Friday, July 5, 2024

My Ukelele Progress Levels - Songs to Play From The Beginning

At this point I am maybe an intermediate ukelele player; I can play Sing and Climb Every Mountain poorly in the key of C. These ukelele learning progress levels are mostly for myself. Maybe somebody else will find them useful. Let me know if you need specific chord charts for any of these songs.

General Notes:

1. Hyphen lists of chords (C-Am-F-G) represent progressions that occur at some point in a song.

2. Comma lists of chords (C, G7) are all the chords of a song in their order of appearance.


New chords

New songs (easiest first)

Practical and theoretical notes



Some rounds: Are You Sleeping, Row Your Boat, Three Blind Mice

The common ukelele is a soprano ukelele. Its most natural or easiest key (scale) to play in is the key of C. For the key (scale) of C, C is the tonic chord (I), which is a foundation of music. Depending on the song, the key of C may not be easy to sing in, but that's the price of being a beginner. Later you can play also in the key of G to make most songs work reasonably well with your vocal range. Meanwhile, you can add a capo (¢) temporarily to at least practice more songs.



Rounds variations, Down in the Valley, It Ain't Gonna Rain No More, Polly Wolly Doodle, La Cucaracha, The Wheels On The Bus

For the key of C, G7 is the dominant seventh chord (V7) that leads strongly (resolves) to the tonic chord C. This is a second foundation of music. Experiment with adding G7 to some of the rounds from Level 1.



Cielito Lindo, This Land Is My Land, Oh Danny Boy*, Oh Susanna, When They Ring Those Golden Bells*, Rock of Ages, How Great Thou Art, Purple People Eater, She'll Be Coming Around The Mountain, My Bonnie To Me, Joy To the World ¢ = capo, Silent Night ¢, Up On The Housetop ¢

For the key of C, F is the subdominant chord (IV) that leads to the tonic (I) in the plagal cadence (IV-I) or "Amen" (F-C). With the dominant G7 and the tonic C, the subdominant F opens up a universe of traditional songs (*at least in their simplest form).

The plagal cadence (IV-I "Amen") is a nice way to end songs with the "Oh, yeah!" sound (What A Wonderful World).



Heart and Soul, In The Still Of The Night, *A Teenager In Love, Duke of Earl, The Monster Mash, This Magic Moment, Who Put the Bomp, Where Have All the Flowers Gone, Total Eclipse of the Heart, Unchained Melody, Stand By Me*, Mandy

For the key of C, Am is the submediant (vi) chord. Adding it opens up the 50's chord progression I-vi-IV-I (C-Am-F-I). *Some of these songs sound better with a plain G instead of G7, and that's at the very next level.


This Land Is Your Land, When They Ring Those Golden Bells, Oh Danny Boy ("and all the flow'rs")

C7 is very easy to play, and since it is the dominant chord of the key of F, it is a great way to foreshadow the F chord leading into the chorus on later verses of songs including some of your earlier songs.


G, D7

Home on the Range ("deer" in chorus)

1. A super cool concept in music theory is secondary dominants or secondary function, in which any dominant seventh chord can resolve to the tonic chord of some key (scale). In the key of G, the dominant seventh is the D7 chord, and it can resolve to the G chord, which adds a really nice effect temporary "key of G" feel to these new songs. Remembering secondary function (and the "circle of fifths") is a huge trick for figuring out your way through songs by ear.

2. Now that you know how to play both the plain G and the G7 chords, you can add variation and nuance to some of your earlier songs by changing to G initially and then changing to G7 just when your artistic sense calls for its foreshadowing effect. You can also play the more "original" form of the 50's chord progression, which may make some of the Level 4 songs sound better.



Sincerely, When You Wish Upon A Star

1. This is the first, mild "finger squisher" chord. Three-finger squishers to come later (D, Eb, E).

2. You can use the Dm chord as a second verse or second phrase variation on the F chord in the 50s chord progression or other contexts (Perhaps Love).

