Ukulele & Languages

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one common language... the ukulele.

Classical ukulele : Dowland, Sanz, Renaissance ukulele arrangements

04 2020

Several people have asked me about Jamie Holding‘s ukulele arrangements and reported that the link mentioned in this post was no longer working. As I too really enjoy playing Jamie‘s arrangements, which are well-documented and nicely laid-out, I contacted him to find out more.

I got good news back from Jamie : you can still get hold of his ukulele ebooks by contacting him directly by mail at jamie.holding@googlemail.com. Invoicing is done via PayPal.

Besides, Jamie offers a completely free ebook of Robert de Visée‘s Suite n°9 in D minor which you can download here. The suite consists of 9 pieces.
Download free ebook :  Robert De Visée – Suite 9 in Dm

You can hear Valéry Sauvage playing some of the Robert de Visée pieces arranged by Jamie :

What ebooks can you purchase from Jamie ? Here is a list that he has compiled :

  • John Dowland – 18 pieces – £5.00 (approx. 5.60 € / USD 6.30) 

John Dowland is easily the most famous renaissance lute composer in British history – and one of the best in the world too. The book contains a nice variety of his music, ranging from beginner to intermediate and a few more challenging ones. This is my best selling book.

  • Blame Not my Uke – £2.50 (approx. 2.80 € / USD 3.15)

This is a collection of short beginner renaissance lute pieces collected from various lute books of the period and arranged for the ukulele. In the Renaissance, there were big collections of lute music written down beautifully into big volumes, often with anonymous composers.

This book is great for getting started since it’s at a level where anyone can dive in and have a go. Also check out the sequel below.

  • Blame Still not my Uke – £4.00 (approx. 4.50 € / USD 5 )

Sequel to Blame Not my Uke – it contains similar style pieces collected from lute books and renaissance folk style music. The pieces here are slightly longer and slightly less easy but still in the beginner to early intermediate category.

  • Fernando Sor – 16 pieces – £5.00 (approx. 5.60 € / USD 6.30)

Fernando Sor was a very well known Spanish classical guitar composer famous for composing studies perfect for people learning the guitar. Despite the learning focus, the emphasis is still very much on being good music as well. All through my time playing classical guitar, Fernando Sor has been a real favourite of mine since it’s beautiful and satisfying to play. The music ranges from beginner to intermediate with some more challenging ones, similar to the Dowland book since it has a broad range with something for everyone.

  • Joan Ambrosio Dalza – 10 pieces – £5.00 (approx. 5.60 € / USD 6.30)

Dalza was an Italian lute composer from Venice. Quite little is known about him but he’s composed some very famous lute pieces. If you’re unfamiliar with Dalza, be sure to listen to a piece called Pavana all Venetiana as an introduction (arrangement included in the book).

Dalza has a more distinctive style with less widespread appeal than Dowland but he has a following of hardcore fans. I like Dalza a lot. The music ranges from beginner to intermediate with some challenging pieces, again, similar to Dowland and Sor. I recommend this book after trying the Dowland or the Sor (or both) to jazz things up.

  • John Dowland – 5 pieces (and Pavana by Gasper Sanz) – £3.00 (approx. 3.40 € / USD 3.78)

The most recent book in the list. Consider this one an add on to the Dowland book with some hidden gems which, criminally, weren’t included in the first book. Especially, Semper Dowland, Semper Dolens, one of Dowland‘s most loved pieces. The title translates to “always Dowland, always doleful” which is fitting for such an atmospheric, mournful piece.

Finally, Pavana is thrown in which is actually a classical guitar piece. I didn’t make a full book on Gasper Sanz since Rob Mackillop did (highly recommended). However, he left this piece out and, since I really like it, I decided to arrange it and throw it in here!

  • 20 Melodies – For Beginners – £5.00 (approx. 5.60 €)

This book contains entirely one line melodies from famous pieces. Famous pieces like Greensleeves and Kemp’s Jig are included as well as the tunes of some of Dowland‘s lute songs.

This book is great for people who are shy of finger plucking and want a very gentle introduction. After learning to play this book, one can definitely move onto all the other books in the range, especially the Blame Not my Uke pair.

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