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TooLateTheHero
05-17-2016, 07:46 AM
Hi everyone!

I am very much interested in vintage ukulele songs, such as those by Johnny Marvin, Cliff Edwards or Roy Smeck, however I have had much trouble in finding chords and songbooks for these songs.

I noticed that Ian Chadwick was selling a large collection:
http://www.vintageukemusic.com/ordering.htm

However, it appears the information on his website is outdated and hasn't been updated for some time. I have tried contacting him at his given email address but have had little luck in doing so. If anyone could provide any assistance in this then I would be most grateful.

Perhaps I have missed something but I have indeed searched the forum and have not had a great deal of success in finding the songs I want (this is probably the moment you all tell me to try and work out the songs by ear :cool:)

Many thanks to all.

Rllink
05-17-2016, 07:54 AM
I see a lot of vintage ukulele song books on ebay. I don't know if they are specifically what you are looking for, but it wouldn't hurt looking there.

TooLateTheHero
05-17-2016, 08:00 AM
I see a lot of vintage ukulele song books on ebay. I don't know if they are specifically what you are looking for, but it wouldn't hurt looking there.

Totally, but the issue is is simply the cost, each of the vintage song books costs quite a lot, especially when many of them are from the US. And Ian seemed to offer it for quite a fair price for such an extensive collection - or am I simply being stingy?

Croaky Keith
05-17-2016, 08:08 AM
Depending on what you call vintage, there are a lot of chord/lyrics on the internet.

In days of old, people bought sheet music, (1920~30).

Captain Simian
05-17-2016, 09:48 AM
I may have a couple stashed away somewhere. I'll look for them later this evening. If they're what you want you can have them.

Soundbored
05-17-2016, 09:56 AM
In days of old, people bought sheet music, (1920~30).

There is plenty of vintage one-song sheet music available on the internet, and I've bought a bunch myself over the years, but the problem is that they're all piano arrangements. Even the "Ukulele Accompaniment" is always just a few chord names/diagrams. For those of us looking for more complex uke-specific arrangements... I'm not sure anything like that even exists from 1900-1940. I don't think the ukulele was seen a full-fledged instrument back then, the way it is now.

mds725
05-17-2016, 10:26 AM
There is plenty of vintage one-song sheet music available on the internet, and I've bought a bunch myself over the years, but the problem is that they're all piano arrangements. Even the "Ukulele Accompaniment" is always just a few chord names/diagrams. For those of us looking for more complex uke-specific arrangements... I'm not sure anything like that even exists from 1900-1940. I don't think the ukulele was seen a full-fledged instrument back then, the way it is now.

I'm not so sure about that. I have ukulele-specific sheet music for "When You Wish Upon A Star" that was published in 1939. "Singing In The Rain" was originally performed by Cliff Edwards and his ukulele in a 1929 film, and I can't imagine the sheet music wasn't made available at that time specifically for ukulele. These may be exceptions to your statement, but it indicates an awareness of some demand for ukulele-specific sheet music.

southcoastukes
05-17-2016, 11:21 AM
The heyday of the Ukulele was in the 20's. It was the dominant instrument in the early 20th century. Chord diagrams were invented because of the Ukulele. When I was buying sheet music you could bet with fair certainty that titles before 1926 wouldn't have chord diagrams, but after that date they would. More sheet music specific to the Ukulele was published then than for any other instrument.

The arrangements are often wonderful. The writers of Tin Pan Alley were composing for their market, and their market was Ukulele players. As such, the most talented writers of the American songbook composed for our little companions; in other words much of the classic Tin Pan Alley repertoire we know today was actually written for the Ukulele in the first place. They wrote in several tunings, their compositions weren't too complicated for the average player, but included little touches here and there like maybe a simple diminished chord or a clever turn around - things that are seldom found in today's sheet music, but make all the difference between beautiful progressions and boredom.

I have a pretty substantial collection myself, but still it's nothing compared to what Ian offers (I have his too). His site says he'll go back to filling orders in the fall. Try a few selected titles in the meantime, but Ian's stuff is where to go - at over 3500 titles for less than the price of 5 pieces of vintage music - well worth the relatively short wait.

librainian
05-17-2016, 11:45 AM
I posted a while back about the New York Public library archive here

http://forum.ukuleleunderground.com/showthread.php?117817-New-York-Public-Library-Makes-180-000-High-Res-Images-Available-Online

There was quite a bit of sheet music in there too.

