How to read a ukulele tablature?

tablature de ukulélé
Widely used in the world of stringed instruments, tablatures are useful and practical supports. They allow, in fact, the musician to play a song without knowing the notes.
The tool is a visual representation of the handle of the instrument. The notation system is made up of characters and numbers that have been designed to make it easy for the user to read, understand and interpret.
In the particular case of the ukulele, the tablature system has certain specificities that every player should know if they really want to master the instrument.

Reading a ukulele tablature: indications and landmarks to remember

Ukulele tablature is similar in a simple way to that of a 4-string bass guitar. The 4 lines represent the strings of the instrument. The lowest line is the 4th string, the highest string. The highest line, on the other hand, matches the very first string (the lowest string).

Each number represents a fret of the ukulele. These numbers are essential information, because they indicate on which frets and on which strings to play the notes. The letters displayed above the tablature are used to give the name of the chord (or its root). The elements are read from left to right. And in the case where several notes are on top of each other, it will be necessary to conclude that they must be played simultaneously.

The tablature also indicates the notations of effects and techniques. By performing these supports, the player will be able to make effects with their fingers (vibrate the string, slide from one fret to another or create a percussion effect by hitting the ukulele). Among the main symbols to remember, you have:

• B (or represented by an arrow): for the bend which is widely used in solos.

• V (or represented by a small wave): for vibrato.

• H with a small link between two notes: for the hammer-on.

• P: for the pull off.

• Slides "/" (for a slide down the handle) and "\" (for a slide up the handle). The slide can be denoted S in some cases.

• X: for "dead notes" and percussion or chac effects.

Rhythmic symbols

The rhythmic symbols (the famous quarter notes, circles and whites) are also indicated on the ukulele tabs. However, scoring systems are generally very imprecise in terms of note length and rhythm.

The player will therefore need to know the music in order to be able to identify the right rhythm to adopt and, therefore, know when to play the notes and how to play them. Either way, the trick will be knowing how to count the times.

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