This blog is starting today (October 25, 2020) but there have been posts about Ancient Music for Ukulele since June 7, 2018. A selection of older posts will be re-posted on this blog page (back dated to the original post date). The remainder will be skipped but you can still view them on Facebook at www.facebook.com/ancientmusic4ukulele
I was planning to start arranging music of the Classical and Romantic eras. The early to mid-19th century was considered “the golden age of the guitar” with many great performers who were also composers (Sor, Giuliani, Carcassi, Carulli and Aguado). This era was followed by the “dark period” (mid-19th to mid-20th century), despite great works by composers like Tarrega, when the guitar lost ground to the piano and became “old fashioned”. Of course, we all know that the classical guitar regained its status as a modern and delightful instrument and has become popular again — and, of course, the rise of the once lowly ukulele in the 21st century (if you haven’t seen it, I recommend watching the movie “Mighty Uke: The Amazing Comeback of a Musical Underdog” released in 2010).
However, I’ve decided to delay that, not because there aren’t any great works (there are), but because the music of those eras sounds so wonderful on the modern classical guitar with its additional 5th and 6th strings.
Instead, I’m heading in the other direction and have started arranging for an upcoming book, The Medieval Ukulele.
I talked about imaging the dancers when arranging a Branle.
You should watch one of the dances sometime — the most famous one is “Branle de l’officiel” which we know as “Ding Dong Merrily on High”. I’ve arranged this piece (it’s in the book “The Yuletide Ukulele”). Here is nice YouTube video of a group of students dancing to it. They are in costume but performing in an empty studio (you’ll have to image an appropriate setting).