The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #84223 Message #3651733
Posted By: GUEST
18-Aug-14 - 04:19 AM
Thread Name: Are ukuleles a real instrument?
Subject: RE: Are ukuleles a real instrument?
In some respects it comes back to the original objections to the guitar in the 1880s, as typified by WS Gilbert's opening shots in Trial By Jury, when he used it as a symbol for an effete intellectual. Tink-a-tonk was the words he used. He's pointing at would-bes rather than can-dos, and the question really comes back to whether it has a place outside of the self-referential in our music.
None of the players quoted as references have taken it anywhere with other instruments, because it has annoying features: Ross, for example, destroys Take The A-Train by insisting on the flabby downstroke strum in the middle of each bar as a form of percussion when he'd have done better playing a la table. I stopped wasting time on the list PHJim gave me 16 Aug 14 - 01:30 PM after a bit, as it was just too dispiriting: no, I don't think it has a place in anything other than it's original Hawaiian context, I see what the afficionadoes see in it, but it's a severe case of self-referential, indeed self-justificatory, monomania. Sure, the best players can get something out of it, but it's never going to be the kind of heart-breaking wail of the clarinet at the start of Rhapsody in Blue, or the throb of tympani, or Hendrix in full-flow, it goes about 30% towards a Hawaiian guitar, so I suspect it's had its day and been found wanting - worse, it's clearly not got the scope to go anywhere. Why not play the charango, a similar instrument which does far more? But no, you'll stick with it and the more chi to your karma. Me, I use a brick wall.