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Thread: my ukulele progress

  1. #431
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    I did some work on my open D minor tuning. It confirmed a pet theory of mine: that the ukulele like other stringed instruments is designed to play in the aiolian mode and that the ionian is just a variation. Unfortunately music is taught the other way around. Anyway, here's what I found with an open minor tuning. On every single dotted fret (since my ukulele is custom its dotted frets are 3, 5, 7 10, 12, 15, 17 and 19) either all four of the notes are members of D minor pentatonic or three of the notes are with a fourth note being one fret away. It is so regular and beautiful. It will make it a breeze to slide between the dotted frets and play the notes. Another nice thing about the open tuning is the ability to play the blues in two octaves--if you have a 19 fret instrument (sorry, soprano!).

  2. #432
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    Maybe it is the beer talking (over the past seven hours or so, I've had seven--which isn't a lot over time), but I just bought a Dunlop cry baby wah wah pedal. It is the last thing I need in my arsneal to sound like my heroes. Well, at least, I have no longer a technical reason to not sound like my guitar heroes. However, I don't have the chops. Now I have fuzz, I have distortion, I have chorus...there's no excuse to not sound awesome.

    I'll be waiting for it. Until then, one of my favorite patreon contributors just uploaded a tutorial on "freebird" and I downloaded the notation for the slide intro. I'm not really interested in the rest. I'll be adapting that to my open D minor tuning and trying to play it. It will be weird because I never play other people's music.

    * * *

    I just shaved with a straight razor despite the beers and the results were mixed. At a certain point I looked up and noticed that despite the inebriation I had only caused a little bit of blood on a cancerous mole I have. That was good, but then my guard was dropped because of my vanity and I immediately cut myself along the cleft of the chin.

    * * *
    Okay, I'm finishing my 8th and final beer. I don't want to make it appear that this is a regular occurrence. I'm an essential worker; I have worked through the pandemic. When my days off pop up, I get a six-pack or two and celebrate life. I have an itinerary to keep: drink my beer, sober up, take my wife out for our traditional july 4th dinner, do laundry, play ukulele.

    So I do have a very definite plan...even with the beer. Also I have some research to do. There has been a merging of three threads. My reading, my discussion with my wife, and my watching of youtube videos, has all triangulated towards the fourth book of the Georgics and the treatise on honey coming from carcasses. I need to re-visit the primary text.
    Last edited by ripock; 07-04-2020 at 01:00 PM.

  3. #433
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    I suppose the ukulele world has been wondering where I have been (as if!). I ripped the nail on my right ring finger. I didn't know it until recently but that's my main strumming finger. I strum with a loose fist and didn't know which finger was the actual plectrum. But once I injured my finger it became obvious that it was the prime strummer and it hurts to strum.

    I could have just strummed like they show you in newby videos with the index finger, but I prefer to be me.

    In lieu of playing I was reading some British novels written around WWII. One salient characteristic of this literature is the presence of war privations and rationing to promote the common weal. It is yet another glimpse into how broken our world is in comparison. On a daily basis you can read about people freaking out because they have to wear a mask to curtail the spread of the virus. I wonder what these people would do if we had to ration our resources. We are so soft.

    Now that my hand feels better, I did play around with the A Dorian #11. Here's a few observations:

    1. Harmonic minor modes make some interesting and somewhat exotic melodies.
    2. I like using the D# dim7 to walk up to the A on the 9th fret.
    3. I have some double hammer-ons that I use to bridge the space between the 2nd and 9th frets. I haven't had the same success going back down using pull-offs. Maybe it is a technical difficulty.
    4. The re-entrant A Dorian #11 is contained within the linear E Aiolian #7, making the transition between the tunings rather seamless.

    I am going to further explore the D# dim7 angle and see what I can come up with.

  4. #434
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    I have been working on the Lydian #2 in the open position to complement the Dorian #11 (I am, of course, talking about the re-entrant tuning). I am fairly comfortable with the Dorian #11 and the Phrygian Dominant right above it. So I have that area of the fret board covered. With the Dorian and Phrygian, we're talking about the fourth and fifth intervals of the key--which are totally central. Another central sound in the key is the sixth, the relative minor. In the harmonic minor the sixth if flattened and is a C. That means the C Lydian #2 employs open strings. I hate open strings because it throws my shapes off. However, I am going to overcome my prejudice and embrace this shape with its five fingerable notes and three open string notes.

  5. #435
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    I made some headway on my interests.

    I am beginning to see why Pindaros was never taught although he is acknowledged to be the cornerstone of ancient poetry. He would be a hard sell nowadays. He is very earnest and doesn't seem to be a bit ironic. In contrast, other poets such Kallimachos, Horatius, and Vergilius did what they had to do under tyranny in terms of their courtier-poetry. However they included some ambiguous material that gave them some independence--some resistance. Pindaros gleefully wrote for the elite even when the elite were on the way out. Democracy was surging at the time but Pindaros clung to his patrons. His aim was to celebrate his patrons and immortalize them so that they (and he) could approach the status of hero like Herakles or Achilleus. Therefore he is not a very likable personage. We want someone with his own voice, someone who stands for what we believe in politically and morally. He seems to be sincere in his allegiances. I'll keep on investigating in the hopes of finding some unique voice that isn't corporate.

    My harmonic minor studies proceeded much more satisfactorily. I already had the E Aiolian #7 and B Phrygian Dominant under my belt. I added the A Dorian #11 and the C Lydian #2. With the addition of those latter two, I have the fret board pretty much covered. When I formally decide to add the final three modes it shouldn't be too much of a problem because I'm already playing them partially. The G Ionian #5 is closely linked to the C Lydian #2; the F# Lokrian 13 is connected to the B Phrygian Dominant and the D# Super Lokrian bb7 is part of the G Ionian #5.

    At this point it is a bit impossible to annotate what I'm actually doing because I'm just improvising up and down the neck. I do have a tendency to start off with two adjacent notes (e.g., the D# and E of the A Dorian #11) and then move to a lower string and play its three notes. Aside from that it is just going where my fingers lead. I do bust up this parade of melodies with a chord progression in E Harmonic Minor: Em, B7, D, Am (I know D isn't diatonic; I do it just because I like it). I use that progression as a little interlude and I either transition to the A Dorian #11 from the Am chord or I start ascending the fret board with D#dim7 until I get to a lattitude that suits my attitude.

  6. #436
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    I focused today on playing around the 11th fret which is my favorite. There's a lot to do there. There is the B Phrygian Dominant as well as the dominant shape of the E minor pentatonic. If you extend the Phrygian Dominant to the G string, it becomes the F# Lokrian 13. Right below the Phrygian Dominant is the A Dorian #11 which becomes the E Aiolian #7 if you extend it out to the G string. And right above the Phrygian Dominant is the G Ionian #5 / C Lydian #2.

    I assume there are similar clusters of shapes everywhere on the fretboard. Right now I'm just playing what and where I like; I will explore later.

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