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Re-entrant tuning: why?

Stower 23 Jan 10 - 10:25 AM
Will Fly 23 Jan 10 - 11:00 AM
Stower 23 Jan 10 - 12:31 PM
The Sandman 23 Jan 10 - 12:34 PM
GUEST,Russ 23 Jan 10 - 03:11 PM
Leadfingers 23 Jan 10 - 04:12 PM
Stringsinger 23 Jan 10 - 04:18 PM
Will Fly 23 Jan 10 - 04:43 PM
The Sandman 23 Jan 10 - 06:13 PM
The Sandman 23 Jan 10 - 06:17 PM
Stower 23 Jan 10 - 08:06 PM
Dave MacKenzie 23 Jan 10 - 08:20 PM
Stower 23 Jan 10 - 08:26 PM
Artful Codger 23 Jan 10 - 11:56 PM
Will Fly 24 Jan 10 - 04:06 AM
Leadfingers 24 Jan 10 - 04:18 AM
s&r 24 Jan 10 - 04:29 AM
Stower 24 Jan 10 - 06:09 AM
Will Fly 24 Jan 10 - 06:28 AM
The Sandman 24 Jan 10 - 06:40 AM
Stower 24 Jan 10 - 11:40 AM
The Sandman 24 Jan 10 - 12:23 PM
McGrath of Harlow 24 Jan 10 - 01:35 PM
Stower 24 Jan 10 - 05:01 PM
Willie-O 24 Jan 10 - 06:29 PM
Artful Codger 24 Jan 10 - 09:09 PM
The Sandman 25 Jan 10 - 08:37 AM
Howard Jones 25 Jan 10 - 09:43 AM
M.Ted 25 Jan 10 - 01:32 PM
Artful Codger 25 Jan 10 - 07:57 PM
GUEST 25 Jan 10 - 08:49 PM
Howard Jones 26 Jan 10 - 09:03 AM
Stower 26 Jan 10 - 09:11 AM
The Sandman 26 Jan 10 - 01:15 PM
The Sandman 26 Jan 10 - 01:19 PM
Stower 26 Jan 10 - 01:46 PM
The Sandman 26 Jan 10 - 02:00 PM
M.Ted 26 Jan 10 - 04:12 PM
Artful Codger 23 Aug 12 - 01:02 PM
Artful Codger 23 Aug 12 - 01:37 PM
dick greenhaus 23 Aug 12 - 02:02 PM
ollaimh 23 Aug 12 - 03:17 PM
GUEST,MTed 24 Aug 12 - 06:46 PM
PHJim 25 Aug 12 - 12:36 PM
GUEST,MTed 25 Aug 12 - 03:20 PM
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Subject: Re-entrant tuning: why?
From: Stower
Date: 23 Jan 10 - 10:25 AM

I have no experience of playing the Renaissance cittern (as differentiated from the modern cittern, a different instrument), the ukulele, the theorbo, or the 5 string banjo, all of which have re-entrant tuning. (I suspect the banjo uses it differently to the others, but I am happy to be thoroughly corrected.)

Could someone who plays one of these please explain: why re-entrant tuning? How can this be employed advantageously when playing, to give an effect or technical device which strictly progressively pitched instruments cannot offer?

If you can give examples, preferably with links to tab or a video, that would be very good indeed.

Yours in hope,

Stower


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Subject: RE: Re-entrant tuning: why?
From: Will Fly
Date: 23 Jan 10 - 11:00 AM

From Wikipedia (on the ukulele):

Advantages of high-4th tuning

    * Distinctive sound to chords, which is the intended sound for most ukulele music.
    * The open strings are kept within a smaller range, giving a more even feel and tone.
    * Avoids the need for a wound 4th string, again giving a more even feel and tone.
    * Clawhammer strumming is possible, using the 4th string similarly to the melody-string of a five-string banjo.
    * For all but the baritone, string sets for high-4th tuning are readily available, while strings for low-4th tuning must often be bought separately or even adapted from guitar strings.

Advantages of low-4th tuning

    * Extends the instrument's range by five semitones, giving greater melodic possibilities and/or greater choice of keys when playing melodies.
    * Enables more open chord positions, giving less disonance on disonant chords such as chords of the seventh.
    * Avoids doubling exactly the same pitch on major and minor triad chords, which otherwise makes tuning extremely critical.


