Ukulele | Ukulele Music, Ukulele Type, & Buy Ukulele
About the Ukulele
The Ukulele is an instrument that originates from Hawaii though it was heavily influenced by smaller guitar-like instruments that were popular in Portugal. It is really an adaptation of the Portuguese machete, which was introduced to the island sometime in the 19th century by Portuguese immigrants that primarily came from the Azores and Madeira. It did not take long for this instrument to become popular across the United States, which happened in the early part of the 20th century. After this, it became popular internationally.
Ukulele actually translates as “jumping flea”. It is believed that it gets its name from the way that the Ukulele player moves their fingers when they are playing these instruments.
Another theory for where this instrument gets its name from the nickname of an Englishman by the name of Edward William Purvis. He was an officer of King Kalākaua and known for his smaller size, expertise of playing, and the fidgety manner he had about him. The last Hawaiian monarch, Queen Liliʻuokalani, said that this word translates to:
There are 3 Portuguese immigrants that are actually credited with the creation of this instrument. From Madeira, Portugal, cabinet makers by the name of José do Espírito Santo, Manuel Nunes, and August Dias are the people who are usually associated with the creation of this instrument. This instrument quickly became a cultural icon of this culture and was frequently featured at performances that took place at royal gatherings. Since then, there is a rich history regarding this instrument that keeps it relevant in today’s music.
Ukulele music is most typically associated with Hawaiian music but this is an instrument that is actually quite commonly used in more well-known music. One of the most recent examples of this is the band Twenty-One Pilots. They feature an Ukulele in several of their songs, including an amazing rendition of the timeless classic “I Can’t Help Falling In Love with You”. Another great example of this popularity is the late Hawaiian musician Israel Kamakawiwo’ole’s renditions of “Somewhere Over the Rainbow/What a Wonderful World”. He was the highest selling Hawaiian musician and is credited for re-popularizing the ukulele.
Listen to one of the songs down below:
There are quite a few different varieties of the Ukulele. The most common varieties that you can see used are the concert, soprano (otherwise known as the standard Ukulele), baritone, and tenor.
The soprano Ukulele is currently the second-smallest ukulele available and is the size that these instruments usually are. Developed in the 1920s, the concert Ukulele was developed as an improved version of the soprano. It was created to be larger and to have a deeper tone. A little bit after this, the tenor Ukulele was created to have an even deeper bass tone and to have more volume. The baritone was created in the 1940s. Other varieties of the Ukulele include the bass, contrabass, and the sopranino (which can also be referred to as the “pocket uke”, piccolo, or bambino).
List of Ukulele Types:
- Soprano Ukulele
- Baritone Ukulele
- Tenor Ukulele
- Concert Ukulele
- Bass Ukulele
- Sopranino/Pocket Ukulele
Table about Ukulele Types:
|Ukulele type||Also Called||Ukulele Tuning||Alternate Ukulele Tuning||Ukulele Size|
|Soprano||Standard or Ukulele||G4-C4-E4-A4||A4–D4–F♯4–B4
|21 in (53 cm)|
|Baritone||Bari, Bari Uke, Taropatch||D3-G3-B3-E4||C3–G3–B3–E4||29 in (74 cm)|
|Tenor||Taro patch, Lili’u||“High G”:
|26 in (66 cm)|
|Concert||Super Soprano, Alto||G4-C4-E4-A4||G3–C4–E4–A4||23 in (58 cm)|
|Bass||–||E2-A2-D3-G3||–||30 in (76 cm)|
|Contrabass||U-bass, Rumbler||E1-A1-D2-G2||“Drop D”:
|32 in (81 cm)|
|Piccolo, Sopranino, Sopranissimo||D5-G4-B4-E5||C5–F4–A4–D5||16 in (41 cm)|
How to Buy a Ukulele
The Ukulele has seen a huge surge of interest in the last couple of years. It is a fun stringed instrument, often bought in cheap models for children or for hobby players. However, it is also an instrument that can be used by very respectable musicians. The music that can be played by the most skilled players is truly amazing.
There are a vast number of places where a person can purchase a Ukulele. Most music shops at section of Ukuleles. But there are also quite some websites that sell Ukuleles. Some of these websites are listed below (not sponsored in any way):
Another hugely popular website to purchase Ukuleles is on Amazon. They sell a vast number of Ukuleles and the prices range from dirt cheap to extremely expensive. It can be great to purchase a cheaper Ukulele on Amazon to test out and see if it is something for you. Than you can consider purchasing a more expensive Ukulele. Down below you will find some Ukuleles from Amazon, increasing in price from left to right.
(Keep in mind that the links below are affiliate links, which means that if you purchase via those, the website gets a small portion of the sale, which will help greatly in keeping it running).