By Mustafa Kamaliddin
Pick up your ukulele and join me in learning this ukulele fingerstyle arrangement of the iconic Hawaiian song Aloha ‘Oe, written by Lili’uokalani circa 1878. This arrangement is ideal for intermediate beginners who have successfully learned five to ten fingerstyle arrangements.
The chord shapes used here are simple, but they do require a few finger stretches and some planning ahead. A few melodic passages might also require changing up your right hand fingering, as well as few other concepts, highlighted below.
- There are five chord shapes you’ll need to familiarize yourself with for this arrangement, including E7, D major with a bar on the 2nd fret and 4th finger on the 5th fret, and three versions of A Major.
- Chords labelled with an arpeggio line are all on strings 1, 2 and 3. This will help you learn how to plant your right-hand thumb on the 4th string for stability as you flick your index (i) downward to strum.
- In bar 3 and bar 11, alternate your right-hand fingers to play the repeating notes on the 1st string. Generally speaking, you should alternate your fingers like this in any passage where you have repeating notes on the same string.
- Identify the downward step sequence in bar 7 (explained in the video).
- Challenge yourself and try to play the natural harmonic in bar 8. (Check out our lesson on harmonics for more detail on this technique).
There are many other hidden tips and treasures within this piece but if you focus on these five points, you’ll have advanced your technique a bit to allow you to play more difficult arrangements. Good luck!
Ukulele Basics: Chords and Harmony is a collection of six easy-to-follow but in-depth lessons on the basics of chords and harmony. Instructors and Ukulele magazine contributors Jim D’Ville and Fred Sokolow, as well as the great composer/player Daniel Ho, will guide you through easy chord variations, harnessing the power of certain chords, demystifying the famous Circle of 5ths, and understanding moveable chord shapes.