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View Full Version : Seeking instrumental solo music and more advanced technique books.



Tomdini
07-05-2008, 01:44 PM
Sup fellow ukers,

I'm a composer and orchestrator living in L.A., and I picked up the uke a few weeks ago. It's pretty much single-handedly saved my love for music (been kinda despondent and down in the dumps for many months now... ukes are great for curing that kinda thing).

I'm a classical pianist and an extremely competent guitarist (not to mention my vocation...), so while I'm new to the uke, I am not new to music theory or fretted instruments.

While other instruments have afforded me a vast compendium of art music literature to draw upon as well as countless stacks of method/technique books for all skill levels, I'm finding it difficult to locate such materials for the uke. Guess that makes sense... it's a relatively recent development compared to the piano or the guitar. Anyway, I can't find what I'm looking for in the local music shops and bookstores... just uber beginner/slightly-more-experienced beginner books. And the solo instrumental catalog for uke appears to be almost nonexistent.

But what do I know? So I'll appeal to you guys who have a better idea than me of what's out there. I'm looking for intermediate/advanced level technique books and instrumental solo uke music to play. That's about it.

I'm not really a fan of using Youtube and websites to learn music... I'm not old, but maybe I just need to get with the times. Still, a good set of scale exercises and some loose sheets of music on the stand are what I prefer... I'm boring like that.

Thanks a bunch and I look forward to being a part of the community! Already, sitting in a studio filled with tens of thousands of dollars in guitars, amps, and mics, I find myself disenchanted and reaching for my ukulele...

-Tom Dini

lovemissheather
07-05-2008, 02:34 PM
Sup fellow ukers,

I'm a composer and orchestrator living in L.A., and I picked up the uke a few weeks ago. It's pretty much single-handedly saved my love for music (been kinda despondent and down in the dumps for many months now... ukes are great for curing that kinda thing).

I'm a classical pianist and an extremely competent guitarist (not to mention my vocation...), so while I'm new to the uke, I am not new to music theory or fretted instruments.

While other instruments have afforded me a vast compendium of art music literature to draw upon as well as countless stacks of method/technique books for all skill levels, I'm finding it difficult to locate such materials for the uke. Guess that makes sense... it's a relatively recent development compared to the piano or the guitar. Anyway, I can't find what I'm looking for in the local music shops and bookstores... just uber beginner/slightly-more-experienced beginner books. And the solo instrumental catalog for uke appears to be almost nonexistent.

But what do I know? So I'll appeal to you guys who have a better idea than me of what's out there. I'm looking for intermediate/advanced level technique books and instrumental solo uke music to play. That's about it.

I'm not really a fan of using Youtube and websites to learn music... I'm not old, but maybe I just need to get with the times. Still, a good set of scale exercises and some loose sheets of music on the stand are what I prefer... I'm boring like that.

Thanks a bunch and I look forward to being a part of the community! Already, sitting in a studio filled with tens of thousands of dollars in guitars, amps, and mics, I find myself disenchanted and reaching for my ukulele...

-Tom Dini

you can look online for sheet music and/or chords & tabs for just about any song or style of music you'd like on the internet. i can put together a list of a few websites for you, if you'd like. i'm sure many people on this website would.

tad
07-05-2008, 03:29 PM
I don't know exactly what you're looking for, and I haven't actually picked it up myself, but I've heard good things about Fretboard Roadmaps: Ukulele (http://www.amazon.com/Fretboard-Roadmaps-Ukulele-Essential-Patterns/dp/1423400410)...

Tomdini
07-05-2008, 07:51 PM
To clarify, I'm looking for:

a) instructional books for the tougher stuff, the more advanced techniques... I haven't even found a decent book that goes through scales, let alone some of the more intricate fingerpicking and strumming techniques. I just prefer books when studying an instrument... I am most comfortable with that medium, even though many of you, I'm sure, feel books are way disadvantageous compared to Youtube videos. But I am finding it difficult to track down such texts for the ukulele.

b) instrumental music written for uke. Just like there's music written for classical guitar, piano, flute, xylophone... when learning guitar, I studied songs to build up my chord vocab, but ultimately my solo performances consisted of instrumental stuff I'd found in books. I can find lots of chord charts for many a song, but little in the way of specifically for-the-uke solo instrumental arrangements.

