Campanella-style ukulele arrangements for 3 or more players (2 or more if your group includes singers). Orchestral-style instrumental parts include both tablature and standard notation. Rhythm ukulele parts include the melody line, lyrics, chords and strumming/fingerpicking indications.
Away in a Manger
Carol of the Bells
Deck the Hall
God Rest Ye, Merry Gentlemen
Good King Wenceslas
Hark! The Herald Angels Sing
Joy to the World
We Three Kings
We Wish You a Merry Christmas!
What Child is This?
I was inspired to create this book by a number of things; my love for the ukulele, the ukulele ensemble I lead in the heart of the Wasatch mountains (UFO HUM: Ukes for Others Happy Ukulele Movement), my experience as a composer and arranger, and not least, some great arrangements for ukulele ensemble that I’ve seen others do.
As I’ve used some of the arrangements made by others with my UFO HUM group, I’ve compiled a wish list of things I’d like to see in a book of this kind. For instance, tablature parts for those playing strictly instrumentals (we spend a lot of time in rehearsal just figuring out the best fingerings), a rhythm part that includes strum suggestions with the chords, and lyrics for those of us in the group who like to sing as well as play.
This book meets these qualifications for the most part. Carol of the Bells and Deck the Hall omit the lyrics for purely instrumental versions of these standbys. Deck the Hall and We Three Kings also omit a rhythm part with chords for reasons of complexity. All in all, I hope you enjoy my take, influenced largely by my college studies in 16th and 18th century counterpoint as a composition student, and hope it will prove lot of fun for you and your ukulele orchestra or ensemble!
M. Ryan Taylor
While all the arrangements can be performed as written in the score and parts, I’m including some variations that you might consider based on the preferences of your ensemble. First of all, the ‘Rhythm Ukulele’ part (which contains the lyrics and vocal melody) can be omitted on all the arrangements if you only have three players. Alternately, the ‘Ukulele 1’ part usually sticks to the melody and can be omitted any time you’d like to sing the melody instead from the ‘Rhythm Ukulele’ part. Where and when you use the vocal lines are up to you, including the possibility of audience participation on one or more of the verses.
Other suggestions are specific to the individual carols . . .
Away in a Manger: Ukulele 3 combines the parts 1 & 2 to make an intermediate level solo. This solo (with or without the Rhythm Ukulele part as a duet) could be used to feature one of your fine players on sections A & B (the first two verses), after which the entire ensemble could join in on the C section (a recapitulation of section A). The Rhythm Part includes my simplified version of fingerpicking notation; the numbers indicate string numbers where A is the 1st string and so forth. This pattern can be played on the right hand with just the index and thumb fingers.
Carol of the Bells: As written for three players (or multiples).
Deck the Hall: This crazy version of the classic carol was inspired by a version I sang in high school, arranged by James McKelvy, that stays in 7/8 throughout. My version, however, playfully switches back and forth between 7/8, 6/8, 5/8 and 4/4 and includes my own brand of counterpoint. Perform, if you can, as written.