Camsuke
05-17-2016, 11:59 AM
These may be of interest;
http://musicmansteve.com/folios/Folios.htm

southcoastukes
05-17-2016, 12:21 PM
These may be of interest;
http://musicmansteve.com/folios/Folios.htm

Very nice! Considering I never seem to have time to play in the first place and have way more music than I need, there are still some very tempting titles there.

Soundbored
05-17-2016, 01:09 PM
The heyday of the Ukulele was in the 20's. It was the dominant instrument in the early 20th century.

No, that was clearly the piano.


Chord diagrams were invented because of the Ukulele.

What? No, chord diagrams were first used in guitar and lute methods from the 16th century.


More sheet music specific to the Ukulele was published then than for any other instrument.
The arrangements are often wonderful. The writers of Tin Pan Alley were composing for their market, and their market was Ukulele players. As such, the most talented writers of the American songbook composed for our little companions; in other words much of the classic Tin Pan Alley repertoire we know today was actually written for the Ukulele in the first place.

I wish that were true, but I think most composers of that time period wrote on the piano.

I'm curious to see an example you have of a "uke-specific arrangement". Everything I've found is like this:

91196

Yeah sure, there are uke chords there for strumming along, but the actual lead arrangement is for voice and piano. Another "feature" of tin pan alley sheet music is extremely "busy" treble parts. They liked blizzards of notes. I have a version of 'Aloha Oe' from 1916, and the treble staff is unplayable on the ukulele. It's piano music. You need to have a good musical sense, and uke skills, to know how to simplify the lines to something worthy of being called a "ukulele arrangement".

ksiegel
05-17-2016, 02:28 PM
Look for May Singhi Breen's collections. Known as "The Ukulele Lady", she was the person who convinced the Musician's Union to include Ukulele as an instrument. She also was responsible for more ukulele arrangements of popular music than anyone else, and her arrangements span nearly 50 years.

Granted, she mostly used a D tuning, but for those of us who play by using a known tune and the chord charts, her arrangements work just fine. (Some are quite a bit trickier than others, but she was a serious musician, after all.)

And I have Ian's collection.


Worth it!



-Kurt

mds725
05-17-2016, 08:20 PM
I'm curious to see an example you have of a "uke-specific arrangement". Everything I've found is like this:

Maybe you haven't looked in enough places. I found this, copyright 1940, on eBay.

http://www.ebay.com/itm/WALT-DISNEYS-PINOCCHIO-WHEN-YOU-WISH-UPON-A-STAR-VINTAGE-ILLUSTRATED-SHEET-MUSIC-/141307414723?hash=item20e69408c3:g:2vYAAOxyIPNTd1a j

http://forum.ukuleleunderground.com/attachment.php?attachmentid=91197&d=1463552218

Croaky Keith
05-17-2016, 08:28 PM
As mds725 has shown, this is the kind of sheet music that was left behind by my brother's father in law when he died. It was for uke, but most of what he had was a different tuning than that which is used today.

Soundbored
05-18-2016, 01:49 AM
Maybe you haven't looked in enough places. I found this, copyright 1940, on eBay.

http://www.ebay.com/itm/WALT-DISNEYS-PINOCCHIO-WHEN-YOU-WISH-UPON-A-STAR-VINTAGE-ILLUSTRATED-SHEET-MUSIC-/141307414723?hash=item20e69408c3:g:2vYAAOxyIPNTd1a j

http://forum.ukuleleunderground.com/attachment.php?attachmentid=91197&d=1463552218

I guess you didn't see the image I attached in the post above, for some reason all the images I post come out tiny.

Anyway, what you posted is piano sheet music with a few uke chords printed above it. That's what I was talking about in my post. That's not an idiomatic ukulele arrangement.

mds725
05-18-2016, 08:22 AM
I guess you didn't see the image I attached in the post above, for some reason all the images I post come out tiny.

