Scarborough Fair for Fingerstyle Ukulele

In this video, Jeff Peterson plays the traditional English ballad Scarborough Fair for fingerstyle ukulele. This arrangement is in D minor and uses a lot of arpeggiation, inspired by the famous version by Simon and Garfunkel.

Scarborough Fair: The History

The English ballad known as “Scarborough Fair” is a song that has roots at least as far back as the 17th century. The ballad was preceded by a similar Scottish folk ballad, called “Elfin Knight,” whose lyrics are close to Scarborough Fair’s. The earliest version of Elfin Knight comes from 1670. The fair itself has roots much further back, beginning as early as the fourteenth century. Many other such fairs were present in surrounding areas. These allowed farmers to trade and entertainers (such as musicians) to perform.

The music features a mix of Aeolian and Dorian modes, so there’s a shifting between the natural minor scale and a minor scale with a raised sixth scale degree that gives the song its unique, melancholic sound.


You will find a full video lesson and score of the arrangement along with this performance at Ukulele Corner Academy. This is just one of many traditional songs, classical pieces, pop and jazz and Hawaiian songs available at Ukulele Corner Academy. Join Ukulele Corner Academy today!