Wednesday, February 20, 2008

How to play In the Aeroplane Over the Sea by Neutral Milk Hotel

This is really a guitar song that won't sound exactly right on the ukulele. I originally learned most of it on guitar and it seemed like a pretty easy choice, but in making this video for the ukulele version I realized it's a bit more complicated then I gave it credit for. Here's my instructional video for it:

First off, the strumming pattern doesn't loop in the more common 4 or 8 or 16 beat pattern--it's in 12. It's not too complicated and it is a pretty easy rhythm to hear, but I think it's why such a simple song with common chords still sounds original. The strumming pattern, where each beat is an up or a down strum, is:

1) down
2) miss
3) down
4) up
5) down
6) up
7) down
8) miss
9) down
10) up
11) down
12) up
(switch chord and repeat)

Here are the chords with the lyrics.

The song only has four chords: G, Em, C, and D. For most of the song, the chords are played in that order with one 12-beat loop for each chord. There is one part (starting at "Now how I remember you...") where the chords switch their order and are played Em, C, G, D and for two 12-beat loops each instead of one.

It's a pretty song rife with nostalgia and epic sadness. Like a lot of that album, actually, which makes sense if you consider the inspiration.


Anonymous said...

great tutorial love the song my favorite by neutral milk hotel

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sam said...

hey, thanks for actually breaking this apart. i could hear the beat but i was messing up the strum pattern before i found this. a bit rediculous of a request but now i'm trying to sing a long with it so... care to tell be which words fall on downbeats? I know which ones are at the chord changes but.. still sloppy!

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