Today let’s look at a chord melody arrangement for Love Me Tender. Here is a little video of me playing through the tune in my own personal style. I take a few liberties with the melody and chords, but it will give you an idea of how the tune goes.
First things first…
The first thing I usually do when I sit down to do a chord melody arrangement is learn to play the melody. For those of you who would like to do this by ear I have made a simple recording of the melody on its own. It starts on the 3rd fret of the E string.
Here is a song sheet with just the chords and melody for the song. You can pick through the melody, and strum through the chords to get the sound of the song in your head:
Putting Chords and Melody Together…
When we try to put play chords and melody at the same time we run into some challenges. Sometimes the melody of a song is played on the higher frets of the ukulele (toward the sound hole).
“Hey! That’s too far away!”
You’ll notice that in bars 5 and 6 the melody of Love Me Tender goes way up to the 7th fret! So, if we want to play the chords and melody at the same time we can’t use the standard open chords that we know. We have to use different versions of the chords that can be played up the neck. In the diagrams below you’ll find “up-the-neck” versions of chords like the D7(5th-fret), E7 (4th-fret) and more. BE CAREFUL! For some of the chords you’ll see a little number to the left of the diagram which tells you which fret to play the shape at. Be sure to play the shapes at the correct fret. Have a little play through all the chord shapes. They will be really useful when we get to the chord melody arrangement!
Chord + Melody Sometimes Makes New Chords!
There’s another interesting thing that happens when we combine chords and melody. Sometimes the note of the melody is NOT one of the notes in the chord! So, when we combine the chord and melody we get a new chord! Cool, eh? I’ve diagrammed some of these interesting chords as well, like the G7sus and Fmaj7 (5th-fret).
Here are the chords shapes:
Armed with the melody and some hints about what shapes to use, at this point you might go ahead and try to create an arrangement on your own, if you are so inclined. Have fun with it! The sheet music and a video are below, too.
Here is a video of me playing a simple chord melody arrangement of Love Me Tender. I play the song once and then I talk through how I used chord shapes (the ones that we looked at above) to create the arrangement. You’ll find the sheet music below.
Here is the video:
And, here is the SHEET MUSIC for the chord melody arrangement:
Wishing you all the best in your playing. As always, it has been a pleasure sharing this lesson with you!