PDA

View Full Version : Ukulele Ensemble Music



pulelehua
04-07-2012, 10:38 AM
This is sort of a "run it up the flag pole" sort of thing.

As some of you know, I run a ukulele club at my school, and have been involved in a local ukulele club in the past. As some of you also know, I write ukulele music.

Well, I was wondering where to go next with my school club, and after a successful outing with "Tico Tico", I decided to up the ante.

I've arranged the first movement of Mozart's "Eine Kleine Nachtmusik" for 4 parts (ukulele quartet, or ensemble in sections). This is enough to get my school club started, but then I started to wonder...

Is there a market for this? Eine Kleine is a fabulous piece (one of the most famous pieces of music in history) and every movement is just wonderful. So, then I wondered about arranging the whole thing. This would probably be too much for my school club to tackle just yet, but if there were interest in the community, I would pursue it. There would be a charge for the score, but I'm not imagining it to be too high, especially given what you're getting. The first movement, including parts, will probably be about 40 pages!

Opinions and advice welcome, as per usual. :)

Anyhoo, waiting to see who salutes...

Lori
04-07-2012, 10:59 AM
I think it is a great idea, and I would love to see more music for ukulele ensembles. We have a group, and it is a lot of fun. It is very different from the sing and strum uke groups. We would definitely be interested in what you have to offer. I just got an iPad, and I have been setting up my music so it is on one long scrolling page (pdf). So, page turning is not an issue. To save space, I just use the tabs and not the notation. If you had a iPad/ pdf OnSong version, I would even pay extra.

–Lori

engravertom
04-07-2012, 11:00 AM
This is interesting. I might be interested in the first movement for starters. What breakdown of instrumentation do you use? I have arranged one ensemble piece so far, a tune used for the 2nd psalm. I arranged it for Soprano, Tenor, baritone, and octave bass, covering the 4 vocal parts I was working from. We use a baritone uke tuned to eadg for the octave bass.

I plan to do more stuff like this, but nothing so ambitious as you have done!

Curious to know more.

Thanks,

Tom

pulelehua
04-08-2012, 02:58 AM
Lori, I don't have that programme, but am starting to look into other platforms for things. A woman has just converted some of my etudes into Guitar Pro, and in order for her to do that, I had to convert them to MIDI. So, she's able to listen back to them at whatever speed she likes. I hadn't even thought of that as a learning tool! Unfortunately, I don't have a way to read Guitar Pro at the moment. I'm sure she's done a wonderful job, but I really need to see the output myself before offering it myself. But certainly, MIDI versions of all the etudes will be available very soon.

This sounds similar. So, not now. Not yet. Maybe? I may well ask for your help with that when the time comes.

Tom, I've just arranged it for 4 high-G ukuleles. I think parts 1 and 2 need 15 frets, the other two only need the standard 12. The piece in its original form covers about 4 octaves, so I've had to cut that in half. For the most part, I've tried to keep the 1st violin part intact. It's in F instead of G, and I think there's only one note so high it needed transposing down the octave (a harmonic would have been too quiet at that moment). Other changes include some tremolos for long notes, long notes for short (not the same problems with muddiness with the sustain of a ukulele!). Obviously the other 3 string parts have been transposed heavily in order to fit into the ukulele range. Occasionally, I've dropped parts out, occasionally used doublings to bring things out that would otherwise be hard to hear. In a few places, I've had to have harmony over what had been the upper voice, just to get the harmony to work properly. Dynamics I've played with a lot, assuming for starters equal numbers on each part, which of course Mozart wouldn't have had. I've also tried to keep part 4 relatively easy, so that mixed groups can make use of the score (my school club has a few members who shake with fear any time I say "tremolo"). And, as mentioned, not everyone needs to have a ukulele with an extended fretboard.

I'm still working on the fingering. As I don't have my ukulele with me, there's some guesswork, but I think it's ok. Will try it out this coming week. I'm excited, as it has some things I haven't tried much (if you've tried John King's arrangement of Chopsticks, and know the really fast triplet bits, you'll know what I mean).

