A Conversation for Ukuleles

"My Dog Has Fleas"?

Post 1

dElaphant (and Zeppo his dog (and Gummo, Zeppos dog)) - Left my apostrophes at the BBC

On a recent trip to Hawaii I bought a ukulele along with a couple of song books, one of which mentions that the ukulele is easily tuned by remembering "my dog has fleas", in much the same way this entry mentions it - that is, with no explanation at all.

What exactly is the "my dog has fleas" method? It makes no sense to me. I'm used to mnemonics like "every good boy does fine" to represent the notes on a staff (EGBDF), but there is absolutely no way I can think of to get from the ukulele tuning, GCEA, to "my dog has fleas".

smiley - dog <-- Currently has no fleas

"My Dog Has Fleas"?

Post 2

pailaway - (an utterly gratuitous link in the evolutionary chain)

First of all, may I congratulate you, (belatedly), on your purchase of a ukulele - I hope it has brought you a good measure of joy.

The 'my dog has fleas' method is only mnemonic if you have heard someone plink each string and sing each word in the same pitch in succession:
(plink the G string) - My
(plink the C) - Dog
(plink the E) - Has
(plink the A) - Fleas!

Once you do it a few times you remember the intervals - much the same as do-re-me.

I just love playing blues on the ukulele - it's easier than you would think, and it goes to show that there is no music so depressing that playing it on the ukulele will not make you laugh. smiley - biggrin

"My Dog Has Fleas"?

Post 3


The update mentions the reason for the mnemonic now, in footnote 10.

All vowels are distinguished from each other by fixed pitches being superimposed on the variable pitch of the speaking (or singing) voice. Try saying the vowels of My Dog Has Fleas (approximately Eye-Aw-Ah-Ee) on one low note, and you should hear the change of pitch as much higher notes in the resonance from your changing mouth shape. Like overtone singing http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nPu9XMMY1Y8

Key: Complain about this post

Write an Entry

"The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy is a wholly remarkable book. It has been compiled and recompiled many times and under many different editorships. It contains contributions from countless numbers of travellers and researchers."

Write an entry
Read more