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Happy Birthday
Published: 2011-10-01 Updated: 2016-09-15

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Happy Birthday

Happy Birthday to You, also known more simply as Happy Birthday, is a song that is traditionally sung to celebrate the anniversary of a person's birth. According to the 1998 Guinness Book of World Records, "Happy Birthday to You" is the most recognized song in the English language, followed by "For He's a Jolly Good Fellow" and "Auld Lang Syne". The song's base lyrics have been translated into at least 18 languages.

Performance Notes for Happy Birthday

Here is how I remember the melody of Happy Birthday:

  • Song starts on the 5th of the key of the song. Plays that note twice and then up a perfect 4th (Here Comes the Bride interval) and down 1/2 step
  • repeat, then up a perfect 5th (Do You Hear What I Here interval and a bell like tone), done 1/2 step) then repeat again and up an octave
  • The octave (8) is the fifth of a descending major triad, the I chord, then descending 1/2 step, then to whole step.
  • up a major sixth. This ones sounds a little dissonant in the context of all the constant melody. Then down 1/2 step and to root of key/scale, up M2 and back - DONE

Happy Birthday is NOW in the public domain.

  • CNBC link - Why we can now all sing 'Happy Birthday'
  • USA Today - Judge: 'Happy Birthday To You' in public domain

Song Road Map

Additional Lessons, Books, Songs, Lessons Series, Reference Material, etc...

A Road Map Through Song

Remembering songs is all about the form and harmonic content and movement with taking in the similarities between songs. And, just like a road map they're landmarks that will trigger memories of how to get through various sections, changes or parts of a song.

This section of a song's page presents some tips on how I try and remember a particular song.

No Road Map for Happy Birthday check back soon.

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Happy Birthday - Key of F

Chords and melody lead sheet in the key of F. Standard music notation and TAB for C tuning.

Happy Birthday - Key of C

Chords and melody lead sheet in the key of C. Standard music notation and TAB for C tuning.

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Related Song Videos

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No videos for Happy Birthday at this time. Filming a lot of videos for various lessons, songs and books.

Just browsing over both books, they look fantastic! I'm a guitarist and uke player for over 25 years and was thinking about writing a ukulele book but you've already written what I think are the best, most comprehensive and thorough books I've ever seen for the instrument. I just might end up buying every book you've written and I'll be giving my highest recommendation for your books to my friends and students. Thank you so much for taking the time to write such great books! — Peter Rhee

Aloha, Curt, All I can say is WOW! What you have accomplished is simply incredible! All the best — Glen Hirabayashi, The Aloha Boys

Folks, if you haven't stopped by Curt's site, do so right now! ..And get his books, they are fantastic. This guy knows his stuff and is able to pass it along too. — Alan Johnson Proprietor, The 4th Peg

I can highly recommend Curt's Uke books — I have four of them and they are excellent. — fatveg — Portland

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