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Are ukuleles a real instrument?

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Tootler 20 Aug 14 - 03:02 AM
GUEST 20 Aug 14 - 12:35 PM
Artful Codger 20 Aug 14 - 03:49 PM
GUEST,#2 20 Aug 14 - 05:58 PM
GUEST,#2 20 Aug 14 - 05:59 PM
Don Firth 20 Aug 14 - 06:04 PM
GUEST 20 Aug 14 - 08:22 PM
Don Firth 20 Aug 14 - 09:46 PM
GUEST 21 Aug 14 - 05:40 AM
GUEST,leeneia 21 Aug 14 - 10:35 AM
Don Firth 21 Aug 14 - 12:38 PM
Andrew Murphy 21 Aug 14 - 06:18 PM
GUEST,Stim 21 Aug 14 - 09:12 PM
Don Firth 21 Aug 14 - 09:40 PM
GUEST,leeneia 22 Aug 14 - 09:57 AM
GUEST,punkfolkrocker 22 Aug 14 - 11:26 AM
Roger the Skiffler 22 Aug 14 - 11:32 AM
JennieG 22 Aug 14 - 05:41 PM
Roger the Skiffler 03 Sep 14 - 06:05 AM
GUEST,leeneia 03 Sep 14 - 04:18 PM
GUEST,Guest Vicki Kelsey 04 Sep 14 - 01:16 PM
Musket 04 Sep 14 - 01:29 PM
JHW 11 Sep 14 - 06:16 PM
GUEST,AJW 13 Jan 20 - 04:49 PM
Jack Campin 14 Jan 20 - 05:52 AM
GUEST,larepole 15 Jan 20 - 12:13 AM
Donuel 17 Jan 20 - 07:00 PM
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Subject: RE: Are ukuleles a real instrument?
From: Tootler
Date: 20 Aug 14 - 03:02 AM

Don Firth,

Renaissance music works very well on the ukulele. The tone of a ukulele, especially the tenor, is not unlike the lute or other small renaissance string instruments. There is plenty on the internet. Just Google "Renaissance ukulele" and you'll find plenty.

I agree with guest above about the take the A-train clip posted. It's not the best example and that "tick" with the fingernails is very irritating.

As far as the anonymous critical guest is concerned I suspect that whatever you post, he will find something critical to say as he clearly does not like the ukulele and needs to rationalise his reaction to the instrument.


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Subject: RE: Are ukuleles a real instrument?
From: GUEST
Date: 20 Aug 14 - 12:35 PM

There's nothing wrong with rationalising something, if it allows you to explain to others your feelings about something, in this case, disappointment. You should sit in on a session and add something to it. I reviewed my feeling with the possibility I was wrong, and asking myself why I felt what I felt about what I was listening to, and that is what I felt. Oh no, not another uke.

Renaissance music also works very well on the tissue-and-comb. It doesn't mean that it should be performed on it. It also means that if the best the Uke can do is go back to a time when musical composition was simpler in many ways, chromatically above all (and yes, I am very much aware of its place in Quadrivium work, complete with mirror cannons) then it is an instrument which has its limits and which should not go into certain areas.

And yes, it is a bad workman who blames his tools, but it is a worse workman who insists on using a Chinese chisel when a Japanese one is available. And I absolutely agree with Guest 19 Aug 14 - 10:00 PM on the question of structure, although I would rather apply that to the set as a whole, than just one piece.

It might perhaps be a poor musician, if it were not that the musician in question was held out as being one of the best. In some respects, it was a Curate's Egg of a performance, there were some skills which could transfer to a better instrument and be creditable. But he didn't, and he held out his new instrument as being the epitome of its kind, which leaves me thinking that if that's the Ralph McTell of the Ukelele, I'd not like to discover the Johnny Cash of the medium - except that this is what we get, at least in the UK.

