Lesson Plan

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Lesson notes

Hava Nagila (Let Us Rejoice) is an Israeli folk song, traditionally sung at Jewish celebrations. It has been covered by many artists, including Harry Belafonte, Neil Diamond, Chubby Checker and Connie Francis.

This lesson covers both the melody and accompaniment in the keys of E and B. The chord shapes for the key of E are particularly easy to move up or down, in order to match one’s vocal range.

Besides the relatively easy progression, we also take a thorough look at the exotic sounding Jewish scale used for the melody, also known as the Phrygian dominant scale, or the 5th mode of the harmonic minor scale.

No matter if you play the accompaniment or the melody, there is quite a bit of technique necessary for both hands. Correct left hand positioning, for example, is crucial and a few tips and suggestions are presented.

Since there are many versions and arrangements out there, anyone tackling this song is encouraged to arrange the song any way they'd like.

Personally I very much enjoyed Harry Belafonte’s version along with Danny Kaye, so a few suggestions for that version are included.