These songs are meant to teach you simple melodies for your mandolin. Once you have learned the melody, make sure to follow the chords and play the suggested strumming patterns. Before you attempt to play these songs, listen to the audio tracks. It’s very difficult to play something without understanding what it sounds like. Listen first!
These five songs are included in the audio tracks. The melody is in the right speaker, and the suggested strumming pattern is in the left. Instead of using a software or guitar player to play the backing track, I recorded a rhythm mandolin song for each song. Learn to play rhythm on the songs, so that you can both play the melody as well as the rhythm. First, the melodies can be played with a metronome. Then, you can play them with the strumming accompaniment.
Ode to Joy
This simple, well-known theme is from Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony. Pay close attention to the third line’s pick direction. Strumming pattern 1.
Down in Valley
“Down in the Valley” a folk song from America that many people have heard many times is the traditional American folk song. This song is 3/4 time. To count it, use a series of three strong beats (see figure). When playing the melody, I recommend using all down strokes. Strumming pattern 5 is the best for this rhythm.
A traditional Irish jig with four settings and ten comments that has been added to three hundred and fifty-five tunebooks
Skip To My Lou
Many children sing “Skip to My Lou” as a song. Pay attention to the pick direction. This song is best accompanied by the strumming pattern 2.
Red River Valley
“Red River Valley”, also known as “Cowboy Love Song”, is an old cowboy song that dates back to the late 1800s. It begins with two pickup notes, notes that fall before the “one” in the first measure. The first two notes are on beats 3, and 4. Use all down strokes to play the melody, and strumming pattern 3 to create the rhythm.