LINGUISTICS & CULTURE
|Data:||23/ABR/2006 5:56 PM|
The ukulele is based on several instruments. Although most sources tell you that its closet relative in the stringed instrument family is the cavaquinho, the people from Madeira usually agree that is closest to the "rajão". There is general agreement, however, that the first ukuleles were made by Portuguese immigrants in Hawaii in the late 1800s.
Ukuleles differ from cavaquinhos in several ways.
1-There are four sizes of ukuleles. I'm only aware of one size of cavaquinho. The baritone ukulele is about the size of a small guitar. The tenor is next to the largest. The soprano and concert are the smallest and are the most commonly heard. The width of the necks of the soprano and concert are about the same width as that of the cavaquinho. The necks of the tenor and baritone are noticeably wider. If you have large hands, they are easier to play than the tiny soprano and concerts.
2-Ukuleles are tuned differently (GCEA).
3-Ukuleles have nylon stings, not steel strings.
4-Ukuleles are often played without a pick. Although standard picks are commonly used, you will also see picks made of very thick felt. The felt picks seem most common among beginners.
5-Ukuleles usually have four strings, but there are also six and eight string ukuleles. As I recall a six string is strung one-two-one-two (2+1+2+1), and the eight string is strung two-two-two-two (2+2+2+2). Probably 99% of ukuleles have only four strings.
6-Ukuleles tend to be much lighter than cavaquinhos, almost fragile. Cavaquinhos are much more solidly built.
7-Ukuleles are popular in many countries. Some of the largest ukulele clubs in the world are in Japan.
8-Ukuleles were found unsuitable for dancehall music prior to the use of electronics. To overcome the low volume of the instrument, the ukulele neck was combined with the body of a banjo to make the "banjolele" or "banjo-uke". It may look like a small banjo, but it is played like a ukulele and has the characteristics of the ukulele. I assume that cavaquinho players in Brazil had the same problem and also turned to the "banjolele" or "banjo-uke" as a solution.
Yes, I have a cavaquinho, tenor ukulele, and a banjo-uke.
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