BY MUSTAFA KAMALIDDIN
Pierre Attaingnant’s “Tourdion” (1529) is a short part of “La Magdalena,” which is comprised of a dance, short recoup, and this Tourdion. Music from this period sounds great on ukulele, and this piece also gives us a chance to work on some useful techniques like hammer-ons and pull-offs.
This is an intermediate-beginner grade 3 technical piece that focuses on slurs (the fancy way to refer to hammer-ons and pull-offs) and right-hand finger alternation. This piece is in 3/4 time, giving it a waltz feel. It works for both high-G and low-G tuning, since the fourth string isn’t used.
When you play a section with a hammer-on here, the goal is to play it like one phrase rather than note-by-note playing. The trick isn’t to play fast or slow, but to connect the notes in legato style with no pauses between them.
This arrangement uses few frets across 3 strings. Here are some things to focus on while practicing:
- Properly execute a hammer on or a pull off. Focus on producing an even sound. Don’t rush the rhythm; count your rhythm and play the piece without slurs to hear where the beat is, then add the slurs.
- Alternate your right-hand fingerings. You can pick any combination you like as long as you are consistent in using the same alternations. I’ve provided one possible solution in the notation here.
- Pick a tempo that matches your level. Do not feel obliged to play this fast, especially at first. Always start slow and build up to tempo.
For beginners, expect 1 to 3 weeks of commitment, possibly even 4, to get this piece down. This one is a lot of fun to play and learn, and is a gem for your technique development. Enjoy!