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Thread: my ukulele progress

  1. #421
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    I played around with my Edim7's. I explored these possibilities:

    Using the open G and E strings, I pulled off from one shape to the previous to the open string.

    Using the notes on the C and A strings, I made doublestops

    I bounced back and forth between two adjacents shapes

    I see other possibilities, but I left them untried.

    *****************
    Here's some negative harmony for E

    Emin
    Dmaj
    Cmaj
    Bmin
    Amin
    Gmaj
    F#dim

    ******************

    Last thing I worked on was a re-introduction to the modes of E Harmonic Minor. The last time I did this was an my re-entrant Kamaka. With my Yorkie I will be able to play both sets of shapes. It isn't as bad as it seems. Initially it looks like there are 14 shapes, but there are only seven actually. For example, if you play a D# Super Lokrian bb7 from the G to E strings, However if you start the shape on the C string (as you would on a re-entrant) then you're playing the G Ionian #5, as long as you play a few extra notes on the A string.

  2. #422
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    I had a less than satisfying day music-wise. I can usually embed re-entrant scales within Linear scales. But there seemed to be a problem with my Harmonic Minor modes. At first I thought maybe I had made an error. Nope, I went back and re-checked everything and I was perfect.

    Here's the thing. Modes are wonderfully predictable and symmetrical and scientific. Like the mechanisms of a sunrise. So check out the first note of each mode: E, F# G, A, B, C, D#. Now look at the first note of each mode on the C string: A, B, C, D#, D#, E G. They should be just as orderly as those first notes from the G string. But they aren't. Those last three are wonky. And they wonky because of how I play the scales. I could play them in such a way as they would be E, F# G as you'd expect. However to do that would require some big stretches and non-intuitive fingerings. So my linear and re-entrant shapes are not going to seamlessly work together in two cases. It isn't a really big deal. It is only an issue if you want to sweep across all four strings.

  3. #423
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    As an update to my endeavors: as I mentioned earlier, my method of playing the modes of the Harmonic minor renders two of the fourteen shapes without a partner. For example the linear Lokrian 13 shape contains re-entrant Phrygian Dominant. The two exceptions are the linear Dorian #11 and the re-entrant Lokrian 13. To overcome this shortcoming, I used a blank fret board map to include all the notes of the E Harmonic Minor. With this information I can fill out the two renegade shapes by using the notes of the adjacent shapes. An additional value in having a Harmonic Minor fretboard map is that it allows me to see outside of the shapes. It makes it possible to slide up or down and improvise with groupings of notes that aren't necessarily restricted to a particular shape. It also lets me see how to make chords with these particular notes. This allows for some strumming or quick note selection since I could hold down a chord and pick the notes. Lastly, it makes it easier to plan out some double pull-offs so that I can make a cascade of sound as I ascend the fret board.

  4. #424
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    Since I recently made a E Harmonic Minor fret board map, I was taking inventory of what I had to work with in that mode and here's what I found:

    1. The dominating feature was the A/F#/D#/C dim7 shape that occurred at fret 2, 5, 8, 11, 14, 17. That will lend itself to a lot of arpeggios.

    2. as far as conventional shapes are concerned, I immediately saw B7, Am7, C, Em, and G+

    3. If I stretch my fingers around I can form many nameless chords using tones from this mode. Well, they are nameless to me. I assume they all have names but I am just unaware of them.


    The upshot is that I have many options. For example, there are countless double stops. Also, it so happens that all the open strings are part of this system, so that I am primed for double pull-offs and pedal point technique. Something I am interested in takes root in the guitarists of my youth who purportedly favored the Harmonic Minor and were able to create a cascade of notes from low on the fret board to the upper ends. I very much want to map out these runs which will transition from the chords played low on the fretboard to the high frets were the soloing usually take place. It always seemed like a sonic and emotional crescendo where the foundations of the lower pitches found resolution in the higher sounds.

    I am especially eager to mess around with the 11th fret, my favorite area in which to play. That area has the B Phrygian dominant, the dominant shape of the minor pentatonic, and now the recurring dim7 shape of the E Harmonic Minor.

  5. #425
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    Even though I'm a Roots musician, I never play the blues per se. I tend to think that the blues are obsolescent and a Zeitgeist of a time long past. I enjoy the historicity of the blues and listening to them as historical data, but new blues songs I find trite and silly. For example I have the raw material to make a new First World Problems blues. I went to the market today at 6 a.m. The market opens that early, but its grocery clerks don't get there until 7 a.m. Therefore I had for the first time (and the last time) use the self checkout function. I was upset and found this almost unacceptable. Why would I go to a place of business and do the work myself? It is like going to a restaurant and cooking the food yourself. So I have my own problems and I could very easily fit them into a blues format, but it seems like it would be a parody of the real thing and would insult the tradition.

    So what's a Roots musician to do? Make new music. I'm actually experiencing an embarrassment of riches with all the Harmonic Minor material that I've laid out for myself. I'm going into analysis paralysis because there is so much to do. Therefore I thought I would just abstract a few items to work on.

    I'm going to wind up my metronome for accompaniment and select two musical depots. At the bottom of the fretboard I'm going to focus on the A Dorian #11 in the 2nd position. Also at the 2nd position is the subdominant of the E minor pentatonic. So I have plenty to work with. I could have gone with the G Ionian #5 at the open position, but I abhor open strings; they throw all my shapes off.

    At the top of the fretboard I am focusing on the E Aiolian #7 at the 16th position. Obviously there is also the root shape of both the major and minor E pentatonic.

