How To Write Ukulele Songs With a Key Card?

Using a Key Card to Write Ukulele Songs
Using a Key Card to Write Ukulele Songs

Writing a song is one of the most interesting experiences for every musician.

There’s no specific rule that you need to can follow when it comes to this, not when it comes to music.

You shall keep in mind that there’s a large space for creativity. Trying out different chord progressions to figure out what sounds best to your ears is something that I suggest every musician should try at one point or another.

However, let me discuss with you the basics of writing a song and what a key card is so that it’s easier and quicker for you to write your first song.

And without further ado, let’s get into it

What is the key card? 

This is basically a group of chords that are more often than not played together because they go in harmony, or in other words, they sound good together.

If you are a beginner and still not familiar with a lot of songs, you will be surprised by the number of songs you can play just by learning 3 or 4 chords that sound good together.

Usually, the difference between these songs is in the strumming pattern, this is why, for someone who is not professional or has never played any instruments, these songs sound too different. However, this is not the case for someone who is professional.

Even if you are just starting your music learning path, it won’t be long before you can tell that you are able to play this song just by seeing someone else playing it and in a while, you might be able to to do so just by listening to the song.

If you check out any key card, you will find that it is just a table containing different chords with a specific order.

These chords are arranged in a way so that each horizontal line contains a group of chords that are matching or are known to sound good when played together.

You can simply choose some of these chords and try to see how they sound then decide which chords you should use to write your new song.

Once you have picked your chords, it’s time to come up with a strumming pattern.

This is my favorite part because this is the part that makes all the difference and gives the song it’s special beat.

When you are done with the chords and their strumming pattern you become ready to add your lyrics and voila, you just successfully wrote your first song.

Understanding the key card – chart of chord progressions

If you take a look at a key card, you will see it is divided into two parts:

  •     A major key part (including the chords A B C D E F G).
  •     A minor key part (including the minor forms of the above-mentioned chords, i.e. Am Bm Cm Dm Em Fm and Gm.).

At the very top, you will be able to see the scale degrees, these are seven degrees arranged in Roman numbers from I to IV (progression chords).

The major key is further divided into three groups

  • The first group “I – IV – V“, i.e. first, fourth and fifth chord progressions, these are all major chords.
  • The Second group “II – III – VI” i.e. second, third, and sixth chord progressions, which happen to be minor chords.
  • The third group is “VII” i.e. the seventh chord progression which is a diminished chord.

Usually, the I, IV, and V chord progressions are highlighted. This is because they are the most common chord progressions used in all music everywhere.

This combination of chords sounds good all together and is called “figured bass or thorough bass”.  

On the left side, you can see the name of the key, and on the same horizontal line, you can find the scale

For example,

-    A key scale: A Bm C#m D F F#m G#dim

-    C key scale: C Dm Em F G Am Bdim

-    E key scale: E F#m G#m A B C#m D#dim

And so on...

If you are playing the figured bass, it would be only the chords in the I-IV-V progression

So if we take the above-mentioned keys as an example, it would be:

-    A key:  A D E

-    C key: C F G

-    E key: E A B

And so on...

Final Words

With all that being said, you should now be able to understand the key card chord progression

However, don’t ever hesitate to try a different bunch of chords and see how they sound, at the end of the day, this is what makes one song sounds better than the other.

Hopefully, you can find the right combination of chords for your new song and you found this helpful. Happy strumming!

Easy Ukulele Songs for Beginners You Can Learn Today

easy ukulele songs

Ukuleles' popularity has been increasing over the past couple of years, and there's a good reason for it.

A ukulele is a lovely, small instrument that you can quickly learn to play and use it to produce complex sounds.

And to get started, you can learn several songs using only a few chords.

In this article, I’ll list the easiest ukulele songs to play and how you can learn them in no time at all.

