my ukulele progress

ripock

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I experimented with transitioning away from and towards the dom9 chord to find what sounds good with it. Not a lot of luck so far. I am pressed for time and cannot expand right now.
 

ripock

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I just read a thread about stocking stuffers for ukulele players. It was strange because of all the suggestions listed I do not have any of them and I don't want them either. Stranger still I've never had a christmas tree let alone a stocking. It never was my thing.

But it is my thing to try to get my chords to work. To that end, I've been trying to find out what chord qualities I can put around a dom9 chord to make it sound good. After a bit of experimentation I find that I like ø, 13, 7sus2, and 7sus4 chords. I think they are complicated enough so that it doesn't sound weird juxtaposed against the 9 chord. So far I have only been using these chords in the pervasive V-I situation. I have yet to try to make a progression with a dom9 in it. That'll come when I have more time.
 

ripock

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I'm making habichuelas for the first time in a long time. My wife developed GI problems and heard that beans are acidic, so we were staying away from beans. Although beans are acidic for plants, they are still less acidic than meat...which my wife eats. Whatever. Happy wife, happy life. So I'm just pressure cooking some habichuelas with the stubs of some stalks of leeks. I usually would throw the stubs away but I use them sometimes for flavor or in a mirapoix for stock.

It was instructive to focus on 9 chords. If nothing else, it helped put those shapes in my head. That is important because the shapes I use for 9 chords are the same shapes I use for ø chords--but the roots are different. And after playing around with them in jazz progressions and blues progressions, I found that the key for me was the voicing. I really like the way the 9 chord rooted on the G string sounds and because I like it, I'll probably try to insert into more things.

However, I can only take so much flailing, if not failing. So I moved from exploring 9 chords to just playing for fun. I was playing a typical harmonic minor progression based around the E on the 12th fret and the 16th fret. And I interspersed that with improv from the shapes around the 16th fret.

We were mentioning homer earlier in this thread and I am reading a Horatian epistle where the speaker adjures his correspondent to read Homer because Homer is more instructive of life than philosophy. I am having a few interpretive problems with the epistle. For example I am going to have to look into what 'dropsy' is. I have forgotten.
 

ripock

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I looked up dropsy. It is funny when I see hydropicus in Latin, I know I am supposed to translate as dropsy in English. However I don't know what dropsy is.

This isn't so odd, really. Latin poetry often adduces boats, looms, and an array of flowers. You learn what the equivalent is in English. But you don't necessarily learn what the word means. For example a boat has all these masts and sails and small parts. You learn the terminology but you never bother to learn what a jib is, or a quarter mast, or a spanker. I just looked up the definition of a spanker and it is this: a fore-and-aft sail set on the after side of a ship's mast, especially the mizzenmast. I don't have time to look up all the crap up.

So, yeah, I know hydropicus is translated as dropsy, but what is dropsy? It is just an antiquated word denoting the retention of water. It is an antiquated term that is no longer in use because it isn't useful. To say that someone has dropsy is not helpful because someone can be dropsy because of congestive heart failure or from kidney problems or from a poor diet. In each of these cases, the solution is different because the cause is different. So dropsy doesn't mean anything useful in a therapeutic sense. It is similar to saying that someone is "sick." People can be sick because of cancer, because of the flu, or because of a gunshot wound. So "sick" doesn't tell us the cause or the resolution.
 

Down Up Dick

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Being an English major, I agree strongly with your recent post. Communication is very difficult in our daily lives. It is even worse in other languages I think. I guess we can only do our best to understand and get along. Think how it would be if we didn’t have any understandable language at all. What would you do if you were suddenly transported to Outer Mongolia?
 

ripock

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I haven't updated in a while since I haven't really done much because I am currently in finals week so I have been devoting some time to my classes.

I have done a few things. I am reading a nice war-time British novel. And nothing makes me feel worse about being American than seeing how people came together and did what they had to do in order to overcome the Nazis. We, on the other hand, can't even get a shot to curtail a communicable disease. If Nazi Germany were trying to occupy modern America versus 1940's England, we'd all be Germans now.

I also have been idling away with the uke. I haven't done anything productive or forward-moving. I've just been treading water--which is better than sinking. I've been playing with different voicings of the minor 2-5-1. The chord qualities I like are ø, 7#5, m6. I know many people use a b9 for the dominant chord, but I do not like the sound. b9 sounds too much like the ø. The 7#5 is more the sound I hear in my head. Since the minor 2-5-1 is harmonized from the harmonic minor scale, I know all the scales to play with it. So every so often I switch from chords to playing the shape near whatever chord voicing I happen to be on.

As for food, I have made one innovation in my stir fry: instead of having eggs and grains separately. I am coating my grains in egg and then stir frying. It really alters the texture. In the past, I've always used by necessity hot grains which I have just pressure cooked. Today I am going to try and cool the grain first before melding with the eggs. I hope to be able to have more individuated grains that way.
 

ripock

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My new technique with my grains worked out well. I pressure cooked some millet and like an apron-caparisoned housewife from a Yogi Bear cartoon I set it on the window sill to cool and dry out. Winter is approaching here and the open window affords chilly breeze. Once the grain is cool and dry, it is easy to rub it out so that the pieces are not adhering to one another. The rest is easy.

I have to grade my finals, so I've been trying to avoid that by playing around. I was messing with an 8 bar blues which is easy but the trick is to play it perfectly and it has an augmented 7th as its turnaround and that is difficult.

I was reading another thread and someone mentioned what is tantamount to my chord-system. I will not mention the name because the person likes to erase his post, so I'll respect his anonymity. He's sort of like the last leaf on a tree. You don't really notice him until he's gone. Anyway, I developed my system independently of him...or at least that's what I think. However since we talk I'm sure I took cues from him and must have been influenced. Nevertheless, here's how I remember the birth of my system.
1. I watched some video devoted to Δ7 chords where different shapes were discussed with the root of each shape being on a different string.
2. I had Brad Bordessa's book pertaining to left hand technique

So I just took every chord quality that means something to me and I found four shapes for each quality. Each shape had its root on a different string. That's how I think of my chords. Oh, and I also tend to think in terms of minors, with the major being a mutation of the minor.

Today just for fun I was using one shape to play an entire progression. It required a lot of movement so it isn't really practical and it looks hella amateurish, but it was just an exercise.

I started with F#ø rooted on E string (2423), then I moved to the 11th fret where the same shape is B9 rooted on the C string. Then I moved to the 9th fret and used the same shape to play Em6. The pitches of the different chords were somewhat divergent which may or may not be appropriate for the particular effect needed. I was more of a lark and a challenge. The difficulty for me was maintaining my fingers in the formation as I moved from position to position. It is difficult because the fingers want to move out of their constellated pattern and also the frets change size as you move around so that you have to compensate the finger spacing.
 

ripock

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I won some money at work because my numbers were high. So I bought a few things that in a way encapsulate me.

1. I bought the Beatles' White Album. To be honest, I'm a bit underwhelmed. The historical and musical value of the Beatles cannot be gainsaid, but this collection of songs wants an editor.
2. I bought an edition of Kyrou Paideia by Xenophon. I have actually been waiting about 20 years for this. I have the the Marchant edition of Xenophon. But I am missing volume four. So I am getting this work. Unfortunately I didn't get the actual fourth volume of Marchant because it is out of print and expensive. I bought a different edition of this work. It won't match the others, but it will read just the same.
3. I got some flannel pants. I actually had to pay a little out of pocket for these because I needed to have the tailor alter them, so I had to fork up $80.
Aside from that, it was a nice treat
 

ripock

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There was a thread about low G versus high G. It reminded me that I hadn't played my re-entrant in a while and hadn't re-filled those humidifers. I think the whole distinction is overblown by most people who are only strummers so that the only difference is chord voicing. It actually is more impacting to someone who plays as I do because re-entrant ukes only have half the scales. My Kamaka, aside from being hamstrung by being a 3-stringed instrument, is also held back by not having a cutaway. So I decided to play it low: D#7m7b5, G#7#5, and C#m9. Not much difference when you think about it. Yes, there is a higher-pitched voice in the voicings, but it isn't really all that earth-shattering.

Something that was a bit more shocking was my study of Horatius' epistle. He had been praising Odysseus as an example of a smart person, but then said "sumus numerus" or we are a number (a multitude). We are like the suitors of Penelopeia. That's all well and good, but numerus can also mean a non-entity, a cipher, a symbol without substance. Or in other words, a nobody. Of course, Odysseus famously called himself nobody, or oudeis in the Greek, when he was in the cave of the kyklopes. So by saying that we are a multitude, or numerus, Horatius is also saying we are a nobody like Odysseus. So it was a bit of a revelation--especially since I have found no one mentioning this in the secondary literature. That means that I am either a genius or quite mistaken. And only time will tell.

I didn't eat tonight but I did make for my wife a roasted rutabaga, some kale, and some millet and habichuelas rojas.
 

ripock

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Someone revivified an zombie thread about koolau strings. I didn't want to be a douche and contradictory to the timbre of the thread, but I didn't like them. They were white and I require dark strings, They were wound and they sounded insufferably Tiny Timmish. Certainly not my cup of tea.

Speaking of comestibles, for my wife's birthday I made things she liked. 1. green bean casserole but without cheese to pay lip service to her new dietary needs. We'll see how that goes. She's the kind of person who would rather have nothing than to compromise. Certainly not a turkey bacon kind of gal. 2. caulflower and white bean soup. I actually had to pull out the electric hand mixer that we inherited from my wife's mother. I don't have gadgets like microwaves or food processors or toasters. I prefer to keep my kitchen clean. But we do have that hand mixer tucked away in a cupboard. I got it out and puree'd the beans. 3. red trout--a no brainer. 4. a little cheesecake I bought at the market.
 

ripock

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I've been enjoying a certain set of shapes. They are very central to my preferred sound. And that's the sound of the minor 2/5/1 which is of course harmonized from the harmonic minor scale, my scale of choice. It is strange how serendipity guides our hands. I latched onto the harmonic minor because I knew that scale was held in esteem by guitarists of the neo-classical 80's. And I studied Rhythm Changes because I knew that's what serious musicians did. Now, many moons later I can see that rhythm changes is at its heart a 7-3-6-2-5-1--the 7-3-6 being the 2-5-1 in the relative major. It is almost as if someone had established a curriculum for me although it was all done by chance by me.

As an aside, the post above this one (until it gets administratively removed) is spam for Asian prostitutes. The thing I find interesting is the link "Dubai Modal girls" which I almost want to click and pay for some modal girls. I think I'd pay for a night with a couple of hot Dubai Lokrians even though by the end of it, there would be much still needed to be resolved.

Back to my initial, harlot-free point: by hook or crook I have been corralling myself into pursuing a certain sound and I am finding the chord shapes are recursive. If we take ø chords for example:

Eø rooted on the G string is the same shape as the dom9 chord rooted on the E string and the m6 rooted on the A string.
Eø rooted on the C string is the same as the dom9 rooted on the A and the m6 rooted on E.

And so it goes with the ø rooted on the E and A strings.

I do not know how to process this or take advantage of it; that will take some experimentation to see, for example, if I can maintain a shape and move it up and down the fretboard and come up with something musical by altering the roots.
 

ripock

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I saw a Rob Collins uke for sale and wanted to indulge in my love of mine own. However I couldn't do it over there because ukulele sales are like weddings insofar as you're not supposed to upstage the bride on her day. So I'll just post two pictures of my uke here to get it out of my system.

