Sunday, August 25, 2013

A Plug for GoChords

Now that I've found myself pressed into service as a teacher of the ukulele, I find that I often want to create my own arrangements to illustrate a technique or enable a particular teaching moment. Sometimes it's just a matter of changing the key of a popular tune to make it more friendly for beginners.

In any event, I started using GoChords about a year ago. It's a super-easy-to-use tool that lets you drop chord diagrams onto a page to create your own arrangements. To arrange a song with lyrics, you simply paste in the text with line breaks and you're able to drop in diagrams between lines and drag them to their proper places to indicate the chord changes. Once your arrangement is complete, you can change key with a single click, which is a boon for ukulele teachers whose students want to learn a pop tune that's written in a decidedly uke-unfriendly key.

I have a few quibbles with GoChords. For example, it currently only offers first position chords, so it's not much help for intermediate or advanced arrangements. You can create your own custom chord shapes (I've created the 2020 Hawaiian D7 chord for my library, e.g.), but custom chord shapes are static, and do not change if you change the key. But these are small complaints, and since I have been using the free version, I felt as though it would be impolite to gripe.

Yesterday I returned to GoChords to print out some music for a student and learned that they've decided to migrate to a subscription-only model. It didn't take me long to do some mental calculation and conclude that the time and hassle that GoChords saves me is well worth $50 a year. (You can also subscribe for $5 a month.)

GoChords has many features that I haven't taken advantage of. (There's a tablet version and auto-scroll capability, among others.) And I hope that by moving to a paid model they'll have deeper pockets for feature development (like a full set of chord inversions). But I'm happy to now be a paid subscriber.

Check it out. GoChords site.

Saturday, August 03, 2013

Ian Emmerson plays the World's Smallest Uke

Heck, I'd be happy if I could play that chestnut on a standard size soprano. This made my Saturday morning. Enjoy. Link
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