Yeah, any websites or books you could point me towards would be great. My own searches have not yielded the kind of stuff I seek.

Thanks!

-Tom

Keonikapila
07-05-2008, 08:39 PM
I've been looking for advanced books for a while, but never found any.

You might try some of Curt Sheller's books (http://www.curtsheller.com/lessonsUke.shtml), I've been meaning to check them out for a while...but never got around to it. They seem to go deeper than the majority of the books out there and they may be your best bet.

Ken Middleton
07-05-2008, 08:46 PM
Hi Tom

Have a go at my challenge. The piece is not that hard and it is properly notated. You will find it here.

http://ukulelehunt.com/ukertabs/wp-content/uploads/2008/07/soldiers-joy.pdf

You will find the details of the challenge here.

http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=ScVHklgekAI&feature=email

I am on holiday until next weekend. See if you can record the music before me.

KEN

14twelve
07-05-2008, 09:41 PM
Hi Tom,

I can suggest two books - one I already have, and one that in the mail on its way to me now.

I currently have Fingerstyle Solos For 'Ukulele (book/CD) (http://www.fleamarketmusic.com/store/scripts/prodView.asp?idproduct=157) by Mark Kailana Nelson. This has 27 instrumental solos, at various levels of difficulty. I'd say they're definitely intermediate level, not advanced, but still some nice solos there.

I can't recommend this next one as I haven't got it yet, but it looks like it will be good - if you're interested I'll let you know once I receive it. The Ukulele Solo Recipe (book/CD) (http://www.fleamarketmusic.com/store/scripts/prodView.asp?idproduct=61) by Rigk Sauer.

So for books I'd go for those two, but for more advanced music, Dominator, one of our great members here, has a fantastic tab site (http://dominator.ukeland.com/index2.shtml).

His arrangements are far more complex than the book I have, so probably more interesting and challenging for someone already at your level.

Keonikapila
07-06-2008, 09:46 AM
As far as written music goes, if you're looking for "traditional" ukulele/hawaiian music, you might want to check out the Queen's Songbook (http://www.amazon.com/Queens-Songbook-Malcolm-Naea-Chun/dp/0961673885), it's a collection of songs composed by Queen Liliuokalani--many of which are considered hawaiian "classics" (Aloha 'Oe, Sanoe, The Queen's Jubilee); as well as some songs not composed by her, but associated with her (Kaulana na pua, Ho'oheno). I picked this book up a while ago and have been meaning to dig through it to work out my own arrangements of some of the songs

The songs are written in standard notation with chords and lyrics (hawaiian lyrics also come with english translations) and each song description includes historical background. The arrangements are all pretty simple, so it leaves it wide open for working out your own arrangements.

The songs aren't written specifically for the ukulele, but the melody for most of them can be played without transposing. If you're using a Low-G string on your uke, you should be able to play everything in the book without transposing.

Again, the arrangements are simple and they aren't instrumentals (but alot of them are played as instrumentals by local traditional-style slack-key and ukulele musicians), but they provide a good starting point to creating your own arrangements of some classic hawaiian songs

Tomdini
07-08-2008, 03:13 PM
Just a quick note to say thanks to everybody for the suggestions, ideas, and links! I am looking into them all. Been kinda busy in the studio practicing uke and occasionally getting some work done!

Man, it seems like the whole ukulele community hangs out around here. Ken, I bought my Ohana after reading your review and giving it a whirl at the local shop!

Again, much appreciated! I always hate it when a Q&A-type thread has no closure from the OP failing to post a thanks.

-Tom

UkeNinja
07-08-2008, 04:38 PM
I'm a classical pianist and an extremely competent guitarist...a good set of scale exercises and some loose sheets of music on the stand are what I prefer
With all respect, wouldn't you be able to figure simple stuff like scale exercises out by yourself? Just get some guitar patterns and convert them to uke use I mean.

