Ukulele & Languages

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

New fingerstyle and classical ukulele ebooks released

07 2010

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.

The other arrangements on the ebook include Brian Borouhme, Castles in the Air, Humphrey’s Hornpipe, Lady’s Fancy, Larry O’Gaff, Light and Airy, Loch Na Garr, She Moved Through the Fair, The Gipsy Rover, The Harp That Once Trough Tara’s Halls, and last but not least, The Lord of The Dance.

Here is Ken playing The Lord of the Dance with a choir of birds singing along.

One of the great thing about this ebook which is very neatly laid out is that if you don’t already know the tunes, you can listen to the MIDI files played at different speeds (Slow, Medium or Fast). This should help you find out how the different pieces should sound. The ebook also includes technical details on how to play the different techniques that are used in the arrangements (such as hammer-on, pull-off, and a new one for me, acciaccatura). All arrangements are written both in tabs and in standard notation.

The ebook can be purchased on Ken’s website. Read my interview of Ken Middleton here.

Jamie Holding has also recently released an ebook of 16 pieces by Fernando Sor arranged for the ukulele (GCEA high G tuning).

I have already tried several pieces from the ebook and I must say that Fernando Sor‘s work translates very nicely to the ukulele.

Jamie‘s ebook provides historical information about Fernando Sor and the interpretation of its work . I love the following quote by Lawrence Johnson in an essay about Sor:

How should one perform Sor’s music? I believe the answer is with considerably more freedom, expression and passion than has, for the most part, been done in the recent past.

The 16 arrangements are from Opus 31, 35, 44 and 60. The pieces have various levels of difficulty but quite a few are rather easy and very pleasant to play. The ebook can be purchased from Jamie Holding’s website.

Although I couldn’t find any videos of Jamie performing any of the arrangements, Valéry Sauvage aka Ukeval has uploaded quite a few lately.

Valéry Sauvage performs Study Nr 8 from Opus 60.

And here is my attempt at one of the pieces, Study Nr 1 from Opus 31 with my usual dose of imperfections.

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