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Picker Jon
07-28-2015, 10:19 PM
I'm really enjoying playing celtic and bluegrass fingerstyle on uke and I'd like to play some morris dance tunes as well. These are great tunes to play on guitar but finding tab arrangements is hard enough and I'm having great difficulty in finding arrangements of morris tunes for uke. The only one I've found so far is Shepherd's Hey on PDF Minstrel.

I was wondering g if anyone knew of any other arrangements of morris tunes for uke anywhere?

Thanks! PJ

PhilUSAFRet
07-29-2015, 12:20 AM
Wish I could help. I lived in Woodbridge for 3 years while stationed at RAF Bentwaters. Not what you're looking for but maybe these folks know of something. http://larkinthemorning.com/BookEnglish.html

Picker Jon
07-29-2015, 01:39 AM
Thanks for the link Phil, I'm just up the coast near Southwold. I've got a few the books on that page but they're in standard notation so I might have to have a go at arranging the tunes for uke myself.

Intetesting points Bill. Yes it's fashionable to be disparaging about Morris for people who have no understanding of it. The exception is folk music enthusiasts who recognise the heritage of the music and the great tunes! I suppose the uke isn't really thought of as a folk instrument, although as the celtic arrangements prove, it's ideally suited to the those styles, that's why I think morris tunes would work very well on the uke.

kypfer
07-29-2015, 04:56 AM
I'll second the suggestion for examining the ABC sources. There are applications, Tabledit springs to mind, that will take ABC and convert it to ukulele TAB, though you may need to effect a key-change first to get the tune to fit comfortably on the ukulele fretboard. You'll be on your own as to how much use gets made of the high-G string, assuming you're using one.

I'll also second the recommendation to learn conventional notation. I spent 40+ years convincing myself both that it was too much like hard work and that I didn't really need it ... the recent few years of my musical journey, since I bothered to learn, have been a revelation, finding all those tunes that no-one else plays (let alone write out in TAB) and playing them on a choice of instruments :)

The ukulele plays Morris just fine !!

It may not be loud, it may not be "traditional", but it's good tunes on the instrument of choice ... go for it :)

CeeJay
07-29-2015, 05:46 AM
If you want to play Morris go for it ...it's just music ...there are some very traditional tunes like Caedr Idris , "Sweet Jenny Jones" and loads that my brain has just dumped .... but all are playable on a uke...as is most music....you may want to get a small or a large amp and a uke that goes into it "loud on a lead" as I like to say....

Brunswick 5UCE
Epiphone Les Paul

Picker Jon
07-29-2015, 06:57 AM
Thanks for your replies! I take my uke to pub sessions and this little rig gets a lot of favourable comments. The amp's a Yamaha THR5A, just a 5 watt practice amp but loud enough for a pub a nice tone with simple effects and runs on batteries.

http://i59.tinypic.com/2yvqkpt.jpg

Christon Abike
07-29-2015, 07:30 AM
I love Morris sides and I regularly jam with a melodeon player; I play chords in place of the bass side on his box and he plays the melody.

I'd think that if you wanted to play outdoors with a performing side then a banjo uke would be a better option to compete with the cacophony.

I'm been a Cosmos member for a number of years, can't say I've noticed any serious negativity toward Morris dancers.

Christon Abike
07-29-2015, 07:33 AM
Additionally, I wouldn't think it would be too hard to create a simple arrangement of many of the standard English melodies on uke. As far as I remember, the melody on a box is usually based around the major scale in either D or G. Just transpose, or better still tune a soprano up to D.

Christon Abike
07-29-2015, 10:42 PM
Absolutely Bill! I was talking to my friend last night who plays in a Morris side, he said that they regularly get ukes and banjo ukes at both the sessions and the dances.

It's also beyond me this reluctance to move away from C, F and G. Naturally, each individual has their own musical ambition and level of comfort, but there's not much you can't play on a uke, even a 12 fret soprano.

