Guitar lesson for "Somewhere Over the Rainbow / What a Wonderful World" by Israel Kamakawiwoole


Video lesson

I haven’t made one yet! If you want to request I make a video lesson for this song, send me an email: play.songnotes [at] gmail [dot] com. That will certainly help bump it toward the top of my list.

No PDF chord sheet exists for this lesson

As of now, I haven't made a printable PDF to accompany this video lesson. If you'd like to request that I make one, shoot me an email. I can't guarantee I'll make a PDF for every older lesson, but it's helpful to know which lessons have the most interest.

Here's a list of the 200+ lessons I have made PDFs for.

Lyrics w/ chords

(guitar: capo 5th fret, use chords below)

(ukulele: no capo, use chords below)

INTRO
    G ... D ... Em ... C   ...
    G ... D ... Em ... Em7 ...
    C ... C ...

    G             D             C             G
    Ohhh, ohhh... ohhh, ohhh... ohhh, ohhh... ohhh, ohhh...
    C             B7            Em            C
    Ohhh, ohhh... ohhh, ohhh... ohhh, ohhh... ohhh, ohhh...

VERSE
    G         D                 C         G
    Somewhere over the rainbow.... way up high
    C       G
    And the dreams that you dream of
    D              Em      C
    Once in a lullaby------------

        G         D                 C            G
    Oh, somewhere over the rainbow.... bluebirds fly
    C       G
    And the dreams that you dream of
    D                     Em        C
    Dreams really do come true-------------

BRIDGE
            G
        Someday you'll wish upon a star
        D                                  Em      C
        Wake up where the clouds are far behind... me-------
              G
        Where trouble melts like lemon drops
        D                                  Em              C
        High above the chimney tops that's where... you'll find me

VERSE
        G         D                 C            G
    Oh, somewhere over the rainbow.... bluebirds fly
    C       G
    And the dream that you dare to
       D                    Em     C
    Oh why, oh why... can't I-------------

REFRAIN, pt.1
                        G        D          C           G
            Well, I see trees of green and... red roses too
            C               G         B7        Em
            I'll watch them bloom for... me and you
                  C               D                   Em     C
            And I think to myself... what a wonderful world-----

                        G        D              C            G
            Well, I see skies of blue and I see... clouds of white
                    C             G     B7              Em
            And the brightness of day....... I like the dark
                  C               D                   G      C   G
            And I think to myself... what a wonderful world

REFRAIN, pt.2
                    D                        G
                The colors of the rainbow so pretty in the sky
                    D                    G
                Are also on the faces of people passing by
                      C               G             C              G
                I see friends shaking hands, saying... "How do you do?"
                C                 G        Am          D
                ...They're really saying, "I... I love you"

                   G      D          C            G
            I hear babies cry and I... watch them grow
            C                  G     B7           Em
            They'll learn much more... than we'll know
                  C               D                   Em      C
            And I think to myself... what a wonderful world--------

BRIDGE
            G
        Someday you'll wish upon a star
        D                                  Em      C
        Wake up where the clouds are far behind... me-------
              G
        Where trouble melts like lemon drops
        D                                  Em              C
        High above the chimney tops that's where... you'll find me

VERSE
        G         D                 C         G
    Oh, somewhere over the rainbow.... way up high
    C       G
    And the dream that you dare to
       D                    Em     C
    Oh why, oh why... can't I-------------

OUTRO
    G             D             C             G
    Ohhh, ohhh... ohhh, ohhh... ohhh, ohhh... ohhh, ohhh...
    C             B7            Em            C
    Ohhh, ohhh... ohhh, ohhh... ohhh, ohhh... ohhh, ohhh...

                     (repeat outro if desired, fade to end)

Capo 5th Fret

To play this song on guitar (and be in the same key as the Iz version, so that you can play along) you’ll need a capo on the 5th fret while using the chords above. If you don’t have a capo, you can still use the chords above and play the song – though you couldn’t properly play along with the album version since you’d be in a different key.

How to play the guitar chords

Here is how you play the guitar chords used in this song. It is worth noting that this song is originally performed on a ukulele, which only has four strings. As appropriate, I’m taking the same chords used on the ukulele and showing how to play them on the guitar.

e-|---3---0---2---0----0----0----2---
B-|---0---1---3---0----3----1----0---
G-|---0---0---2---0----0----2----2---
D-|---0---2---0---2----2----2----1---
A-|---2---3-------2----2----0----2---
E-|---3-----------0----0-------------
      G   C   D   Em  Em7   Am   B7

If you want to get a bit more in depth with the guitar chords, I should note a few optional variations you can include as you see fit. In the verses, most of the D-chords would more properly be a Bm7 or the D/F# variation. Note that in the refrain sections, the D-chords return to the typical “normal” D chord I show above. Above all, it is up to you to play what you desire and see fit – I just wanted to make this note for the sake of being complete.

e-|-----2------2-----
B-|-----3------3-----
G-|-----2------2-----
D-|-----4------4-----
A-|------------2-----
E-|------------------
       D/F#   Bm7

Chord progressions

If we ignore the lyrics for a moment, here’s a look at the chord progressions for the entire song. I’ve mapped these out measure by measure, so you can get a big picture view on how the timing works. Personally, this always helps me memorize things quite a bit more quickly.

INTRO
Instrumental section
| G . . . | D . . . | Em . . . | C   . . . |
| G . . . | D . . . | Em . . . | Em7 . . . |
| C . . . | C . . . |

"Ohhh, ohhh...."
| G  . . . | G  . . . | D  . . . | D  . . . |
| C  . . . | C  . . . | G  . . . | G  . . . |
| C  . . . | C  . . . | B7 . . . | B7 . . . |
| Em . . . | Em . . . | C  . . . | C  . . . |

VERSE
"Somewhere over the rainbow..."
| G . . . | G . . . | D  . . . | D  . . . |
| C . . . | C . . . | G  . . . | G  . . . |
| C . . . | C . . . | G  . . . | G  . . . |
| D . . . | D . . . | Em . . . | Em . . . |
| C . . . | C . . . |

BRIDGE
"Someday you'll wish upon a star..."
| G  . . . | G  . . . | D . . . | D . . . |
| Em . . . | Em . . . | C . . . | C . . . |
                             (played twice)

REFRAIN, pt.1
"I see trees of green and red roses too..."
| G  . . . | D  . . . | C  . . . | G  . . . |
| C  . . . | G  . . . | B7 . . . | Em . . . |
| C  . . . | C  . . . | D  . . . | D  . . . |
| Em . . . | Em . . . | C  . . . | C  . . . |

REFRAIN, pt.2
"The colors of the rainbow, so pretty..."
| D . . . | D . . . | G  . . . | G  . . . |
| D . . . | D . . . | G  . . . | G  . . . |
| C . . . | G . . . | C  . . . | G  . . . |
| C . . . | G . . . | Am . . . | Am . . . |
| D . . . | D . . . |

Good luck!

I hope this lesson is helpful to you. If you have any questions or requests, let me know!

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