What a delight and a surprise to see the melodic counterpart to Daniel Ward’s first book “Arpeggio Meditations” — six of which serve as accompaniment to the pieces in his new book “Melodic Meditations.” Like the previous book, each piece is carefully noted and represented in both notation, tablature, chord name (diagram), fingerings for right and left hands.
Daniel’s original compositions and arrangements in “Melodic Meditations” are a welcome addition to the repertoire for instrumental ukulele, both solo and duet. They fit the contemporary sound of today’s cross-over genres.
With my new spalted mango hybrid concert ukulele, I tried all eighteen pieces on a humid and hot afternoon in Boston, Massachusetts. Most of the 18 pieces in the 42-page book are written for ukuleles tuned in high-G. Only three specifically require low-G tuning. Six pieces can be played on either because the G-string doesn’t get used.
The first piece “Melodic Meditation in C” is wonderful warm-up for anyone practicing descending scales and arpeggios. A year ago, I had played Ward’s chord melody arrangement of “Auld Lang Syne” – mentioned in a Facebook post. The arrangement in C major is a nice contrast to my own in F major.
Daniel Ward writes well, explaining the contents of the book, the notations, tablature, and the variety of techniques. Together with the video tutorials, which can be rented or purchased, anyone can pretty much teach themselves. You can download the companion recordings in MP3 for free from his official website.
The 18th and final piece, Aloha ‘Oe, is surely the pièce de résistance. Sprawled over five page, Ward’s arrangement of Aloha ‘Oe for solo ukulele with low-G tuning, is a tour de force on his 2015 CD El Ukulele.
Daniel Ward’s “Melodic Meditations” is definitely a book I’d recommend to my students who wish to advance their technical skills, graduate from reading tablature to notation, and aspire towards the instrumental route of ukulele playing (as opposed to singing and strumming).
Where to obtain “Melodic Meditations” ? Order online.