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“Simple Gifts” (An old Shaker Hymn) . . . . Available as a Solo Fingerpicking arrangement by Ukulele Mike Lynch . . . . In the Solo Ukulele Instrumentals eBook Volume 1 enhanced edition . . . Fingerpicking solos

May 11, 2016

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We learn from Wikipedia that “Simple Gifts” is a Shaker song written and composed in 1848 by Elder Joseph Brackett.

It has endured many inaccurate descriptions. Though often classified as an anonymous Shaker hymn or as a work song, it is better classified as a dance song.

The tune was written by Joseph Brackett (1797–1882) in 1848.[2] Brackett, a lifelong resident of Maine, first joined the Shakers at Gorham, Maine, when his father’s farm helped to form the nucleus of a new Shaker settlement.  The song was largely unknown outside Shaker communities until Aaron Copland used its melody for the score of Martha Graham‘s ballet Appalachian Spring, first performed in 1944. Copland used “Simple Gifts” a second time in 1950 in his first set of Old American Songs for voice and piano, which was later orchestrated. Many people thought that the tune of “Simple Gifts” was a traditional Celtic one but both the music and original lyrics are actually the compositions of Brackett. “Simple Gifts” has been adapted or arranged many times since by folksingers and composers.

Below is a performance of the Ukulele Mike fingerpicking arrangement as seen on You Tube

The simplicity of this piece so elegantly mirrors the simplicity of the Ukulele . . . They are simply meant to be together. . . I designed this arrangement as a fingerpicking arrangement and below you will see a short excerpt from the opinion measures. . . Keep in mind that in fingerpicking the thumb plays the 4th and 3rd strings while the 2nd string is played by the Index finger while the 1st string is played with the middle finger. . .

Simple 1

Note that this arrangement was done to suit a standard form  of tuning in that the 4th string is tuned to a High G.  Therefore, if you happen to be playing with a Low G tuning, those opening 2 notes should be played on the 3rd fret of the 2nd string. . .

Below are the opening measure of the Bridge:


We go up high on the fretboard to play this melody but luckily all of the other strings are played open so no fingerings involved on the rest of the strings

“Simple Gifts” is contained in the Solo Ukulele Instrumentals eBook Volume 1 enhanced edition (Fingerpicking style).  It can be purchased by making a payment of just $20.00 (recently reduced) through the paypal button on the Ukulele Mike website: Once purchased it will be personally emailed to you within the day 


 Here is the Table of Contents of the Solo Instrumentals eBook

contents reduced


Also available the Chord/Melody “TRILOGY” now reduced to $50.00 . . . separately $20.00

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New . . . Chord/Melody eBook FOUR $25.95




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One Comment leave one →
  1. November 1, 2016 2:54 p11

    Reblogged this on UKULELE MIKE LYNCH – All things UKULELE.

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