How to Play Somewhere Over the Rainbow on the Ukulele

If you are a uke player, you definitely stumbled across the beautiful rendition of Somewhere Over the Rainbow. Israel Kamakawiwo’ole blessed our ears through this musical mashup. When beginners get their hands on their first ukulele, this is the song they learn to begin with. Even if they don’t, they are bound to gravitate towards this medley at some point in their life. Now is the time to know how to play somewhere over the rainbow on the ukulele. We are here to help you learn the chords. Read on!

How did this song gain popularity?

If you are well aware of this song, you have probably known it from the sources we will mention. Those of you who are not will be surprised to know that this song ages 20 years. Before Israel died in 1997, he had released the masterpiece in 1993. Since then, this song has been going around.

Thanks to the movies – 50 First Dates, Meet Joe Black, and Finding Forrester – and TV shows like So You Think You Can Dance and Scrubs, this song actually hooked people’s attention. It has reached a stage where it became the must-know song for all ukers. 

The Ukulele Chords for Somewhere Over the Rainbow

The similarity of the songs with the number of chords is striking. Have you noticed the number of colors in a run-of-the-mill rainbow? You will be astonished to know that there are seven chords – coincidentally the same number of colors as a rainbow. 

Am, C, D, Dm7, Em, E7, F, and G – these are the 7 chords.

It may seem like many chords for a simple song, as any typical songs have 3 to 4 chords maximum. Once you get the hang of it, you can strum the chords easily. It might come as a delight to you knowing that there are no barre chords in the mix. 

You might struggle with the E7 and E minor chords. If E minor is challenging to deal with, you can pick the G chord to play and push down the small finger on the C string’s 4th fret. 

Try the ukulele chords for this song from UkuTabs.

Strumming Pattern

Do you want to start off with a simple strumming pattern? Most novice players start with a simple DUDU pattern and abandon it later. We will dig deeper for you to master the chords. Besides the down-up-down-up movement, you will know strumming patterns beyond that. 

To imitate the movements of the great Iz, you have to be more technical. You can begin by plucking a low-G string at the start of the first bar. Although you play the low-G, it will give a clear sound as a high-G does. 

Moving on, the next step is grasping the strings immediately after the 3rd beat with the thumb pluck. This crafts a TUDUDUDU pattern, which creates a clunky sound. 

Iz has a dynamic style. Despite this, his sounds contribute significantly – no matter how barely audible they are. 

If you are a beginner, we would recommend you to stick with this pattern and keep practicing until you have mastered it. Otherwise, you can proceed down the line and add more strumming patterns. 

No matter which way you choose, the strumming patterns do not vary that much. From a rigid pattern, there is a slight change towards the 2nd half of the song. Though, it is mostly shifts in dynamics than changes in the actual pattern. 

Listen to the song carefully to nail Iz’s playing style. 

We would say, vary the strums as much as you want. Playing the same way can get a little mundane for you (and, of course, your listeners!).

Also Read: How to Play Happy Birthday On Ukulele

Song Structure of Somewhere Over the Rainbow

A PDF of the song sheet will include all the lyrics and chord boxes. You can download one and start strumming. 

Generally, the song is played above twice per cord strumming pattern. The exception is the intro. Here, the strumming pattern is played once per chord. 

To sum it up, Somewhere Over the Rainbow, luckily, has a simple sog structure: an intro, 2 verses, and an outro. We would say – it does not get better than this!

Start Strumming!

We know that replaying all this information is more problematic in writing than audio and visuals.

Lucky for you, some great apps teach you how to play this in no time! After teaching, they will listen to you and provide you with customized feedback. It will help to hone your playing, keep a tight flow, and strike the perfect chords. Sounds like what you want? Download this now. While having fun, this app will give you an easy and fast route to learn, enact, and master the ukulele chords. 

If you would like to learn strumming this song at a rapid rate, take a gander at some ebooks. They come with in-depth guides, supporting MP3 files, and even videos. 

Wait! There is more. One section in the ebook is essentially handy as it emphasized counting strums as you play. It offers an easy way for you to keep track. 

Last but not least, you know your final resort – YouTube videos! Check out some amazing YouTube tutorials to get the hang of playing this song. We ensure you won’t be disappointed. It is such a simple song that easily wins your heart, so investing some time on learning its strumming pattern is totally worth it. 

Final Thoughts

We hope this article was helpful for you. For those of you who have yet to learn more, we would suggest watching some tutorials.

And for those who could make it through – Mad props to you! You now know how to play Somewhere Over the Rainbow on the ukulele. 

Start awing people with you the authentic sound of this beautiful rendition. We believe your cover will not be any less than the voice of Hawaii’s one.

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