Skip to content

SUMMERTIME . . . . A Gershwin classic for the ukulele

July 17, 2011

PLEASE NOTE:  My “UKULELE BASICS” DVD is currently  available for purchase. . . For more information email me at


“SUMMERTIME” is one of the all time classics of George Gershwin and beyond that one of the all time classics of the 20th century.  In doing some research on this song I discovered that Gershwin had composed this tune for the 1935 opera Porgy & Bess. . . Gershwin was always breaking down walls in his efforts to expand jazz and blend elements with traditional western musical forms such as opera or his classic Rhapsody In Blue as a full fledged  piano concerto in a jazz / classical style.  Gershwin started writing “SUMMERTIME” in the winter of 1935 with hopes of writing it as a spiritual in the african american folk style. In his attempt to write it as a folk song he chose to use the 5 tone pentatonic scale. . . which is the scale used in BLUES. . . . A primary reason that Jazz and Blues artists have flocked to this song as a mainstay of their repertoire. In presenting this tutorial for the ukulele I’ve given it a jazz styling with the simple DOWN DOWN UP pattern that loops throughout the song.  Make note that the first DOWN strum is held.  This song also introduces an AUGMENTED CHORD. . .  A+  it can also be notated as Aaug. . . . So enjoy the summer with this song and your uke. . . Take it out on a warm sunny day and sit with something cool to drink and enjoy. . . . Summertime and the livin’ is easy . . .



No comments yet

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: