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Ukejenny
09-01-2014, 04:03 PM
Finally got two precious boxes of music out of storage after a long while. One of my many, many treasures was my O'Neill's Music of Ireland book - full of tunes and jigs. Just wonderful.

I would love to transpose some of these wonderful tunes to TAB and play them on my ukulele. So far, I've played and tried to play them on my recorders and flute. Love this genre of music.

70434

kypfer
09-01-2014, 09:18 PM
I would love to transpose some of these wonderful tunes to TAB and play them on my ukulele. It might just be quicker to learn to read for the ukulele directly from the sheet, rather than go to the effort of transcribing the tunes. If the tune will "read" for a recorder or flute it'll fit on a ukulele just fine, assuming the overall range simply isn't too great for the ukulele (I'm assuming re-entrant gCEA tuning). There may be the occaisional tune that simply starts too high to "fit", these would need to be transposed.
As you can already read music, adapting the skill to your ukulele should only take a few days/couple of weeks to get reasonably fluent. Start off with a few scales, reading the notes out loud as you go. Try to do it without looking at the fretboard. This is a LOT easier "sitting up properly" with a strap than hunched over the instrument on the bed/settee. Then get out the sheet music and go for it. Once you start, you'll not look back :)
Tabs are fine in their place. I use them for lute-style music and clawhammer to great advantage, but for single-note melody lines "reading from the dots" is perfectly adequate, saves a lot of time in the long run making up tabs and opens up a whole hatful of music "ready to go" :)

Good luck! YMMV but enjoy the journey ;)

VegasGeorge
09-02-2014, 02:44 AM
I have the same book, and wouldn't be without it. An endlessly entertaining resource. And, I too play the tunes on my recorders. I never thought about trying them on Uke. I have been playing the O'Carolan tune, "Planxty Irwin" on my new Concert size. It has a nice ringing tone for that, and would also do well on a lot of the tunes in the book. I'll be checking that out.

PhilUSAFRet
09-02-2014, 03:35 AM
Wish I could accompany you with my bodhran.

Ukejenny
09-02-2014, 05:46 AM
Wish I could accompany you with my bodhran.

Let's do it!

Ukejenny
09-02-2014, 05:55 AM
Thanks, y'all. I have tried to take my note reading skills and transfer them to ukulele. Something is blocking the lightbulb turning on. I don't know if it has to do with multiple strings instead of knowing a fingering for each note. I find the same kind of block with piano and guitar. Have I prejudiced myself against believing that it can be done? I run scales on ukulele, still making some mistakes. It may be the re-entrant thing... I'm going to try it with the O'Neill's. Planxity Irwin, on p. 239 it is!!!!

Down Up Dick
09-02-2014, 06:59 AM
I love to play Irish (Celtic) tunes too, but I play them on my Irish flutes or my fifes. I play Slow Airs on my concert flutes. Some of my Irish tunes have chords, but few have words. I have a Scottish Songs book with both chords and words. I haven't tried to sing or play them with the Uke. It somehow seems kinda weird -- I dunno. :old:

VegasGeorge
09-02-2014, 07:04 AM
Our books are a bit different. Planxty Irwin isn't in mine. Mine is titled, "1001 Gems the Dance Music of Ireland," Editied by Capt. Francis O'Neill, arranged by Sergt. James O'Neill, and published by Waltons' Musical Instrument Galleries Ltd., Dublin. Oddly, there is no publication date or copyright notice in the book. The contents of mine are arranged by Classification: Double Jigs, Single Jigs, Hop or Slip Jigs, Reels, Hornpipes, Long Dances and Set Dances, and Miscellaneous, totaling 1001 tunes.

kypfer
09-02-2014, 10:50 AM
Have I prejudiced myself against believing that it can be done? ... probably. I picked and hacked at chords on the guitar for the best part of 50 years before I turned to the dark side, actually learned to read musical notation and started playing melodies. I'd always convinced myself it was "something one needed proper lessons for", but I wanted to play the penny whistle ... and the book seemed to make out it was possible ... so I had a go, and it was :)

Moving this new skill-set onto fretted strings didn't take long at all ... again, it was something I wanted to do so I went ahead and tried ... and it worked :)

Do go right back to basics, at least at first. A scale or two, Hot Cross Buns, Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, anything easy just to convince yourself it might be possible!

Good luck! YMMV but enjoy the journey :)

PhilUSAFRet
09-02-2014, 03:02 PM
What little Irish music I play, I use my banjo ukes for, unless I get a chance to play bodhran.

Ukejenny
09-03-2014, 03:28 AM
I love to play Irish (Celtic) tunes too, but I play them on my Irish flutes or my fifes. I play Slow Airs on my concert flutes. Some of my Irish tunes have chords, but few have words. I have a Scottish Songs book with both chords and words. I haven't tried to sing or play them with the Uke. It somehow seems kinda weird -- I dunno. :old:

I would be very interested in any information you have on the Scottish Songs book - sent you a PM!