2. Point 
2 implies that the Dm chord (ii) may lead to the G chord (V). Noticing that Dm is a minor form of the dominant of the key of G is helpful because sometimes "circle of fifth" progressions want to alternate between minor and major like this (B7-Em-A7-Dm-G7-C as in "...goes, some things are meant to be. Take...." in Can't Help Falling in Love).


Em, B7

Somewhere Over the Rainbow, Shenandoah, Perhaps Love, O Holy Night, I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus

These two three-finger chords are fun to learn together since your fingers stair-step up the frets identically for them both, making it delightfully easy to switch between them. Now we can play some fancy songs!



What A Wonderful World (C-Em-F-C-F-C-E7-Am, F-G7-C-F-G)

Happily, E7 is not hard to play!



Home on the Range (last "word"), When They Ring Those Golden Bells ("...gether")

Fm is a hard chord to play. But it lets you add fancy endings to songs. Try adding it at the end of these songs.


C+, CMaj7

Let There Be Peace On Earth (CMaj7 before "Let me/us walk..." and C+ at last "... there be ... ")

These new "fancy" chords are very easy to play, and they add nice nuances.



Can't Help Falling In Love (Em-B7-Em-B7-Em-B7-Em-A7-Dm-G)

As we spend more time (even temporarily) in the key of G, we find the need for the dominant chain ("circle of fifths") A7-D-D7-G



Sing (C, CMaj7, Am, F, Dm, G, G7, C7, D7, Gm, Fm)

Gm is related to C7, and in "Sing" at the climax note "long", we could play C7, but it sounds a little better to play Gm.


Cm, D

Climb Every Mountain (C, D7, G, Gm, C, Am, Fm, C, G7, CMaj7, C7, A7, D, Em, C+)

Cm and D look similar on a ukelele chord chart, but where Cm is an easy three-string bar chord, D is a challenge. Both arise from being in the key of G, with Cm acting like Fm (iv) and C acting like G (V).

Sunday, February 25, 2024

Water Surface Increase Calculation for Wall Openings

I present here the method used by NPS Global Engineers for calculating the post-development water surface increase due to a wall with standardized openings. This method has been accepted for multiple projects (including APN 211-44-273, 216-67-067B, 216-67-067A, 219-40-293J, 211-45-084B, 211-47-031, 211-51-031G, 211-51-020K, 211-51-031K, and 503-51-966M) by Maricopa County Planning and Development.

Monday, August 21, 2023

Civil engineer Tom Haws and Atlas Land Surveying

About Atlas Land Surveying, Bill Barry, and Tom Haws

Bill Barry is the president of Atlas Land Surveying. He is a non-registrant who affiliates with registrants as the department heads of Atlas Land Surveying.

About Tom Haws and Atlas Land Surveying

Long ago (2014?) Bill Barry affiliated with me as his civil engineering department head. Now that I rarely do any work that I don't give to NPS, any work that Bill needs me to do is done by NPS. The Board of Technical Registration told me I am allowed to be the registrant for as many companies as I want, subject to other rules. 

Thursday, July 20, 2023

Arizona Subdivision Law Avoidance by Licensed Professionals

I found today this statute at ARS 32-2181(D) that establishes the liability of Arizona licensed professionals who knew or should have known they were acting in concert to subdivide in avoidance of state law.

Wednesday, April 12, 2023

How I Succeed In Business

To my astonishment, I am a good CEO. And my businesses are solvent. Here's my first attempt to explain how I succeed in business. In other words, how do I deliver? I hope to get better at explaining.

Sunday, March 5, 2023

Genesis emphasizes that Noah's flood was not an extinction event

Genesis says:

The Lord said, “I will wipe from the face of the earth the human race I have created—and with them the animals, the birds and the creatures that move along the ground—for I regret that I have made them.” (Genesis 6:7) "I am going to bring floodwaters on the earth to destroy all life under the heavens, every creature that has the breath of life in it. Everything on earth will perish." (Genesis 6:17)

But Genesis says:

Thursday, March 2, 2023

A cappella doo wop mingle and sing Mesa AZ April 6

I'm inviting my people to mingle and sing with me at an a cappella doo wop night at City of Mesa Fire Station 202 at 830 S Stapley Drive on Thursday April 6. You are very welcome to invite others including interested youths. Please let me know if you want to be reminded.

