Ukulele & Languages

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

Posts Tagged ‘fingerstyle’

Ken Middleton has just released an ebook entitled 12 tunes for Celtic Ukulele and has been very kind to send me a copy so I’d like to share some information as to what is in the ebook. I haven’t had time to try the arrangements myself yet, but I am looking forward to it.

First things first, let’s listen to Ken himself playing one of his lovely arrangements, Fisher’s Hornpipe.

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I am very briefly emerging from my blog break to dedicate this post to my friend who succumbed to cancer a week ago. Thanks to everyone who sent a word of support, that meant a lot to me.

Here is a selection of  fingerstyle ukulele videos I really like.

Pablo9000 is playing some Henry Purcell on the ukulele and it sounds great :

Jens from Germany plays a Study by Spanish Dioniso Aguado

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If you’ve been following the blog, you will know that I have been learning classical uke with Herman Vandecauter over Skype for the past 8 months.

I was therefore thrilled when Herman told me he and his wife would stop over at my place on his holiday tour.

It was certainly a very enriching weekend and I have learnt a great deal. Besides being a very skilled player of various plucked string instruments, Herman knows many stories about the history of music and has many an anecdote to tell about his 40 years of experience as a classical guitarist.

Herman took it on himself to play Tico Tico, a piece he had just finished arranging for the classical guitar, while at the same time teaching myself and a newly ukulele-converted friend to strum along on our ukes. Tico Tico was composed in 1917 by Brazilian musician and composer de Abreu.

The result is not that bad considering we learnt the piece in one afternoon. Many thanks to Herman’s wifefor filming.

Herman demonstrated his skills on both the guitar and the ukulele and seeing him play here was a truly amazing experience. He played so many complex pieces from memory,

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Once more, Al displays amazing skills in his ukulele version of Offenbach‘s Orpheus in the Underworld.

Al‘s fingers move at the pace of the Infernal Galop on the fingerboard, and I still wonder how one can move so accurately along the fretboard at such a speed. Hardly human this…

Other nice instrumentals this week include Tears wet the Tumen River by Cho / Happy Bear from South-Korea. Thanks Jeff for mailing me about this Korean player.…

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A lot of my fingerpicking ukulele learning process has been about setting myself some challenges which were reasonably difficult for me to make some progress but not completely out of my league.

After 8 months of ukulele fingerpicking, both learning via Skype with Herman Vandecauter and working things out myself, here is a reflection on the things that worked for me.

1. Liking a piece

First and foremost, and mostly because the amount of time I can dedicate to my ukulele learning process is rather restricted, it is absolutely essential for me to work on pieces that I choose myself.
This is a crucial motivational factor : if I like a piece, I’ll be very intent on learning it.

2. Finding a piece that reflects your emotions

In addition to liking a piece, it has to be in accordance with my emotions.

Music is an important vector of emotions so if I feel melancholy, chances are I’ll be much better at playing John Dowland arrangements rather than say, a lively Spanish tune. On the contrary, if I feel joyful, I’ll be glad to work on Irish reels or other upbeat pieces.

3. How should the piece sound ?

Once I’ve chosen a piece I like that reflects my state of mind, I move on to the next step which is to figure out how the piece should sound when played properly.

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