my ukulele progress

ripock

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I made something more normal for me...a stir fry. However I used lentils as the grain. So I had some stir fry lentils with left over pork chops.

I am feeling less than indestructible today. My wife and I are the black sheep of the family. Yes, I have a PhD and she has a master's degree, but we don't really use them. By contrast, my wife's father is a neuro-surgeon turned psychiatrist.

So we're just enjoying life without much thought for the future. That has served us well for the last 30 years but I have to ask myself how many years are left? What's going to happen to happen to one of us when the other dies.
 

John Colter

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Ah, yes! Wondering about the mortality of your wife and yourself. That is something I have had to deal with recently. My dear wife of forty-eight years suffered an ischaemic stroke and died five weeks later. That was more than four years ago when we were both seventy-nine years of age. Nothing can prepare you for such an event, you simply have to live through it and in time life can become worth living again.

Many old people do not survive the loss of their partner and I now understand how that can happen. It took me at least three years to get back to the level of physical and mental health I had enjoyed up until that devastating event.

Gather ye rosebuds while ye may.
 

Down Up Dick

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Yes, my wife and are traveling the same road. It’s very difficult to make any plans for this part of the journey, because, of course, we don’t know who’ll be first, and thinking about whichever one’s turn it is, saddens one so. I’m mostly healthy, and so is she. I guess we’ll just hafta wait and see what happens. Which, I guess, is what we’ve been doing all along.
 

ripock

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Thanks guys. This is actually more attention than I wanted but I appreciate it. I was just being sullen: it was the end of the week, the forum is a bit negative, and I had to do my filial task of calling my father who is sitting at home, eating microwaved food, and watching television since my mother died.

But I have to go to the dentist and then write up my experiences with the F# Dorian b2
 

Patty

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So we're just enjoying life without much thought for the future. That has served us well for the last 30 years but I have to ask myself how many years are left? What's going to happen to happen to one of us when the other dies.
My husband and I talk about this same thing. We never come to a conclusion.
 

ripock

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I went to random.org and randomized, and received 6. So I decided to focus on the sixth interval of the E melodic minor, which is C#. It was actually an instance of serendipity because C# is actually in three modes: F# Dorian b2, G Lydian #5, and A Lydian Dominant. So I will definitely have some options even though I'm playing re-entrant.
 

ripock

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I watched Brian on youtube:

I like to watch his videos even though I don't want to play what he's playing. I like the videos because our ukuleles are the same except my fretboard and headstock is a little different since I have a centennial edition. But the marquetry and soundboard are the same. Anyway, I study the elements of what's he's doing and then I try to apply it to me. I do the same thing with jazz guitar or piano videos: as long as the concept isn't over my head too much and as long as the ukulele has the ability to emulate the principle, then I try to absorb the idea and use it in my compositional skills--if that's not too conceited a term. I mean, composition seems to entail much more effort and talent than what I employ. I am just improvising and composing on the fly. And what I create is born and dies in a Dada-esque instant like a virus exposed to air. Okay, I'll admit I don't know if viruses die so quickly, but you get my point. Substitute whatever works, such as a bacterium, and then let the analogy stand.

I bought a piel de sapo melon today to broaden my horizons. I think I'll go cut it open now and report back.

It is a little bigger and more elliptical than a cantaloupe. But I treated it the same: cut it in half, gutted it, cut it into 8 pieces, and pared the skin off. It kind of tastes like a cantaloupe, as you'd anticipate. The flesh is the color of a pear: that white flesh with a tinge of green in it. It will make a good snack, along with the bell peppers that I've cut into wedges to scoop out my hummus.

I did play around a bit with the F# Dorian b2. I saw that this shape pre-disposed itself to three chords: B, Em, and F#m. Obviously those notes are the 2-5-1 so that works out nice. I am still working on making connections with the C#. It seems easy to jump from the F# Dorian b2 to the A Lydian Dominant, but I am still working on it.

One accomplishment I did affect was totally getting lost in the mode. Patently I was playing in F# and I went down and played the E. And what usually happens is that when you go to the true tonic, it re-asserts itself and creates a resolution that was unwanted. In this case, the E sounded a little awkward and just like any other note. It didn't pull the melody away from F#.
 

ripock

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I see there's a strap thread going on. I will side-step it because I have found that those threads are more about validating the OP's pre-conceived notion rather than discussing the sides of the issue. I think my time is better spent typing here.

