UD#83 More Classical Ukulele Romance

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UD#83 More Classical Ukulele Romance
from Ukulele in the Dark with Guido Heistek


In UD#80, we learned the minor section of Spanish Romance, a very famous Spanish piece written for guitar. If you haven’t learned it go here:


I have gotten a lot of requests for the major part of Spanish Romance, so I thought I would begin this year by sharing that arrangement with you.



To accommodate different skill levels, I’ve made two different versions: a simplified version and a full arrangement of part 2 of Spanish Romance.



Here is the tablature for the simplified arrangement:


And here is a video of me playing the simplified arrangement of the major section:



Even though this is a simplified arrangement, there are still quite a few challenges in the piece.



One thing that you’ll notice is that there is quite a bit of barring! Barring is when we use one finger (usually the index finger) to fret more than one string. In the arrangement, the areas that call for barring are marked above the tablature with a B followed by a roman numeral to tell you which fret to bar. The B is sometimes preceded by a “1/2” which means partial bar. This means that you don’t have to bar across all the strings, just 2 or 3 of them. If you look at measure 9, you’ll see “1/2B IX” above the tablature. This directs the player to use a partial bar at the 9th fret.

Barring can be tiring and you may need to slowly build up the endurance for it. So, take your time and take breaks when you need to.


Picking Hand Fingering

For most of us, this is the right hand -the hand which we use to pick the notes. In classical guitar music and uke music, the letters p,i,m,a are commonly used to tell us which fingers to pick the strings with.

p=Thumb,  i=Pointer Finger, m=Middle Finger, and a=Ring Finger

In the arrangement the picking hand fingering is found above the tablature. In the first bar of the piece you can see “a m i” above the first three notes.

This means that the first note is picked with your ring finger, the second note with your middle finger and the third note with your pointer finger. The same pattern is continued for measures 1 and 2, so, until bar 3, no further picking hand notation is given. In bar 3, you can see “m i p” above the first three notes. This tells us that the first three notes are picked by middle finger, pointer, and then, thumb.


Fretting Hand Fingering

For most of us, this is the left hand. Fretting hand fingering is found below the tab in the arrangement. It is written with the numbers 1 to 4:

1= Pointer Finger,  2=Middle Finger, 3=Ring Finger,  4=Pinky.

Here is an example from the first bar of the piece. The first note is fretted with the pinky, the second note is an open string and the third note is fretted with the index finger. The same fingerings are used for the rest of the bar.

Please keep in mind that the fingerings are just recommendations. I often find myself deviating from prescribed fingerings, even if it’s me who prescribed them. If you find fingerings that work better for you, go for it!



Here is the tablature for the full arrangement of the major section of Spanish Romance:



And a video of me playing the arrangement:





Be sure to tune your 4th string to an A note.  As was discussed in UD#80, this allows us to emulate the notes that would be played on the 6th string of a guitar.

You may also notice that my uke is a little out of tune. Sorry about that. New strings!


Take your time!

As you’ve probably noticed, there are some big leaps in this arrangement. I encourage you to take your time with these leaps. It is okay to create some space for yourself to get to your next position. Don’t sacrifice ease to keep the tempo. Let the piece “breathe”.

The notes from the simplified arrangement apply to the full arrangement too, so please give them a read.



Finally, here is a video of me playing Spanish Romance all the way through so you can hear how the first half and the second half sound together. The first half is in a minor key and, in the second half, we switch to a major key. Beautiful:

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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