How is the soprano, concert or tenor ukulele the same, yet different than a Renaissance guitar?
Below is a photo showing two of my instruments. The top one is a custom built replica Renaissance guitar. The lower one is a tenor ukulele made by Twisted Wood.
From my books of arrangements for ukulele …
The first documented instance of a guitar is in 1488. By the 1500’s, the Renaissance guitar was strung with 4 courses with the highest pitched single string tuned A, double E strings, double C strings and the lowest course was a split octave with a lower G and an upper G.
The modern ukulele is a direct descendent of this, although with single strings rather than courses. If the ukulele is tuned with the upper G in the fourth string, it has re-entrant tuning (the familiar “my dog has fleas” that many of us learned). A ukulele with the lower G has linear tuning.
No wonder ancient music sounds so wonderful on a ukulele.
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