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Thread: my ukulele progress

  1. #541
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    I have a few things to report on "Under the Rainbow" which is the name of the song blueprint I am currently working on. The name was inspired by the recent thread devoted to good ukulele songs. Of course "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" was brought up and I think my song is the obverse of that. It isn't otherworldly; it is earthy, lugubrious, and exotic.

    First of all those unused B minor chords. They both sound the same to me, so I use my preferred shape, X675. It sounds a little out of place with the previous two open chords, but that's a good thing. It shows that a transition is under way. I am going from jangly open chords to a tighter triad to single notes. Another thing that is nice is that when I slide from the Am add9 to the Bm on the A string, there is no slide sound.

    This is obviously going to work. I focused on the B at the 7th fret and consciously made decisions to either go down to the B on the fourth fret (and the E on the fourth fret to resolve it all) or up the B of the 11th (and the E on the 10th).

    The key to it all is actually the C on the 8th fret. If, on one hand, you don't hit that C you're playing the pentatonics (although I still am under-utilizing the major pentatonic). Obviously that all sounds great. But if you float back to the B and then hit the C, then--bam--you're suddenly in flavor country. That C is very pronounced since it is in neither of the pentatonic systems. Maybe I'll try to map out some of the paths I took tomorrow. Right now it seems a bit daunting to remember all that stuff.

  2. #542
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    I recently commented on a thread that my ukulele routine hasn't altered with the pandemic, and that's true. But I have modified my behavior in another way. I adhere to a morning grooming routine. This is something that I learnt when I was a PhD student: you need a routine or you tend to just walk around the house in your pajamas doing nothing 'til dinner time.

    Anyway, to give my day some structure and to get going in the morning, I get up and hone my razor while I soak my shaving brush in some hot water. Then I load my brush with some shaving soap...

    [shaving soap excursus: I used to only use hard soap because I wanted to shave historically. I like being able to read about people breathing on the steel of their razors and watch the fog form and dissipate like so many youthful dreams. And I like being able to do that myself. I am branching out a bit. I bought some new shaving cream with tallow. I really like the tallow and if that means I have to use a cream, then so be it. I recently read a fussy account of how to use blossoming to achieve a very thick lather. I appreciate the author's youthful enthusiasm but it is misspent ingenuity. The last thing I want is a thick whipped lather obscuring the lineaments of my face when using a straight razor. Tallow-based shaving cream offers a little bit of lather with no fuss and that's all I want. I just ordered from Scotland a hard soap made with lanolin. I am hoping it will be like the tallow soaps.]

    ... after I shave, I apply some beard oil to my mustaches. I make my own with jojoba, cedar, sandalwood, and lavander oils. The ingredients probably cost $100, but it must surely save me many hundreds of dollars. Lastly, I apply some soft wax to the inner parts of my mustaches and some hard wax to the tips.

    That's my little routine that motivates to get up and going. Then, smelling of sandalwood soap, oil, and cologne, I can proceed to my other tasks.

    The snow is going to hinder my reading schedule, but with boots and gloves I will manage.

    The ukulele agenda will not be affected by anything. Right now my mind is centered on the major pentatonic shapes because they are not natural to me. Let me re-phrase that. The major pentatonic is merely the minor pentatonic done in the key of the relative major. So the shapes are the same; they just have different names.

    For example, I am focusing on the dominant and leading tone shapes (for the sake of convenience, I am using the names of the linear shapes. There are re-entrant shapes within the linear shapes, but I am ignoring them right now. To clarify it in my mind, then, the dominant shape of the E major pentatonic is the same shape as the leading tone shape of the minor pentatonic. And the leading tone shape of the E major pentatonic is the same as tonic shape of the minor pentatonic. That much is clear but what am I going to do with them. With the dominant shape, not too much because the B is at the top of the shape. So it would be a struggle to transition to other shapes from it. It is a struggle that I will undertake eventually and it might actually be the best thing to do as it would completely obscure the walls between the shapes. However right now the leading tone shape seems a bit easier to deal with.

    For example, in the leading tone shape, the notes on the E string are B and C#. All I need to do is hit the C instead of the C# and I would be instantly transported into the land of the harmonic minor. Then the nearby E and F# of the A string would either be notes belonging to the major pentatonic shape or the F# Lokrian 13. So I have a lot of lattitude there. I'll see where that takes me.

  3. #543
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    I thought I would take advantage of the unwonted, although not unwanted, presence of both flour and gravy in my home. They just don't fit into my lifestyle. I am normally a protein and vegetables kind of guy. So I made Toad in the Hole. It was really simple. You just make yorkies, but add sausage. I used two andouilles which I criss-crossed in a square pan. It was okay. I mean, what's not to like. But I don't really feel a need to repeat it. However, if I had to do it over again, I think I would cut up the sausage. I get the impression that traditionalists would shudder at this, but I think it would be a lot more convenient than having to cut the sausages when they are ensconced in yorkshire pudding.

    I unfortunately overslept my window for ukulele playing. I took a nap at four in the afternoon and didn't wake up until nearly midnight. So I only had time to practice those major pentatonics for a bit and try to connect them to the harmonic minor modes that occupy the same area on the fret board. I only had time to do the most rudimentary schemes like ascending with the pentatonic and descending with the Lokrian 13. When I have more leisure, I'll try to mix it up a bit more to make it more musical.

  4. #544
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    I watched a really insightful video on the circle of fifths. Most of the time, people are trying to dumb down or make less intimidating the circle of fifths. But I saw one that actually, as the title says, takes a deeper dive. Here it is https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tEq14C60wDI

    It was novel by tetrasecting the circle into the tonic, tritone, relative major, relative minor and each of their respective perfect fours and fifths.

  5. #545
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    I've had to do a lot of stuff relating to my work and couldn't put in the time necessary to make any musical progress.

    I'm still fiddling around with pentatonic and minor harmonic shapes that surround the B on the 7th fret. The strings are settling down finally. I didn't have to re-tune today but that's because all the strings had stretched into a D# tuning instead of an E and I just let them remain where they were.

    The one novel thing that struck my ear was the movement from E minor to G# augmented. For some reason I really like the sound. And speaking of sound, why do guitar players, and hence ukulele players, speak of tone instead of sound. It always sounds a bit cultish and buzz-wordy to me. Is it because electric guitars have tone knobs and not timbre knobs?

  6. #546
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    I haven't been doing much of note lately. Just plodding along. Perhaps the one innovation to my playing has been using arpeggios to link my shapes.

    Let me map out one instance.

    I was just grooving with the F# Lokrian 13, especially the B and C notes. At the top of the Lokrian 13 shape is obviously a F#. Once I attain that F#, then I can use the D# dim7 arpeggio to descend to the A on the second fret. Or I could take only as far as the D# on the 3rd fret.

    My goal at this point is to get back up to the B on the seventh fret. There are a few melodic ways of getting there. I could use my harmonic minor modes to get there, or my pentatonics. I suppose I could even use the D# dim7 arpeggio to go up to the C on the 8th fret and then slide back to the B.

    Anyway, these are just some potentialities which sometimes I take, and sometimes I don't.

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