Make a musical slide rule for transposing on uke

slide rule

PIDU – transposing slide rule.mp4: Video automatically transcribed by Sonix

PIDU – transposing slide rule.mp4: this mp4 video file was automatically transcribed by Sonix with the best speech-to-text algorithms. This transcript may contain errors.

Speaker3:
This dance.

Welcome! It's nice to share

Speaker2:
Salute to the old timers, morning, everybody, or afternoon, it's 12 01 here, so technically it is afternoon. I always have a hard time keeping my time straight exactly at that cusp of the sun going across the sky. Welcome to Ukulele Practice Time. With Danno. Today, I've got a special treat for you. We don't even have to have ukuleles in hand. It's arts and crafts day. We had one or maybe two arts and crafts days in the past, but this one is going to be a real treat. So let's see. I feel like I should be doing this as a teaser at the beginning of the show. So be sure to stick around and we'll be right back after these messages. In fact, we will be right back after these messages. I want you to share this one with your friends today.

Speaker2:
Did that give you a minute to go out and share the link with your ukulele friends? This is actually something very useful, even though I build it as no ukuleles. This is definitely ukulele related and will be extremely helpful. So if you know anybody who likes ukuleles, arts and crafts music in general, me or you, then share the link with them so they can come over and join us.

Time for arts and crafts

Today, ladies and gentlemen, on ukulele practice time with Danno, we're going to do a fun little arts and crafts project. Let's see.

Speaker2:
Millie, could you switch over to the Craft cam, please? Thank you. Boy, Miley earns her keep around here, Ben does almost nothing, can you see my hands? This is where the handicrafts are going to take place. All right. So gather round, children. We've got a nice little project for you today. you're going to need to gather a few supplies, you'll need a pair of scissors, you might want to have colored pencils, one red, one blue book of matches, XPO marker, a sharp. No glue stick. Label bracket erasers, pink and gray, small sable brush, a bone folder, a remote control smoking pipe. And this this download from the link that I just shared with you. What are we going to make? We are going to make a transposing slide rule.

Now, I've shared this link in the past, and that's what made me want to do this little lesson with you today. Most of these things. We can probably do without. You'll need a pair of scissors. I'll keep the pipe. And that is a bookbinding bone folder or crafter Crafter's bone folder. I like to use this for what we're going to do.

What is a transposing slide rule?

So what am I even talking about when I say a slide rule for transposing? Well, some of you here are old enough to remember what a slide rule is, right? Slide rule is just a…

Speaker2:
A device with numbers and you could slide the different portions back and forth, and when you line the numbers up in different ways, you get different information and you can perform complex calculations. I believe they planned the moon shot with slide rules. All right. So, as I said, I've shared this in the past, but it's a little tricky about how you put it together. So I thought I would show you how you actually do the whole process and show you what it's good for. You see why I say it's tricky. I just actually did it backwards. So I'm not showing you how to do it yet. I'm just showing you the very last step. I'll show you how to use it. And then in about 35 seconds, I can show you how to make one for yourself if you download it. Wow. Robyn, you actually own real slide rules.

An anecdote

That's it. I had a guy come over to repair my laser printer about 15 years ago when I first had a laser printer and you could have a guy come over and repair them. And I got talking with him and it turned out he was from Korea and had been educated in Korea and was making his living in the United States doing repairs like this. So we're standing by my door settling up, and he sees an abacus that we have on the wall for decoration.

Speaker2:
And he looks at it and he laughs and he says, oh, Korean slide rule. And he picked it up off the wall. And this guy who is, you know, smart enough to know how to repair laser printers also was smart enough to know how to use an abacus. And I said, if you can calculate my bill using the abacus, I'll pay you 10 percent over. He did. I did. And it's one of those things that still makes me laugh to this day.

How the slide rule works

All right, so if you can see what I can see. This is the slide rule, you see how it slides, I've just basically made a folder. What do you suppose these letters represent? They represent chord names, of course. It's an upside down for you that's better. So C, C sharp D, D sharp, F, so it's just going up the musical scale. The numbers on the outside here are exactly the letters, my apologies, the numbers on the outside are exactly the same there, the letters going up, the musical scale. So these represent note names or chord names, exactly the same C, C, sharp D, D sharp E, F.

Speaker2:
So when you first get started, you want to line it up so that C. There we go, see matches. See, now you're in the home position. the cords in the middle represent the given chords for any particular song that you want to play. Let's say it's a one chord song. So there's only one chord in the song and that chord, we'll say a C on the page.

There's an app for that

Yes, Jerry, there's an app for that, you know what, I was going to mention that in a minute. We've actually talked about apps for this. There's a huge advantage to this, though. I actually keep one of these in my case. Well, I used to I can do it now on my fingers and in my brain. But there's a bonus on the back. That there is also an app for but the advantage of having this in your case and being able to do it mechanically is that you don't need to look it up. You can do it really on the fly.

So let me finish the real simple explanation. So if the chord of the one chord of a one chord song is C, that's what the gray bar in the middle represents, the chords of the given song. The chords on the outside represent the chords that you want to change to that, you want to transpose to.

