How To Play Chandelier by Sia on Ukulele
by Rodrigo Sanchez, Aug 9, 2021 . 6 min read
Today we’re going to learn how to play Chandelier by Sia on Ukulele. This song was a massive hit that was included in Sia’s 2014 album entitled 1000 Forms of Fear.
Chandelier was written by Sia and Jesse Shatkin, and produced by Shatkin and Greg Kurstin.
This song also gave Sia her first appearance in the Billboard 100 list as an artist (she had appeared before as a songwriter for other artists). Part of the success of Chandelier is due to its unique music video featuring dancer Maddie Ziegler, who was just a girl at the time it was released. The video has been seen more than 2.36 billion times and helped make Chandelier one of the most famous songs of the past decade. Check out our app: Roadie Coach (IOS| Android) for extra help on your learning journey. Without further ado, here is how to play Chandelier by Sia on ukulele.
The chords featured in Chandelier are Am, F, G, Em. To play an Am chord, place your middle finger or your left hand on the fourth string second fret. For the F chord, keep your middle finger on the fourth string second fret, and add your index on the second string first fret. For G, place your index on the fourth string second fret, middle finger on the first string second fret and ring finger on the second string third fret.
Next up is Em. Place your index on the first string second fret, middle finger on the second string third fret, and ring finger on the third string fourth fret.
We’re going to use a fairly simple strum pattern of D D D DU. In other words, for each chord you’re going to pluck downwards on beats 1, 2 and 3, and on beat four you’re going to pluck downwards and immediately back up on the upbeat of 4.
This strum pattern will suit you well for the entire song and allow you to build some tension while keeping everything interesting.
Chandelier starts with an intro that then goes into the verse. However, both the intro and the verse feature identical chords and strumming patterns. In other words, you’re going to play Am, F, G, Em twice for the intro as well as the verse.
The verse leads us into the pre-chorus, which features a small change. Here we’re going to play F, A, G, G. The only difference is that we’re substituting the Em from the intro and verse with another G. Additionally, we’re going to add an accent on the strum pattern for the pre-chorus to give our performance momentum. The strum pattern remains D D D DU D D D. However, on the third D we’re going to play harder, thus accenting the third beat. This also matches the lyrics of the songs, particularly on the word “drink” which Sia accents with her singing. This adds an important emotional impact to the performance as Chandelier is a song about Sia’s struggles with alcoholism.
Naturally, after the pre-chorus, we then go into the chorus. Here the progression is F, G, Em, F. We’re going to play this progression 8 times to complete the entire chorus. To add a bit of rhythmic variety to the chorus, try playing the following strum pattern: D D D DU, DUD, DUDU. Keep in mind that this pattern fits perfectly in one measure, and each chord of this song takes exactly one measure or four beats. Alternatively, if you are just starting out and these strumming patterns feel too complicated, simply strum downwards on beat one of every chord. Once you are comfortable with that, you can then look into the patterns mentioned here.
Another option is to just use the pattern from the intro and verse throughout the entire song.
Last verse and chorus
Right after you play the chorus, we start at the second verse. It features the same exact chords and strum pattern of the first verse. We then move on to the second pre-chorus and chorus. The only thing that changes here is the lyrics of the second verse. The second pre-chorus and chorus are identical to the first pre-chorus and chorus, including the lyrics. So once you get that part, you will have 70 percent of the song mastered.
Breaking it down
The best way to approach learning Chandelier is to take it to step by step. Start with the intro/verse chords first and stick with the strum pattern mentioned first. Once you have that down, you can move on to the pre-chorus and add that accented strum on the third beat.
And once you are comfortable with that, you can move on to the chorus and its own strumming pattern. In reality, Chandelier is a relatively easy song to learn and remember, if you practice. Please avoid the temptation of going too fast and really take the time to master each section before moving on to the next.
If you’re going to be singing it (as opposed to accompanying a singer), it is imperative that you learn the lyrics well. This will allow you to focus mostly on the playing. Remember that the idea is to change smoothly between chords and internalize the form so it sounds musical and flows well.
Learning how to play Chandelier by Sia on the ukulele will be great for developing your technique and song retention. You will also be able to work on different strum patterns for different sections. You can use these same strumming patterns in a variety of songs and even arrange them on the fly once you are more experienced.
If you are looking for an extra challenge, try playing Chandelier with a metronome and see if you can do it in time. Also, check out these ukulele songs to keep building up your repertoire. Remember that each new song you learn helps learn and retain new chords, new strumming patterns, and allows you to work on different aspects of ukulele technique.