Ukulele & Languages

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

Wilfried Welti, Bach Bourre in E minor on a Makapili soprano

04 2010

Once more, Swiss German Wilfried Welti displays his amazing ukulele skills and musical sensitivity in a beautifully played Bourre in E minor by Johann Sebastian Bach.

Wilfried is playing this Bach Bourre in E minor on a solid accacia Makapili Soprano ukulele which really sounds beautiful. If you’d like to try and play this piece yourself, the arrangement is available here via the Ukulelenclub Gallery.

I have asked Wilfried to tell us more about his arrangement and playing of the piece :

Well, I have to say, from my perspective, this piece is very difficult to play well! And I’m still not 100% happy. But I’ll keep working on my technique.

It has been over 6 years now since I first tried to play this piece on the guitar. I was really new to the guitar back then, and of course it was a real challenge — and yes, I played it miserably.

Some years later I took up the ukulele. And I realized how nice the uke sounds with this kind of classical music. And I also realized that the uke has great potential for playing “counterpoint” — that is, basically, playing two melodies at the same time.

For arranging this piece for the uke, I had to move the bass voice one octave up — and it works amazingly well with this piece although the voices intersect at a few points. While many pieces become even a bit easier to play on the uke, this is not true for this one, unfortunately. It requires a sophisticated fingering, and a lot of weird “moves”, and a few stretches. I wouldn’t try to play this on a tenor.

I see it a bit as a personal challenge to learn to play Bach well on the uke, so I keep practicing this (and other pieces from Bach) from time to time.

I really have to commend the Makapili again. It is amazing how comfortable it is to play, especially for difficult pieces like this one!

Thank you Wilfried for giving us another proof of the versatility of the ukulele !

If you haven’t subscribed to Wilfried‘s YouTube channel, you can do it here.


  1. UP on the 3rd of May 2010 @ 01:36

    REally interesting post. You are so good at interviewing players of classical music. I really like this post. Hope you are doing well. It’s been a while since I’ve been reading and posting regularly but hope to catch up. Best jlr

  2. Armelle Europe on the 3rd of May 2010 @ 20:41

    UP: welcome back and many thanks for the feedback,much appreciated!

  3. Helen on the 18th of October 2011 @ 02:14

    This is beautiful. I’ve been searching for the ukulele arrangement for this piece. I clicked on the link above but the page doesn’t exist any more. Could you please post the ukulele tab here?
    Thank you!

  4. Armelle Europe on the 18th of October 2011 @ 09:17

    Helen: I will try to contact Wilfried and see if he can provide us with the tabs again. Thanks for letting me know about this broken link.

  5. Armelle Europe on the 18th of October 2011 @ 20:49

    Helen: Wilfried has been kind enough to provide me with a new link so you can now click on the link in my post and it should work.
    Let me know if that isn’t the case.

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