Take with a pinch of salt, perhaps, as it's Wikipedia - but it seems OK for a start on the topic...


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Subject: RE: Re-entrant tuning: why?
From: Stower
Date: 23 Jan 10 - 12:31 PM

Thanks, Will, that's a start. I think the entry is a bit weak on information (as you suggest), not written by someone who really understands, but it gave me the tip that part of the the purpose of re-entrant tuning on banjo is to play clawhammer, a term I know without knowing the meaning of it.

For anyone interested, here is a video explaining clawhammer banjo. And here it is put into pratice on the tune Kitchen Girl.

You could do the same on ukulele, I think?

Rather different on therobo, as the 'out of synch' string isn't at the bottom. Instead, the top two strings are down an octave. How does that work? And why?


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Subject: RE: Re-entrant tuning: why?
From: The Sandman
Date: 23 Jan 10 - 12:34 PM

its possible to play the tenor banjo,which is normally played with a plectrum and tuned gdae or cgda,like a 5 string using frailing wit the light gauge tenor banjo strings [cgda] strings but tuned dgb g,so you have the high 5 string,the second string can be tuned to b or d ,so the player has a choice as to which string he loses, see mirak pateks website,bluegrass and old timey can be played in this tuning.


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Subject: RE: Re-entrant tuning: why?
From: GUEST,Russ
Date: 23 Jan 10 - 03:11 PM

In the 40+ years I've been playing banjo, I have never heard it characterized as having re-entrant tuning. I'll mention that in the my next jam.

If memory serves me, Microsoft DOS was characterized as non re-entrant code.

Anyway, I play re-entrant tuning because it, along with the clawhammer rhythm, produces the banjo sound I love.

I've heard other instruments clawhammered but it sounds a bit lame to my ears.

Russ (Permanent GUEST and banjo player)


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Subject: RE: Re-entrant tuning: why?
From: Leadfingers
Date: 23 Jan 10 - 04:12 PM

Pardon my Ignorance , but what IS Re-=Entrant Tuning ?? Never heard the expression before - But I've only been plying guitars . banjos and mandolins since 1967


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Subject: RE: Re-entrant tuning: why?
From: Stringsinger
Date: 23 Jan 10 - 04:18 PM

Re-entrant tuning as Wiki attempted to explain when used on a uke or tenor banjo makes the chords have "closed-voicings" This opposite to open tuning in fifths for the tenor which makes for "open-voicings". The character of the sound is different. In a band, the closed voicings has a good accompaniment feel especially if the tenor is tuned to GDAE with the re-entrant fourth string an octave higher. In a trad or dixie band, the lower tuning doesn't compete with the high notes of the clarinet and the re-entrant fourth string an octave higher has a fuller and more present sound than the open-voiced standard tenor.

The re-entrant tuning on the banjo and the uke carry better.

As for the use of early lute tuning, the higher string is above the normal E string of the guitar. The Elizabethan 13 string (though some strings are double-coursed) lute tuning is   E-A-D-G-B-C-G. You can approximate the tuning on a six-string as: E-A-D-F#-B-E.

Early music is written better for lute and the later more Spanish harmonic
music is suited to guitar. The early Vihuela (not the Mexican five-string uke) is tuned
usually as E-A-D-F#-B-E and this is how Louis Milan wrote for his pieces in the French
court. This Vihuela is the forerunner of the guitar.

In short, re-entrant tunings give you a set of chords which employ open strings in a different way which create different musical moods. This is certainly illustrated by DADGAD tuning on a guitar.


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Subject: RE: Re-entrant tuning: why?
From: Will Fly
Date: 23 Jan 10 - 04:43 PM

d-G-B-e
4-3-2-1

This is a uke-like tuning and, if considered a chord, could be a G9. The string tuning is an example of re-entrant tuning because the 4 strings, when played from 4th to 1st, don't go up constantly in pitch. They start high, on the 4th string, then drop down - re-enter the "chord" at a lower level on the 3rd string - and then proceed up to the highest note.

We used to sing "My dog has fleas" to this relative sequence of notes as a guide to uke tuning...


