The ukulele has become a popular instrument in the Western world and has spread to other parts of the world over the past several years. Most recently, the ukulele has seen a resurgence with artists who found fame covering their favorite songs online.
A ukulele has a unique look and sound, and many people love it for the appearance and the fun, cheerful sound it emits when played. But others wonder if it is a serious instrument or whether it’s just for people who want to strum out some light-hearted tunes.
In this article, we will take a closer look at the ukulele, and answer whether it is a serious instrument or not.
What Is a Ukulele?
A ukulele is, as mentioned above, similar to a miniature guitar. It produces a light and high-pitched sound when it’s played, but differs from a guitar in that it has four strings arranged in pairs, tuned an octave apart (i.e., G-C-E-A).
History of the Ukulele
However, the ukulele did not start off as a small guitar. It is believed to have originated from the Portuguese machete and was introduced in Hawaii during the 19th century. The name “ukulele” comes from a Hawaiian word meaning “the gift that came here.” This instrument grew increasingly popular in the 20th century but was soon replaced by other instruments in Western countries.
Starting in Hawaii during the 1960s, this instrument became increasingly popular again among musicians there. But it was not until the 21st century that it began to receive attention from other parts of the world.
Today, it is a popular instrument for musicians and beginners all around the world.
Is the Ukulele Hard to Learn?
In many ways, the ukulele is a very easy instrument to learn. It is compact and small, which makes it easy to hold between your legs. In addition, unlike guitars, most ukuleles come strung with nylon strings that give a softer sound when plucked or “strummed.”
However, playing the ukulele is also more difficult than it first looks.
The first and most important thing to remember is that you should use your fingertips and not the pads of your fingers on the strings of the instrument. Using one’s fingernails is advisable for extra support during strumming.
In addition, some consider plucking with a pick instead of using one’s fingernails to be faster and more effective. At the end of the day, it is up to individual preference as there are several ways to pluck a ukulele.
What Can You Play on the Ukulele?
Most people consider playing simple songs such as nursery rhymes or children’s games with this instrument. It is also commonly considered as an alternative to the recorder because of its size and shape. However, if you’re willing to put in the time and effort, there are many popular songs that can be played on this instrument.
5 Reasons Why a Ukulele Is a Serious Instrument
Here are five reasons why a ukulele is a serious instrument.
1. They Can Be Expensive Instruments
Ukuleles are often seen as “cheap” instruments, but it is important to remember that there are many “top shelf” ukuleles on the market today. Ukuleles produced by well-known manufacturers can be quite expensive, with some costing upwards of $1,000.
Professional performers will spend a considerable amount of money on an instrument because it greatly affects the sound they can produce. In fact, buying a low-quality ukulele may actually result in a performer producing a less lively and more mellow tone.
2. They Can Be Quite Loud Instruments
Compared to other stringed instruments such as guitars or violins, ukuleles are actually quite loud. The sound they produce is crisp and clear, making them ideal instruments for small groups of people or large audiences. Depending on the strings and settings a performer chooses, ukuleles can be very loud!
3. They Come in Different Shapes and Sizes
Ukuleles come in different shapes and sizes today, ranging from the regular guitar-sized instrument to ukuleles that are almost as tall as their owners. It is important to remember that the larger ukuleles are not necessarily louder than the smaller ones, but will allow you to play more notes on a single strum.
Ukulele designs and manufacturing processes have changed very much over the past 100 years. However, they remain a serious instrument designed by professionals.
4. They Can Be Played with a Variety of Instruments
While many performers often use the ukulele alone, it is an instrument that can be played with a full orchestra!
There are several instruments that can be played with a ukulele, including piano, guitar, and even a drum set. By playing with other instruments, you can create a beautiful sound that is not often heard in the world of music!
5. They Come in Many Different Styles
Ukuleles come in different styles depending on the occasion. From wooden ukuleles to those made from plastic or metals, there is an instrument for every type of performer.
Whether you are a seasoned musician or just starting your career, the ukulele is quickly becoming one of the most popular instruments in the world today!
Is the Ukulele a Serious Instrument?
The answer to this question is yes! While many people believe that playing with this instrument is easy, a simple Google search will show that there is a considerable learning curve before one can play the ukulele.
With proper training and practice, however, it is possible for anyone to become an experienced player of this popular instrument. Pick one up yourself and give it a try, you might be surprised by what you can do!