I was going to get my Yorkie out because I love it everso much more than my kamaka. After all, one of the many benefits of a linear tuning is that it can do everything a re-entrant tuning can do. However we all know the score. I could resist the 4th string about as well as a mystic can resist the 3rd eye. So I let Yorkie sleep another day in its red velvet whilst kamaka and I explored other possibilities.

Honestly the 2-5-1 sounds better in linear. There is something about the re-entrant voicings that doesn't quite work as well.

Nevertheless, there are a lot of things to do with the C# on the 9th fret. It transitions so well between modes. I went as far up as the B Mixolydian b6.

The one thing I found is that the A Lydian Dominant has very unsatisfying resolution. In some of the other modes, when I transfer into them they seem somewhat self-contained. With the A Lydian Dominant it gave off a definite in medias res vibe, as if I were just briefly resting there on a longer sojourn.

Maybe it has something to do with the A being the subdominant of E. I'm more of a player than a theorist but at least in the blues with the A you're either bound to return to the E or move toward B, the dominant. Perhaps that's just the nature of the subdominant.

I am making a pork sirloin roast for my wife (less dry than pork chops). I am also making millet and a big sweet potato. I am going to use the millet as a bed upon which to place a sweet potato pudding (pudding in the American sense of the word and not the British). My wife also wanted some swiss chard but I convinced her that would be altogether too many victuals for one sitting.
 
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Voran

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Ah, yes! Wondering about the mortality of your wife and yourself. That is something I have had to deal with recently. My dear wife of forty-eight years suffered an ischaemic stroke and died five weeks later. That was more than four years ago when we were both seventy-nine years of age. Nothing can prepare you for such an event, you simply have to live through it and in time life can become worth living again.

Many old people do not survive the loss of their partner and I now understand how that can happen. It took me at least three years to get back to the level of physical and mental health I had enjoyed up until that devastating event.

Gather ye rosebuds while ye may.
I'm so sorry. That's brutal. Hugs if you want them.
 

ripock

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Browsing around and I see the Terry Carter thread is still going strong. I wonder how many of those people are the ones who can't be bothered to devote 30 seconds to learning "face" and "every good boy does fine" and learn how to read music.

I have been busy at work, busy in the kitchen, and Bizet in the conservatory.

I couldn't help myself and I had to pull my Yorkie out. I still focused on the re-entrant F# Dorian b2 but now I could also back into the 4th string. For example it is possible to start on a linear E Aiolian #6#7 and then dive down to the F# Dorian b2.

It was good to have 4 strings so I could do arpeggio runs again.

The other thing I started doing is jumping between equivalent notes. It is kind of like going thru a worm hole. The C# on the 9th fret is the same note as the C# on the 13th fret. So I can play the F# Dorian b2, but instead of playing the C# on the 9th fret, I can jump up to the C# on the 13th. That C# fits in perfectly with what came before and then it has a lot of new opportunities in front of it.
 

ripock

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There's been some pretty funny readings, when you examine them side by side. There is of course the epic vituperation against Terry Carter for having the gall to ask exorbitant amounts for his wares and services. Juxtaposed to that is the discussion of buying a kanilea on craig's list. The same people who sling mud at Terry Carter would either buy stolen goods or take advantage of a seller that is ignorant...not to mention putting their lives at risk. You couldn't ask for anything better than that. I do have one related memory. I once was at a garage sale and the widow selling the estate didn't know what she had. She was selling a Dunhill pipe for something like $25! I gave her $500. I could have taken advantage of her like a cheetah running down a limping impala, but what's the point? Why did we go to school and listen to our elders? Why did we study art and music and all the things that make society civilized? Was it to be a cheater? Or was it to be a sophist explaining why it isn't actually cheating? No. I'll leave it at that. I have to go to the store, but I'll annotate my musical meanderings when I return.

I bought a few surprising things at the market. Believe it or not, my little market has a sushi bar and an olive bar. I don't usually patronize those parts of the store. But today I grabbed some pitted kalamatas and 6 dumplings. With the kalamatas I made a tapinade to serve with my hummus. I also bought a new brand of hatch chili sauce. These proprietors keep a lot of the seeds in the mix which makes it hot. I'll see if it is prank hot or comfortably hot.

