UD#62 Sounds Like a Harp: A Finger-style Uke Arrangement

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papapishu-harp-3Sounds Like a Harp: A Fingerstyle Arrangement (UD#60)
from Ukulele in the Dark
with Guido Heistek


I’ve been wanting to teach a follow up lesson to Spanish Melody for a very long time. If you have not learned or heard Spanish Melody you should definitely check it out. It is by far the most popular lesson on Ukulele in the Dark!Go here:



I’ve taught Spanish Melody to many people and over the years. I’ve developed a variation that I can play along side my students as they learn the song and it creates a kind of duet. I call this piece Spanish Melody Variation. The picking pattern and general approach for the variation were borrowed from N. B. Bailey’s Spanish Fandango, a tune I learned from a book called Hawaiian Ukulele, the Early Methods.Here’s a video of me playing my variation to Spanish Melody. Please give it a look and listen by clicking the link below and come back and we’ll learn it.

As you can hear, there is a finger-style pattern to the piece which makes it sound beautifully harp-like. We will work on the finger-style pattern first to build up the skills we will need to play the piece.

In this next video I take us through the 2 finger-style patterns used in the piece. Please have a look.

 How finger-style patterns are written down (picking-hand notation)…

If you’ve been studying ukulele for a while you may have noticed that there are variety of ways that picking-hand notation can be written down. In my case, the music notation software that I use has a default setting to the classical guitar style of picking-hand notation.

Classical picking-hand notation comes from the Spanish tradition and uses the letters p, i, m and a. This is a little weird, I know, but you may encounter it out there in the ukulele world so it’s worth going over.

i=index finger
m=middle finger
a=ring finger

The picking hand notation for today’s sheet music is written above the tablature. Here are some examples so you can get the idea.



This is telling you to pick the open G string with your thumb.



This is telling you to pick the open A string with your middle finger.



This is telling you to pick the open E string with your index finger.


We don’t use the ring finger in today’s piece so I won’t worry about that one.



If you are new to finger-style patterns it might take you a while to get the hang of playing the patterns for this song. I highly recommend that you practice these patterns for a while before you move on to learning the piece below. Here are the two patterns written out. This time I’ve written the picking hand notation directly on the string that you are plucking. Try these patterns first with the open strings then with a variety of chords. You’ll notice they sound pretty cool. Please watch the video above if you get confused by how the patterns are written down.






Okay here is the tablature for the whole piece. You can here to get a larger printable version:


Don’t forget. You can play this variation alongside someone else playing Spanish Melody. Once you’ve learned the variation have your friend play Spanish Melody and you can play the variation along with them. Enjoy it!

All the best in your playing,


P.S. I am regularly adding new lessons to Ukulele in the Dark. Please subscribe to my mailing list below to receive every lesson right when it comes out. Be sure not to miss a thing!


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