Speaker2:
So when it's lined up in its home position, you can see that C chord or C note is in line with C, so the chord of the song matches the transposing chord. In other words, no transposition has happened. Does that make sense? Let's say that you want to play it in the key of D chord. So you shift the gray bar to D to match up with the C, and I realize I told you wrong in this example, the chords of the song as given are going to be on the outside and we're moving the inside. So now C from the song equals Matches is lined up with D on the scale. So you know that in the simple example of the one chord song, all the C chords are going to be played as D chords. Does that makes sense.

A more complex example

All right, so let's make it a more complex example. A lot of songs have C and G, just those two chords, so here's C given to us in the song, here's G given to us in the song if we go back to the home position. Trying to line that up. I need a less bulky pointer, see lines up with C, G, lines up with G, but we want to transpose up a full step. Why? Oh, I don't know. Maybe so we can sing it a little more easily.

Speaker2:
Maybe another instrumentalist is playing in a different key. Maybe someone's thrown a capo into the mix. So when we slide it up and make D match with the home chord, well, all the other chords shift by the same amount when you slide the slider. So now we know that, G, the second chord in our imaginary two chord song, needs to be played as an A and you can go through if it's a really complex song. Well, all the D chords in this example need to be played as e. F chords need to be played as G.

An obscure key

You see how handy and slick and easy this is? What if you wanted to shift into a real obscure chord, if you want to play your see key of C song in the key of F Sharp for some reason, so I just make C match up with F sharp. And now I know what all the other chords of the song are going to be, my G and easy to chord song is going to be played as a C sharp. So my two chords would be F sharp and C sharp. Nice, huh?

Numbers on the bottom

Speaker2:
Which brings me to these numbers on the bottom of the scale, what do you think those numbers represent? Well. It's all right here. This is a very complete little kit. Linda, I'm glad you like it, I like it, too.

Formulae for chords

There are formulas for the chords written on the back here. Now, you probably have already learned or memorized most of the major and minor and 7th chords because you use them all the time. Maybe not all of them, but the ones that you use a lot. You can play a C7 and a C in a G in a G7. But what if there was when you didn't know, like, you know, we were talking about the F sharp as kind of an obscure example? Well, what this is telling you is what are the notes that make up a particular chord? Now without going into a lot of, you know, music theory, Just take my word for it, If you don't know this already, that there is a formula that chords follow. And it's always the same. So a major chord, for example, C major is made up of the notes that fall on these points of the scale one, three and five. So as you count up the scale, you use the first note, the third note in the fifth note.

Now, you can do that on your fingers.You can do that by brain. But once you start doing flats and sharps, it gets just a little bit tricky. So it's telling us the formula is one, three and five. So let's go back to our chart and we're going to go back to home position, see lines up with C and these numbers are those numbers. So the one. The three and the five. See where this is going? So if you didn't know how to make a C chord, Let's say, You could choose the one. The three and the five, which becomes the C, the E and the G.

Finding the notes on the uke

Now, of course, this presents another problem, which is you have to then be able to find those notes on your ukulele. We'll have to save that for another day. But you know the names of your strings, right, good children eat apples, GCEA, so you know a lot of the notes already. And basically you can count it from the notes that, you know, from the open strings and find these same notes, the one three in the. Let's do the obscure one that we've been using as an example f sharp. I want to know how to make an F sharp chord. So I check my formula. It's a one to three and a five. I line up f sharp with the one and then I can check the three in the five, so I've got my one is F sharp, three is A sharp or B flat, and five is C sharp or D flat.

Speaker2:
So you find those notes on your ukulele and that becomes. The F sharp major chord.

And without going into detail, but just pointing out, here are the formulas for other core types, minor chords, seventh chords, diminished chords, augmented all the way down the list.

How to make it

So it's a fun, old-fashioned mechanical tool. And here's how you make it. You use your scissors, you cut out the main section called the White Scale, and you cut out the little section called the Grayscale.

You've been watching me use this. So you probably already know exactly what you need to do.

But once you cut it out, you've got these two pieces, the grayscale, and that's the center slider and the white scale or, you know, they call it the white scale, which is the folder basically, which holds it holds the grey piece.

So you want to fold it along the dark lines so that the numbers on one side and the chord names on the other side become the little runners that hold the grayscale piece in, pull those over from that over. Slide it into place. And there you go. You could be much more precise than I have been, I'm just using this to really pin down those creases to help it lay flat. And once you get it all done, it's a very satisfying little tool to use. I really like it. And like I said, until I really learned all these things and I don't have all these scales memorized, I mean, all these chord formula, formulae memorized. So even that is a nice little trick.

So, as Jerry mentioned, there are apps that will do all of these things faster and in most ways easier. Don't not use the apps just because I'm suggesting one of these, but why not cut one of these out and have it in your hands? You know how much I love technology. I spent most of my life in business using the computer for communications, teaching and one thing or another. But in the same way that it's a lot more fun to hold a ukulele in your hand than it is to push buttons on a screen to make music. Sometimes it's just very satisfying to have a physical thing that does the job. I think it hits your brain a little differently, too, when you actually have to manipulate an item into a little bit of thinking to line things up and make it make sense. So.

Food for thought. What do you think?

Speaker2:
Worth trying out. I think so. We'll be back tomorrow at 12 01 and we'll do music again. But it's fun to do something a little different every once in a while.

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