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Subject: RE: Re-entrant tuning: why?
From: The Sandman
Date: 23 Jan 10 - 06:13 PM

no, g 6,g 9 has an a in it


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Subject: RE: Re-entrant tuning: why?
From: The Sandman
Date: 23 Jan 10 - 06:17 PM

could it be the sound of ringing strings or sympathetic ringing,any road re entrant tuning,its the first time i have ever heard of it.why not just say like most people do open tunings.re entrant tuning sounds like a sexual perversion


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Subject: RE: Re-entrant tuning: why?
From: Stower
Date: 23 Jan 10 - 08:06 PM

Stringsinger, I'm not really sure I understood your explanation or what you mean by closed and open voicings, and I am not entirely sure you have re-entrant tuning right, for that reason. Please explain further if I have that wrong.

Leadfingers, re-entrant tuning is simply this. Most stringed instruments are tuned sequentially. In other words, strings are ordered low to high in pitch (or high to low, depending on which way you're looking at it). On a guitar, for example, going low to high, the bottom e string is pitched below the a above, which in turn is pitched below the d above, which is below the g, which is below the b, which is below the top e in pitch. It is a logical sequence.

Re-entrant tuning has one or more string out of sequence.

So, for example, the top strings on a theorbo are an octave below the pitch you would expect on a sequentially tuned lute.

The bottom string on a 5 string banjo is not the bottom in pitch. The same is true on a ukulele. Hence the term re-entrant. You expect a sequence from low to high, but if we play the higher-than-you-might-expect bottom string, then the next string, that next string 're-enters' the normal low to high sequence, rather than following in the usual low to high order.

This has been more difficult than I imagined to explain! I hope that is clear. If not, Leadfingers, do ask and I'll have another go!

Stower.


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Subject: RE: Re-entrant tuning: why?
From: Dave MacKenzie
Date: 23 Jan 10 - 08:20 PM

I think I understand. When I saw it at first I thought it must be using a feedback loop to bring the instrument into pitch!


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Subject: RE: Re-entrant tuning: why?
From: Stower
Date: 23 Jan 10 - 08:26 PM

Stringsinger, I just read your entry again and you do mention the higher-than-you-might-expect-out-of-sequence string, which I missed first time.

Not sure why you mention lute pitch, though, as lutes were not re-entrant (except the much later theorbo) and so not relevant to the discussion. No one would refer to "The Elizabethan 13 string" lute (and a 13 course lute would be baroque, not renaissance, and in a d minor tuning, except in Italy). I think you must mean the 7 course lute (not double-coursed - a course is a pair of strings - so a double course would be 4 strings of the same pitch or in octaves!). Lute tuning on a Renaissance 7 course g' lute would not be E-A-D-G-B-C-G, low to high, as you suggest, but either F-G-C-F-A-D-G or D-G-C-F-A-D-G, with the bottom course different depending on the preference of the lutenist. This quickly developed into the 8 course lute which combined both options, low to high D-F-G-C-F-A-D-G.


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Subject: RE: Re-entrant tuning: why?
From: Artful Codger
Date: 23 Jan 10 - 11:56 PM

"Reentrant" simply means that the strings do not progress strictly from lowest tone to highest (as on a guitar, fiddle or mandolin), but instead, one or more of the "lower" strings is tuned higher than those which follow, restarting a series, as it were.

An instrument which demonstrates both methods of tuning is the zither. The fretboard strings are tuned serially (non-reentrantly) in fifths, from lowest to highest. The 1st string is tuned in unison to the 2nd, as on the mountain dulcimer, but unison strings are not considered a case of "reentrance" since there's no pitch regression. The harp-like strings are tuned in a reentrant series, with the next string being either a fourth above or a fifth below, the latter occurring when the note would exceed the octave range for that set of twelve strings. The result is a "ragged" tuning sequence. Contrast this with the autoharp, where the strings are uniformly tuned from lowest to highest pitch.

Banjo is reentrant because the 5th string is tuned to the highest, rather than lowest, note. Most ukuleles are tuned reentrantly, with the 4th string tuned a fifth above the 3rd string (though a whole note below the 1st--the 4th string is thus the second highest in pitch).


Why not just say "open/closed" tuning? I can think of three good reasons:

(1) The term "reentrant tuning" is in wide use and has a precise musical meaning. In my reading on banjo and ukulele, I've run across the term repeatedly, and always with the same meaning. If you claim you haven't heard the term, it's probably just because you weren't paying attention.

