Ukulele & Languages

Different countries,
Different cultures
one common language... the ukulele.

Japanese Yo scale and Indian scale on ukulele

15 2011

If you grow tired of playing ukulele on the western scales, today is your chance to discover the Japanese Yo scale and on the Indian C major scale.

The Japanese Yo scale is a pentatonic scale using 5 notes instead of  the 7 which are commonly used in western scales. Besides, the Yo scale does not contain semitones. You can read explanations about the Japanese Yo scale on Wikipedia.

Listen to Ken Middleton improvising some traditional Japanese folk music on the Yo scale on an Ohana TK-35CG tenor ukulele.

If you are into music theory and would like to read more about the various Japanese scales, this post for guitar players might interest you.

Here is another improvisation, on the C major Indian scale this time by tittlescwats11.

For further reading on the subject of scales and ukulele, this thread on the Ukulele Underground forum will provide you with plenty of information on scales from the Middle East.


  1. The K on the 15th of February 2011 @ 20:51

    With U.K.E my percussions/ Uke duet we used Indian since years….
    But, I will never be concider as a ukulele player in the ukulele community.

  2. Armelle Europe on the 15th of February 2011 @ 21:05

    The K: this is your own perception,Lionel. I have featured one of your videos on Ukulele & Languages here:
    As far as I am concerned, anybody playing the uke is part of the community.

  3. Jeff / Humble Uker on the 16th of February 2011 @ 20:25

    I have fun “noodling around” in other scales. You can take the ukulele to distant lands of music so easily. I keep this link on my HB blog for diversion.

  4. Jeff / Humble Uker on the 16th of February 2011 @ 20:28

    Nice work Armelle! Love those exotic sounds!

  5. Armelle Europe on the 16th of February 2011 @ 20:30

    Jeff: thanks for the link and thanks for the feedback. I’m glad you enjoyed.

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