the individual notes has to be.
The C-major scale
On the first string you will have the note A on the open string, B on the second string and C on the third string. Now you can play a C-major scale from the open third string to the third fret on the first string. Here are the notes beginning with the C on the third string:
C D E F G A B C
This means that will you have enough notes to compose many types of melodies and also play popular songs!
You can find many inspirational ukulele playing examples on the Internet. Many uke players have clips on YouTube for example. By trying to compose your own melodies on your ukulele you will practice both your fingers, your brain and your heart!