Lori
04-08-2012, 05:40 AM
Lori, I don't have that programme, but am starting to look into other platforms for things. A woman has just converted some of my etudes into Guitar Pro, and in order for her to do that, I had to convert them to MIDI. So, she's able to listen back to them at whatever speed she likes. I hadn't even thought of that as a learning tool! Unfortunately, I don't have a way to read Guitar Pro at the moment. I'm sure she's done a wonderful job, but I really need to see the output myself before offering it myself. But certainly, MIDI versions of all the etudes will be available very soon.

This sounds similar. So, not now. Not yet. Maybe? I may well ask for your help with that when the time comes.


I have Guitar Pro 6, and have created a few files with it. It's a good program, and they seem to update it from time to time. The MIDI playback helps a lot, and I've recorded MIDI playback with QuickTime Pro or Wire Tap on my Mac. If you need anything like that recorded, and turned into an aif, mp3, or mov file, I would be happy to help. The program also offers export in wav format, which should be an audio file. The GuitarPro program can export pdf files, which are handy for the iPad. You can make the sheet size "user defined" so it would be possible to make one long pdf for scrolling in OnSong. Let, me know if I can do anything to help.

–Lori

Pippin
04-08-2012, 05:44 AM
It seems that polyphony might be easier than the romantic period... especially Mozart. Take a look at early Bach and Handel.

pulelehua
04-09-2012, 11:33 AM
Lori, thanks a lot. I will keep that in mind!

Mickey, technically Mozart is Classical, not Romantic. Given that era's love of tune and accompaniment, I think a lot of it works well in narrow confines. There is also the fact that Classical composers weren't yet stretching instruments the way the Romantics did. So, the highest note in the whole of Eine Kleine for the first violin is, I believe, E above the treble clef, which is not very high by modern standards, and almost reachable for a lot of ukuleles.

I do agree that Romantic music is mostly a no go, which of course makes it tempting! And the colours of the 19th century, with its larger orchestra, are harder to capture. Lots of The Nutcracker seems a natural for the ukulele, but the parts are all over the place. Still, I'll look into it at some point.

I've looked into some Baroque pieces, but most of them have some sort of motoristic part which is steady semiquavers (16th notes), which again my school club members would find tricky. Still, I think a Brandenburg Concerto would sound great from a bunch of ukuleles.

Funny, this all started because I was ill, and staying with family. I had to stay in our room to avoid making my new 5-week old niece ill. Now, it's become a whole thing. And I still have my duets to finish!

:)

Thanks for the input all around.

janeray1940
04-09-2012, 12:00 PM
We have a group, and it is a lot of fun. It is very different from the sing and strum uke groups. We would definitely be interested in what you have to offer.

Oh yes we would! I just saw this post for the first time today, but as a part of the same group that Lori mentioned, I've got to second it.

In playing with several uke groups over the years the one thing I've got an opinion on is that what is really needed are ensemble pieces that have something for everybody: something to make the strummers happy as well as something more challenging for those of us (raises hand) who enjoy that.

pulelehua
04-12-2012, 09:14 AM
1st movement is done! All with parts, tab, fingering, etc. I might play around with the fingering a bit. It's not very campanella at the moment, and I think maybe it should be. But it's 43 pages long!

I've got the 2nd movement arranged, but haven't sorted the fingering.

So, I guess I'm arranging the whole thing.................................

janeray40, I'm afraid when I say "easy", that's probably a bit of an exaggeration. It's easier. It's all fingerpicking, and there are a few bits which involve moving up the neck a fair bit. But I THINK there's nothing faster than 1/8th notes (quavers). All the other 3 parts have some reasonably tricky bits. It's funny, though, cos the 2nd movement is mostly slow, but there are some ornaments which are hard. I'm actually considering simplifying them.

More pondering required.