By Mustafa Kamaliddin
“Vive La Compagnie” offers a great opportunity for beginner ukulele players to learn fingerstyle technique and add a fingerstyle song to their repertoire. It features a short verse (4 bars that repeat) and a chorus with an easy strumming pattern before repeating the whole song again.
5 Tips for Learning a Fingerstyle Ukulele Arrangement of ‘Vive la Compagnie’
- Learn how to read finger indications on the tab. P, I, M, A stand for thumb, index, middle, and ring fingers in the right hand respectively, while 1, 2, 3, 4 stand for index, middle, ring, and pinky fingers in the left hand respectively. (A quick shortcut to remembering this is that letters refer to right hand and numbers refer to left hand.)
- Notice how I use my left hand’s 4th finger to play the 3rd fret on 1st and 2nd string to maintain a good left-hand posture. Most beginners would use their 3rd finger but that usually results in a badly twisted left-hand posture.
- Alternate your right-hand fingers when playing notes on the same string. Alternating the fingers results in a better legato sound where each note is connected to the next without a short, abrupt (and often unintentional) pause.
- Although it may look like I am playing one note at a time in the verse, I am still playing through common chord shapes; since I do not need to place the entire chord, I only place the fingers I need to in the order of the notes. Once you play a note, try to hold it as long as possible to achieve a nice legato effect.
- Practice the instrumental transition right-hand fingerings, they are tricky with the usage of the ring finger.
If you are a beginner who is just starting out on ukulele, I would say this arrangement will probably take 4–6 weeks to learn and perform. If you know your chords and have played few songs, then this will probably take 2–4 weeks.
I hope you enjoy this tutorial and arrangement. Despite its short length, this song is a treasure chest for beginner students since it incorporates so many techniques wrapped up in a simple, catchy tune.
Reading music for ukulele is easy! Download our FREE primer on ukulele notation, covering all of the notational aspects you’ll typically find on these pages, for any type of ukulele.