Anyway, what you posted is piano sheet music with a few uke chords printed above it. That's what I was talking about in my post. That's not an idiomatic ukulele arrangement.

Maybe you could post (and, I hope, in an easier-to-see size) what you mean by sheet music with an "idiomatic ukulele arrangement." All I know is I can play this song on an ukulele using this sheet music.

Soundbored
05-18-2016, 09:28 AM
Maybe you could post (and, I hope, in an easier-to-see size) what you mean by sheet music with an "idiomatic ukulele arrangement." All I know is I can play this song on an ukulele using this sheet music.

You mean you can play the treble staff marked "Piano", and ignore the Piano bass clef? Or play the staff marked "Voice"? Or simply strum the uke chords? What exactly do you mean?

What I mean by "idiomatic ukulele arrangement", is an arrangement for solo ukulele with single note lead lines, written with the intention of performance on the uke. Not a piano arrangement, not a vocal melody, not a chord sheet. The kind of thing you can easily find for guitar from every era and genre. I have yet to see this for uke from the "golden era".

mds725
05-18-2016, 11:32 AM
You mean you can play the treble staff marked "Piano", and ignore the Piano bass clef? Or play the staff marked "Voice"? Or simply strum the uke chords? What exactly do you mean?

What I mean by "idiomatic ukulele arrangement", is an arrangement for solo ukulele with single note lead lines, written with the intention of performance on the uke. Not a piano arrangement, not a vocal melody, not a chord sheet. The kind of thing you can easily find for guitar from every era and genre. I have yet to see this for uke from the "golden era".

I don't care that the sheet music I posted has more information than I can use as long as it has all the information I need. The melody line allows me to sing and and the ukulele chords allow me to play accompanying chords on my ukulele. I suspect that what you're looking for is sheet music for solo ukulele (i.e., playing a combination of chords and melodies), and in the so-called golden age that simply wasn't how the ukulele was used. it became popular back then as an accompaniment instrument, and sheet music like the page I posted served that purpose AND permitted additional accompaniment on other instruments or by other vocalists singing harmony. I guess what you're looking for is the "golden age" equivalent of tabs, which is the prevalent way of presenting music for ukulele these days. Maybe you could post ANY example (not one that necessarily comes from the early 20th century) of what you want.

Soundbored
05-18-2016, 11:41 AM
I suspect that what you're looking for is sheet music for solo ukulele (i.e., playing a combination of chords and melodies), and in the so-called golden age that simply wasn't how the ukulele was used...

Yes, that is what I'm always looking for, and I think you're right, it just wasn't thought of that way. But there were some players from that time who could make it sing, and be fully expressive - not just 'strummy'. Listen to Cliff Edwards doing the best, and saddest, version of "Over The Rainbow" ever.

Thanks for your replies mds.

Tootler
05-18-2016, 12:13 PM
There are several US Universities that hold collections of sheet music and make them available on the internet. The first one I came across and, I believe, one of the biggest is the Lester Levy Collection at Johns Hopkins University. http://levysheetmusic.mse.jhu.edu

There are several others and I used to have a list at one time but I don't know where it is now. Music that predates the copyright limits is available for free download, but you may have to pay for much of the more recent material. These sheet music collections are a great resource for music of the era prior to WWII.

Just a thought on the discussion on sheet music of that period. It seems to me that the sheet music provided you with a "bare bones" arrangement. You could buy the music, stick it on a music stand and you had enough to enable you sing or play the melody and accompany it on a piano or strum an accompaniment on the ukulele if you wish. At the same time you had all the harmonies there to enable you to create a fuller arrangement and I wouldn't be surprised if the likes of Cliff Edwards or Roy Smeck or others started from the sheet music and adapted it to create their arrangements. In their heyday, they were probably big enough to be able to pay for arrangers to undertake the basic arrangement for them which they could then adapt as they wished.

acmespaceship
05-18-2016, 01:11 PM
Sheet music in this era was expensive to produce and most of the buyers were amateurs, not professional musicians. Publishers who wanted to turn a profit (which is to say, all publishers) arranged both the uke and piano parts to be reasonably easy. A more ambitious player would expect to use the sheet as a starting point, not a note-by-note blueprint for what to play.