Picker Jon
07-30-2015, 08:57 PM
It was actually Michael Raven who started all this, I bought some of his guitar books and tapes and the the tunes I liked playing the most happened to be Morris, that got me listening to Morris and seeing a few sides. Those guitar arrangements are very well received when played as solo pieces in the pub, one session is frequented by musicians from a local side and it's really good to get feedback from them. I've been told that they could dance to the pieces I play, which I gather is something of a compliment among Morris dancers!

So far on guitar and uke I've been pretty lazy and just learn tunes from tab. From the replies here I think that the most productive course would be to learn standard notation and arrange tunes myself. I have a copy of 1000 English Dance Tunes but up to now I've been intimidated by the fact it's in stave. I'll get it out and figure out where those notes are on the uke!

Christon Abike
07-30-2015, 09:32 PM
Cool! Transferring stave to fretboard isn't too hard, I just can't do it at the tempo that a song needs to be played! Perhaps try and do it by ear too. Once you have the simple melody down you can flesh it out. I'm only starting on the road to making arrangements myself, but it's a hugely rewarding one.

kypfer
07-30-2015, 09:35 PM
Picker Jon wrote:

... but up to now I've been intimidated by the fact it's in stave. I'll get it out and figure out where those notes are on the uke!

Excellent, you wont regret it :)

It's all about re-training the reflexes you already use for reading tab, but instead of playing a G note when you read "3 on the second line down" you play a G when you see "blob on the second line up" ... simples ;)

Good luck :)

Camsuke
07-30-2015, 10:34 PM
Thanks for your replies! I take my uke to pub sessions and this little rig gets a lot of favourable comments. The amp's a Yamaha THR5A, just a 5 watt practice amp but loud enough for a pub a nice tone with simple effects and runs on batteries.

http://i59.tinypic.com/2yvqkpt.jpg

The THR5A is a great little amp, I love mine, it's simple, extremely portable and has plenty of nice effects. If you have guitar tabs of tunes you would like to play on ukulele, send me a PM and I'll have a go at adapting them for uke.

kypfer
07-30-2015, 10:47 PM
My experience is that learning to sight read led to a universal skill, which can be applied to most instruments relatively easily.
My experience exactly ... I taught myself to sight-read notation because I wanted to play penny whistle and the books I had were conventionally written.

As and when circumstances permitted/demanded I quickly managed to transfer this new-found skill to fretted stringed instruments ... then the rot set in ... banjo, ukulele, mandolin, balalaika, I'm running out of wall-space to hang stuff ;)

Enjoy !!

Picker Jon
07-31-2015, 03:14 AM
My experience is that learning to sight read led to a universal skill, which can be applied to most instruments relatively easily.

That's good to know. A bit of a spanner in the works is that I've got to have surgery on my shoulder soon and my arm will be in a sling for 6 weeks after so no playing uke or guitar.

I've always wanted to learn harmonica though, so that'll be my project for a while. The book I've got teaches music notation as well from the beginning so I hope it'll be a productive period before I can get back to uke. Morris harp anyone?

k0k0peli
07-31-2015, 03:14 PM
I've always wanted to learn harmonica though, so that'll be my project for a while. The book I've got teaches music notation as well from the beginning so I hope it'll be a productive period before I can get back to uke. Morris harp anyone? You may want to skip Richter-diatonic-tuned harmonicas (like blues harps) and go for one or more scale-diatonic (like Hohner echo) or solo-diatonic (like Suzuki tremolo) harps instead. I've read the world's most popular harp is the Hohner Weekender in C; mine is with me always. My Hohner Echo Celeste in A and Suzuki Study-24s in D and G are often nearby. All these were in the US$20 range a couple of years ago. Such mouth organs are great with Celtic, Cajun, and some Latino musics, cheaply replacing concertinas, accordions, bandoneons, and such hand organs.

Study a bit on harmonica technology. You'll be amazed. And yes, such long-scale tremolo harps are fine for Morris music. (Mea culpa: I danced with a Morris group a long, long, long time ago, at the very edge of memory. Talk about young and foolish...)

Picker Jon
08-02-2015, 07:35 PM
If you have guitar tabs of tunes you would like to play on ukulele, send me a PM and I'll have a go at adapting them for uke.

