View Full Version : Transposing from Mandolin to Greek Bouzouki
I play the Greek Bouzouki (I'm a beginner) and all I can find to play, musicwise, are Greek tunes because of the strings being tuned differently. (Low to High CFAD). #Does anyone know how to transpose Mandolin tabs into Bouzouki tabs? #I am mostly interested in playing Celtic music. #Is there any software out there that would do this kind of transposing? #
First off - welcome to the world of mando family instruments.
Th CFad tuning is ONE of the ways of tuning a Greek Bouzouki. Normally, Irish or Celtic music of some sort will have a 'DAD' somewhere in the tuning. On Hans Speek's (http://home.hccnet.nl/h.speek/bouzouki/index.html) remarkable site, he explores some of the possiblilites and the reason for it (drones, linear melodies, adjacent harmonies etc). There are several good sites which explore both left and right hand options but ... if you don't have a teacher nearby or someone else who plays it can be a bit of a daunting exploration.
A few questions and a suggestion - what is your musical background, what other instruments do you play, can you read music and are you familiar with TablEdit? For the suggestion - which may seem a bit overwhelming at first ... Get a copy of John McGann's Octave Mandolin and Bouzouki (http://www.johnmcgann.com/om.html) book. He covers a TON of the basics in the first ten pages or so and then introduces you to both melody and accompaniement styles ... some easier than the others.
Take your time with your new 'Zook' and enjoy the sounds you can make on it. To me, the possibilities haven't really been explored yet.
Thanks a lot for the advice. I used to play the harp, cello, viola, and piano, but haven't been active in music for a long time. I just recently (last summer) took up the bouzouki and this is the first time I have ever used tabs. I am not familiar with TablEdit. I will have to look into that and I will check out that book that you recommended. Thanks again!
Good going - that you already read music and - most importantly are familiar (at least historically) with the string / tuning relationships in an instrument tuned in fifths (Violin family). I think you may find playing / tuning in GDAe (like a fiddle) would probably be the easiest tuning to learn.
TablEdit is a quirky program which will allow you to download or write your own tune, in the tuning of your own choice. TablEdit (http://www.tabledit.com) has a strange learning curve (somethings are very easy to accomplish - some are plainly odd to get done) but there is a veritable TON of tunes which have been preserved in this format and are freely available. The program itself does have a nominal cost (about 50.00 US) but it will get you started to understand the relationships between notation and tab (You can print / view both). You can also convert up to seventeen different instruments at the same time - to test out fingering in different tunings.
For another interesting (if time consuming) site, you may enjoy exploring Thony DeWaal's Cittern Site (http://www.xs4all.nl/~cittern/)
This will give you some other insights into a (mostly) five course derivative instrument ... with a lot of similarities in playing. His sound files are pretty good and his observations of the various instruments are pretty reliable.
To hear specifically what a Greek Bouzouki will sound like in a Celtic environment, you may want to get a copy of Kevin MacLeod and Alec Finn's "Polbain to Oranmmore". This is an absolute delightfully irreverent exploration of both Irish and Scottish music as played exclusively on fretted instruments. OUTSTANDING album.
One final thought to this ramble - Elderly Music offers a custom set of GHS bouzouki strings which may be light enough for fifths tuning on a Greek instrument. Heavier strings may create a problem for you ... Enjoy
While TAB is a great notation system for fretted stringed instruments, if you can read regular music notation, you don't need to worry about translating from one kind of TAB to another. And you can find ALL kinds of music in it.
I'm not knocking TAB in general... it is a great tool. But imho, if you can use a combination of regular music notation and good listening skills, you probably don't need it.
Also, as Dolamon suggests, you might consider playing with string gauges to see if you can get your zouk into GDAE or GDAD...it would be much easier to find Celtic tab in those tunings.
(Dolamon... you are so knowledgeable and always so helpful to new folks without ever talking down... thanks for doing that so tirelessly!)
The problem I have with with reading notes, is that I don't know where to play the note and in which fret since you can find that note in several locations. Anyway, I have ordered Tab1Edit, but I haven't got the program yet. I guess it takes a couple of days. So I will be experimenting for a while. Thanks for everyone's help. I really appreciate all the info.
I thoroughly understand - reading notes is different from playing them. There are a few exercises which will help that but - I get a big kick of shifting between a mandola (CGDa) and mandolin or octave mandolin (GDae). For me - that is the gem of TablEdit ... I can convert from mandola to mandolin with a minor slight of hand. I've also experimented with adding a 'virtual' capo to try some of the more esoteric tunes in the Eb, Ab etc, keys. Generally I slide back to open and work with my reluctant fingers until it begins to fall into place.
Now for some overwhelming, celtic meat - The Session (http://www.thesession.org) has over three thousand (3,000 !!!) Celtic / Irish, Scots tunes listed - and access to another huge repository. These all come in ABC format and can be converted to TablEdit just by importing the file to T-Edit and saving in a separate file (organize your file system to a TablEdit sub directory with about twenty different headings - or things can get really lost - fast). When you get TEdit working, let me know and I'll walk you through some of the more bewildering steps ...
Thank you Karen for the undeserved compliment - everyone's got to start somewhere and if what little I know can be shared - so much the better. It amazes me how much more I learn from everyone else on the board.
PS - you need to be a 'member' of The Session to gain access to the Tune Files ... the price is right.
Agreed that The Session is a great resource... I have yet to try to find something there and NOT find it!
It also has discographies (for any tune you can find out what recordings it is on) which is also VERY useful...
technology aside, our ears are the best learning tools!
Welcome aboard Becky!