Ukulele & Languages

Different countries,
Different cultures
one common language... the ukulele.

Ukulele Learning Posts

Today’s post will be dedicated to classical fingerstyle uke with excellent new videos uploaded by Herman Vandecauter and Wilfried Welti.

Herman plays a lovely renaissance dance, a Galliard by an anonymous composer.

Let’s now travel to the moon with Wilfried Welti performing Sea of Nectar, a piece by Swedish classical guitarist Per Olov Kindgren.
Wilfried plays this piece on his Glyph soprano ukulele.

Per Olov Kindgren has kindly agreed to let Wilfried share his transcription of the tabs, which you can download here.

If you’re looking into ways of spicing up your ukulele playing, here are 3 tutorials that will teach you how to chunk to give your ukulele a percussive sound, play a cool barre chord progression or if you are using a low G uke, a nice fingerpicking technique.

1. The Chunk by Stuart aka Stukulele

Here is a very nice tutorial which teaches you how to chunk properly. The great thing about this tutorial is that it does not only teach you how to chunk but also focuses on how to get the technique right so as to avoid creating tension in your arm,  an aspect which is often overlooked.

2. A Barre chords progression explained by Matt aka MeandUke

A simple tutorial going through a barre chord progression which sounds quite cool.

3. Fingerpicking technique for Low G uke taught by Keonepax

A nice and simple fingerpicking technique for the Low G uke with an example song.

Update: I’ve tested this fingerpicking technique with my best friend this weekend and I’d like to share some extra information which might be useful:

– The fact that the rhythm starts with &-1 means that the chord changes need to be done when you’re picking the 3rd string of the ukulele (the C string).  This is quite tricky to get right at first as you’re always tempted to change chords when your thumb hits the 4th string of the uke (the G string). It just takes a bit of practise.

– Although the tutorial specifies that it works best for low G ukes, I tried it on my high G concert uke and it sounds great too.

Today, classical string instruments specialist Herman Vandecauter kindly shares the ukulele tab for a solo piece by Italian guitarist and composer Francesco Molino (1775 – 1847).

Download Herman’s arrangement of Andante Vivace by Francesco Molino

Listen to the Andante Vivace performed by Herman
Andante Vivace by Francesco Molino performed by Herman

Here is some extra information kindly provided by Herman.

Francesco Molino arranged this small happy dancing solo piece written for guitar from his 19th century guitar method. I have the original 19th century book at home. He was a guitarist but also a violinist working in Paris!

Pictures provided by Herman: Francesco Molino’s guitar method and a lovely lithography of his best student, the Duchess of Berry.

If you grow tired of playing ukulele on the western scales, today is your chance to discover the Japanese Yo scale and on the Indian C major scale.

The Japanese Yo scale is a pentatonic scale using 5 notes instead of  the 7 which are commonly used in western scales. Besides, the Yo scale does not contain semitones. You can read explanations about the Japanese Yo scale on Wikipedia.

Listen to Ken Middleton improvising some traditional Japanese folk music on the Yo scale on an Ohana TK-35CG tenor ukulele.

If you are into music theory and would like to read more about the various Japanese scales, this post for guitar players might interest you.

Here is another improvisation, on the C major Indian scale this time by tittlescwats11.

For further reading on the subject of scales and ukulele, this thread on the Ukulele Underground forum will provide you with plenty of information on scales from the Middle East.

Herman Vandecauter has recently uploaded a new video in which he performs a Courante he has arranged for the ukulele. A ‘courante’ is a tripple meter dance from the late Renaissance or the Baroque music era.

I have asked Herman for more information about the piece, but let’s first listen to and enjoy the Schmitt Courante beautifully performed on a soprano Ohana SK 100G.

Here is what Herman can tell us about the piece :

This piece made my new Ohana a pleasure to play.

There is hardly anything to say about the origin of the piece: I got it with the annotation Anonymous and a wrong estimation about its century of origin which is the 16th century and not later.

When I did play the piece I got the impression that I had heard it before and thought it could have been Thieleman Susato or Michael Praetorius and indeed I did find a similar courante from the German composer Michael Praetorius where the second part is the same. This can’t just be pure coincidence! But the first part doesn’t really fit.

The tremolo part is uncommon for lute pieces but it can be that the original was written for another instrument. Since the base part is too slow for a nice tremolo I played a quadruple tremolo with 4 notes instead of 3.

Ukulele Beginner ?

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