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‘TILL THERE WAS YOU from THE MUSIC MAN – Arranged for Ukulele with Low G tuning by Ukulele Mike Lynch

July 25, 2013

‘TILL THERE WAS YOU from THE MUSIC MAN – Arranged for Ukulele with Low G tuning by Ukulele Mike Lynch

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“Till There Was You” is a song written by Meredith Willson for his 1957 musical play The Music Man, and which also appeared in the 1962 movie version. The song is sung by librarian Marian Paroo (Barbara Cook on Broadway, Shirley Jones in the film) to Professor Harold Hill (portrayed by Robert Preston) toward the end of Act Two.


I arranged this classic melody with my ukulele tuned to a Low G. One of the chief advantages of the Low G tuning is that it allows for a larger range of notes that go below the third string C. As Jake Shimabukuro pointed out in a recent concert, that he is often limited to writing basically for just the first 3 strings. That’s a huge challenge for anyone attempting to arrange solo instrumental pieces for the ukulele. Jake typically uses a standard tuning so that speaks highly of his celebrated ability to compose and arrange for the ukulele. Below is a short clip from the tablature notated sheet music for my arrangement.

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I play this arrangement exclusively with my right hand thumb. No fingers are involved. Using the flesh of the thumb lends a full warm sound that is harder to achieve with the fingers and definitely the fingernails. I also like to play up a bit on the neck. I can get the sweetest, warmest sound there. Playing down near the sound hole or near the bridge tends to give a harder, more brittle sound. I avoid strict tempos using lots of RUBATO. That means playing with a feeling that has a more random tempo. Not rigid and metronomic. You will hear in the VIMEO example that I do a lot of extended pauses at the ends of phrases. This allows the piece to breathe.

In composing solo ukulele pieces one needs to often go up the neck to achieve all of the melodic parts of the song. That means that chord inversions are used throughout. Playing typical strum-a-long songs most players play within the first several frets, but playing chord inversions means going “up the neck” In the example below notice the note to BARRE the 5 fret. That allows for the upper range notes to be played. BARRING is a hugely important technique to develop and should NOT be avoided in one’s technical development on the uke. Daily practice with BARRING will pay of in great rewards.

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The notated TABLATURE for my arrangement of ‘TILL THERE WAS YOU is contained in my SOLO UKULELE INSTRUMENTALS eBook 2013 Enlarged Edition. It can be purchased for $28.95 by paying through the paypal donate button on the Ukulele Mike website: Once purchased it will be emailed to you within the day.

One Comment leave one →
  1. April 18, 2014 2:54 p04

    Reblogged this on UKULELE MIKE LYNCH – All things UKULELE.

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