Developed in Hawaii after 1879, the ukulele was first used as a strummed instrument to accompany the human voice and traditional hula dances of Hawaii. During the 20th century, as the ukuleleʼs popularity spread, it achieved notoriety amongst comedians and entertainers. Since the millennium a new generation of players have sought to define the ukulele as a serious instrument. The classical ukulele approach emerged in 2004 and until recently focused on creating arrangements. As the first person to do a PhD on classical ukulele, my research is forward looking in its aim of creating new contemporary classical works, and backward looking in my desire to better understand the ukuleleʼs European roots. The first part of this paper is, therefore, dedicated to providing a history of the instrument in the context of classical ukulele. The second part discusses the techniques used in the new works. As a teacher, performer, composer/arranger and researcher I have embraced a holistic approach to the ukulele. This is reflected in my portfolio of new works for classical ukulele and the overview of my research which is presented here.
Muir, S. (2023). Classical ukulele: Redefining the ukulele. In R. Torres, A. Brandon, & J. Noble (Eds.), Proceedings of The 21st Century Guitar Conference 2019 & 2021 (pp. 64-78). https://digitalcommons.du.edu/twentyfirst-century-guitar/vol1/iss1/7