The reason I say this is because many beginning ukulelists pick up the instrument without the solid musical background you have (I am an example). Combined with the fact that a good number of those beginners do not bother to learn theory or are slow at realizing the importance of doing so (again, your truly), their dependence on workarounds like tabbing becomes so great, learning to read notes from scratch becomes more and more an ordeal. Tabs are great to read, but they are totally disconnected from music from theoretical / structural perspective as far as I can see. I get the feeling there is way too much "press 4th string 2nd fret, then 3rd string 5th fret, then..." stuff going on out there (yes, me too). Not withstanding of course those players that do know what they are doing.

My 0.03 fill-in-your-currency-cents from a highly personal perspective.

Perhaps if you get a book like Fretboard Roadmaps by Jim Beloff and just check what notes are where on the uke, you could figure out the rest by yourself in no time.

Howlin Hobbit
07-08-2008, 04:46 PM
I get the feeling there is way too much "press 4th string 2nd fret, then 3rd string 5th fret, then..." stuff going on out there...

I get just the opposite impression. Sometimes theory wonks get so caught up in the minutia of some esoteric bit of theory that they lose sight of the question (which is often... where do I press to make this chord?).

The forum posts flow thick and fast and the poor bastard that asked the original question is left listening to the subtle sound of his eyeballs glazing over.

I do think everyone should learn a little theory. But beyond that, there are countless thousands (at least) very skilled and entertaining musicians that have little to no theory whatsoever.

Sometimes the "jus' press here" school wins out. There's lots of folks who have no wish at all to do anything but play for their own (and maybe their friend's) enjoyment.

That's as good a reason as any, IMNSHO.

Lanark
07-08-2008, 04:47 PM
You might also have a look at some of the Jumpin' Jim Ukulele Masters books.
The Lyle Ritz chord solo one ought to give you a bunch to chew on for a while.

In general though, there's probably not going to be a lot of hardcore advanced stuff out there. The ukulele comes from a much more folk & pop tradition so it's not really the stuff of advanced theory. More people would have to take it seriously as an instrument for that to happen.

But that also means that you're free to approach the instrument any way that works for you without the constraints of "proper" technique.

UkeNinja
07-08-2008, 07:31 PM
I get just the opposite impression...The forum posts flow thick and fast and the poor bastard that asked the original question is left listening to the subtle sound of his eyeballs glazing over...Sometimes the "jus' press here" school wins out...
Well excuse me. My point is that looking at tabs and following them blindly will get you up to a certain point, but are a dead end. I think it misses the open character of a musical score. Perhaps a bit comparable to speaking a foreign language from a traveling guide without being able to read or write it. This does not mean that you need to be a classically schooled musician to have fun playing nice music.

But anyway, whatever. I only know 3 chords anyway, the rest is bluff.

@ topic starter: Sorry for messing up your thread.

LoMa
07-14-2008, 12:48 PM
You might want to check out this method book for intermediate players by Daniel Ho and Herb Ohta:
http://www.danielho.com/html/ukebook2.html

This one, written in french, is geared towards beginners, but there's some useful stuff for an early intermediate:
http://elderly.com/books/items/681-3.htm

And in case you're interested in early music, you might want to check out these two books which contain the earliest written music for the renaissance 4-course guitar - perfect on a ukulele:

Guitar Music of the 16th Century, edited by Keith Calmes
http://www.melbay.com/product.asp?ProductID=95375
You can find an excerpt here:
http://www.melbay.com/guitarsessions/jul08/class.asp

Guitar Music from Tres Libros de Musica, The Oldest Surviving Music for the Guitar, edited by Eric Waters w/CD:
http://www.melbay.net/reviews.asp?ProductID=99229BCD&Heading=&category=&catID=&head1=&head2=&sub=&sub1=&author=2110&mode=author&q=&r=&s=&next=

As others have mentioned, there are a lot of books on scales and chrod progressions. And the Ukulele Masters series published by Hal Leonard has some good titles for the intermediate/advanced player - the books by John King and Herb Ohata are outstanding in my opinion.