(2) "Open" is a vague term alreading having too many musical uses. And "open tuning" (as I understand it) refers to a tuning which produces a simple chord when strummed unfretted--quite a different matter.

(3) Why not just say "doohicky" instead of "clef"? Why "sharp", "flat", "chord" or "dominant", for that matter? "Reentrant" is no more outlandish than most other musical terms we accept without complaint.


As for "clawhammering" a ukulele, you certainly can, though not as effectively as on banjo due to the more condensed range of the uke. However, the 4th string, being tuned to the dominant, can easily function as an off-beat drone, in a manner typifying banjo styles.

There is also a melodic benefit to the uke's reentrant tuning: because the 4th and 1st strings are close in pitch, the notes of melodic or chromatic runs can be alternated between the two strings. This allows each note to be sustained longer, for a more legato effect, while the alternation of thumb and finger facilitates speed. It's like the "melodic banjo" style, but requires less jumping about the neck.


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Subject: RE: Re-entrant tuning: why?
From: Will Fly
Date: 24 Jan 10 - 04:06 AM

no, g 6,g 9 has an a in it

Course it does, Dick - senior moment!


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Subject: RE: Re-entrant tuning: why?
From: Leadfingers
Date: 24 Jan 10 - 04:18 AM

Thanks Gents - Got it now , but as I am a simple self taught player , its an expression I had never met . I obviously do not associate with enough 'proper' musicians !


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Subject: RE: Re-entrant tuning: why?
From: s&r
Date: 24 Jan 10 - 04:29 AM

"My dog has fleas" was given as a tuning mnemonic in a tutor book on uke that I was trying to learn from. Nowhere did it say that you had to sing the phrase as a tune, so I learned to tuneukes from the chord boxes printed on old sheet music.

Stu


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Subject: RE: Re-entrant tuning: why?
From: Stower
Date: 24 Jan 10 - 06:09 AM

Artful Codger, if *only* I could be as brief and precise as you in my explanation of re-entrant tuning!

And thank you so much for your last paragraph. It was to find out that sort of info that I started the thread. Great.

s&r (or anyone), could you explain "My dog has fleas" as a way of knowing uke tuning, please? (I'm assuming it is not tuned M-D-H-F!).


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Subject: RE: Re-entrant tuning: why?
From: Will Fly
Date: 24 Jan 10 - 06:28 AM

If you learn to sing the words to the notes: d-G-B-e - or whatever re-entrant tuning your uke is tuned to* - you'll find that the learned musical phrase then becomes a guide to the tuning!

* My tenor uke, for example, is tuned: g-C-E-A


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Subject: RE: Re-entrant tuning: why?
From: The Sandman
Date: 24 Jan 10 - 06:40 AM

yes ok,
but stringsingers mention of dagad muddied the waters,dadgad is not a re entrant tuning,and is normally described as an open tuning along with dadgcd,dadeae,and many other tunings that are not tuned to an open chord.


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Subject: RE: Re-entrant tuning: why?
From: Stower
Date: 24 Jan 10 - 11:40 AM

Good Soldier Schweik, to be precise when discussing non-standard (non-classical) guitar tunings, we would need to differentiate between open tunings - open C, open D minor, etc. - that are tuned to a chord, and alternative tunings - CGCDAB, Orkney tuning, etc. - that are not tuned to an open chord. DADGAD is an interesting one, as it's neither an open major nor minor chord (since the third is missing), but it is open Dsus, if we wish to call it that, so that could argueably qualify as an open tuning or an alternative tuning.


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Subject: RE: Re-entrant tuning: why?
From: The Sandman
Date: 24 Jan 10 - 12:23 PM

its simple you just say what the tuning is, I am playing in dadgad,or I am playing in spanish or vestapol or I am playing in double drop d,or I am playing in dadeae.
you differentiate by saying exactly what the notes are Iam playing in dgdgad ,or whatever.


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Subject: RE: Re-entrant tuning: why?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 24 Jan 10 - 01:35 PM

the top two strings are down an octave.   Wouldn't that mean the aren't top any more?


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Subject: RE: Re-entrant tuning: why?
From: Stower
Date: 24 Jan 10 - 05:01 PM

McGrath of Harlow, you have a point! Perhaps, in describing re-entrant tuning on a theorbo (or anything else), I should have referred to the first, second, third etc. string.