Thanks Cambell, I'm having a go at doing just that at the moment. I think a lot of the melody lines from guitar tab transfer directly to uke although in a different key. The tricky bit I've found is where the melody goes to the guitar D string I can find the higher note on a high g strung uke but it sounds a bit strange. I'm going to try a low G on a uke and see how that sounds. I'm also thinking of trying to play the melody using the camanella scales I've found through this forum with high g and see if that works.

I'll let you know if I get horribly stuck!

Camsuke
08-02-2015, 07:53 PM
Thanks Cambell, I'm having a go at doing just that at the moment. I think a lot of the melody lines from guitar tab transfer directly to uke although in a different key. The tricky bit I've found is where the melody goes to the guitar D string I can find the higher note on a high g strung uke but it sounds a bit strange. I'm going to try a low G on a uke and see how that sounds. I'm also thinking of trying to play the melody using the camanella scales I've found through this forum with high g and see if that works.

I'll let you know if I get horribly stuck!

Cool mate, sounds like you're on top of it. Low G & Campanella are both very useful options.

Picker Jon
08-03-2015, 08:09 PM
Thanks for the info about harps! tbh I hadn't looked into it that much and I thought there were just 10 hole blues harps and chromatics. I'm surprised the Hohner Weekender is the most popular harp considering nearly all tutorials and tune books seem to be for 10 hole Richter harps sometimes with chromatic getting a look in as well.

I like the Brendan Power website, Bill, very clear and in-depth explanation and great resources available.

Is this the kind of tremolo harp you mean K0KOpeli? The demo video of Lakeland jigs sounds terrific!

http://www.harmonicas-direct.com/harmonicas/tremolo-harmonica-range/dales-song-tremolo-harmonica

k0k0peli
08-03-2015, 08:31 PM
Thanks for the info about harps! tbh I hadn't looked into it that much and I thought there were just 10 hole blues harps and chromatics. I'm surprised the Hohner Weekender is the most popular harp considering nearly all tutorials and tune books seem to be for 10 hole Richter harps sometimes with chromatic getting a look in as well. I started looking into mouth organs a couple of years ago and was astounded at the variety available now. Yeah, most are vanilla. But even with 10-hole harps are minors, inversions, modals, all sorts of fun stuff. And the 24/48-hole echoes really do rule the world.


Is this the kind of tremolo harp you mean K0KOpeli? The demo video of Lakeland jigs sounds terrific!

http://www.harmonicas-direct.com/harmonicas/tremolo-harmonica-range/dales-song-tremolo-harmonica
Yes, exactly! Although I'm a cheap SOB and I go for eBay bargains. The Suzuki Study-24 line seems good and affordable. BTW in the video it looks like Mike (nice concertina replacement, eh?) is playing with the harp reversed, high notes to the left rather than the right. I know of a few pros who play reversed. Guess I'm an amateur then.

Tootler
08-04-2015, 10:12 AM
I play folk music on harmonica and use 10 hole blues harps with Paddy Richter tuning. The 3 blow reed is tuned up a tone to give the missing note in the upper fourth of the bottom octave enabling you to play virtually all the common session tunes you are likely to meet in the British Isles. Initially I found a specialist dealer who modified Hohner harmonicas but he stopped doing them. I then found that Seydel have the option of Paddy Richter tuning for the more common folk keys in their Session Harmonicas and they are available in the UK from Harmonicas Direct. I find that the Paddy Richter tuning is essential in a G harp, very useful in C and A and occasionally useful in D. D harps tend to be a bit high pitched so I find getting a low D is also useful.

I play harmonica in a Ceilidh Band and I need to be reliable so I carry spares of the main keys so if one fails I can carry on and harmonica reeds do "blow out" in time, especially with heavy use. I even had one break in half on one occasion! Several of the major makers now have replaceable reed plates in their harmonicas which is very useful as it halves the cost of "replacing" a failed instrument.

