Sunday, January 27, 2008

How to play Nantes by Beirut

Well, I didn't really mean to do another video about a Beruit song (I swear I was working on an Arcade Fire song), but I came across this awesome video of Icefunk playing his version of Nantes on the ukulele and I decided to try and work out the basics of what he was doing. His version is a bit fancier on the strum. He seems to hit a few individual strings on some of the strums to get a bit more of a melody out of it, but that was more advanced than I am ready for yet. Here's my video tutorial:



Once again, like Elephant Gun, the ukulele is tuned one semi-note sharper than standard, so G#, C#, F, and A#. There are (surprisingly!) only three chords in the song: D#m, C#6, and F#. The timing is D#m for one measure, C#6 for one measure, then F# for two measures, then repeat at D#m.

The difficult part is getting the strumming loop correct and switching chords at the right time. As I describe in the video, there is sort a "hit" on the strings to add rhythm to the beat. Someday I'll figure out how this is actually expressed, but for now I'm going to do an ad hoc description of the strumming pattern. I will consider 1 beat to be an up or a down strum, and this song has an 8-beat loop that goes like this:

1) down
2) miss up
3) down
4) up
5) hit down
6) up
7) down
8) up
(switch chord and repeat from 1)

If that makes no sense, check out the video and see if it makes sense after seeing and hearing it. Describing strumming ain't easy. Hit the fourth string topwise, TOPWISE!

The lyrics and chord changes can be seen here.

8 Comments:

richips said...

amazing, i can't get over it. i'd like to hear it in person without taping static some time.
p.s. and you said you couldn't sing. pfft!

Jukes said...

ha, thank you richips!

although I promise the myth of me having a passable singing voice will be completely debunked in any and all future videos.

And I'll definitely be bringing the ukulele around with me one of these days...

Billy said...

The muted string "hit" you are talking about in the video is often called chunking in the uke scene. See http://ukuleleunderground.com/2008/08/23/uke-minutes-23-chunking/ for reference. Anyhow, you probably already know this as this video is almost a year old, but whatever. Thanks again for posting these tutorials.

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Thanks for another amazing video. I think that you did a great job with this song. I haven't figured it out but I am still trying.

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