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Subject: RE: Re-entrant tuning: why?
From: Willie-O
Date: 24 Jan 10 - 06:29 PM

Showoffs. Thanks for makin my head hurt.


W-O


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Subject: RE: Re-entrant tuning: why?
From: Artful Codger
Date: 24 Jan 10 - 09:09 PM

Stower, I have yet to run across the origin of "My dog has fleas." It just seems to be part of the oral tradition as a musical mnemonic for tuning (once you have the starting note, that is). You're just expected to have learned it on your pappy's knee or (more likely) from the neighborhood brats who also taught you "Great green gobs of greasy grimy gopher guts" and "On top of spaghetti".


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Subject: RE: Re-entrant tuning: why?
From: The Sandman
Date: 25 Jan 10 - 08:37 AM

the rentrant tuning on a 5 string banjo aapears to be used differently, than on a yuke,mainly as a dronr string and only occasionally as a melody note,the 5 string is rarely fretted with a finger.


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Subject: RE: Re-entrant tuning: why?
From: Howard Jones
Date: 25 Jan 10 - 09:43 AM

The well-known jazz bandleader Tommy Dorsey recorded a piece in the 1940s called "My dog has fleas". I wonder if it comes from that - I've not been able to find a recording. The phrase seems to be widely offered as a mnemonic as if it were self-evident, and perhaps the song was once so widely known that it would need no explanation.

Nowadays it seems you have to learn the tune first, which rather misses the point. Or is this another UK/US thing - is the tune, if not the origin, of "my dog has fleas" still well-known? I have to confess that I'm not familiar with "Great green gobs of greasy grimy gopher guts" and "On top of spaghetti" either.


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Subject: RE: Re-entrant tuning: why?
From: M.Ted
Date: 25 Jan 10 - 01:32 PM

Rather that thinking about "Why?", it is much more helpful to look at "How?"--which really means examining how the high string it is used while playing. And, though it may seem to make sense to someone who is trying to grasp this in the abstract, Artful Codger's technique isn't really a very important one in the world of uke playing.

Check this--Jake Shimabukuro shows how to pluck strum

And this--A great strum pattern


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Subject: RE: Re-entrant tuning: why?
From: Artful Codger
Date: 25 Jan 10 - 07:57 PM

There have been a number of songs written called "My dog has fleas"--and I'd hazard that they all use the uke tuning motif and came after the mnemonic was well established in the musical tradition.

Yes, you have to learn the tune first, but how long does that take? Once lodged in the brain, you never forget it or flub it--which is exactly the point. That it is so well known, even to those who have never touched a uke, proves its utility. If one doesn't know it, but is learning uke from a friend or tutor, this silly four-note "song" will probably be the first thing they teach you.

As Will Fly pointed out, the mnemonic transposes (unlike others, such as "Every Good Boy Does Fine"), so once you have the starting note, the tune tells you how to tune the remaining strings. The transposition aspect is important, because there are two base tunings in wide use: G-C-E-A and A-D-F#-B (which is just the former tuning transposed up a whole step).


The most important impact of reentrance on uke playing is undoubtedly the more clustered chord sound, and the primary mode of playing the uke is just to strum or arpeggiate chords. So it's true that neither the drone nor the alternating 4th/1st melodic style is mainstream in uke playing, but that is no reason to state they aren't important techniques. Bluegrass grew out of two-finger picking precisely because of the limitations of strict two-finger alternation. Melodic banjo grew out of bluegrass because of the choppiness of playing melodically on a single string at speed, and the uneven volume and quality when hammering-on and pulling-off. If you listen to melodic players, the difference is immediately noticeable, which is why the technique keeps gaining ground in the banjo world. Reentrance is a key aspect of its success. The same sort of shift is now occurring in the uke world (specifically, in moving away from strum-dominated playing) and players like Jake Shimabukuro are leading the shift.

In that clip, Jake is mainly demonstrating a basic strum pattern, not discussing picking patterns or melodic playing. If you examine what he's doing when he arpeggiates the strum into a picked riff, you'll see that he is indeed alternating 1 and 4 to play the melody notes, in dotted rhythm, with a chordal underpinning on 2 and 3.

