Music, Arts & Entertainment

Breaking Down the Classics: “Hallelujah”

Jake Shimabukuro

Lesson time 07:19 min

Jake demonstrates how to learn a song by breaking it down with one of his signature covers, “Hallelujah.”

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Topics include: Breaking Down the Classics: “Hallelujah”


[00:00:00.00] [INSTRUMENTAL 'UKULELE MUSIC] [00:00:07.70] - When I'm learning a new song I like to just start with the melody. And when I say that the melody I'm usually referring to the vocal part, or that lead line, or the string of notes that I would usually hum to a friend if I'm trying to get them to remember the title of a song. So if I were vocalizing the melody to hallelujah. Right? I'd be like, hey, what's that song? The one that goes-- [00:00:43.95] [WORDLESS SINGING] [00:00:48.81] And you'd be like, oh "Hallelujah". I'd be like, yeah! Yes, that's the one. That's the one. [00:00:55.05] So that, what I internalized as a melody. Right? [00:00:58.90] [MUSIC - LEONARD COHEN, "HALLELUJAH"] [00:01:11.99] To me, that's the melody. That's the essence of the song. And then what I'm going to do after that is I want to think of the other strings that can support that melody. [00:01:25.28] [MUSIC - LEONARD COHEN, "HALLELUJAH"] [00:01:36.91] So now I know that I'm in the key of G and the reason I know this right now is because I've played the song before. But if you've never played it before you have to figure out what key you're going to start in. A great way to start, working on a new song is to get a chord chart of the song. You can find these online. You can go out to a music store and buy a songbook that will have the different chords in there for you. And it will line up with the lyrics of the song. [00:02:09.31] But if you're just starting from scratch figure out the key that you want to sing the song in first. So say we're in the key of G. So this is my G chord and I'm going to hum the melody to that G. [00:02:25.35] [WORDLESS SINGING] [00:02:29.30] Now I'm going to find the other chords that go with it. Well I [00:02:32.15] [WORDLESS SINGING] [00:02:35.73] That's an E minor. So I know it's G followed by E minor. [00:02:39.99] [WORDLESS SINGING] [00:02:42.87] Then it goes a C chord. [00:02:44.58] [WORDLESS SINGING] [00:02:46.50] D. [00:02:47.36] [WORDLESS SINGING] [00:02:48.67] G. Okay. [00:02:50.43] Now this is what I'm going to do. So I know the chords, G, E minor, C, and D. So when I'm holding the G chord-- Just real quickly, the notes that make up the G major chord for me are G, B, and D. So I know on the 'ukulele, as long as I'm holding the notes G, B, and D anywhere on the fretboard-- G, B, D-- in any octave it's going to give me the G major chord. G, B, D and another g here. See? These are all different voicings of the G major chord. [00:03:32.32] So the idea is to find the melody-- [00:03:35.40] [PLUCKING STRINGS] [00:03:37.46] and then I'm going to hold the chord that's closest to the note that I want. So I'm going to hold the G chord here and my melody note is here. So I'm going to hold a G here and extend my baby finger out to that fifth fret there. So 1, 5. So listen to this. I'm going to be holding the G chord with the 1, 5. [00:04:04.61] Now the next melody note is here. Secret chord. Secret chord. So I'...

About the Instructor

Called the “Jimi Hendrix of the ʻukulele,” Jake Shimabukuro won worldwide acclaim for his fresh and fearless musical interpretations. Now he’s sharing his approach so anyone can experience the joys of the ʻukulele, from the simple chords that make up hundreds of songs to more complex fingerings and compositions. Learn how to adapt songs you love for ʻukulele or write your own. Stop worrying and start strumming.

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Jake Shimabukuro

Jake Shimabukuro teaches you how to take your ʻukulele from the shelf to center stage, with techniques for beginners and seasoned players alike.

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