Arts & Entertainment, Music

Creating an Original Song

Jake Shimabukuro

Lesson time 17:38 min

Jake creates an original song, in real time, just for this class. He takes you on a song creation journey from start to finish, showing his process, tricks, and inspiration.

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Topics include: Creating an Original Song


[00:00:32.67] INSTRUCTOR: We're going to explore composing or writing a song. And the way I approach writing a song, it's really just taking a bunch of things that you like or that speak to you and just throwing them together, you know? And the hard part is just figuring out how to make them work together, just the transitions. [00:01:05.28] When I'm writing sometimes, I hear a melody first. Sometimes, I hear a chord progression, right? So what we're going to do is-- all right, let's start with our G chord here. We're going to try to create something together. [00:01:26.47] I love this sound going into a C chord, because I have this open C string that just allows me to play the open string. And then I can move about the fretboard or the neck and find these other notes that I like. So I could do this. [00:01:49.32] When I go to C, I could do something like that when I go to C. I love that sound. Now one of the things that I like to be aware of is, if I'm using a chord or a certain interval that's interesting to me, I like to save it for a special section in the song. So for example, let's see. [00:02:30.14] I love this voicing of a G chord here. You have the nine in there, and I like making little movements like this. Like I'm just going to move my index finger down a half step. I love that sound. Then let's do the same thing, but let's move it down to the third fret there. [00:02:59.29] So now, we're occupying the third, the fifth, and the seventh. So it's zero, seven, five, three, and we're going to play that chord. And then let's do the same thing with our index and just slide that down to resolve. So we're doing the exact same thing from here to this, then we're moving it down, and then doing the exact same motion. [00:03:25.27] So we're repeating the same motion twice, and I love that kind of symmetry in writing and just kind of navigating the fretboard. Well, for one, it makes it easy to remember what you just played, and you're a little bit more familiar with that sound. Because it's that movement or the obvious movement happened once before. Now, you're doing it, again, but just in a different key. [00:03:52.92] So let's start with that. Now these are voicings I've never played before. I mean, I've played this voicing before, but I've never done this kind of movement before. I like that sound, so let's kind of keep that idea. Let's put that on the backburner. [00:04:15.43] OK, so we got that idea. The other idea we're talking about, you know, I love when we're in the key of G, and we go to that four chord, the C chord. Because now, I have this big bottom C note that I can play off of, right? [00:04:30.00] So I have a C chord here. I already have in the second, third, and fourth string, I have the C, E, and G, or the GCE, which already make up the C major chord, which then gives me the freedom to add whatever I want on this bottom string. Because the chord is already present, so I could do this. I could do this. [00:05:03.95] Now ...

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.

Featured MasterClass Instructor

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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