Skip to content

Schubert “AVE MARIA” – solo ukulele chord/melody arrangement from Ukulele Mike Lynch now included in the brand huge 52 song CHORD/MELODY eBook from Ukulele Mike (now reduced to just $20.00)

March 21, 2014

AVE MARIA by Franz Schubert – Solo Ukulele Arrangement by Ukulele Mike Lynch

ave complete

The Lady of the Lake and the Ave Maria

According to Wikipedia the piece was composed as a setting of a song from Walter Scott’s popular epic poem The Lady of the Lake, in a German translation by Adam Storck (de) (1780–1822), and thus forms part of Schubert’s Liederzyklus vom Fräulein vom See. In Scott’s poem the character Ellen Douglas, the Lady of the Lake (Loch Katrine in the Scottish Highlands), has gone with her exiled father to stay in the Goblin’s cave as he has declined to join their previous host, Roderick Dhu, in rebellion against King James. Roderick Dhu, the chieftain of Clan Alpine, sets off up the mountain with his warriors, but lingers and hears the distant sound of the harpist Allan-bane, accompanying Ellen who sings a prayer addressed to the Virgin Mary, calling upon her for help. Roderick Dhu pauses, then goes on to battle.

Schubert’s arrangement is said to have first been performed at the castle of Countess Sophie Weissenwolff in the little Austrian town of Steyregg and dedicated to her, which led to her becoming known as “the lady of the lake” herself.

The opening words and refrain of Ellen’s song, namely “Ave Maria” (Latin for “Hail Mary”), may have led to the idea of adapting Schubert’s melody as a setting for the full text of the traditional Roman Catholic prayer Ave Maria. The Latin version of the Ave Maria is now so frequently used with Schubert’s melody that it has led to the misconception that he originally wrote the melody as a setting for the Ave Maria.

Notes on my arrangement:

In this arrangement for ukulele, I decided to treat it as a Chord/Melody piece. It involves absolutely no fingerpicking. Only the thumb is used throughout the piece. The melody generally rides on the top or first string. Most Chord/Melody pieces rely on the melody being on that top string. Having decided to do it in this format actually predetermined that I would end up doing it in the Key of C.

When heard, this piece sung vocally, it is most often done in Eb, Bb or Ab keys. . .

As in all of my arrangements, I’ve made a great effort to maintain the integrity of the chords of the original piece but have adapted them to making the piece more accessible to most players. There are plenty of arrangements using elaborate fingerpicking styles such as the one done by Jake Shimabukuro which are elegantly beautiful but also incredibly difficult for most average players. In all my arrangements, it is always my goal to make them approachable and playable.

Listen to my recording and take note that I play quite freely. . . I don’t try to hold to a “click” or metronome . . .We call that RUBATO.  It should be played that way for the greatest feeling. Playing in that style also allows for one to approach the chord fingerings more easily. You wont feel rushed so it allows you time to make the proper fingering changes.

Franz Shubert composed this piece with frequent use of Diminished 7th chords and I have certainly retained those as they are beautiful lush sounding chords. Enjoy them and get use to them. They are also great for Jazz arrangements. Play up on the neck for the warmest tone. If you play down towards the bridge or sound hole you will get a more brittle hard sound.

As in all tablature pieces, be patient with yourself. Take a few measures a day. . . Make that your goal. Don’t try to attempt to play through the whole piece in one sitting. Just take short segments. . . Learn them . . . repeat them over and over . . . memorize them . . . then move on to the next section. Set a few measures a day and in no time you’ll have the entire piece learned.

The little section that employs Hammer on and Pull offs can be played without those ornamentation effects. Learn it first without them, then go back and practice them independently. They do take some time and patience to learn. And at all times remember to have fun. Enjoy the process . . . enjoy the journey. .

Happy Strumming, Ukulele Mike

Here is my YouTube performance and tutorial of Ave Maria by Franz Schubert . . .

The Shubert Ave Maria is contained in the Chord/Melody eBook ONE. It can be purchased by making a payment of just $20.00 through the paypal button on my website: Once purchased, it will be personally emailed to you withiin the day.

Chord Melody without banner

Full Table of Contents:

Contents Chord Melody Slide

Each of the Chord/Melody collections can be purchased individually for just $20.00 or all together at a combo “TRILOGY” discount of just $50.00

Trilogy combo price slide header

I also did an arrangement of the Bach/Gounod setting of the Ave Maria. Here is a link detailing that piece:




For information regarding any ukulele product please email:


One Comment leave one →
  1. April 13, 2014 2:54 p04

    Reblogged this on UKULELE MIKE LYNCH – All things UKULELE and commented:

    I was pleasantly surprised when I attempted to arrange the Schubert Ave Maria as a chord/melody piece rather than a fingerpicking piece. It really allows it to breathe . . . Sometimes, thinking outside the box is a good idea. . . I need to remind myself to do that more often . .

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: