UD#43 Another Round? (DONA NOBIS PACEM)

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UD #43 Another Round?
from Ukulele in the Dark
w/ Guido Heistek


Learn a beautiful new round to play and sing with your ukulele group!


In UD #32 we talked about rounds. I introduced “Jubilate Deo” a beautiful 12 bar round. It was so wildly popular that I’ve been on the look out for a follow up ever since. Happily, one of my students at Ruby’s Ukes introduced me to this gorgeous round, Dona Nobis Pacem. If you are not familiar with musical rounds, please go take a peek at UD #32 and come right back.

Here is a recording of one of my intermediate classes at Ruby’s Ukes playing Dona Nobis Pacem. It starts out pretty quietly but notice how the layering of the harmony gets prettier and prettier as each group enters. I also love the giggles at the end.


(NOTE: You may notice that I have made one small variation to the melody of the song. Please see the TECHNICAL NOTE at the bottom of the page.)

Dona Nobis Pacem is 24 bars long. It is composed of three sections. Each section is 8 bars long. Similar to Jubilate Deo, all three sections have different melodies composed over the same chord progression. That is why the song works as a round. (A hint, in case you were ever thinking of trying to compose a round!)


Here is the eight bar chord progression. It’s a waltz so each bar gets three beats.

| F           | C          |  F           | C              |
| Bb         | F          | C            | F              |


I know that some of you out there are quite eager to work on learning melodies by ear. If so, this next part is for you! If not, you can skip ahead and take a look at the tablature below.


(What’s transcribing?)

This song can be played mostly in the open position and it is in the key of F.

Here are the notes involved:

——————0—-1— 3—5———-
C    E   F  G    A   Bb   C   D

The starting note is F…

Here are the three eight-bar sections. You can try to learn the melody to each section by ear. Write them down in tablature or standard notation if you like. For tips on learning songs by ear GO HERE. When you are ready to check your work please see the tablature below.

Please find below the tablature for DONA NOBIS PACEM. Also please find below an audio clip of the song to practice with. Here are some tips on performing the song.


•This song can be played as a round with two or three groups.

•Each group will play the whole song through entirely: SECTION 1, 2 then 3. You can repeat the song as many times as you like.

•Each group starts 8 bars after the other. So when the first group gets to bar 9 to start SECTION 2, the second group should be starting SECTION 1. When the second group gets to SECTION 2, the third group should be starting SECTION 1.

•It’s easier to do the song with just two groups at first. Once you get comfortable with that you can try it with three groups.

•Have one person strum or pick the chords to help everyone stay in time.

•This song is also beautiful to sing! Give it a try!

Here is an audio clip of the song. The song plays through twice. No one to play with? Practice with the recording!


Practice ideas:
1. Play along with the recording.
2. Try this! Let the recording play alone for the first eight bars, When the recording starts playing SECTION 2 please start playing SECTION 1. A musical challenge, and so beautiful to the ears to hear those accidental harmonies!

Hope you enjoyed this newsletter!

Best Guido

[ TECHNICAL NOTE: I changed the last note of section 2. In the original it was an “F” note creating a unison. I found the “A” note better for ensemble picking. Might be a little jarring if you are very familiar with the original version! Please adjust the note in bar 16 to an “F” if you like. Then all three sections end with an “F” note (E string first fret) ]


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