my ukulele progress

ripock

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Will you ever record a short sound sample to accompany your writings? Would be interesting to hear some of your riffs.
It probably isn't going to happen. I don't even have a cell phone. I think I would have to invest in technology to get to a point where I could do those sorts of things. And it is low on my priorities right now. Sometimes I think I should get a microwave or a garage door opener, but then I remember that I'm saving for my baritone and I forget about all those other ameliorations.

Later, friends. I am going to the pub to drink some whisky and read some Latin poetry. Tomorrow I have an interview for a job promotion, so tonight I am going to relax for a spell
 

ripock

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Ha! there is a thread going on in full curmudgeon mode with a bunch of old folks whining about FedEx. I did not want to rain on their parade, but briefly put we don't even deserve the lukewarm service that the delivery agents are providing. We could have been past all this drama but our country is too stupid to get inoculated against an airborne pathogen. If there were any justice, we'd all be dead instead of merely mildly inconvenienced by the supply chain.

Well, I'm just going to forget about that and about all the Texans and Louisianans who are being transported into our hospitals because they chose to gainsay the vaccine and now our taxes are paying for their asinine behavior. What I am doing is playing around with a drum drone in D that was uploaded by Flukotronic on youtube by denizen of this site, Jim. I'm just playing around with it and imbricating a melody into the rhythm. I'll report after dinner.
As I said, I'm playing with a track in D, so I am playing everything two frets lower to play in D instead of E. However I will still refer to everything as if they were still in E so that my head doesn't explode.
The drum track is a bit faster than I like to play, but since i am not a guitarist I have to play within the groove and serve the greater good of the group despite my feelings. So here's the outline of the elements that I used for my song:
Since I was using my Kamaka, I had to use re-entrant shapes. So I started out in the Mediant shape of the major pentatonic.
Eventually I slide up from the G# to the B on the C string. And I am getting to the stage where the lines that delineate the shapes are starting to disappear for me. After you practice enough the shapes disappear and you're just left with the fret board.
Once I get down to the B, I typically go to the E on the E string and the G on the A string. I do this to shake off the major pentatonic vibe and get me back to the minor side. I did this for geometric reasons: E is one from up from B and G is is two down from E. It makes a triangle. As i say, I was just making a triangle, but once I thought about it, B and E and G is E minor. So I was arpeggiating the minor chord. However I had no conception of this at the time. But the result was good. I was now back in a much more minor sound.
From there I played around in B Phrygian Dominant and up to C Lydian #2.
Lastly, I would continue up the A string using the notes from D# Super Lokrian bb7 and resolve on the E to finish it all.

That took quite a while, because I was playing with that drum track, so I would spend an appreciable amount of time communing with the beat and minimally insert some notes into the beat and let my silence speak for me. I was also inserting some strumming into the mix. I had been utilizing a technique that has taken my fancy lately: strumming ponticello on the last beat of a measure to act as a percussive element. However since I had actual percussion, I omitted the ponticello strums
 
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ripock

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There is an interesting thread going on about sad ukulele music and whether it is possible. I didn't want to contribute to it because I can foresee where there would be a bit of value judgment going on and I didn't want to criticize someone's tack unintentionally. My main idea on the subject revolves around intention. Yes, there is some technique and skill-level elements to this, but I think the big issue is intention. You have to want to play and commit to play different music. If you do, the ukulele will follow. I have seen Phil Doleman try to play the blues on uke and I have seen Jake "rocking out" and both efforts were embarrassing. They are pre-eminent players, so that's not the issue. The issue is that these other genres have vibes and you have to embrace the dolorousness of the blues or the aggression of rock. Otherwise you're still playing slappy happy uke music.

Concomitant to intention is quality. Often times uke playing is about the quantity of sound: what bracing system creates the biggest sound, what tone wood or what brand projects the most. To make a uke not sound like a loud brash uke, you need to focus on the quality of the note. Sam Muir and Daniel Ward have some resources that really stress squeezing the quality out of a note. I spend a lot of time bending notes or juxtaposing notes to attain something expressive. That's where my music differs from, for example, Phil Doleman's blues which was playing the blues progression in a happy manner.