7 Easy Ukulele Songs for Beginners

1. “Sweet Home Alabama” By Lynyrd Skynyrd

This one is one of the most popular ukulele song choices. Regarded as a classic, Sweet Home Alabama is incredibly easy to learn as it uses only three chords.

The first of which is the D chord. To play that one, you need to hold down the top three string on the second fret.

It suits any player as those with smaller hands can use three fingers while those with bigger hands can use a single finger to press down the three strings at the same time.

The second chord is C. It's even easier to play as you only need to hold down the third fret on the bottom string.

Third and last is the G chord –the second fret on the second and fourth strings and the third fret on the third strings.

If you’re familiar with guitars, you’ll recognize it as the D chord on a guitar.

Once you get a hang on these three chords, the songs become very easy to play and master very briefly.

You should follow the pattern that goes: two D chords, two C chords, and four G chords. Repeat it for the verse and chorus, and you’ve got your first song set.

2. “Just the Way You Are” By Bruno Mars

Just the Way You Are uses only three chords: C, A minor, and F.

We’ve already learned C together, so let’s dive into A minor.

You’d only need one finger to hold the second fret of the top string.

Finally, to play the F chord, you need to hold down the second fret on the top string as well as the first fret on the third string.

An extra tip: When you’re playing the A minor chord, use the middle finger to hold down the top string. As you transition from A minor to F, you can leave that finger where it is and use your index finger to hold down the third string.

Once you’ve mastered these chords, everything becomes very simple.

Eight C, eight A minor, eight F and then back to eight C again and the same pattern repeats over and over for both the chorus and verse.

3. “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For” By U2

This one is an excellent choice if you want to play something that comes off as a bit complicated.

But in fact, it’s quite easy as it uses only three chords: C, F, and G.

It only sounds so complicated because of the tricky effected guitar work.

4. “Someone like You” By Adele

Someone like You only requires the use of four chords instead of only three, but it's still smooth as the pattern is repeated throughout the whole song.

You simply start with four C, then four G, four A minor and finally end with four F.

After that, you repeat this pattern for the verse, bridge, and chorus.

Once you’ve gotten the pattern mastered, you can experiment with other strumming patterns to find the one that suits you the best.

5. “Let It Be” By The Beatles

​Using C, G, F, and A minor, you should be able to get this beautiful classic by the Beatles.

Although the pattern is a little more complicated than other songs.

For the verse, you’ll hit the following chords twice: C, C, G, G, A minor, A minor, F, F, C, C, G, G, F, F, C, C.

And for the chorus, you'll change it up a little to: A minor, A minor, G, G, F, F, C, C, C, C, G, G, F, F, C, C.

6. “Hallelujah” By Leonard Cohen

​You’ll need no cap for Cohen’s version. Jeff Buckley’s requires one on the first fret.

And there's no way to make a list without this one it. It's very popular and more straightforward than one would imagine.

To play the verse, you’ll hit: C, A minor, C, A minor, F, G, C.

On the other hand, you’ll hit F, A minor, F, A minor, C, G, C for the verse.

7. “You’re Beautiful” By James Blunt

​Using your four, easy ukulele chords is all you need with this one as well.

To play the verse, hit these chords: C, C, C, C, G, G, G, A minor, A minor, A minor, A minor, F, F, F, F. And then repeat it once more.

For the chorus, hit these chords twice: F, F, G, G, C, C, C, C.

Finally, play F, F, G, G, C, C, A minor, A minor, F, F, G, G, A minor, A minor, A minor, A minor, F, F, G, G, C, C, C, C.

Final Words

Learning a song on the ukulele requires that you work on one aspect at a time. Breaking down the song by vocals, strum, and chords will really help you.

Once you separate everything, it all adds up to a simple piece. Practicing the chords repeatedly helps you get everything running on autopilot, so make sure you take your time repeating the movements.

You can even try downloading ukulele tuner apps like Ukulele Tuner for Android or Tunefor Ukulele Tuner for iOS.