Uke tuning developed as it did because Hawaiians were trying to emulate the small Portuguese guitars they first encountered, but due to the limitation of materials they had to work with (strings of nearly uniform constitution) they had to transpose the bottom note up an octave. If you transpose the standard uke G tuning down a fourth and drop the 4th string an octave, you end up with the pitches of the top four strings of a guitar. So the primary reason for reentrance on the uke is historical, not a product of intentional design to facilitate finger-picking. Nevertheless, as melodic playing becomes increasingly popular in the uke world, the advantages of the reentrant tuning become more fully exploited.


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Subject: RE: Re-entrant tuning: why?
From: GUEST
Date: 25 Jan 10 - 08:49 PM



OK. Closed voiced chords are those where the notes are close together. Open voiced chords are those where the notes are further apart.

Re-entrant tuning involves tuning one or more of the strings an octave higher or lower than usual.
You reenter the string in question by retuning it either an octave higher or lower.

Your explanation is accurate.





Yes, but this usually means the string is an octave or lower above its usual pitch.

"So, for example, the top strings on a theorbo are an octave below the pitch you would expect on a sequentially tuned lute."

Yes, the strings in question can be tuned an octave higher or lower than the standard tuning.

"The bottom string on a 5 string banjo is not the bottom in pitch. The same is true on a ukulele. Hence the term re-entrant. You expect a sequence from low to high, but if we play the higher-than-you-might-expect bottom string, then the next string, that next string 're-enters' the normal low to high sequence, rather than following in the usual low to high order."

This is an accurate description. The important thing is that the bass strings of standard guitar tuning can be tuned an octave higher. The top strings of a guitar can be tuned an octave lower. The five-string banjo has a high G string, then drops to a lower string. You can use a re-entrant tuning on the tenor or plectrum banjo by moving any string an octave higher or lower.   Any instrument that has a standard tuning can employ any string to be tuned an octave higher or lower than usual. For example, a soprano or tenor uke has re-entrant fourth string from the standard baritone uke which is tuned usually like the top four strings D,G,B,E on a guitar.


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Subject: RE: Re-entrant tuning: why?
From: Howard Jones
Date: 26 Jan 10 - 09:03 AM

Artful Codger, at risk of thread drift, this doesn't explain why "my dog has fleas" became a uke mnemonic in the first place. If you have to learn the tune first, how does adding words help you to remember it? Sometimes a verbal mnemonic can help by prompting the rhythm of the tune (for example, "From Wibbleton to Wobbleton is fourteen miles" = Soldiers Joy)but that doesn't work for this. It seems more likely to me that it came from a popular song which used the same phrase.


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Subject: RE: Re-entrant tuning: why?
From: Stower
Date: 26 Jan 10 - 09:11 AM

M.Ted, thanks for the links. From what I can see, the thumb plays a completely different role on the uke compared to the guitar, as the higher 4th string means the thumb can lead on the melody in both picking and strum patterns. Does that sound right? More to add?

Artful Codger, that's really interesting about Hawaiians developing the uke from the Portuguese guitar, which isn't a guitar at all, of course, despite the name, but a type of cittern, which does not have re-entrant tuning. But twice on the Portuguese guitar, we have the distance between courses being only a single tone which, from what you say, is mimicked on the uke with the pitch difference between first and fourth strings. Am I understanding this right, Artful Codger, and was that the historical thinking, do you know?

GUEST, 25 Jan 10 - 08:49 PM, I don't think you have understood this thread (and you should sign in under a consistent name, by the way). "Closed voiced chords are those where the notes are close together. Open voiced chords are those where the notes are further apart." That doesn't really make much sense, musically, since it is so vague and imprecise. Closer than what? Further apart than what? And such a description isn't pertinent to our discussion. "Re-entrant tuning involves tuning one or more of the strings an octave higher or lower [an octave *lower*?!] than usual. You reenter the string in question by retuning it either an octave higher or lower." It doesn't work quite mean that. That certainly is not how the re-entrant Renaissance cittern worked. And there is no re-tuning involved, as the instruments in question are re-entrant as standard. Re-entrant tuning means one of more string or course, at any point in the sequence from high to low pitch, is out of the high to low sequence. While it's true that the *relative* pitch of uke strings are the same as that of a guitar but with the fourth string an octave higher, and similar is true of lute/theorbo for the first two strings, the same cannot be said of the cittern, as there is no other instrument to compare it to to say that the third course has any pitch difference - octave or otherwise - to anything else. As for the banjo, there is such a wide choice of tunings, one cannot really say that the 5th string is an octave above anything, as there is no *single* standard banjo pitch in the first place to compare it to: there is only the banjo tuning you choose to play in.


