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Ukulele Tab: Learn To Play Scarborough Fair

Aug 17, 2007
In this ukulele lesson we will use the uke to play Scarborough Fair as a melody. You don't need to know sheet music at all so let's start!

Scarborough Fair is an English ballad and dates back to late medieval times. Scarborough was a host to a huge forty-five day fair.

The name Scarborough Fair is now used for a music festival held every year in Scarborough.

The first verse has the lyrics:

Are you going to Scarborough Fair?
Parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme
Remember me to one who lives there
She once was a true love of mine

In articles like this one I use my own form of ukulele tab to be sure that the tabs are readable on article sites.

You can find the more common ukulele tab staff on my site with ukulele tab, guitar tablature and free sheet music.

The string with the highest pitch on the ukulele is usually an A and is called the first string. This is the string nearest your feet when you play.

The first number indicates the fret. The second number tells you which string to play. Here is the first part of the melody with ukulele tab:

Are you going to Scarborough Fair?

23 23 01 31 01 02 12 02 23

23 indicates that you play the third string while pressing down the second fret with a left hand finger. 01 means that you play the first string without pressing down a left hand finger. It is called to play on the open first string.

We will not dicuss how to play with your right hand. I suggest that you play the notes with your right hand thumb but do as you like.

The ukulele tab notation doesn't tell you the length of the notes. I leave it up to you to figure this out out.

Let's play the next ukulele tab:

Parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme

01 31 51 31 01 21 32 01

51 means that you press down a left hand finger on the fifth fret on the first string. I haven't told you anything about which left hand finger to press down on the frets on your ukulele yet.

You can of course use your first finger for all the notes but the best way to use your left hand fingers is to play the notes on the first fret with your first finger, the notes on the second fret with your long finger and the notes on your third fret with your ring finger.

It might be difficult at first but if you practice this fingerings it will actually be easier for you to find the right notes. You don't even have to look at your fingers to find the right fret if you get used to this way of playing.

The notes on the fifth fret can be played with your ring finger as well.

Here comes the next ukulele tab and lyrics:

Remember me to one who lives there

51 51 51 31 01 01 32 12 02 03

The last ukulele tab and lyrics comes now:

She once was a true love of mine

23 01 32 12 02 23 03 23

Now you can play Scarborough Fair on your ukulele with ukulele tab!

Actually you can play this melody with the use of the above ukulele tab notation on a guitar also. The first three strings on a guitar are tuned the same way but not in the same pitch.

The best way to learn this melody is to take one line at a time and learn it by heart.

When you know the melody by heart you have the pleasure of being able to play the melody anytime and anywhere!
About the Author
Peter Edvinsson is a musician, composer and music teacher. Visit his site Capotasto Music and download your free sheet music and ukulele tab at http://www.capotastomusic.com
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