“Somewhere Over the Rainbow” Ukulele Chords – Israel Kamakawiwo’ole

Iz’s “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” and “What a Wonderful World” medley cover was released on his 1993 album: Facing Future (the 14th Track).

“Somewhere Over the Rainbow” Ukulele Chords - Israel Kamakawiwo’ole
Album cover for Facing Future

It has since been used in several movies, commercials, and television shows and is now probably the most widely recognizable song of Ukulele and Hawaiian music.

It’s in C Major and the chords are pretty simple, but the strum pattern might be a little difficult to reproduce.

Chords Used in GCEA Tuning (Soprano, Concert, and Tenor Ukulele):

C“Somewhere Over the Rainbow” Ukulele Chords - Israel Kamakawiwo’oleEm“Somewhere Over the Rainbow” Ukulele Chords - Israel Kamakawiwo’ole
Am“Somewhere Over the Rainbow” Ukulele Chords - Israel Kamakawiwo’oleF“Somewhere Over the Rainbow” Ukulele Chords - Israel Kamakawiwo’ole
G“Somewhere Over the Rainbow” Ukulele Chords - Israel Kamakawiwo’oleAm7“Somewhere Over the Rainbow” Ukulele Chords - Israel Kamakawiwo’ole
E7“Somewhere Over the Rainbow” Ukulele Chords - Israel Kamakawiwo’oleDm7“Somewhere Over the Rainbow” Ukulele Chords - Israel Kamakawiwo’ole
G7“Somewhere Over the Rainbow” Ukulele Chords - Israel Kamakawiwo’ole

“Somewhere Over the Rainbow” / “Wonderful World” Medley by IZ

Intro:
[C][Em][Am][F] [C][G][Am][Am7][F]

While humming:
[C] [G] [Am] [C]  [F] [E7] [Am] [F]

Verse 1:
[C]Somewhere [G]over the rainbow [Am]way up [C]high
[F]And the [C]dreams that you dream of [G]once in a lullaby [Am] [F]

Verse 2:
[C]Somewhere [G]over the rainbow [Am]blue birds [C]fly
[F]And the [C]dreams that you dream of [G]dreams really do come [Am]true [F]

Bridge 1:
[C]Someday I wish upon a star
[G]Wake up where the clouds are far behind [Am] [F]
Where [C]trouble melts like lemon drops
[G]High above the chimney tops that’s where [Am]you’ll [F]find me

Verse 3:
[C]Somewhere [G]over the rainbow [Am]blue birds [C]fly
[F]And the [C]dreams that you dare to [G]why oh why can’t [Am][F]

“Wonderful World” (Acting as Bridge):
Verse 1:
Well I see [C]trees of [G]green and [F]red roses [C]too
[F]I watch them [C]bloom for [E7]me and [Am]you
and I [F]think to myself [G]what a wonderful [Am]world [F]

Verse 2:
Well I see [C]skies of [G]blue and I see [F]clouds of [C]white
and the [F]brightness of [C]day [E7]I like the [Am]dark
and I [F]think to myself [G]what a wonderful [C]world [F] [C]

Bridge 1:
The [G]colors the rainbow so [C]pretty in the sky
are [G]also on the faces of [C]people passing by
I see [F]friends shaking [C]hands singing [F]“how do you [C]do?”
[F]They’re really [C]saying “[Dm7]I love [G7]you”

Verse 3:
I hear [C]babies [G]cry and I [F]watch them [C]grow
[F]They’ll learn much [C]more than [E7]we’ll [Am]know
and I [F]think to myself [G]what a wonderful [Am]world [F]

Return to “Over the Rainbow”:
Bridge 2:
[C]Someday I wish upon a star
[G]Wake up where the clouds are far behind [Am] [F]
Where [C]trouble melts like lemon drops
[G]High above the chimney tops that’s [Am]where you’ll [F]find me oh

Verse 4:
[C]Somewhere [G]over the rainbow [Am]way up [C]high
[F]And the [C]dreams that you dare to [G]why oh why can’t [Am][F]

