In this video Jeff Peterson plays his arrangement of Les Barricades Mystérieuses by Couperin for ukulele.

Les Barricades Mystérieuses by Couperin for Ukulele

Les Barricades Mystérieuses, The Mysterious Barricades, was originally written for harpsichord by François Couperin around 1717. The title itself is somewhat mysterious and many scholars debate as to its meaning. Some have suggested “eyelashes,” others refer to the barlines in the music as “barricades.” For some additional ideas on what these “mysterious barricades” may refer to go here. Whatever the meaning of the title, the music itself features a series of tied notes. Each harmony ties at least one note into the next harmony. This creates a suspension of unresolved harmonies throughout the piece. 

Les Barricades Mystérieuses is in rondo form, which means there is an initial refrain that then sets off a series of variations or episodes. We return to the refrain after each episode. Here is a performance of the piece on its original instrument, the harpsichord:

Jeff’s arrangement for ukulele is in the key of F Major and is for Low G ukulele. It is a wonderful example of bringing masterpieces of the classical music repertoire to the ukulele.


This piece is published as part of Jeff’s Graded Repertoire for Classical Ukulele book (volume 1). You will find a full video lesson along with the sheet music and TABs at Ukulele Corner Academy in Grade 8 (Advanced). Join Ukulele Corner Academy today!