OK, we have many learners and in ten years time they might be worthwhile. But only if the instrument has it in it to allow them to: you can as easily waste ten years on paper-and-comb. And if it's a start to allow them to move onto something better (I'm thinking of the recorder here), then don't offer it to us as something fully-fledged and omnipuissant. It has a small place in Hawaiian music, and little more.


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Subject: RE: Are ukuleles a real instrument?
From: Artful Codger
Date: 20 Aug 14 - 03:49 PM

Well, the guitar isn't a real instrument, either. You can do so much more on a harp-guitar.

Well, the harp-guitar isn't a real instrument, either, because you can do so much more on a piano.

But the piano isn't a real instrument because you can do so much more on an organ.

Which isn't a real instrument, because you can do so much more on a synthesizer.

But a computer is capable of generating music a synthesizer can't touch.

But a computer isn't a real instrument, either, because the wind puts all other instruments to shame: it makes the most amazing variety of tones, effects and dynamics, using a trillion voices at the same time.

So I guess the only real instrument is the flute.


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Subject: RE: Are ukuleles a real instrument?
From: GUEST,#2
Date: 20 Aug 14 - 05:58 PM

Boy, it would male it so much easier if everyone who posted to a thread would choose a name, even something simple like #2. As it is, there are a few people not choosing names and they all show up as "GUEST". Each thread would be much easier to follow if everyone used a different name.
Just plain "GUEST" has already been taken back in 1996. Unless you are that GUEST, please use a unique screen name.


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Subject: RE: Are ukuleles a real instrument?
From: GUEST,#2
Date: 20 Aug 14 - 05:59 PM

I am normally a lurker, but I like to understand what I'm lurking.


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Subject: RE: Are ukuleles a real instrument?
From: Don Firth
Date: 20 Aug 14 - 06:04 PM

My point, Guest, is that Renaissance music played on a good ukulele sounds like the same music played on a Renaissance guitar--the authenticity of sound that early music fans are so fond of.

Also, you can play multiple lines (counterpoint) on a ukulele / Renaissance guitar, which you can't do with tissue paper and comb, kazoo, penny whistle, or bongos.

You could possibly play Mozart's clarinet concerto (the clarinet part, but you'd need a full orchestra for the rest) with a tissue paper and comb. But you'd have to be damned good to get a booking in Carnegie Hall.

Not impossible, however, with a ukulele. After all, Larry Adler made a halfway decent career playing classical music on the harmonica.

I was once told, when I tried to register at the School of Music at the University of Washington, that the guitar was not a musical instrument. Even though John Williams had played a concert in the Meany Hall auditorium on campus a couple of months before.

I eventually did get into the department (a music prof who knew better interceded for me), but I still got a lot of crap from some other faculty members and students. "When are you going to stop messing around with that cowboy music and get serious?"

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: Are ukuleles a real instrument?
From: GUEST
Date: 20 Aug 14 - 08:22 PM

Not a Uke course, though. And if you took such a proposal to someone like Richard York, you'd be laughed out of town.


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Subject: RE: Are ukuleles a real instrument?
From: Don Firth
Date: 20 Aug 14 - 09:46 PM

Guest, I don't get what you're saying in your post just above. And I Googled "Richard York" and came up with nothing that made sense.

I attended the U. of W. School of Music, not to learn to play the guitar or sing folk songs (I already had a good classic guitar teacher who taught privately, and I knew they wouldn't let me in on the basis of folk music--not "serious" enough for them, and that was more the province of the English Lit. Department), but because I wanted the courses in music theory.

Between two years at the U. of W. School of Music and another two years at the Cornish College of the Arts (a sort of conservatory), I got the musical education I was after.