I am not trying to bust anyone's chops. I'm just saying you have to choose to play sad music and commit to your choice. However if you choose not to, that's fine as well. All choices are good choices.

And as a coda to all this, I want to say that I couldn't play happy music if I tried. Again, it is all about intention. I can physically stay in the pocket and play jumpy chords while people sing five foot two, eyes of blue...but it would be a joke to me and that would come out in the music.
 

ripock

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I played my re-entrant today and being hamstrung with only 3 strings I gravitated to the A on the 9th fret. I thought I would go higher to the modes around the C and D#, but instead I went lower using the mediant, tonic, and leading tone shapes of the E major pentatonic. That put me in reach of the D# on the 3rd fret so that I could play the mode I was going to play the D# super lokrian bb7 at the 3rd position instead of the 15th. I transitioned back up the neck with the B on the 2nd fret. It is a B4 just like the B on the 11th fret.
 

ripock

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Variety is the spice of life. Speaking of spices, I received a new seasoning and today the house is redolent of shallots and chives since I cooked some trout with it last night.

Anyway, I spiced up the routine today by playing an old game. Instead of Name That Tune is suppose you could call it Tune That Name. I name, or speak, a sentiment and then I turn it into music. It isn't at all esoteric. I just thought of a phrase, "why do things always turn out that way" and I listened to the lilt and cadence and intervals of the sounds of that phrase. Then I just wank around in a scale 'til I've re-created the phrase wordlessly on the uke. I use the pentatonic because I find it is very amenable to the human voice. I don't think it matters which pentatonic, the major or the minor, that you use. After all the major pentatonic is just the minor pentatonic in the key of the sixth interval.

What is fun about this is the fact that the words have meaning. In this case the phrase has a patently pessimistic or nihilistic vibe. So when you play the riff based on the words you invest it with the meaning of the words and try to get that feeling across. The listener doesn't know the words but he/she can pick up on the vibe you create with the notes, their arrangement, and any chords you imbricate into the mix.
 

wqking

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It probably isn't going to happen. I don't even have a cell phone.
You'd do it the sooner the better.
You listen to your own recording, then you will find the flaws or anything to improve which you are not aware of by only listening to the Ukulele.
You don't have a cell phone? What?...
 

ripock

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I've been AWOL for a while because I've been feeling a bit overburdened lately. However my wife noticed my musical silence and caused me to remember that sometimes music is the result of happiness and sometimes music is the cause of the happiness.

I was focusing on The G Ionian #5 at the 12th fret. It was novel experience for me because I treat this mode as a "passing" mode. It is kind of like Illinois: it isn't nice itself, but it is on the way to many nice places.

G Ionian #5 starts off with 4 big whole step intervals, so it'll never be up my alley but knowing it more on a primary basis will make the transitions better...I think.

I've been having fun in the kitchen as well. Yesterday I made blackened knockwurst stir fry and tonight I fried some tilapia, boiled some kale, shred and baked daikon, and made some millet with butter and black strap molasses.
 

ripock

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Just woke up and I am sitting by the furnace to warm my feet up. I actually have a strong preference for furnaces. If I had my druthers, my dream home wouldn't have central heating. It is too impersonal. A furnace is an actual entity that you may approach or not, to receive the heat you wish. It is the modern hearth.

I was paid today, so I diverted another hundred to my ukulele fund. I have a little more than a couple thousand in it. I am well on my way to financing my baritone.

As I sit here near my electric hearth I am thinking about what I was playing. For the last two days I have been playing the ii-V-i. I don't know why.

I guess it doesn't need justification. It is ubiquitous. Plus it is harmonized from the harmonic minor, my scale of choice. So I am very well equipped for the progression. My only complaint is its subtle nature. Whether you're playing this or the major version you have to adjust your expectations. Instead of big changes, there is more of a peristaltic undulation.

And as for the chord qualities, it is almost an embarrassment of riches. The ii is easy. I have always seen it played as ø. Those half diminished shapes are great--so much cross-over to 9 and 6 chords.

