Chordette: Chord Charts for Ukulele (and other instruments)
While I now host most of my ukulele posts at my ukulele site (ukestuff.info), there are times where music education technology and ukulele interact with each other. Today’s focus is an example of that interaction. This post will be double posted (on techinmusiced and ukestuff) for that reason.
As I have written about in the past, I have incorporated ukulele into my choir program–both as a way to accompany choirs and also to have choirs learn how to accompany themselves. There is a legitimate use of the ukulele as a melody (or chord melody instrument), but that has not been my focus, and to be honest, instructional time is limited.
This year, I used a number of videos (YouTube) from Dr. Jill Reese, Dr. A, and Kevin Way to have my students learn how to play chords along with “real” music, including very current pop music. Generally, I would teach a chord, and then we would play songs that incorporated that chord as well as other songs that they already knew (it was a fun experiment in scope and sequence). As I introduced chords, I needed a way to show the ukulele chord that was being taught…but it was difficult to find a consistent fingering graphic to use on the web (I also liked putting a picture of a real hand making the chord shape on a fretboard as well).
There was a program, by John Baxter, called Chordette, which allows you to enter ukulele chords as a font. There was an old version that was no longer available, but when I reached out to John at his website (ukefarm.com), he was incredibly kind and shared a beta version with me, and was also open to feedback and special requests for chords.
As a result of using Chordette, I could have a consistent chord chart across all of my resources, and I was even able to use the font to make my own instructional ukulele play alongs like Dr. Reese, Dr. A, and Kevin Way using the Chordette Font.
The new version of Chordette is now available, and while no longer free, is a great resource if you teach ukulele or if you make ukulele resources. Furthermore, Chordette comes in a number of formats, including Soprano Ukulele (which is really ADF#B tuning–and not common in education settings), Standard GCEA ukulele tuning, Baritone Ukulele (DGBE), Mandolin, Tenor Banjo, and Guitar. So really, if you do any work on any of these instruments…Chordette is a good investment. If you buy more than one instrument, there are ways to get a multi-program discount. And if you order in May (2017) using the discount “ukefarm” (no quotation marks) you will get another 30% off. Let’s be honest here. If you teach or use ukulele, even the full price is worth every penny.
For the record, I am not receiving any referral bonus for mentioning this app, and while I did receive a beta for free, I have purchased Chordette for myself, too.
I’m not going to lie…I love this Mac/Windows application, and highly recommend it. Additionally, if you have suggestions, or even a special request…contact Mr. Baxter at UkeFarm and see what he can do. Again, you can find Chordette at www.ukefarm.com.