There are ukulele lesson books from this era that teach how to play notes from sheet music. There are also lessons about choosing chord voicings to include melody notes. This is all the information any player needs to build a chord/melody arrangement from the information on a typical piece of sheet music.

Looking at the sheet for "When You Wish Upon a Star," I see the melody (on the vocal line) and the chords. What else do you need for a chord/melody arrangement? A smart player, that's what you need.

If you were a uke player in 1940, you'd learn to work with sheet music because that's what you'd have available. The mandolin players, fiddle players, flutists and (gasp) guitarists managed and they didn't even get chord diagrams.

Between the uke players who strummed chords, and the dedicated players who learned how to read sheet music, the remaining market for "idiomatic ukulele arrangements" would have been very small indeed.

jollyboy
05-18-2016, 01:19 PM
Just a thought on the discussion on sheet music of that period. It seems to me that the sheet music provided you with a "bare bones" arrangement.

This would seem to be a sensible approach to take since you want amateur musicians to be able to reproduce the music at home, with only a minimal technical competency needed.

My impression is that popular songs of the Tin Pan Alley era remained relatively simple, structurally speaking, for this very reason. Professional musicians could always, of course, "jazz things up" - add all the bells and whistles that would help make a tune really shine :)

Anyway +1 to checking out library archives. Here's a link to something I found the other day. (http://imslp.nl/imglnks/usimg/a/aa/IMSLP80988-PMLP164805-funny_sings_ukulele.pdf)

Soundbored
05-18-2016, 02:28 PM
...A more ambitious player would expect to use the sheet as a starting point, not a note-by-note blueprint for what to play.

There are ukulele lesson books from this era that teach how to play notes from sheet music. There are also lessons about choosing chord voicings to include melody notes. This is all the information any player needs to build a chord/melody arrangement from the information on a typical piece of sheet music.

Looking at the sheet for "When You Wish Upon a Star," I see the melody (on the vocal line) and the chords. What else do you need for a chord/melody arrangement? A smart player, that's what you need.

If you were a uke player in 1940, you'd learn to work with sheet music because that's what you'd have available. The mandolin players, fiddle players, flutists and (gasp) guitarists managed and they didn't even get chord diagrams.

Between the uke players who strummed chords, and the dedicated players who learned how to read sheet music, the remaining market for "idiomatic ukulele arrangements" would have been very small indeed.

I'm quite capable of sight reading, and building my own arrangements from sheet music... and I have 30 years as a guitar player under my belt, but thanks for your input... I guess?

mds725
05-18-2016, 09:08 PM
Yes, that is what I'm always looking for, and I think you're right, it just wasn't thought of that way. But there were some players from that time who could make it sing, and be fully expressive - not just 'strummy'. Listen to Cliff Edwards doing the best, and saddest, version of "Over The Rainbow" ever.

Thanks for your replies mds.

There were probably a handful of players like Cliff Edwards. My guess is that they either used sheet music like the sample I posted as a starting point or they didn't, and in either case they created their own arrangements that, even if those arrangements were transcribed, would not have been worth publishing given the cost on the one hand and the demand for them on the other.

southcoastukes
05-19-2016, 05:00 AM
No, that was clearly the piano.

What? No, chord diagrams were first used in guitar and lute methods from the 16th century.

I wish that were true, but I think most composers of that time period wrote on the piano.

I'm curious to see an example you have of a "uke-specific arrangement"...

Just noticed this post, and yes, saying chord diagrams were invented for the Ukulele is putting it too strongly. It would have been better to say that chord diagram usage came about on American sheet music because of the Ukulele.

But the piano wasn’t even in the same ballpark as the Ukulele when it came to general use in those days. Not even close.

And the sheet music was indeed written for Ukulele. You might look at it and think at first glance the diagrams were what was added because the piano arrangement is more elaborate, but if you wanted to present music for both instruments on the same page, then the process worked much better when it was done the other way around. If you ever stumble on sheet music with Ukulele chord diagrams where the changes are convoluted or the progressions just don’t sound too good, then it was likely one of the few instances where it was done backwards.

