The original fingerstyle guitar music by Sungha Jung continues to be popular. Here is my pick of the top 10 original songs by Sungha Jung that contain a lot of musical variety.
Top Ten Fingerstyle Songs by Sungha Jung
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I have to start with Felicity because I love the youthful energy of this song. The song makes use of an open tuning - Open Low E Major. This allows for plenty of use of open strings. I also enjoy the variations in the whole piece - the energetic parts full of drive and the calmer, more quiet parts.
Felicity is a great song to learn if you want to get started with a song in an alternate tuning. Be aware, though, that you will have to be familiar with a lot of other techniques such as harmonics and tapping.
This classic song by Sungha Jung comes in at Number 2 on my list. The song Flaming is heavily influenced by the flamenco style of playing guitar. Specifically, the song's main theme makes use of rasgueado strumming in a Rumba rhythmic pattern.
The main theme of the song (the chorus) makes use of a harmonic progression common in flamenco music called the Andalusian cadence. This is the progression of chords which goes: Bm - A - G - F♯ . There is a rather long list of popular songs on Wikipedia that allegedly use this progression; I scanned the list and I'm not familiar with any of them.
To learn this song you will have to practice the rumba flamenca strumming (down - down-up - palm hit - up-down). This pattern, combined with the use of barre chords in the main theme, makes this song a challenge for any fingerstyle guitar player.
3. The Milky Way
The Milky Way is one of the most beautiful melodies by Sungha Jung. This song is actually in DADGAD tuning, although Sungha Jung takes it up four frets or two whole steps into the foreign sounding key of F sharp major.
This song makes use of a pulsating rhythmic pattern in 12/8 time. The rhythm, however, is probably the easiest part to play. The more awkward issue is getting the chords right. In DADGAD tuning, the chord shapes are a little cramped in the higher positions. This is why I chose to play The Milky Way with the capo on the second fret, which puts the song for me in E Major.
Gravity by Sungha Jung is one of those songs that I always return to in times where I desperately need comfort music. It's just one of those songs that I can’t seem to forget how it goes.
The song Gravity has somewhat of a serious vibe to it. The beginning of the song isn't too difficult to play, but the tapping section in the middle part of the song requires a lot of care.
The song l'Atelier by Sungha Jung is a charming little waltz that contains some beautiful jazzy chord progressions. Sungha Jung makes use of an almost impossible twisted finger chord shape right smack in the middle of the bridge section. But other than that, this song is very playable.
This song is a little less well-known than his other songs, but without any fast licks to play, it's a good choice if you are getting started with advanced fingerstyle guitar.
6. On Cloud Nine
On Cloud Nine by Sungha Jung has got to be one of my top fingerstyle tunes of all time. This makes use of a unique tuning, Open Low E Major tuning. This is like the tuning in Felicity, but a half step down. In fact, I use the same tuning for both songs, putting a capo on the first fret when I want to play Felicity.
This song is very challenging - it starts right off with slap harmonics and tapping. However, because it makes use of an open fingering, there are almost no real challenges in the fretting hand. I really enjoy this tune.
Coming in at number seven on the list is a more calm and pensive song, the song “Siesta” by Sungha Jung. As far as I am aware, this is the only one of his original songs that he plays on a classical guitar. I actually covered quite a few of his fingerstyle songs on classical guitar in my early days of making Sungha Jung tutorials.
The song Siesta shows Sungha Jung’s expert use of Jazz harmony all throughout the piece, and especially in the bridge section. This song also goes on without his typical rhythmic thumb slap on the second beat. It’s nice to hear a Sungha Jung song without these elements.
The song Siesta makes use of a tertiary rhythm in 9/8, creating a gentle swaying theme all throughout the song. It's a great song to learn if you want to get started with a Sungha Jung original.
8. Riding a Bicycle
Another one of my go-to songs by Sungha Jung is Riding a Bicycle from the album Two of Me. This is one of the first songs by Sungha Jung that I transcribed and learned for a tutorial on YouTube.
Riding a Bicycle is a great song to play, but there are some tricky parts that are difficult to play clean. As well, you will have to master the G Major licks at the end of the song. This song is a good choice if you are looking for a bit of a challenge.
Sprint is a youthful song in DADGAD tuning that makes heavy use of strumming all throughout the song. You will have to take this song at a quick speed in order to maintain the drive, otherwise it will sound "heavy".
Although Sprint is a fun tune, it resembles Felicity a bit too much in my opinion. Still, it's a good song to learn as an introduction to DADGAD tuning.
This song by Sungha Jung doesn't get enough air time, in my opinion. I originally created a tutorial for the song which wasn't very popular, so I figured the song wasn't that good. But I was wrong. When I eventually learned the song, I loved the energy and the dark vibes from the song.
Irony is in an unusual tuning: C,G,D,G, B♭, D. There are also some complex rhythms that you will have to tackle. It's a challenging song that should get some more attention.
At least one person enjoyed my performance of this song when I was filming the music video for my YouTube channel. When I finished playing the last tapped chords, he clapped his hands and exclaimed, "Nice!". I totally agree.
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