Here is one of my favorite ukulele secrets. Taken from my harp ukulele original, King’s Rain, these artful and impressive arpeggios span the neck and will improve your agility and accuracy for both your left and right hands.
The ingredients for a UKULELE BADASS!
When I composed King’s Rain I heard these arpeggios in my head before I even worked them out on the ukulele. I wanted to write a song for the harp ukulele that sounded like a traditional harp being played. What I didn’t anticipate was how much fun they would be to play. I spent hours shedding on them, easily hundreds of repetitions. I liked the way they sounded and I really liked the way they felt under my fingers.
I still use them as a workout… or just to show off.
Performance Notes: Once again, three finger right hand technique. Thumb plays 4th string and index and ring fingers play the rest. See the instructional video for more explanation.
Left hand fingering should follow campanella judgement. Let the note on a string ring as long as possible before moving to the next note on the same string. This takes a bit of practice to do smoothly so go slow at first. This is important and when you get it faster it will sound like a harp.
Repetition. I don’t think you will get bored with these. Shoot for infinity.
USE THESE IDEAS TO CREATE YOUR OWN.
Please. As with any of my secrets, they are meant to inspire you to learn and expand.
The worksheet has 6 arpeggios written out in TAB with a chord diagram above each one.
Here’s the first example. Download all six examples below.
In the last year I have stumbled across more campanella secrets I want to share with you. It all has to do with patterns, or SHAPES, using triads.
A triad consists of three notes. You can play chords as triads by using three notes out of that chord. For example: the root, 3rd and 5th notes in the C scale make up a C major chord and in this case, a triad. However, what I want to share with you will be playing the notes of different triads separately, campanella style. Yea! And for sake of keeping it simple, I won’t go into the names or notes of these triads. Let’s just play.
First of all, you might recognize some of these shapes from songs I have previously transcribed and possibly from other secrets I have posted.
These patterns can be moved around and even thought of as a slide rule, whereas you can move the entire sequences to different keys.
Performance Notes: I play these using “three finger” style. I use my thumb exclusively on the 4th, or top, string and I use my index on the 2nd string and ring finger on the 1st. I do not use my pinky, as in the “one finger per string” method. I use this three finger technique in at least 80% of my fingerstyle playing. (Refer to the Folksy Fingerstyle Secret for more on this) It is a common practice for banjo and guitar and, for me, flows nicely and affords ease and speed. That being said, do it however you feel comfortable, but I hope you try it this way. If you stick with it you will see why.
You will also notice I use a triplet feel. This is the easiest way to demonstrate this. Later you can fit this into any rhythmic feel you desire.
This TAB shows some forms in the key of C, first ascending and then descending. As stated before they can be shifted to fit into different keys.
Here is a short video demonstration.
I encourage you to explore and arrange familiar songs using these shapes and patterns. It’s easier than you might think. Just go for it!
Here is a campanella (or 99% campanella) version I came up with for Chatanooga Choo Choo. Thanks to Ken Middleton and Al Woods for taking the time to look over the TAB and offer a few suggestions. Sometimes it helps to have some fresh eyes look at something when yours get tired.
I have included a 10 minute tutorial video if you have trouble getting the TAB and performance under your fingers.
In the performance video you will see/hear me use improvised chord fills between the campanella melody lines. I didn’t include this on the TAB as I play it differently every time. Mainly they are C6’s with D7 to G7 vamps. I encourage you to explore different inversions and have fun with it. I cover this a little in the tutorial video.
As with most of my campanella arrangements, look for places to use triad forms or places to have more than one finger on the neck at one time. This helps let the notes ring. It also sounds good letting the open strings ring.
Probably the biggest challenge will start at measure 36. I am playing the entire line with one chord form. To get to it quickly I grab the first two notes with the pinky and ring fingers FIRST. Then I let the other two fingers catch up. I suggest practicing the chord,
ahead of time so you will know what it looks like when you get to it. But remember to start learning the shape by putting the pinky down first and then the ring finger. This will make it easier on you.