The V has a lot more wiggle room. It is supposed to be a dom7 chord, but I never see it played thus. I almost always play it as a 7b9, throwing in an occasional 9 or dom7 chord for variety. I think I am going to try some 11 and 13 chords. After all they are 7 chords.

The i also has some options. You're supposed to play it as a minor major 7, but I find that chord to be a bit unsettling. I have seen people use a minor triad, a 6/9, or a m7. I usually opt for a m6, my favorite chord.

That's my basic strategy. There is a consistency in the ii and the i, but I move the V around a bit from iteration to iteration. I also use various voicings which gives interest (at least to me) because some iterations are ascending, some descending, and some are rather random.

Okay. I have my plan and my feet are warm. Time to jump in the jeep, brave the cold (I guess I could put the windows on) and get my shopping done.
 

ripock

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I accidentally bought some alcohol-free cologne. It is like sweet potato pie without cinnamon. It is marketed for people with sensitive skin. There aren't people with sensitive skin. There are only whinging, craven jackals. You're putting alcohol on micro-cuts and abrasions; it is supposed to sting...for a few seconds. Then you go on with your day. What a world!

Today I gravitated to the D# Super Lokrian bb7 at the 8th fret. It was a bit eye-opening because I don't usually play that mode. Once I started playing it and becoming very comfortable in it, I started to see it as an extension of nearby shapes that I already knew. Just one example is the B note which this mode shares with the Phrygian Dominant. Now when playing the phrygian dominant I can slide down to the super lokrian and connect the two.
 

ripock

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Another fiscal quarter, another quarterly bonus. I put another thousand away towards my baritone. I am getting rather close to my goal. That means I am going to have to get my thoughts together for the final meeting with the luthier to articulate everything I want.

I'll do that later since I will have plenty of time. The bright side of my wife's GI problems is that eating hurts and is not pleasurable. So I am off the hook for Thanksgiving. I'll probably throw something together tonight, but no Thanksgiving proper. That leaves plenty of time for thinking and drinking and plinking.

I started off playing around with Am Em7 Dm7 which I picked up from a forum discussion. But it soon became boring since it is what it is: I IV V in A--not that I'm trying to be captious but it just isn't my thing.

I went back to playing my F#ø, B7sus4, Em6.

That led to play the F#ø at the 9th fret and then launching into my little Tondichtung based on some doggerel I thought up:

adobe abode
adobe abode
abode of my abiding

adobe abode
adobe abode
bereft of
aluminum
siding

Then I used the Leading Tone shape of the E major pentatonic, in combination with the C Lydian #2 mode to capture the tone of that strophe.
 

ripock

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I have never seen a discussion of what I can embedding. The concept is that re-entrant scales are embedded within linear scales.

The most natural way to play scales is to use three strings. Three string scales allow your hand to remain mostly in the same place whereas if you use a two- or a one-string scale you are moving your hand a lot.

On re-entrant uke, the choice is obvious: you use the C, E, and A strings to play scales since the G string is worthless in this context.

On the linear uke, you have all the scales of the re-entrant uke but you also have the scales played on the G, C, and E strings. The interesting thing is how the re-entrant and the linear scales blend into each other.

For example, Take the A Dorian #11 played re-entrant: A, G, F# on A string; E, D# on E string; C, B, A on the C string. Now, shift your thinking to the linear tuning, play the same exact notes on the E string and the C string, but now add the G, F#, and E of the G string. Now you're playing the E Aiolian #7 in linear. Two modes sharing the same notes on the C and E strings, but with different notes on the outer strings.
 

ripock

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Why am I droning on about embedding? Because I was playing the re-entrant Lokrian 13 and this mode is the exception and does not have a linear analogue. So what I was doing was playing the F# Lokrian 13 and when I got to the F# on the C string, I had to make some decisions I decided to move down to the Phrygian Dominant of which the F# is a part.
Once I was in the B Phrygian Dominant/D# Super Lokrian bb7, I could get back to the F# on the A string relatively easily.