Ukejenny
09-03-2014, 03:30 AM
Our books a a bit different. Planxty Irwin isn't in mine. Mine is titled, "1001 Gems the Dance Music of Ireland," Editied by Capt. Francis O'Neill, arranged by Sergt. James O'Neill, and published by Waltons' Musical Instrument Galleries Ltd., Dublin. Oddly, there is no publication date or copyright notice in the book. The contents of mine are arranged by Classification: Double Jigs, Single Jigs, Hop or Slip Jigs, Reels, Hornpipes, Long Dances and Set Dances, and Miscellaneous, totaling 1001 tunes.

Just found it online here - http://www.keilys.com/o10mucodamuo.html Mahalo!!!!!

Ukejenny
09-03-2014, 03:31 AM
Other good sources of fiddle tunes are M.M. Cole's One Thousand Fiddle Tunes and Ryan's Mammoth Collection (the latter available in PDF form here: http://violinsheetmusic.org/collections/ryans-mammoth-collection.pdf ). I think those two are related in some way—there's sizable overlap and the typesetting is the same. Lots more Celtic and even American fiddle tunes are available from these sites:

The Session: http://thesession.org/
With scores, MIDIs and ABCs.

Ceolas: The Fiddler's Companion: http://www.ceolas.org/tunes/fc/
ABCs only.
Note: for Ceolas ABCs, add the line "X:1" before the rest of the text. Every ABC tune has to start with an X line (tune number).

ABC is a text-only representation for simple music. It can be used to generate scores and MIDI files using ABC programs such as the free, cross-platform suite EasyABC or the online ABC converter at Mandolintab.net. These programs will also transpose the tunes for you during the generation process. If you hear a clip of a fiddle tune you want to learn, there's a good chance one of these sites will have a version (or five) in ABC form, from which you can create a score in the key you want.

Online ABC converter: http://www.mandolintab.net/abcconverter.php

EasyABC: http://www.nilsliberg.se/ksp/easyabc/

Perhaps this is obvious, but if one has a guitar background, an easy way to transpose from the bottom-G fiddle range to reentrant C-tuning is to play the music as if you were playing guitar (or baritone uke). If you play low-G instead, the tune should fit in C-tuning without transposition.

Fabulous - Mahalo for all the links and information!!!

Ukejenny
09-03-2014, 03:38 AM
... probably. I picked and hacked at chords on the guitar for the best part of 50 years before I turned to the dark side, actually learned to read musical notation and started playing melodies. I'd always convinced myself it was "something one needed proper lessons for", but I wanted to play the penny whistle ... and the book seemed to make out it was possible ... so I had a go, and it was :)

Moving this new skill-set onto fretted strings didn't take long at all ... again, it was something I wanted to do so I went ahead and tried ... and it worked :)

Do go right back to basics, at least at first. A scale or two, Hot Cross Buns, Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, anything easy just to convince yourself it might be possible!

Good luck! YMMV but enjoy the journey :) I'm taking the plunge - super slow and trying not to place expectations on myself.


If you still have your starter recorder book, go right back to the first page. Get a pad of sticky notes and a ukulele fretboard map. Where there is a picture of the recorder showing the fingering for a note, you are going to cover it with a sticky that has a picture of the section of the fretboard where the note is or a tab symbol. Then work through the book again.
If you can't find your recorder book, look up a lady called Freda Dinn, who worked in England after WW2 and produced several music teaching books. Her method books start in the key of G and include many (unadulterated) English and Irish tunes. You can find her books on ebay and maybe amazon. Start with "my recorder tune book a method for the descant recorder".
This approach is a single note approach, re-entrant tuning should not affect the outcome, apart from offering a choice of some of the high notes. Where a note occurs in several places on tne fretboard, like g does, either play them all in unison at first, or alternate around the positions.
This is a method for someone who already can play a recorder and can read music. Great idea! I have all my recorder method books - even the Von Trapp book that is falling apart. I may even have a Dinn book, I'll have to go check.


What little Irish music I play, I use my banjo ukes for, unless I get a chance to play bodhran. If you ever find yourself coming North, to Alabama, let me know, I never pass up a good bodhran player!!!

Down Up Dick
09-03-2014, 05:45 AM
Ukejenny, here's the Scottish Book info: Songs of Scotland (Mel Bay) --86 Favorite Scottish Songs and Ballads, by Jerry Silverman. It's got lots of traditional ballads, and lots by ol' Bobby Burns. It's a song book, so some of the pieces are pitched a bit low for my flutes, but I manage.

Here's another book at absolutely no cost to you: 50 Great Irish Love Songs, by (I think) Robert Gogan - 1998. It's got chords and words to lots of Irish Tunes. I hope you'll be able to find it if you want it. Some of it's pieces are also a bit low pitched for my flutes. You may have to transpose; I do. This one comes with a CD.

