I sing in a women's choir in Hoboken called Cantigas and a couple of years ago we had a wonderful Austrian woman singing with us. As a number of us are Sound of Music fans, we asked her about the movie. Didn't she love the song "Edelweiss," and so on. She was amused by the question, and let us know that, no, she may have seen the movie once, but had no emotional connection to it, and no, she didn't love the song Edelweiss. We were astounded by this...how could she be an Austrian and not love "Edelweiss"?
I guess that was the genius of Rodgers and Hammerstein --to create a song that sounds like an authentic folk song, but was actually a very effective and beautiful show tune.
This song was written for Theodore Bikel, an accomplished guitarist and folk singer, who played Captain Von Trapp in the original Broadway production. Christopher Plummer, however, was not a guitarist and if you watch the video, you can see that his guitar playing isn't very advanced or complicated.
Without Christopher Plummer's edge, however, I don't think this movie would be as effective as it is. His transformation from mega-cranky family tyrant to loving father and anti-Nazi Austrian patriot is wonderful and is a good contrast to all the other saccharine parts of the movie. This is the scene in which he sings "Edelweiss" to his family and we see the first inkling of his true character. Maria realizes she's in love with him, and the Baroness notices all of this and understands which way the wind is now blowing--not her way.
I found a simple yet pretty (free) fingerstyle version of Edelweiss on Uke Nut, a fingerstyle ukulele player's practice blog. So channel your inner Captain Von Trapp and try it.
Playing fingerstyle ukulele, with information about the songs and where to find the ukulele tablature so that you can play these songs yourself.