What you’re looking for, a “lead arrangement”, is something no one was interested in for the Ukulele. Its strength was and is that it is unsurpassed as “everymans” vocal accompaniment. There is at least some small interest in the Ukulele as a solo instrument today, but don’t look back at the arrangements of those days through such a narrow contemporary perspective. That’s the sort of perspective “Piano Players” and other trained musicians had at the time, and why the Ukulele was so often belittled (pun intended) by the “serious” musician of that day as well. For that matter, the Ukulele was often considered a Jazz vehicle, and a lot of Jazz musicians don’t ever work with those sorts of arrangements either.

southcoastukes
05-23-2016, 04:33 PM
What I mean by "idiomatic ukulele arrangement", is an arrangement for solo ukulele with single note lead lines, written with the intention of performance on the uke. Not a piano arrangement, not a vocal melody, not a chord sheet. The kind of thing you can easily find for guitar from every era and genre. I have yet to see this for uke from the "golden era".

Sorry, Sb -

I suffered a severe brain freeze on this question. If you go back far enough you can indeed find exactly the sort of arrangement you're looking for. In 1915 when the Ukulele was still sometimes played as a lead ensemble instrument, the first Ukulele Method published in Hawaii has what you want.

It's A.A. Santos & Angeline Nunes (of the Nunes family) who tried to save Machete lead style playing with their "Original Ukulele Method". I say brain freeze on my part, because we have it available for a free download on our own website. Go to the Open Tuning Sets page.

Tootler
05-23-2016, 11:55 PM
What I mean by "idiomatic ukulele arrangement", is an arrangement for solo ukulele with single note lead lines, written with the intention of performance on the uke. Not a piano arrangement, not a vocal melody, not a chord sheet. The kind of thing you can easily find for guitar from every era and genre. I have yet to see this for uke from the "golden era".

It looks like you are meaning chord melody arrangements. There are books of chord melody arrangements for ukulele and there are websites where players have published their arrangements. You can use these as a guide to the way in which music can be arranged for the ukulele then using sheet music from the era you are interested in, work out your own arrangements. There are plenty of people on this forum who play in this kind of style who, I am sure will be willing to help or at least point you to some good sources. Start a thread asking for "Chord melody arrangements" and there are plenty who will chip in.

An afterthought. Look up Tony Mizen. He's written books of chord melody arrangements in a variety of genres. I have one of his books of arrangements of renaissance music which is very good and the arrangements are progressive with the later ones in the book being more demanding than those early on.

Soundbored
05-24-2016, 12:51 AM
It looks like you are meaning chord melody arrangements.

Hi Geoff, no not chord-melody. That's turning a melody line directly into a chord pattern, for playing with a band situation. I'm talking about solo music, there are some significant differences.

Dirk: thanks, I'll check that out. The Kamiki method (1916) also has a few examples of solo phrased ukulele songs.

Hms
05-24-2016, 02:44 AM
+2 to the Ian Chadwick collection.
h

Soundbored
05-24-2016, 03:18 AM
+2 to the Ian Chadwick collection.

As per the note on his website, it's no longer available.

Kimosabe
05-24-2016, 03:56 AM
Chord melody arrangements don't just turn a melody into a chord progression. The melody is sometimes played by using single notes or double stops (two notes, partial chords) and sometimes by having the melody note as the top note of the chord. Chord melody can also use single notes or chords as fills in spaces where the melody comes to some sort of pause or conclusion.

Tootler
05-24-2016, 04:02 AM
Hi Geoff, no not chord-melody. That's turning a melody line directly into a chord pattern, for playing with a band situation. I'm talking about solo music, there are some significant differences.

Dirk: thanks, I'll check that out. The Kamiki method (1916) also has a few examples of solo phrased ukulele songs.

I think you've misunderstood. Chord melody is about solo music. It involves playing the melody and integrating the chords to provide harmonic support. As kimosabe above says when you play the chords, the melody note is at the top of the chord and between the chords, the melody is often played as single notes.

Jake Shimabukuro playing Bohemian Rhapsody is an excellent example. https://youtu.be/PB3RbO7updc

There are many others. Do a forum search for "chord melody". The Tony Mizen books I suggested earlier are chord melody arrangements and are designed as solo ukulele arrangements.