    So those are the two end points. I am going to connect them with runs of arpeggios of the dim7. The idea is to wank around the 2nd position and then ascend the fretboard and culminate in some soloing at the 16th position.

    I haven't mapped out the run yet, but I assume it will chiefly be arpeggios of the dim7, but I don't know. Maybe I will have to include some other notes. I'll have to see about that.

  6. #426
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    I have a little time before I have to do something so I thought I'd write out the runs I devised.

    A 15 14 12 0 E 15 14 12 0 C 12 11 9 0 G 12 11 9 0

    G 5 4 2 0 C 6 4 3 0 E 8 7 5 0 A 9 7 6 0 A 12 10 A 15 14 A 19 18

    C 7 6 E 8 7 A 7 6

    That last one I could play them in any order.

  7. #427
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    I've been practicing those musical runs and it is definitely an acquired skill--at least to do it smoothly. To be honest, I haven't really put much effort into it. My mind has been preoccupied with something that I've been wanting to do for years, or perhaps even a decade. I've always wanted to devote some time to the poetry of Pindaros. In grad school we read a lot of the lesser poets, but somehow the greatest, most self-consciously poetic figure was left out of the curriculum. I suppose it was thought that Pindaros, like Homeros, is so central that, of course, you'd read him on your own.

    So I've been reading me some Pindaros. It is tough. The meter is very complex. Fortunately he talks about himself and his craft a lot so that you can get an impression of what comprised creativity and poetry from his point of view. There is one line I ran across in the third Nemean Ode which I like. It refers to his poem as a "pom' aoidimon Aioleisin en pvoaisin aulon," which could be rendered to something like a "melodic drink [floating] on the Aiolian breezes of the flute." The Aiolian is my favorite mode and my default mode. In fact I actually think that the uke, like the guitar, is made to play in the minor although the major seems to be the primary go-to of modern music. But that's for another time, I suppose.

  8. #428
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    I have been practicing those runs, and I have to say this is an instance when thoughts on paper do not translate to playing. Those runs just don't sound appropriate. Maybe if I could play 1/32 notes I could squeeze them into an acceptable space. But as it is, they interrupt the flow of things. I have to scale them back a bit to fit into what I'm doing. I'll try a different approach later.

    Being a bit stonewalled in that regard I turned to playing some sheet music. Sight reading from sheet music on a stringed instrument is a bit of an art form because there are a few options. I have noticed that if you make the correct decisions, things work out well. Obviously someone could just slide up and down a string and play a song, but that's a lot of work. If you make the correct choices, then things work out horizontally. It gives me a new respect for those individuals who worked out the ukulele centuries ago. The relationships of the strings just work. It is a thing of beauty.

  9. #429
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    There's a conversation going on about what kind of music does one play. I am a roots musician but I can't really join in that thread because what motivates me is to get as far away from that traditional tinny ukulele sound as possible. My stance would seem polemical juxtaposed to other people's even without trying. So it is better to let them have their colloquy and I can remain here devoted to not making snappy musak. I was watching a video of a very popular youtube ukulele instructor and he was introducing jazz chords but in his hands it soon turned into typical ukulele sounds: edentate reggae elevator music. Ugh. What does it have to be that way?

    I'll never solve that mystery. I'll keep my goals closer to the ground. For example, I'm going outside to map out an open D minor tuning. I keep my cigar box tuned to open D, but as you may see from this journal, I don't ever play in Ionian. Why do I keep the tuning? Or why do we only use major triads in open tunings? Maybe it is because they are buttery and generic. Maybe the D minor it too much of a commitment to a particular sound and therefore more of a one trick pony. I'll see.

    Aside from that I have been practicing transitioning between modes in the harmonic minor. What I'm working on currently is going from the A Dorian #11 at the second fret to the A Dorian #11 located at the ninth fret. I will provide details later.

  10. #430
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    Following up on the last entry, here's what I've been doing regarding runs.

    #1. The Dim7. The harmonic minor fretboard is dominated by a dim7 chord. In the harmonic minor harmonization the II and the VII, F# and D#, are diminished. This recurrent dim7 chord is both the F#dim7 and D#dim7. I tend to think of it as D#dim7 functioning as a leading tone. To get from Linear A Dorian #11 to the re-entrant one, I arpeggiate the D#dim7 at frets 2, 5, 8, and 11. If you stop at 8, you're at the bottom of A Dorian #11; if you go to 11, you're at the top. I prefer the latter because from 11 is one of my favorite places to hang out.

    The drawback of this run is that it moves horizontally and I wanted something more vertical in order to take advantage of double pull-offs. Accordingly, I can up with

    #2

    G2,4, 5 (On G string pluck 5th fret, pull off to 4, pull of to 2)
    C6, 7 9
    E11, 12

    The last pull off puts you smack dab in the middle of the re-entrant Dorian #11. From there you can move to the A string or the C string.

    So why all this fuss about moving on the fretboard? I think of it in terms of Baroque Concerti wherein there's the ripieno, the communal music that the group plays. Then there's the concertino, or the solo. The ripieno tends to be lower-pitched and the concertino is higher. So the way I think of it is that you play lower on the fretboard to establish the rhythm of your song and you move up the fretboard to play solos. This is born out by the practice of the neo-classical metal guitarists of my youth. Also, when playing the blues, it seems like moving up the fret board establishes a crescendo of sorts in which you start low and build up towards ending at the top.

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