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: Are ukuleles a real instrument?
From: GUEST
Date: 21 Aug 14 - 05:40 AM

Richard York is probably the reference on mediaeval and early renaissance music in the country: he's a very active performer and runs the Chester Minstrels, which brings the top performers from bands like Blowzabella, Lady Maisery, and most of the Bagpipe Society together on an annual street gig. The suggection you could play accurate historically-informed Renaissance music on a fuke is actually offensive to the work a lot of people have done getting it right, from the Galpin Society to Sothebys to Kings College London...and to claim academic credentials in that is hilarious, speaking from within the halls of the Warburg Institute, a specialist house in research of the period - I am a memmber of the esoteric studies reading group. We're the home of PROMS, one of the leading sources of work of the very period you're talking about, my own studies are entirely congruent with Tony Rooley's teaching at the Schola Cantorum in Basel, and I'm consulted by Stevie Wishart, the leader of Synphonie. Me, I have enough difficulty having my Hobrough Galileo doppia accepted as it's a 17th-century instrument - but at least my Germsan nakers are right. The only way I can is because people are playing hurdies of the period.

Now, for all that you're a decent folkie, don't go there in Renaissance, you obviously haven't kept up in the last 20 years with what's gone on. Unless you are working with Joel Cohen and the Boston Camerata, you probably don't rate, and I'm most certainly not a major player in the UK.


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Subject: RE: Are ukuleles a real instrument?
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 21 Aug 14 - 10:35 AM

Between one 'do' on an instrument and the next, there are 12 notes. Any instrument that has the 12 notes can play any music written in the Western world. Arguments against any instrument doing that are founded in habit, personal preference or snobbery.

Most of the time you don't even need all twelve notes.

Guest, you sound like part of the Great You-Shut-Up, the movement in our society which is always telling people to stop singing, to put their instruments away and just buy the recordings of the professionals. The main tactic of the Great You-Shut-Up is humiliating people.

'fuke'? What do you think we are, twelve-year-olds?


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Subject: RE: Are ukuleles a real instrument?
From: Don Firth
Date: 21 Aug 14 - 12:38 PM

For Chrissake, Guest, get a grip!!

I didn't say that a ukulele could replace a Renaissance guitar in an Early Music consort, I said that one can play the same music on it that you can play on a Renaissance guitar!

I'm not stupid. I know how picky Early Music fans can be when it comes to authenticity of instruments and technique of playing.

Also, I am American, not English, and although I'm familiar with Early Music groups in this country, I am not familiar with all of those in England. I have never heard of Richard York.

E.g., are YOU familiar with the Baltimore Consort? Or Elizabeth CD Brown? I thought not.

Also—if someone new to Early Music wishes to play Renaissance guitar, but who cannot afford one (you're not liable to find one in most music stores and if you can find a luthier who makes authentic replicas, they don't come cheap), a baritone ukulele could be something to get started on.

Don't be such a snob.

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: Are ukuleles a real instrument?
From: Andrew Murphy
Date: 21 Aug 14 - 06:18 PM

ukuleles are extremely popular recently, they have become the instrument of choice for hipsters.


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Subject: RE: Are ukuleles a real instrument?
From: GUEST,Stim
Date: 21 Aug 14 - 09:12 PM

I remember when people who played early music on instruments appropriate to the period were regarded with the same sort of
amused disdain that uke players get now.

As I think of it, most of the truly interesting developments in music tended to be regarded with disdain by somebody. And a lot of developments that weren't very interesting, as well.

It seems to me that no matter what sort of music you play or listen to,
there is someone, somewhere, who is disdainful of it. The only response I can think of is to say, "We're going to play what we want,
like it or not" and to carry on.


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Subject: RE: Are ukuleles a real instrument?
From: Don Firth
Date: 21 Aug 14 - 09:40 PM

Exactly so, Stim!

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: Are ukuleles a real instrument?
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 22 Aug 14 - 09:57 AM

That's telling 'em, Stim.

I remember an early music concert I attended after a workshop in North Carolina. Everybody had early instruments, and the faculty was very learned. At the final concert, a faculty member played a tune from the 11th Century on a plastic toy, the kind that you blow into, and it has a little keyboard on the side.

It sounded right, and we all listened respectfully.


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Subject: RE: Are ukuleles a real instrument?
From: GUEST,punkfolkrocker
Date: 22 Aug 14 - 11:26 AM

apologies if this point has already been made in this thread,

I'm more comfortably resigned to hearing little kids practicing the uke
than the the recorder or violin...


