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Rattle on the Stovepipe
Traditional (arr. James Hill)

Download PDF (D6 tuning: a, d, f#, b)
Download PDF (C6 tuning: g, c, e, a)

This lively traditional Canadian melody is fun to play and full of teaching opportunities. Below is a point-form guide to teaching this arrangment to your class.

Focus On:

  1. The major scale (click here for ideas)
  2. Part-playing
  3. Dotted rhythms

Key Points:

  • Use Uke II as a sight-reading exercise. It's very repetitive and, for the most part, uses open strings.

  • Assign Uke II to beginner-level students. (Note: this part can only be played as written using ukuleles with a low 4th string. For more information on tuning options, click here.)

  • Prepare Uke I by reviewing the D major scale (C major scale for ukuleles tuned g, c, e, a). Play the scale in using a variety of different rhythms.

  • Vocalize the rhythm in m. 1: sing "rat-tle on the stove-pipe" in rhythm. Have students clap as they sing.

  • Don't prepare students for the accidental in m. 9. Sight-read it and let them make a mistake, if necessary. Then fix the problem.

  • Define "D. C. al Fine": Play again from the beginning and stop where you see the word "Fine" (which means "end" in Italian).

  • This is, essentially, a three-chord song. The chord in m. 15 can be played either as a 7 chord (as written) or as a regular major chord. Try it both ways: which do your students prefer? Why?

  • Strumming: have students try an on-beat strum (strum on beats 1 and 3) and an off-beat strum (strum on beats 2 and 4). Which do they prefer? Why?

Additional Suggestions and Comments:

  • Rattle on the Stovepipe essentially modulates to a new key in measures 9-16. This departure makes the main theme sound fresh on the repeat.

  • Challenge your advanced students to create a harmony part above the melody.

  • Challenge advanced students to create their own variation on the melody of Rattle on the Stovepipe.

If you like the material in this free lesson you might also like Ukulele in the Classroom, a series of ukulele method books by James Hill and J. Chalmers Doane. Click here for free samples and additional information.