Coda (While humming):
[C] [G] [Am] [C] [F] [E7] [Am] [F]

Listen to the Song and Play Along

Chords Used in DGBE Tuning (Baritone Ukulele)

CEmAmFG
“Somewhere Over the Rainbow” Ukulele Chords - Israel Kamakawiwo’ole“Somewhere Over the Rainbow” Ukulele Chords - Israel Kamakawiwo’ole“Somewhere Over the Rainbow” Ukulele Chords - Israel Kamakawiwo’ole“Somewhere Over the Rainbow” Ukulele Chords - Israel Kamakawiwo’ole“Somewhere Over the Rainbow” Ukulele Chords - Israel Kamakawiwo’ole
Am7E7Dm7G7
“Somewhere Over the Rainbow” Ukulele Chords - Israel Kamakawiwo’ole“Somewhere Over the Rainbow” Ukulele Chords - Israel Kamakawiwo’ole“Somewhere Over the Rainbow” Ukulele Chords - Israel Kamakawiwo’ole“Somewhere Over the Rainbow” Ukulele Chords - Israel Kamakawiwo’ole

Song Structure Analysis

The overall song structure could be looked at as:

  • Intro -The beginning with a purely instrument part and a humming part.
  • AABA – A standard verse, verse, bridge, verse structure where each part has 8 bars for 32 bars total.
  • CCDC – The “Wonderful World” section. It also uses the same AABA structure as the main verse. This section also acts as a bridge to the “Over the Rainbow” parts, creating a sort of fractal structure.
  • BA – The return to “Over the Rainbow” with two 8-bar sections. This part acts as a final verse to the outer fractal structure mentioned above.
  • Coda – The ending.

Harmonic Analysis

The song is written in the key of C.

Intro Harmony

The intro starts out in the tonic (I) chord of C.

The progression then moves in the minor third Em (iii) which is a variation of the of the rest of the song where the starting tonic C (I) moves to the dominant G (V).

The rest of the intro is pretty straightforward harmonically besides the Am7 (vi7) which is interesting, and the E7 (V of vi) borrowed dominant from the minor 6th (Am) which returns in the “Wonderful World” section.

First “Over the Rainbow” Section Harmony

The main verse progression is C-G-Am-C (I-V-vi-I) to F-C-G-Am-F(IV-I-V-vi-IV) which is sort of a tonic(I) to sub-dominant (IV) call-and-response.

The bridge progression starts with the same I-V-vi progression, but moves to IV instead of I. This progression is repeated for the second half of the bridge.

“Wonderful World” Bridge Section Harmony

The verse of the “Wonderful World” starts with the progression C-G-F-C (I-V-IV-C) and moves to F-C-E7-Am (IV-I-V of vi-vi). The V of vi (E7) from the intro is shows up again here.

The second half of the verse has less chord movement and uses the progression F-G-Am-F (IV-V-vi-IV).

These progressions also seem to follow a dominant (I) to sub-dominant (IV) overall pattern. The Am to F (vi-IV) is borrowed from the main verse.

The bridge of the “Wonderful World” section starts with G-C-G-C (V-I-V-I) to F-C-F-C (IV-I-IV-I)and then finishes off with F-C-Dm7-G7 with the Dm7 functioning as a minor dominant 7 of the dominant 7 (v7 of V7).

The Return to “Over the Rainbow” Harmony

The return section, acting as the final verse, uses the same chords as the original section. The harmonic analysis is therefore the same.

History of the “Over the Rainbow” and “Wonderful World” Medley

This section is to be added later, check back soon!

2 Replies to ““Somewhere Over the Rainbow” Ukulele Chords – Israel Kamakawiwo’ole”

  1. Eureka!!
    Our 8 year ol granddaughter is just learning the ukulele and enjoys the music of Israel Kamakawiwo’ole.

    Hopefully, we’ll find other songs by Israel, displayed on the CoolUkulele website

    THANK YOU….

    1. Glad we could help her out 🙂

      We are planning on putting more chords/tabs up and will definitely try to get some more IZ songs.

      Thanks for the comment, happy strumming!

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