One alternative tuning worth exploring is the Lee Oskar Melody Maker. These give you two complete octaves starting with the tonic of the lower octave on the 2 draw reed. I find them useful for playing modal folk tunes and there are a number of such tunes, commonly in the Dorian mode which is a minor key scale starting on the second note of the relative major key. The Paddy Richter also makes playing in the relative minor of the scale of regular 10 hole harp the retuned blow 3 gives you the tonic of the relative minor of the key of the instrument. (Em for a G harp, for example)

I have tried tremolo harps a few times and never really got on with them but they are popular with folk musicians. To be properly useful you need at least a 20 hole/40 reed solo tuned harmonica which will give 2 1/2 complete octaves. That does give you plenty of flexibility and with that tuning you can play almost all fiddle tunes. The ones advertised by Harmonicas Direct which are 24 hole 48 reeds and have a range of 3 octaves look like good value and are cheap enough to carry a spare and to replace when the reeds blow out.

I did have a Hohner 10 Hole Chromatic at one time. I liked it for slower tunes but I didn't find it very agile for faster tunes and when the reeds gave out I never replaced it. It had it's advantages but I really like the 10 hole blues harps the best.

phil_doleman
08-05-2015, 05:25 AM
I quite like to play Morris tunes, and similar country dance tunes. I've arranged a few myself, but Raymond Gamble has some lovely arrangements in his books.The only way to get them is to get in touch with him direct (http://www.stuartlongridge.co.uk/Orby%20Publications.html for contact info)


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ib4ZU9CPJ7c

Christon Abike
08-05-2015, 07:23 AM
Lovely stuff!

CeeJay
08-05-2015, 01:12 PM
Thanks Phil. I would take notice of the way Phil plays ahead of whar ever I say because he is way ahead of me. However, you can consider using the g string a lot more when playing UK folk tunes. if you look at a melody fragment like fef or ded or a run like GAB, you can find the notes around the same fret so you are moving your fingers, but not your hands. Just as an example if you make 2232 with you fingers, you get GABD (ADGB) available without even moving your fingers. Also F# and c# are easy to reach. This is enough to play many A parts of tunes that I have seen, without moving your hand, which offers the potential for more speed. Then for Part B, you can find another similar position around the 9 and 10 frets.

I have noticed that there seems to be (at least) two different ways to pick a uke....seemingly ...one is like Phil is playing which is up and down the neck .
I play across similar to the way you mention ...I don't know if one is better than the other or just different strokes for different folks...I also take forays into the top end as well on occasion ....and have even been actually known to play the correct note, in tune ,on time......once in a blue moon.......in fact that was the song "Blue Moon" that it occurred in !!:biglaugh::biglaugh:

Picker Jon
08-05-2015, 07:27 PM
I quite like to play Morris tunes, and similar country dance tunes. I've arranged a few myself, but Raymond Gamble has some lovely arrangements in his books.The only way to get them is to get in touch with him direct (http://www.stuartlongridge.co.uk/Orby%20Publications.html for contact info)


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ib4ZU9CPJ7c

Very nice! That tune sounds great on uke, just the kind of thing I'm interested in.

And thanks for the link, I'll be getting in touch with Mr Gamble.

phil_doleman
08-05-2015, 09:52 PM
I'm actually using the open G string quite a lot in the melody of that one, but I get your point. I always use a high G and it really does extend the melody possibilities in fast tunes. This isn't a morris tune, but it does show how you can get a fast, fluid melody by crossing back and forth across the A and G strings.


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S3bfQzRxWMg

barefootgypsy
08-27-2015, 07:45 AM
I quite like to play Morris tunes, and similar country dance tunes. I've arranged a few myself, but Raymond Gamble has some lovely arrangements in his books.The only way to get them is to get in touch with him direct (http://www.stuartlongridge.co.uk/Orby%20Publications.html for contact info)


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ib4ZU9CPJ7c
I've not been on here much lately, (time, time, time....) but a friend alerted me to the thread, knowing that we (my husband was a morris-man in younger days) just love the morris! I love to watch morris danced well, and the morris tunes, but funnily enough, I've never wanted to play them on my uke. I think it's because I'm a traditionalist - like to hear the melodeon or the concertina, or a fiddle. But Phil, I love the way you played those tunes! (I have lessons from Phil - great teacher!) Perhaps I should try to pick out a few....