I suppose I have surprising food on my mind because I recently heard that good music has surprises. That gave me pause to think if my music is surprising and therefore good.

I think my tack is surprising. When 99% of people hear something cool they say "I want to play that." I on the other hand say "I want to make that." That's different. I never play other people's music. In fact I find it to be drudgery. I acknowledge that almost everyone's ideal is to play a song they hear and I am not knocking that. I'm just saying that's not how I'm built.

Aside: I just had some of those chilis are they are good. They sting the tongue a bit and cause a bit of sweat and, no doubt, I'll be feeling them in the bathroom. However, they aren't too hot. And that's important to me because culinary heat is the cheapest of parlor tricks. Anyway can make anything hot with a shake of the wrist. These chilis are assertive without being aggressive.

I did make a big change. I always buy white shirts. But I bought a blue shirt with, of course, french cuffs and mongramming. It is a slightly darker blue so that it doesn't look like I'm a shift manager at Denny's or Blockbusters (that's a dated reference). Wearing a blue shirt with an olive suit is surprising.

I suppose my music is surprising because it is ad-lib so no one can foresee its path. That was a bit facetious. The music is surprising because of tempo changes, dynamic changes, using chromatic versus diatonic chords. It is a balancing act because music that's too surprising is not really music; it has to adhere to the tradition somewhat.

What I've been doing lately is using the octaves to affect surprise. On one hand it isn't surprising because I'm not playing anything new, but the pitches make it seem novel. So I have been starting around the fifth fret and then hyperjumping to the 13th fret and from there I play the usual suspects like the D# Super Lokrian. But although I am not innovating very much, there is an effect. High notes have the connotation of being at the finish. So moving up sounds like something musically is happening. It sounds like I'm ramping up to a big finish. The downside of this is that you don't get much time. If you spend too much time up there it sounds like you're just wanking around the 16th fret. So this effect does require some discretion.
 
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ripock

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I have some big plans for today. I committed to teach a few classes, so I will have to get the content together. I have to have it ready by august 15, so I may procrastinate a bit.

But on to more important things.

I resurrected a series of chords I made up a few years ago. I don't know what to call it: a progression, a cadence? It is a zig-zaggy chromatically descending series of sounds moving from the V to the I. Here it is in my current key:

BΔ, B7, B7#5, B7, Em

That fits into a lot of places since the V-I movement is so pivotal to music.

The next thing I worked on was transitioning from low on the fretboard to high on it. I made some plans which may seem lame because a real musician goes where he wants for whatever reason he wants. Let's just say I'm not a real musician. I need a plan and and exit strategy.

So my plan was to use the D# Super Lokrian. Firstly, it is because the D# is easy to see. It is on 15th fret so it has a pentatonic side marker. Secondly the D# works into my exit plan.

After playing around a bit on the D# Super Lokrian, I can get up to the D# on the 18th fret. At this point I can either just move to the E on the 19th fret to resolve everything. Or, if I just want this foray into the upper frets to be a tease, I can dive-bomb out of there using the D# dim7 arpeggio.

And even with the arpeggio there are two paths I usually take. I either just do two iterations of the arpeggio or I make it one fluid iteration by sliding down the E string.

In either case, it can get me from the 18th fret to the 8th fret. And of course the D# on the 8th fret is the same note as the D# on the 3rd fret, so I can even jump from the 18th fret to the 3rd if i want.

And from there I can start playing again and building up tension again and then jump up to the 15th fret again and this time resolve the tension.
 

ripock

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I have to make supper. The trout and asparagus are no brainers. I am going to try a lemon brown sugar glaze for the trout.

However I am also going to add some starch because my wife's been losing weight. She okayed potatoes for tonight. That got me thinking about potatoes. There are so many ways to prepare potatoes but most of the varieties are negligible; they bring nothing to the table. As I see it there are only a few potato ways:

1. hash browns
2. mash
3. roasted
4. fondant

That's it. Everything else is just a variation on one of those themes. Of course I have purposely omitted anything deep fried because of the health angle and because it is impractical for a private individual to have that much fat on hand. And I also omitted any variations that provide a novel appearance or texture such as hasselback potatoes because potatoes are for eating and hasselbacks are just roast potatoes.

