Classical Ukulele Players Challenge!

I’m about halfway through the thread and listening to all your wonderful tunes. It’s clear someone has to set the beginner bar here, so let me cheerfully do that!

This is Open Dance, from Sam Muir’s 12 Progressive Studies book. I’m getting fairly comfortable with this one, but working on speeding it up now, and sometimes my fingers lose the plot. You can hear my autistic duet partner singing in the background.
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Second is a snippet of a more challenging piece I just started working on yesterday (told you, cheerfully setting the low bar!). This is a tune that does one of my favorite things - it sounds awesome at its intended speed, and also when played waaaay more slowly. It’s Der Haupff Auff, from Tony Mizen’s Lute to Uke book, and he plays it at about 160bpm. I’ll be thrilled to play it well at 70bpm, but I think it sounds really nice at that speed!
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(Recorded with voice memo on my phone, and with new strings that are still pretty muted, so this isn’t showing off Canto’s pretty voice very well!)
These both sound great! Glad you have joined in!
 
These both sound great! Glad you have joined in!
I’ve spent the last two days absolutely in love with your As The Rain is Ending. As a novice, it’s wonderful to have a piece where it isn’t the technical stuff needing most of my attention, and I can just tell stories and communicate feeling.
 
I’ve spent the last two days absolutely in love with your As The Rain is Ending. As a novice, it’s wonderful to have a piece where it isn’t the technical stuff needing most of my attention, and I can just tell stories and communicate feeling.
Thank you. That’s very kind. I’m glad you are enjoying it!
 
Musicianship is a transferable skill. 🙂
I’m not much of a musician with any instrument - picked up a violin again about a year ago (edit: yikes, almost two, lol) after 35 yrs away (played for 3yrs as a teenager). But telling a story with music is pure magic, and ukulele I think lets you get to a level where you can begin to touch that magic a lot sooner.
 
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It looks like a Puerto Rican Cuatro. I have not looked into that instrument yet. But 4ths tuning is familiar to me from dabbling in Baroque mandolino tuning. The tuning you show is one step down ( plus an octave ) from a 5 course baroque mandolino. You could play some Vivaldi on that!
I have a PR Cuatro though I rarely play it - it is one of the many instruments that are more functional art or part of the joy of collecting than an instrument I play frequently. Yes, 4ths tuning with octave pairs on lowest 2 courses. One of a number of cases where instruments from different countries can have the same name but be very different. I don't have a Venezuelan cuatro which are very similar to ukuleles - nylon string, tuned adf#b but with different re-entrant tuning as the standard with it being like a low G (up a tone) with the high B dropped down an octave.

cuatro-1.jpg
 
Haven't had nearly as much time as I'd like for practicing lately, but found (made) some time this morning to work on my next exercise from the Peterson book. I'd been poking on it occasionally and today it started to gel. I kept cycling through it with the recorder running, hoping to catch myself in the act of getting through the whole first A phrase once correctly. I'm liking it how—if I nudge it in that direction—it can take on a bit of the campanella ringing style without even doing any string re-voicing substitutions.
I'm still very much working on this and modifying my fingerings, trying to get more rings out of it. And then keep it going into the B section.

So in the spirit of sharing new works in progress:
View attachment Sor-Study No.3_reh_sectA.mp3

Stats for nerds: recorded direct from the built-in Fishman pickup thru a Focusrite Scarlett to the DAW, very minimal EQ tweak and room verb added.
 
Haven't had nearly as much time as I'd like for practicing lately, but found (made) some time this morning to work on my next exercise from the Peterson book. I'd been poking on it occasionally and today it started to gel. I kept cycling through it with the recorder running, hoping to catch myself in the act of getting through the whole first A phrase once correctly. I'm liking it how—if I nudge it in that direction—it can take on a bit of the campanella ringing style without even doing any string re-voicing substitutions.
I'm still very much working on this and modifying my fingerings, trying to get more rings out of it. And then keep it going into the B section.

So in the spirit of sharing new works in progress:
View attachment 173646

Stats for nerds: recorded direct from the built-in Fishman pickup thru a Focusrite Scarlett to the DAW, very minimal EQ tweak and room verb added.
Very nice! Great work in progress. I actually really enjoy that piece - my teacher brought out the original Sor book that came from, and discussed how one of intentions of these studies was to learn how to keep fretting fingers placed, not moving them while moving your right hand to play the notes. I don't think I'm explaining it very well, but it was a revelation to me: I used to play violin (very poorly, despite 10 years of it as a kid), and I don't think I ever left a finger in place, I was always shifting my fingers from one note to the next. I had no idea how to make my fingers not do that. And now, almost two years after my teacher showed that to me, I'm finally starting to recognize opportunities in pieces where I can do that, and use a finger as an anchor point to move to the next phrase, and actually keep the finger anchored there across phrases. I've still got a long way to go, but this particular piece opened up that possibility for me. Thank you for sharing it and reminding me of what I've learned from it. I will practice it again today... it's been out of rotation for some time.
 