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Subject: RE: Re-entrant tuning: why?
From: The Sandman
Date: 26 Jan 10 - 01:15 PM

mted, thanks for the links. From what I can see, the thumb plays a completely different role on the uke compared to the guitar, as the higher 4th string means the thumb can lead on the melody in both picking and strum patterns. Does that sound right? More to add?
yes,the thumb leads on melody on guitar if played in the style of maybelle carter,its thumb lead style


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Subject: RE: Re-entrant tuning: why?
From: The Sandman
Date: 26 Jan 10 - 01:19 PM

here is an examlple of thumb melody lead guitar using an open tuning on the guitar
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cAuc6rFXb1E


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Subject: RE: Re-entrant tuning: why?
From: Stower
Date: 26 Jan 10 - 01:46 PM

Thanks, Good Soldier Schweik, and other contributors so far. I am now beginning to understand the usefulness of re-entrant tunings (which was, after all, the purpose of the thread). I am a Renaissance lutenist as well as guitarist, and the thumb leads on the lute, too, in movement with the forefinger. So not exactly the same as the uke, but there is *some* similarity, I think.

So that's the uke. Any more to add on technique for that instrument enabled by re-entrant tuning, or any other instrument - banjo, theorbo, Renaissance cittern?


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Subject: RE: Re-entrant tuning: why?
From: The Sandman
Date: 26 Jan 10 - 02:00 PM

yes and there is a style of 5 string banjo playing called thumb lead,here is frosty morning shaking his thinghttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hQTB0wBk-04&feature=related


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Subject: RE: Re-entrant tuning: why?
From: M.Ted
Date: 26 Jan 10 - 04:12 PM

Some quick thoughts:

The Ukulele was adapted from the braguinha and the slightly larger rajão, Portuguese folk instruments from Madeira Island. The rajão had five strings, with two re-enterant strings,a D and G, followed by CEG--according the his grandaughter, Manuel Nunez, who was a Portuguese instrument/cabinet maker and one of the three original ukelele makers in Hawaii, "invented" the first uke by simply dropping the D string from the rajão-

Ukuleles are a very different instrument from the banjo, and don't have any of the volume or choppiness problems that Artful Codger attributes them. Good thumb and index finger technique will produce scales and other single note passages of the same quality and speed as you'd play on a guitar.

Many contemporary uke players have dispensed with the re-entrant tuning, allowing an extended range for melodic and solo playing.


Asking why re-entrant tuning is used in a way assumes that tuning strings in an ascending order is the basic order of things--it isn't--other tuning arrangements have always been around, and, in fact often prefigure the instruments that use them--the important question is, what are the advantages and limitations of any given tuning configuration, and the answer only comes from playing--


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Subject: RE: Re-entrant tuning: why?
From: Artful Codger
Date: 23 Aug 12 - 01:02 PM

First, I was mistaken about the historical development of the reentrant tuning on the uke--as M.Ted said, it was taken from the rajão.

But M.Ted is mistaken in saying there is no choppiness problem. Although the decay on ukulele tends to be fast, because of the shortness of the instrument, there is still a noticeable difference between two notes played in quick succession on the same string and two notes played in succession on different strings. Enough so that a style of "campanella" playing is emerging that allows the strings to ring longer, with a more harp-like sound. The tenor and baritone sizes, quickly gaining in popularity, also have more natural sustain, meaning that the choppy vs. campanella difference is commesurately more prominent.

As on guitar, banjo and other instruments, most uke players just want to get the job done as simply as possible, without a lot of foreplanning or relearning of technique, and a harp-like sustain isn't always appropriate. But clearly the problem exists, since it's precisely the players skilled enough to play fast, maximally fluid runs on a single string who are more likely to employ campanella style to improve the resulting sound.

