On wordlessly expressing the very core of my being

Al Wood (of Ukulele Hunt) on the ukulele being easy:

"I’ve never quite understood the big deal about easy when it comes to music. The most common uke-related question on Yahoo Answers is, “How easy is it to play?” It’d be nice if, just once, someone asked, “Can I use the ukulele to wordlessly express the very core of my being?” or, “Can a ukulele make a sound that will bring great men to tears at the revelation of the fragility of perfect beauty?”

But if you must have an easy version, here you go. Just know that you’re the reason fairies die. "

I think that the ukulele is kind of magical in that way. It's so approachable and non-intimidating that people who are drawn to making music can pick it up and do fun and useful things with it in short order. It's easy to make music with, and has a relatively shallow learning curve. You sure don't see harmonica or recorder circles springing up like mushrooms like uke groups seem to be!

Or it could turn out to be like CB radios back in the day, a temporary fad that takes the nation by storm only to disappear after a few years, but I don't think it will turn out like that. It's certainly possible that some of these groups might go away soon. Witness the WASSAP crisis, or even the SEUS group withering due to low population of players and people interested in attending. I mean, there have been as few as 4 people actually playing at SEUS, and half of them were Webbs! The same thing happened at Pat K's gathering in July, when there were only four of us there.  Four to six is a pretty typical population for a SEUS gathering. If it were just me and C, we could stay home and play in our living room. It was the desire to make music and maybe art with other people that led us out of our personal space into a place that others can share. Maybe people feel that way about SUPA as well. I know a bunch of songs, and other people know a bunch of songs, and the songs that we know overlap just a bit, so there's a sharing of knowledge. It's not like a chess club where the better player arrives and kicks everybody's butt. Instead, a better player arrives and raises the level of art to be made.

George Harrison (Beatle. You might have heard of him) used to travel with two ukuleles, in case he came across somebody to play with. I think that it's the re-entrant tuning. People either love it or run away screaming. Kind of like bagpipes in that way. And you don't see any bagpipe circles around either!

And if it turns out that people have an urge, nay, a need to make music to wordlessly express the very core of their beings, then ukuleles offer the first step on that journey to self-expression. The fact that it's easy to begin with means that it's the gateway to actually making art, even if you have to bang out a bunch of chords in a non-artistic way on that journey.

p.s. I don't want to kill any fairies. I just wanna wordlessly express the very core of my being. Life is funny that way...

This page is authored and maintained by Rich Webb.You can send E-mail to me by following this link to the contact page. And feel free to contact me if you have any comments, criticisms, or suggestions. I remain, however, perfectly capable of ignoring your useless opinion...

This document was last modified on Oct 27, 2010, and has been viewed countless times.