The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #84223 Message #3650574
Posted By: Don Firth
13-Aug-14 - 12:10 AM
Thread Name: Are ukuleles a real instrument?
Subject: RE: Are ukuleles a real instrument?
With the exception of the Spanish vihuela, which has a waisted body like a guitar, but otherwise was not much different from a six-course lute (tuning and technique of playing), the first instrument to bear the name "guitar" was the Renaissance guitar. Not much bigger that a baritone ukulele, it had four courses (double strings, except for the top string, which was single). The serious musicians of the day played the lute, any of a number of different viols, or the virginal, which was a precursor to the harpsichord, and they looked down on the Renaissance guitar as "an instrument for young ladies and servant girls to strum on."
Not unlike the way the ukulele is generally regarded today.
Back in the Fifties, at the University of Washington, while loafing in the student union building lounge between classes, I heard a young guy who said he was from Hawaii entertaining a small group of friends by playing a uke. He didn't strum, he played it "finger-style," like classic guitar, and he was getting some real music out of that little thing.
A real eye—or ear—opener!