Here's a good site with sample tabs exploring campanella technique (among much else) on ukulele, with videos:
Ukulele Tim's blog: http://ukulelesecrets.org/


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Subject: RE: Re-entrant tuning: why?
From: Artful Codger
Date: 23 Aug 12 - 01:37 PM

And a brilliant example of campanella playing:

Boureé from Partita No. 3, BWV 1006 by J.S. Bach, played by John King:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WAgMqbsKhgw

"Campanella" means "bell-like". It's also spelled "campanela", and that may be the more proper spelling. This style of playing is nothing new; one of the reasons reentrant tunings developed in the first place was to facilitate sustain through this style. So the ukulele is coming back full circle.


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Subject: RE: Re-entrant tuning: why?
From: dick greenhaus
Date: 23 Aug 12 - 02:02 PM

I suspect that one of the main reasons for the fourth string on a uke being tuned an octave higher is the difficulty of making such a small instrument produce a good bsss sound---the sound box is too small, and the neck is so short that you'd need either ridiculously slack string or a very heavy one.


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Subject: RE: Re-entrant tuning: why?
From: ollaimh
Date: 23 Aug 12 - 03:17 PM

i was on vacation. anybody miss me?

but the early reentrant tunnings for cittern have as much to do with string avsilability as anything else. over wound strings were rare and very expensive untill 1700ish and not to be found before 1500ish. so to get a good sounf they often onlt had one set of wound strings in the middle of a five course cittern. the "geographically" lower and higher strings all being unwound plain wire. often brass or iron as steel strings are also fairly new. they did the best they could with what they had to make a good sound and hence the close or tight chords became the ticket to a great sound within the limitations of the strings. as a wider variety of strings became available many kept the older ideas but added a courses on the bass, hence the wierd multistringed variants.

the super long "harp" bass strings used in a few early , mostly italian, citterns were to get bass notes from unwound strings.

i am told the ukelele tunning comes from a portuguese instrument. when transfered to the early uke they went eureka! and a hawaiian legend was born. the early uke waqs also an iberian instrument but with another tunning. some one along the way who played the older uke tunned instrument was on a boat to hawaii and he only had an early uke, he tunned the way he was used to and the legand was born--according to a story i saw in a documentary,

another oddity was the cittern craze of the mid 1600's took a terrible downturn when the main string maker in hamburg died. the supply of wound strings disappeared and the unwound quality was much harder to get. the make kept his trade secerts and they died with him. there wasn't another high quality wire string manufacturer for a hundred years. during that time it was hit and miss. if you found a local metal worker who made you the strings you wanted then fine and good and if not , well you went to gut strung instruments. the wire strings were the amplifications of the day. much louder than the contemporary gut strung instruments. that's why the cittern was the bar and tavern instrument and the instrument of the country faires, it could be heard over the crowd noise.

there are reentrant tunnings for seversl iberian instruments to this day and their mexican and south american descendants.

in the early period there were dozens of cittern tunnings as a result of experimentation with various reentrant tunnings.


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Subject: RE: Re-entrant tuning: why?
From: GUEST,MTed
Date: 24 Aug 12 - 06:46 PM

I'll grant that it is possible to play the same note sequences in different places on the uke (as on guitar and related instruments), and that there are different sustain, tonal, and percussive qualities that present, depending on the place you play.

Given that, I guess I'd have to see/hear what Artful Codger to be a "choppiness problem". You can eliminate the some of the choppiness thru fretting and fingering technque.

John King's Campanella technique yields some interesting results, but in some cases at least, the playing tends to get rather involved, and, for me, anyway, the appeal of the uke is that it makes things more simple,


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Subject: RE: Re-entrant tuning: why?
From: PHJim
Date: 25 Aug 12 - 12:36 PM

I prefer re-entrant uke tuning for chords, but low G tuning for some melody playing. Blues ukulele player Manitoba Hal has a double neck uke with one re-entrant neck and one low G neck.

Would 12-string guitar be called re-entrant? Would Nashville tuned guitar be re-entrant? I have been playing banjo and guitar much longer than I have the uke, but have never heard the word, "re-enrant" till I entered the ukulele world, 3 or 4 years ago.


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Subject: RE: Re-entrant tuning: why?
From: GUEST,MTed
Date: 25 Aug 12 - 03:20 PM

The term "re-entrant" began to be used when a lot of uke players started using "guitar" tuning, and it was necessary to differentiate.

Nashville tuning is a re-entrant tuning. As to the twelve, you could argue either way.


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