Another technique you might investigate is campanella which involves taking advantage of the reentrant tuning to play successive melody notes on different strings allowing them to ring on and also often involves adding chords at appropriate places to give a fuller sound.

There is plenty of information on these techniques on the forum and the internet. It's a matter of searching for them.

Soundbored
05-24-2016, 04:09 AM
I think you've misunderstood. Chord melody is about solo music. It involves playing the melody and integrating the chords to provide harmonic support. As kimosabe above says when you play the chords, the melody note is at the top of the chord and between the chords, the melody is often played as single notes.

I've tried to find a good description online of the differences between "chord-melody" as I've always known it, and "solo arrangement". This site has a pretty good explanation:

http://mattwarnockguitar.com/chord-melody#what

"...here are a number of characteristic elements of chord melody playing:

Played with a small group – duo, trio, quartet, etc.
Uses smaller chord shapes, often without the root included
Adheres to the form of the tune directly
Keeps in time with the band and count in
Used to replace the single-note head, then leads into the solo sections

Now, here are the elements that characterize solo guitar playing and arranging:

Played in a solo guitar situation, no band
Uses more root-based and larger chord shapes
The form becomes flexible for interpretation
Time and tempo are at the discretion of the performer
Can be played as a stand alone song, or as the intro to a combo version

As you can see, though both of these approaches involve harmonizing a melody line, they use different musical approaches, and are played in different musical situations."

Croaky Keith
05-24-2016, 04:55 AM
What is a Chord Melody

To begin, let’s take a minute to define the term chord melody so that you understand how it’s used in the context of this lesson.

In conversation, the term chord melody can refer to both group and solo guitar arrangements.

As can clearly be seen from the quote, chords & melody together makes chord melody, whether played by one person or in a group. :D

Edit: Solo arrangement just means that one person can play it all, as against orchestral arrangement, for instance, which needs the whole orchestra to play all the parts of the arrangement.

TheCraftedCow
05-25-2016, 11:14 AM
I was looking for my original copy of The Cow-Cow Boogie that was my father's.I found it. Copyright date 1942.
I also came across a packet of songs marked with ukulele chords tuned GCEA from 1926. There are six or seven songs in it. Anyone interested in knowing what they are....what key...and so on ?

Question.. is it good manners to continue on this posting, seeing it seems to be relevant, or should I start another thread?

Hms
05-26-2016, 02:59 AM
Soundbored,
wasn't aware of that, so checked his website, as of today it says:

Ordering the collection

Because of personal issues that required my attention, I was not able to fulfill any orders this summer. I apologize for the inconvenience, but I expect to be able to take orders again this fall with a revised and re-ordered collection that includes new content.

Watch for a notice on this page soon. Please contact me directly for more information about the status of this service or come back again in a few weeks. In the meantime, you are welcome to download our local ukulele group's song book.

So hopefully Ian's issues will be sorted soon and this wonderful resource becomes available again soon.

kypfer
06-05-2016, 09:25 PM
http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Banjulele-Ukulele-Songbooks-by-Lawrence-Wright-so-Rare-Alvin-D-Keech-/152117296370?hash=item236ae5bcf2:g:~KMAAOSwzJ5XVJP r

http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Keech-Song-books-Ukulele-Ukulele-Banjo-Original-Good-Condition-/152117287060?hash=item236ae59894:g:pO0AAOSwOVpXVJE L

These have just turned up on eBay UK ... might be of interest ;)

PhilUSAFRet
06-06-2016, 12:46 AM
Have this in my favorite places: http://www.traditionalmusic.co.uk/old-time-songs-chords/

jimavery
07-04-2016, 10:05 AM
It looks like Ian Chadwick is back in business!

http://www.vintageukemusic.com/ordering.htm

PhilUSAFRet
07-04-2016, 11:20 AM
Have a copy of:
Hit Parade Extras for Ukulele, Edward Morris & co., - Fair to Good, cover tape
Ukulele Ike, Collection for the Ukulele No. 3, Miller Music Corp. - Good to VG Condition
Seville Ukulele Simplified Illustrated Method and Song Folio - Good-VG Shape
Note: All D tuning