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2019-06-05-034452.jpg
 

ripock

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While I await the advent of my wife and the start of a less than promised day of furniture shopping, I thought I would put down a set of thoughts that has been bouncing around my head for a while. It is about computers.

First of all I acknowledge that we are ranting about computers by using computers. There is a contradiction. Without computers we wouldn't be here and wouldn't have made our friendships and culled these threads for info. However, there is an obverse side to this topic.

First of all, I want to say that those of us who existed before computers have a perspectival difference. For example, I can see computer-generated randomness. When watching an animated Disney movie where it is raining, I can see the pattern in the rain. This is because I haven't been weaned on computers. I have a reality that existed outside of them.

So I can appreciate the differences between pre and post internet worlds. And one thing I am seeing and am concerned about is the impact of the internet on ukulele beginners. The lynch-pin is context. The internet provides true information but without context that information is an impediment rather than an empowerment.

To illustrate I take an example from the world of diet and fitness. Someone googling how to lose weight will come across websites telling them to avoid potatoes. And potatoes are certainly bad when you analyze them through certain metrics. However that advise isn't really practical. The person will avoid potatoes and try to use much more statistically friendly foods. However, those foods aren't satisfying. They will hit a wall, binge eat, and end up worse off than if they had just stuck with their potatoes.

The internet gives true and unimpeachable facts, but it doesn't give the context and the ways of applying those facts. And my concern with all the new ukulele players I see around here is that they will absorb all this info about strings and nut-width and tone woods and they will spin their wheels trying to incorporate this knowledge into their everyday life. But in the end it will not get them one step closer to their musical goals...even if they are 100% effective in implementing this stuff. These things just don't have a high amount of leverage.
 

ripock

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What's worse? Not having enough knowledge or having too much?

I have been paying more attention and seeing things about my chords. Now that added knowledge is starting to jumble up my brain because now I'm thinking about all this new info and about scales and chords. Accordingly, it wasn't a very good day for the flow of the music. I had to consult and do a bit of planning because it was too much effort to improvise all of it.

What I wound up doing was strumming and while strumming, doing some "priming" by emphasizing the root in the strum so that when I transitioned from the chord to playing notes, the ear had been primed for the note. Then as I picked, I ended on the root of the next chord and then transitioned to the chord.

One oddity about playing re-entrant as I was today, the B on the 11th fret of the C string is the same as the B on the 4th fret of the G. So I could play a B phrygian on the 11th fret and then swoop down to the 4th fret and use the same B as part of my E6 chord.

Another thing I will concede to the re-entrant uke (since I do bemoan its limitations frequently enough) is the fingerpicking patterns. That high G makes for some nice pattern-picking.

As an interlude to what I was doing, I would pattern pick a ø, m add9, m6...throwing in an extra madd9, an add9, or a dom7. So it was actually nice. Playing scales on re-entrant sucks ass, but the finger picking is great. I cannot say if the pattern-picking is better than linear pattern-picking. Each has its sound and that's cool. Since that sentiment cannot be extended to re-entrant arpeggios or scales.
 

ripock

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I have been focusing on some racist scales. The scales have names such as Egyptian, Chinese, Japanese. Or here's one called Hirajoshi

Screenshot from 2021-12-24 05-18-35.png
 

ripock

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The reason I like these scales with infelicitous names is that they really fit in with the timbre of the harmonic minor modes that I mostly play. In the case of the Hirajoshi, the reason is obvious. Note-wise it is the same as an Aiolian #7 except you skip the 4th and 7th degrees. The thing I like about them is that they take you down different roads you've never traveled. I typically will just insert one into my improv, play it for a while, see where it takes me, and then find a way to get back to more familiar ground.

I also like these scales because of the history I have with them. I learned them over 20 years ago when our internet connection was something like a 23.3 baud modem and people shared things online with a eleemosynary spirit. I remember gleaning some of these scales from a Swedish heavy metal band and from a clavichord musician from Asheville, North Carolina.