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Subject: RE: Are ukuleles a real instrument?
From: Roger the Skiffler
Date: 22 Aug 14 - 11:32 AM

Well I'm just listening to Del Ray on resonator uke (check out Hobieman records). If you like it, she is appearing at South St Reading UK with Adam Franklin on 18th September 2014 at 8pm and on tour around the UK.
Unfortunately I'll be out of the country so will miss it (shame!)> She also plays resonator guitar of course.

RtS


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Subject: RE: Are ukuleles a real instrument?
From: JennieG
Date: 22 Aug 14 - 05:41 PM

Del Rey is great! I saw her perform some years ago when she was visiting Oz with Steve James.


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Subject: RE: Are ukuleles a real instrument?
From: Roger the Skiffler
Date: 03 Sep 14 - 06:05 AM

We've been invited to a friend's big birthday celebration in the Autumn and music will be provided by the Shropshire Strummers ukulele band. Despite gainsayers here I'm looking forward to it. The Berkshire Small Strings group I've seen are excellent. When I was in the Cook Islands 20 years ago local guys played home made ones with the body made out of half a coconut shell- got the sound OK.
Wonder if I should take the kazoo...?


RtS


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Subject: RE: Are ukuleles a real instrument?
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 03 Sep 14 - 04:18 PM

Sure, take the kazoo. That way, if they open up the act to audience participation, you have it handy.


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Subject: RE: Are ukuleles a real instrument?
From: GUEST,Guest Vicki Kelsey
Date: 04 Sep 14 - 01:16 PM

Give a listen to the above mentioned Del Rey playing Scott Jop
lin's "The Entertainer" on uke. In her hands, there's no doubt about it being a "real" musical instrument.


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Subject: RE: Are ukuleles a real instrument?
From: Musket
Date: 04 Sep 14 - 01:29 PM

My mate collects guitars. A few months ago, he was taking the piss out of ukeleles with the best of them.

Then he had a barbecued donkey on the road to Damascus.

He now has a custom made to his specification ukelele. Cost him over a grand.

I hope it isn't contagious.


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Subject: RE: Are ukuleles a real instrument?
From: JHW
Date: 11 Sep 14 - 06:16 PM

Didn't think so but just heard Christine Jeans play one rather like a classical guitar in duo with George Welch. Excellent.


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Subject: RE: Are ukuleles a real instrument?
From: GUEST,AJW
Date: 13 Jan 20 - 04:49 PM

Listen to the late John King, or Samantha muir on You Tube and say it's not a real instrument!


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Subject: RE: Are ukuleles a real instrument?
From: Jack Campin
Date: 14 Jan 20 - 05:52 AM

As a Turkish bardic-folk instrument:

Brenna McCrimmon


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Subject: RE: Are ukuleles a real instrument?
From: GUEST,larepole
Date: 15 Jan 20 - 12:13 AM

Ukeleles are not real instruments, but Jokeleles are. People dislike the Jokelele because it is quiet and you cant hear it, and they like the Jokelele because it is easy to carry around and its quiet and you cant hear it. They dont play the Jokelele in bluegrass? Because you cant do the hula when you're playing a Mastertone banjo. Also its easy to get a Jokelele to leave an Irish session, you play tunes. The latest Jokeleles are beautiful two-tone models; plink and plunk. And the correct way to pronounce the word Jokelele is Yuk-a-le-lee. Why do people play the Jokelele? The ukelele is too difficult.
Lare


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Subject: RE: Are ukuleles a real instrument?
From: Donuel
Date: 17 Jan 20 - 07:00 PM

My cello got wet so I put it in the dryer and out popped a ukelele.
I had to put on some metal classical acoustic strings so now it has more sustain than a cello in pizzicado mode.

I now have 4 ukes. I do not know who the fathers are because they are all different woods but they are all 4 octave instruments.


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