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Thread: The Ukulele Duets

  1. #1
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    Default The Ukulele Duets

    What with the friendly reception the Ukulele Etudes are getting, I thought I'd plug my next effort: The Ukulele Duets.

    No. They're not finished. They're hardly started. But I am trying to map them out, and thought I'd ask for your help.

    It all started when I began the first one. It basically asks the question, "If Mozart had played the ukulele, what might he have written?" And so I wrote this little duet, and called it "Vienna 1781".

    Then I came up with another idea for a piece, a jazz waltz, VERY loosely inspired by "Up Jumped Spring" by Freddie Hubbard. And called it "New York 1966".

    See where I'm going here?

    So, I've come up with a few others:

    Weimar 1722 - A Baroque invention
    Rio de Janeiro 1959 - A Bossa Nova tune
    Sedalia 1899 - A rag
    Seville 1870 - A flamenco tune

    That makes 6. I want 10. Possibly released in 2 volumes. We'll see how quickly I get on, and how big it all gets. But I'd like it to involve a pretty wide range of styles. The basic premise is to compose for genres in which the ukulele does not traditionally appear - to write original, idiomatic ukulele music in those styles.

    So, and this is where I hope it gets fun for you, I was hoping some of you could help me come up with the last 4. The trick is pretty obvious, methinks. A place and year associated with a particular kind of music.

    Thanks in advance!
    "A few chords strummed on a ukulele, enough to please a few others beside yourself, does more good in this world than the combined efforts of all the financiers and politicians that ever lived."

    My YouTube channel.
    Mya-Moe Port Orford Cedar/Maple Concert
    MP Custom Zebrawood Pineapple Longneck Soprano

  2. #2
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    Hello John

    Clarksdale 1936??? - (My logic was that call-and-response blues might be good for a duet?)

    Anyway, how are you? I'm glad the Etudes are doing well. Good for you

  3. #3
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    Saint Louis 1898 - Joplin / Ragtime

    New Orleans 1900 - Bolden; Morton / Jazz
    Dirk Wormhoudt



    website: http://www.southcoastukes.com

    email: sales@southcoastukes.com

  4. #4
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    San Francisco 1968 -- it was the Summer of Love (i.e., the Summer of the Grateful Dead, Jefferson Airplane, and psychedelic rock).

    Boston 1976 -- You could go in different directions here. Boston was a "Birthplace of the Revolution," and 1976 was the United States Bicentennial, so you could write something in the style of John Phillip Sousa (see, e.g., Jake and Bruce Shimabukuro playing Stars and Stripes Forever), but it was also the heyday of Boston area big hair bands like, well, Boston ("More Than A Feeling").

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by southcoastukes View Post
    Saint Louis 1898 - Joplin / Ragtime

    New Orleans 1900 - Bolden; Morton / Jazz
    Sedalia was where Joplin was living in those years, I believe. So, got that one covered. I figured ragtime would be more specific, and maybe a bit more straightforward to right a duet for.
    "A few chords strummed on a ukulele, enough to please a few others beside yourself, does more good in this world than the combined efforts of all the financiers and politicians that ever lived."

    My YouTube channel.
    Mya-Moe Port Orford Cedar/Maple Concert
    MP Custom Zebrawood Pineapple Longneck Soprano

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by AnnaUK View Post
    Hello John

    Clarksdale 1936??? - (My logic was that call-and-response blues might be good for a duet?)

    Anyway, how are you? I'm glad the Etudes are doing well. Good for you

    That's a really good one!

    I'm pretty good. Just back from a month in California. Looks like you've been busy collating songbooks.
    "A few chords strummed on a ukulele, enough to please a few others beside yourself, does more good in this world than the combined efforts of all the financiers and politicians that ever lived."

    My YouTube channel.
    Mya-Moe Port Orford Cedar/Maple Concert
    MP Custom Zebrawood Pineapple Longneck Soprano

  7. #7
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    Duets YES!
    How about movie music, mid - late 20th Century USA? That could cover anything from a musical (Rogers and Hammerstein, Frederick Loewe, The Sherman Brothers, Oliver!, Wizard of Oz, etc), to a score (John Barry, John Williams, Bernard Herman, etc).
    –Lori

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lori View Post
    How about movie music, mid - late 20th Century USA? That could cover anything from a musical (Rogers and Hammerstein, Frederick Loewe, The Sherman Brothers, Oliver!, Wizard of Oz, etc), to a score (John Barry, John Williams, Bernard Herman, etc).
    Except now you're moving into copyrighted territory where no matter how original the arrangements, you'd have to negotiate with the copyright holders and pay royalties, something I imagine the OP would rather avoid, both for the sake of simplicity and not having to share any of the profits.

    "VERY loosely inspired by" is a lot different than using a recognizable copyrighted tune. "Jazz waltz" and "bossa nova" are both styles where the OP can incorporate a wide range of influences without infringing upon any individual copyrights.

  9. #9
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    Trying to do something Bernard Hermann-esque on 2 ukuleles... now there's a challenge. Need to think about that. For a long time.

    Itsme, I assume Lori was suggesting an "in the style of" type thing. Trying to actually arrange film scores would be an epic adventure all its own.
    "A few chords strummed on a ukulele, enough to please a few others beside yourself, does more good in this world than the combined efforts of all the financiers and politicians that ever lived."

    My YouTube channel.
    Mya-Moe Port Orford Cedar/Maple Concert
    MP Custom Zebrawood Pineapple Longneck Soprano

  10. #10
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    Well, after a few months of banging my head against the proverbial wall, I'm taking a chacge of tack with my duets. The 1st is done. Just needs recording. The 2nd is 90% done, but isn't what I had originally intended.

    I kept trying to compose these little homages, but I've found that I just keep getting composer's block. So, what I've done is to just focus on 6 classical (with a small c) pieces. The first is fairly Mozart. The second is a waltz, a bit Straussy. Given all the interest on UU lately about classical ukulele, and duets as well, it seemed the best course to take, and I'm finding the little black dots are flowing more freely. Like the etudes, I'm trying to keep the focus on idiomatic writing.

    I'm hoping to release these in the summer, hopefully (fingers crossed, and technology permitting) with "live" split screen videos.

    For those of you working through the Etudes, I'm also hoping to do some tutorial-style videos sooner than later. But that depends on borrowing a camera and editing facilities from work. But those I can just post as and when they're finished.

    Thanks as per usual to those of you who have provided such support and encouragement.
    "A few chords strummed on a ukulele, enough to please a few others beside yourself, does more good in this world than the combined efforts of all the financiers and politicians that ever lived."

    My YouTube channel.
    Mya-Moe Port Orford Cedar/Maple Concert
    MP Custom Zebrawood Pineapple Longneck Soprano

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