So these racist scales can be a bit nostalgic for me.
 

ripock

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I vaguely learnt about Deruny, a ukrainian potato pancake. And I just took the idea of potato/binder/onion and did my own thing. I don't know if it resembles a deruny or not. I just cut up some leeks. Leeks have the advantage of being very ribbon-y. Then I grated a potato and squeezed out the excess moisture. I combined the leeks, potato, and an egg. Then I fried it with a little bit of butter. I don't know if I'm allowed to call this a deruny or a latke, but it was a nice potato. I think I'll make some tomorrow for Christmas. I am making Cornish game hens because my wife didn't want all the pomp and circumstance of a full turkey or ham. I think I'll just make hens, potatoes, and some greens. That should be enough.

Musically I am still wanking around with the E Hirajoshi. I was playing it in two octaves from the E on the 9th fret to the E on the 19th fret. When I moved up to that highest of E's on the 19th fret, I experimented with moving out of that corner with the major pentatonic which would get me back to a B note. Or a dim7 arpeggio which would get me back to an A.

As you can see by me mentioning A's and B's, the main strategy of my chords was the simple Harmonic Minor progression of Em Am B7. I was sticking to the Em rooted on the 12th fret or sometimes the 16th. For the A I used the one rooted on the 12th fret or sometimes the 9th fret. For the B I stuck to the 11th fret. I know there's a B on the 14th and 16th frets, but I have always assumed that I wouldn't be able to fret a chord that high. Maybe I should try. I don't really like the sound of the B7 rooted on the 7th fret.
 

ripock

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I wound up in one of those inexplicable youtube rabbit holes. I was looking at some modern vegan videos and I'll just say that they ain't what they used to be. I am plant-based nowadays but also add non-vegan things at will. During all those years when I was a strict vegan, I was never an ethical vegan. I don't give a damn about animals, really. I did it because it is healthy and it was a fun way to add an extra challenge to eating. These videos I was watching were about fake bacon and fake philly steak and cheese sandwiches and egg substitutes. I also had a bacon/meat/egg substitute. It was called vegetables and beans. Those new vegans have all these products that are more processed than hot dogs containing a pharmacopeia of ingredients. Being a vegan is about what you don't eat; being healthy is about what you do eat. And these vegans are not healthy. I think they need to get their thinking straight and get out of the fast food mind-set. However that's their look-out.
 

ripock

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I have begun my reading of Xenophon's Kurou Paideia. Two things have popped up to my eye.

First of all, this will not be one of those meetings of two kindred spirits. It will be one of those situations where I'm reading something for historical value. Often we read things because it affirms our own beliefs and that is very soothing to our self-love. Xenophon, like the poet Pindaros, seems to be very oligarchical and elitist. I don't think I'd like to hang out with him at a MAGA rally, but I will read what he has to write.

Secondly, this book is interesting. It purports to be an analysis of why Kyros of Persia was such an excellent leader. Ethnographically, it is untrue. Much of what will be discussed isn't Persian (or so I hear), but rather the ideals of Sparta projected onto the Persian leader. and this isn't a matter of sloppy research and historiography. We see this all the time. It is the Brechtian principle of verfremdungseffekt which requires a distancing to affect critical analysis. We see this in science fiction. In that genre it is okay to explore things like gender roles or a weltanschauung predicated on Socialistic principles. It is okay because it is another world, another time, and has nothing to do with us. If someone tried to explore the same topics in a contemporary setting, it wouldn't go over well. Same thing with Xenophon. He wants to explore the principles of Spartan leadership to a putatively Athenian audience, but that wouldn't go over well. So Xenophon exports those ideals onto an Asian monarch. His audience will be able to have the physical and critical distance required to evaluate an Asian monarch and to admit what is feasible and reject what is impractical.
 

Down Up Dick

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ripock, you are an interesting person. I enjoy following you. If and when I’m able to understand what the heck you’re writin’ about, that is. Write on!