Wednesday, February 15, 2023

Why don't surveys and GIS match?

You may have wondered why surveyors in the 2020's don't deliver their dwg files on standard GIS  projection coordinates, whether UTM, US State Plane Coordinates, or something else. The short answer is that standard GIS projections usually don't give correct distances to the level of precision that real estate surveys need. I explain more below.

Saturday, February 4, 2023

Solving Riprap Problems With Concrete Strips

Well-constructed loose riprap beds with proper elevation, gradation, filter layer, and subgrade preparation are a good solution to erosion. But riprap beds have some problems. Because they are uneven both on top and bottom, they obstruct debris and water and they dry or drain slowly. 

Wednesday, November 30, 2022

Be a CEO at NPS Global Engineers

Dear top prospective colleagues,

We hope for you to be an NPS CEO some day. 

Though the unusual reason NPS has for existing makes growth for profit meaningless, careful growth makes sense because more engineers deserve the NPS experience. One of the safeguards of the NPS experience is our Small Companies identity value. The Small Companies value requires one-team companies, meaning that our companies ideally have 6 to 8 colleagues. So for every team of NPS engineers, there must be a CEO.

I would love to add colleagues to NPS endlessly. I love being an engineer, I love what NPS has become, and I love finding the smartest people in the world. Our customers love working with smart, diligent, and attentive people. Hire, hire, hire! But not without more CEO's.

NPS exists to make great jobs and to do cool stuff. If your idea of a great job doing cool stuff might include being an NPS CEO some day, we may be ready for each other.


Tom Haws
Founder of NPS Global Engineers

No owners
Part-time freelancers
Small, Self-managing companies

No owners, No salaries, Know everybody

Saturday, February 19, 2022

AutoLISP Tutorial for AutoCAD Users: Lesson 4

We need a way to fully and permanently integrate our programs into our AutoCAD working environment. AutoCAD provides several ways. This lesson shows you how to make a well-documented system that can grow with you.

Friday, October 22, 2021

My first principle of music composition philosophy

I am the George W. Bush of music composition. I am embarking on it (as he did with painting) in earnest at the age of 55 mostly for my own enjoyment. But here's a first principle of my composition philosophy:

Don't confuse the listener.

Thursday, April 1, 2021

NPS Global Engineers corporate structure

NPS Global Inc. is an Arizona nonprofit corporation with no special tax status. In other words, NPS is a normal business, but it has no owners or shareholders to receive profits or dividends. Surplus funds are split up among the hourly freelance contractors by vote.

Friday, September 11, 2020

Floodplains and Floodways, BFEs and RFEs - US FEMA's floodplain development strategy and Maricopa County AZ's policy

 In 1968 the US Congress established the National Flood Insurance Program that included standards for delineating floodplains and (optionally) floodways along significant sources of flooding. This post explains how it works as administered by Maricopa County, Arizona in 2020.

Thursday, July 9, 2020

Whole Foods Plant Based Eating

Whole Foods Plant Based Eating
by Kato D. Haws Jr.
July 7, 2020

I began eliminating animal products because of high cholesterol. I removed first
whole milk and eggs. Later all dairy. We ended up learning about various vegan diets,
including the Hallelujah Diet and the McDougall diet. In the end the people most
influential for us are Dr. T. Colin Campbell and Dr. Michael Greger. We rely heavily on
the recipes of Cathy Fisher of True North Health, which use no salt, oil or sugar, and no
animal products. Her recipes also happen to be gluten free, which is important to me, given
my family history of problems with wheat.

If you want to try a whole foods plant-based (WFPB) diet but don't know where
to begin here are a few suggestions.