. I'm liking it how—if I nudge it in that direction—it can take on a bit of the campanella ringing style without even doing any string re-voicing substitutions.
I'm still very much working on this and modifying my fingerings, trying to get more rings out of it. And then keep it going into the B section.
You’ve got some nice ringing going on in there! I’m finding that playing some Campanella really encourages me to chase that sound in other tunes as well. What are you doing to modify your fingerings?
I used to play violin (very poorly, despite 10 years of it as a kid), and I don't think I ever left a finger in place, I was always shifting my fingers from one note to the next. I had no idea how to make my fingers not do that.
ahahahaha RIGHT?!? Violin, the anti-Campanella…. I love using fingers as anchors, though. I watched some video really early on that talked about that for chord switches, and Sam Muir talks about fingers down to hold onto the ringing, and now any new piece I go through and work out how to do that. It’s also why I like soprano scale best. I have small hands, and I can’t leave fingers down as long on bigger sizes. I play tenor a lot more like I play violin, with a grasshopper left hand 🤪
 
Here is an Elizabethan lute piece by composer/lutanist Thomas Robinson, a contemporary of John Dowland.
I was having trouble playing it solo, so I made a virtue out of necessity and split the parts into two. I like the sound of the ukulele on these early pieces, it seems to capture the mood quite well.

 
So in the spirit of sharing new works in progress:
View attachment 173646
I am not an expert, but I find it beautifully played, thank you for sharing
... one of intentions of these studies was to learn how to keep fretting fingers placed, not moving them while moving your right hand to play the notes. ... and use a finger as an anchor point to move to the next phrase, and actually keep the finger anchored there across phrases
Thank you so much for the useful explanation
 
Very nice! Great work in progress. I actually really enjoy that piece - my teacher brought out the original Sor book that came from, and discussed how one of intentions of these studies was to learn how to keep fretting fingers placed, not moving them while moving your right hand to play the notes. I don't think I'm explaining it very well...
You're explaining it very well. I'm making an attempt to use almost all/most of Jeff P's recommended fingerings, which struck me as doing exactly what you're saying. And it feels like I'm also intuit the notes on the fret board much better. I'm working on overcoming having played guitar (ever since trying to learn all the Beatles songs in '65), the brain is still adjusting to ukulele tuning 'transposition'. It tends mess me up a lot!
 
You’ve got some nice ringing going on in there! I’m finding that playing some Campanella really encourages me to chase that sound in other tunes as well. What are you doing to modify your fingerings?
Yes, I love that ringing sound too. Never knew there was a name for it until I started reading UU and now I chase that sound too when I can. I'm not really changing my fingerings all that much, other than the D major scale in bar #6 where I figured out using a 4 & 3 rather than a 3 & 2 on the G & B allows me to sustain the F# longer. It's mostly just making a conscious attempt to let things ring out more rather than mute the previous note by playing the next one.
 
Haven't had nearly as much time as I'd like for practicing lately, but found (made) some time this morning to work on my next exercise from the Peterson book. I'd been poking on it occasionally and today it started to gel. I kept cycling through it with the recorder running, hoping to catch myself in the act of getting through the whole first A phrase once correctly. I'm liking it how—if I nudge it in that direction—it can take on a bit of the campanella ringing style without even doing any string re-voicing substitutions.
I'm still very much working on this and modifying my fingerings, trying to get more rings out of it. And then keep it going into the B section.

So in the spirit of sharing new works in progress:
View attachment 173646

Stats for nerds: recorded direct from the built-in Fishman pickup thru a Focusrite Scarlett to the DAW, very minimal EQ tweak and room verb added.
Really nice sound! Good consistency in the tempo, also. I love some Sor!
 
Here is an Elizabethan lute piece by composer/lutanist Thomas Robinson, a contemporary of John Dowland.
I was having trouble playing it solo, so I made a virtue out of necessity and split the parts into two. I like the sound of the ukulele on these early pieces, it seems to capture the mood quite well.


Delightfully played, and a wonderful sound from your Uke. 🙂
 
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