A little off the subject, but I think everyone who plays a lot oughta read music. It's a lot easier than using those darned tabs, and one can do a lot more with the tunes she is playing. Just my opinion. :old:

Ukejenny
09-03-2014, 12:39 PM
Ukejenny, here's the Scottish Book info: Songs of Scotland (Mel Bay) --86 Favorite Scottish Songs and Ballads, by Jerry Silverman. It's got lots of traditional ballads, and lots by ol' Bobby Burns. It's a song book, so some of the pieces are pitched a bit low for my flutes, but I manage.

Here's another book at absolutely no cost to you: 50 Great Irish Love Songs, by (I think) Robert Gogan - 1998. It's got chords and words to lots of Irish Tunes. I hope you'll be able to find it if you want it. Some of it's pieces are also a bit low pitched for my flutes. You may have to transpose; I do.

A little off the subject, but I think everyone who plays a lot oughta read music. It's a lot easier than using those darned tabs, and one can do a lot more with the tunes she is playing. Just my opinion. :old:

Thank you so very much! I actually got some recorder books out today and started playing through. Using mainly my E and A strings and it is coming along nicely. Why, oh why, did I think that transferring my knowledge of notation to ukulele should be instantaneous? Going back and making myself a "beginner" and playing songs with just a note or three has been very refreshing. I'm going to keep on keeping on and see where it leads. Can't wait to look up the Scottish book and try to find the Irish Love Songs. I love Celtic stuff. And I think it is beautiful on any instrument. Mahalo!!!

Down Up Dick
09-03-2014, 04:21 PM
When I first started the Uke, I just used music and picked stuff by hunt and pluck. Then I played some scales and actually knew where the notes were. But then I found that most of the Uke books had the darned tabs, so I dropped the ol' trusty music, and I am learning to be comfortable with tabs (Ha!). Anyway, scales are the answer to reading music on the Uke, and they aren't really very difficult. Learn a scale really well, and then play every tune you can find in that key. That's how I learned to play the flute.

I don't really finger pick much and mostly by ear. I wanna sing and accompany myself, and I already know enough first position chords for that.

I hope you like the books. They're both song (singing) books, I don't buy flute books much. :old:

kypfer
09-03-2014, 09:37 PM
Down Up Dick wrote :
When I first started the Uke, I just used music and picked stuff by hunt and pluck. Then I played some scales and actually knew where the notes were. But then I found that most of the Uke books had the darned tabs, so I dropped the ol' trusty music, and I am learning to be comfortable with tabs (Ha!). Anyway, scales are the answer to reading music on the Uke, and they aren't really very difficult. Learn a scale really well, and then play every tune you can find in that key. That's how I learned to play the flute. This reflects my circumstances very closely. Having gone to "all the hard work" of learning to read conventional notation for the ukulele, finding a lot of the music I wanted to play was only readily available in tab format was a bit of a blow. After the inevitable period of resistance I bit the bullet and took up tabs as well, not as a replacement for notation, but as an added facility ... not so hard :)

Tabs have a very long association with fretted instruments, so it's difficult to knock their use, but they do limit one to finding tunes that have already been tabbed-out for the ukulele, whereas conventional notation can provide a much wider source of music ;)

Down Up Dick
09-04-2014, 04:26 AM
I think I already went through this conversation with you once before, and what you say again makes sense. But it still seems to me that one can use music as a base at least and move on from there. I still wonder why some string players need every move laid out for them on paper. Those who play violins and violas and celli and basses don't use tabs. Piano and organ and harp players don't use tabs, and they use two staffs! Everyone tells me that tabs are very old, and that all kinds of old instruments like lutes use them. But maybe those players just use them because they've been used for all these years. What if young guitar/ukulele players were taught to use music in the beginning? I don't know how that would work, but everyone else does it why not guitars, etc?

Why does one need a number to tell him where to put his finger? If he knows where the note is on the fret board, he could fret with whatever darned finger he wanted to and maybe find a better way to play it. The chords do present a problem I admit, but others play chords without tabs. The usual tabs one sees on the music I play don't really tell us much anyway. Maybe more difficult music has more involved tabs I dunno. I wonder if there are any great players who don't use tabs . . .

What I'd really like to do is play everything by ear like the real old timers did. Lots of blues and country and folk players don't read music at all. Even I can whistle any tune I know or play it on a harmonica without music. I'm even learning to play my flutes by ear, and doing pretty well.

But I guess this tirade has gone on long enough. Everyone (including me) will continue to tab, and this wave will subside. I've vented enough. :old:

kypfer
09-04-2014, 12:44 PM
All good stuff, Down Up Dick, can't really argue with any of it. I thought about expanding on a couple of details ... but decided to let it go 'till another time ;)