Tuesday, 17 March 2015
With the Sound of Purple! Ken Middleton improvisation - My Bonnie
TURNING A FOLK SONG INTO A JIG
I love what Ken Middleton does. He's a great player. Improvisation and what he calls "noodling" are his specialities, I think, and every now and then he comes up with something that just grabs me. This is one such, turning the old folk song "My Bonnie Lies Over the Ocean" into a jig by altering the timing. The hammer-ons and pull-offs are magic.
I noticed Ken's use of triplets here, but didn't notice immediately that he's using the thumb-led triple. I'm used to the fore-finger led triple, but the thumb-led triple isn't tricky, it's just different!
"I wanted to try the well-known Scottish folk tune "My Bonnie Lies Over The Ocean" as a jig. The song is normally played in triple time (3/4), but, after the slow intro, I am playing it in compound duple time (6/8). A jig should have a clear 2 beat feel, with each beat subdivided into 3. Pretty much any tune with a good melodic line can be played as a jig, but folk songs work really well.
The strum I am using is basically a triplet strum: thumb down, pointer up, pointer down. But I don't always play the full triplet. And, I do use other finger and the tune is sometimes played as the triplet, sometimes with just thumb and sometimes with hammer-ons and pull-offs.
I chose to play it in G and often use the 4th string as a melody note."
I do hope you enjoyed that! I've watched it about four times already... one to try and play along with?
Oh - and did you clock that beautiful purple-coloured uke? Custom built for Ken by Rob Collins of Hebden Bridge here in England. It's a deep-bodied uke, 6mm deeper in the body than the normal tenor, for a fuller sound. And the purple colour comes from the wood itself, it's not painted. Purple Heart wood. There you go. For the sound that Ken wanted.
To find out all about this beautiful Purple Heart uke, see Ken's full youtube review... check it out here!
Thanks for dropping in - do call again!