Somewhere Over The Rainbow

How to Play Somewhere Over The Rainbow (Fingerstyle Guitar Lesson)

Somewhere Over The Rainbow was written by Yip Harburg and Harold Arlen in 1939 for the classic film 'The Wizard of Oz'. The song is a beautiful ballad and was sung by the starring actress of the film, Judy Garland. It quickly became Garland's signature song and an instant classic across the world, and it went on to win the 'Academy Award for Best Original Song'. I think you'll agree, it is quite something.

This fingerstyle arrangement isn't too difficult to play. If you compare it to Tommy Emmanuel's highly technical cover it really is a walk in park; however, depending on what level you're at with your own playing it may well still be a challenge for you.

Somewhere Over The Rainbow is no. 29 on my Top 60 Fingerpicking Songs of ALL TIME list. If you've not seen the list be sure to check it out and sign up to my weekly email lesson so you don't miss learning any of these great fingerstyle songs.

Song Details:

  • Key - G major (originally in C major)
  • Tempo - Roughly 87 bpm
  • Difficulty - Intermediate
  • Time signature 4/4

The Lesson:

The key thing to focus on when doing any fingerstyle arrangement is the melody. The melody is by far the most important part, and it needs to be played as if it were being sung. The chords are of course incredibly important too, but there are no strict rules with what notes you need to play for them. If you don't like some of the notes I've picked for the chords and you feel it works better played in other ways, then by all means go ahead and change them. This is a really stripped down (not many thrills) version, so there is plenty of room for you to have some fun and add some extra colour here and there.

  1. Roberto Leyva left a comment on 21st June 2018 at 7:58 pm

    I do not speak English, but I am interested in scores of the video that you uploaded from the 10 songs of The Beatles, I await your response, thanks and regards.

    • Six String Fingerpicking left a comment on 21st June 2018 at 8:16 pm

      Hi, eventually I may get time to do that but all my focus is currently on creating content for this site. There are many scores of all Beatles songs online though.

  2. Chris Werner left a comment on 15th March 2020 at 8:24 pm

    I’ve a question about merging the “Eva Cassidy Version (Accompaniment only)” and the version presented here. Since I’m not a musician, it might be a little awkward. It’s all about bar lengths and time values.

    I am currently comparing the TAB here with the TAB for the “Eva Cassidy Version (Accompaniment only)”. I suppose we can ignore the capo and read the chords just as they are written down to be in the same key. The Cassidy version starts with 4 bars intro, then the chorus follows. The version here starts with the chorus. Then bar 1 here would be identical with bar 5 in the Cassidy version. Is that correct so far?

    The chords of the first two bars here are:
    | G Em | Bm G |
    (Two chords per bar).

    In the Cassidy version, the bar division of the chorus is different:
    | G | Em | Bm | G |
    (one chord per bar, but same chord progression as above, I ignore chord versions like 7 and add9 for simplicity).

    If I now want to play the intro from the Cassidy version before the chorus of the version here, do I have to adjust the bar lengths and note values so that the bar division is also here:
    | G | Em | Bm | G |

    So in the simplest implementation I could simply convert the eighth notes into quarter notes here without changing anything else.
    Would the two versions fit together then technically?

    I apologize for the circumstantial description and hope that my question is understandable.

    • Six String Fingerpicking left a comment on 19th March 2020 at 1:33 pm

      Hi Chris, yes I think just adjust the bar lengths to fit the same as Cassidy’s version. Likewise with the eighth and quarter notes. Good Luck!

  3. Chris Werner left a comment on 19th March 2020 at 1:57 pm

    Thanks a lot! I already started that way and it seems to work out. Thanks!

    • Six String Fingerpicking left a comment on 19th March 2020 at 3:26 pm

      That sounding great Chris, very good job!

  4. Chris Werner left a comment on 19th March 2020 at 2:14 pm

    At the moment it looks like this (not finihesd yet, it’s just the intro from Cassidy and the first 6 bars of the chorus):

    E |—————————-|—————————-|
    B |–0—–3—–0—–3——-|–0—–3—–0—–3——-|
    G |–2—–0—–2—–0——-|–2—–0—–2—–0——-|
    D |—–0—–0—–0—–0—-|—–0—–0—–0———-|
    A |—————————-|—————————-|
    E |–3————————-|–3——————–0—-|





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