So I'll probably just make some baked potatoes which are just roast potatoes unless you roast them in tinfoil in which case they are steamed potatoes with traces of heavy metal in it.

I screwed up the trout sauce. It was too liquidy. after I poured it on, part of it ran off into the corners of the jelly roll pan. That is going to burn and be a mess. I used 2 spoons of brown sugar, 3 capfuls of lemons, an egg, and a bit of black salt and olive oil. Next time, I'll use some black strap molasses to thicken it up so that it won't run. After pouring the mixture on the trout and topped with some leeks. It will hopefully taste good. The asparagus will just be boiled and then tossed with some lime and butter.
 
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ripock

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I practiced playing around with the D# on the 15th fret. That's really a nice place to play. It is really resonant down there and the strings are loose enough for some bending.

At one point I hit an A and for some reason I heard the allegretto in A minor from Beethoven's 7th. Thereupon I quickly made a chord melody. It is surprising how lyrical the classics are. A plagiarist could lift quite a bit from there.
 

ripock

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A discussion we've recently had around here had to do with the Phrygian mode. More than one person legitimately asked what's the diff? C major and E Phrygian have the same notes. So if you're playing in E Phrygian, aren't you playing in C major? The brief answer is no. But I don't want to expatiate on that again.

I am more concerned with how I use, or misuse, modes. For me, they always have a special place which isn't how you're supposed to use them. I use them almost solely for inspiration for melodizing. I all but ignore the tonic realignment of the modes. For me it is all about the reorganizing of old material in a new way.

I admit that the E melodic minor has the same notes as a D# Super Lokrian or a G Lydian #5. However the latter two modes order the notes differently and it displays different notes as having a spatial or intervallic relationship that I never would have seen if I were focusing on the melodic minor.

Modes help me think outside the box and make connections I never would have seen. So, yeah, I'm not using them correctly. But they do have a very specific function in my composition.
 

ripock

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I recently made a change to my routine. A few years ago I left academia full time and started working in warehouses. Up to that point in my life, I had never been in a liquor store or a bar in my life. After I started working in warehouses I started to go to these dens of iniquity to fit in...I suppose. However, it just isn't me. So I'm giving that up. I don't get drunk or have any issues; I just don't feel it is me and it does cost a bit of money. It will be weird because my rituals will change. Obviously I will just have to do more physical training or music playing to fill in the gap. It shouldn't be a problem as I wanted to tackle the G Lydian #5 tonight since I tend not to play that shape.
 

ripock

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Thanks Bill1. You've actually given me a lot to think about. I had written off the ebike as something that obese young people used because that is definitely true where I live. I am going to recant and reconsider.

Fortunately I am not quite even on the periphery of my dotage. I still have some years of traditional training left in me. I'll keep on lifting but definitely keep my eye on the ebikes.
 

ripock

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I focused on the G Lydian #5 today. I really dislike this shape because of the G A B that starts it off. Those whole steps between notes really sounds unexciting to me.

I realize that a G is always a tone way from the A which is another tone away from the B--no matter the shape. However, when the G A B occupy the same string it seems different. It seems like it is pre-ordained and inexorable. You have to play them as a unit. That's what I have to overcome. I need to break up that unit.

The G A B in the phrygian dominant doesn't bother me because it is at the end of the shape as if the shape has already had its fun and now towards the end it will slow down and mellow out. With the Phrygian Dominant I blur the lines of the G A B by jumping to adjacent shapes. So I'll need to do that with the first string of the Lydian #5 as well. But I also need to learn to play the Lydian as-is.
 

ripock

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I had a very productive day with the G Lydian #5. The big idea was not to restrict myself to this mode but make it the center. By center I do not mean a tonal center. I mean to make it the hub and connect it to things around it.

just below it is the F# Dorian b2 and C# Aiolian b5. Next to it is the D# super lokrian. Just above it is the E Aiolian #6#7 and A Lydian Dominant.

In essence it was a big 6-shaped shape. And then when some pentatonics and arpeggios thrown in the mix, there was a lot of music.

I also threw in some chords for variety: F#ø, B add9, Em.

It was a bit too frolicksome to be good music but I'll rein it in.