Of course, this is all academic. The point when playing as I do is to play E, F#, G, A, B, C, D#--wherever they occur on the fret board. That's the goal but each person has to find a methodology to achieve the goal. I use modes to organize it all in my head. Of course my methodology has draw-backs as any methodology does. But we do what we can.
 
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ripock

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I was re-trying something I have never had much success with: dom9 chords. I know they are really central and I know how to use them; they are, after all, just dominant chords. However I cannot get them to sound right to my ears.

It seems that you have to compose solely for them and build things around them. You cannot just drop them in. I think that their sound is just so jazzy that when you try to drop them into the blues, for example, it always seems to clash heavily. I'm going to keep it up for a few days to see if familiarity breeds consent...or is it contempt; I cannot remember. Also, perhaps the voicings either make or break them. I'll play around.

Just for reference I play dom9's as rootless chords. I know some people sacrifice the fifth but I find it less impactful to sacrifice the tonic. I know that sounds counter-intuitive to play a B9 without a B. I think it works because all the other intervals imply the tonic. They all point back to the tonic.
 

ripock

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It wasn't my day to eat; I'm only eating every other day 'til I lose my covid weight. The only I did differently (as far as I know) is drink a lot more beer. I know hops are estrogenic but I really did a number on myself. Anyway...

I made my wife some vegetables: kale, corn, and green beans. And for the center plate I toasted some millet in millet. I added bouquet garni and two shredded chicken thighs. That should be enough for her.

For me, I just had a double of Laphroaig which was in violation of my fasting schedule but I didn't think that 100 kcals would impact me too heavily.

For my foray into dom9 chords. I played around with a very rudimentary blues progression I know:

01: I13
02: IV9
03: I13
04: I13
05: IV9
06: IV9
07: I13 + bI13
08: bbI13 + bbbI13
09: II13
10: V9
11. I13 + bIII13
12. II13 + bII13

In that progression, the 9's sounded fine because they were part of a jazzy backdrop. However, I am still going to search for a way to import those 9's into my music, which is generally Roots.

As a bonus, I did eyeball a nice little eight bar blues progression while I was looking up the aforementioned progression. Here's its formula:

01: I
02: I7
03: IV7
04: I°
05: I + vi
06: ii7 + V7
07: I + IV7
08: I v7+
 

ripock

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I just re-read the Moore Bettah thread. 18 thousand. My stance is that beauty is in the eye of the beholder. However my eye just doesn't see what the attraction is. I have always found MB's to be rather boring body with an in-laid neck or headstock. I want something a little more unique for my money. I don't have a problem with the money. I am currently saving up for a baritone (not $18000, but quite a bit). So it isn't the money; it is having a uke that basically looks like a $300 Cordoba. I'm all about the optics. I would never buy a recent Jaguar because it looks just like a Toyota. What's the point of having a jaguar if people cannot see that you have a jaguar. What's the point of having an expensive uke that doesn't look expensive?
 

Down Up Dick

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I recently started reading The Odyssey again (in English of course), and I seemed to remember that you also read Greek. Did you ever read it in Greek?

I don’t usually read translations any more, but I’m thinning out my library again, and I pulled it out of the bookcase and browsed through it and decided to read it once more. I have The Iliad too, but I’ll see how Odyssey goes.

P.S. I like the MBs, but I like a lot of bling.
 

ripock

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Of course I read my Homer. Among us philologists, he's our Bible except it is written in the Ionic dialect instead of Koine. I normally only read the books 13-23. I am more interested in the domestic situation on Ithaka rather than all that mythological stuff that Odysseus recounts to the Phaiakians in the first half of the book. When I was much younger, I once tried to compose music based on the vowels in Homeric verses. It didn't work; It just sounded like Shoenberg or Webern.
 

Down Up Dick

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Ha! Schoenberg! I’m on chapter seven and enjoying it. I didn’t know there were different dialects. Thanks for the info.
 

ripock

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The key to enjoying Homer in English is getting the right translation. Often people have the tendency to make it all fancy and Shakespearean, and it tends to make it unenjoyable. I remember specifically not liking the Robert Fagles translations. I understand there are several new ones that are written more in contemporary English. I wouldn't know. I haven't been in the market for a translation for a while now.