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 ARCHIVED TOPIC: Roll Patterns - How Many?


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Tam_Zeb - Posted - 07/21/2010:  00:00:02


Hi Folks

I know about eight roll patterns, the six listed are the ones I practice most. Lately I got to wondering how many roll variations there might be.

Could I be missing an important pattern that's hindering my progress?

Thumb in & out or Square Roll
------------o---------------o--------
-----o--------------o----------------
-o------------------------------------
----------------o---------------------
--------o----------------o------------
TITMTITM

Forward Backward Roll I
---------o------o----------o--------
-----o--------------o----------------
-o------------------------o----------
-------------------------------------
--------o----------------------------
TIMTMITM

Forward Backward Roll II
-------o---------o----------o--------
---------------------o----------------
-o----------o-----------o------------
-------------------------------------
--------o----------------------------
TMTIMITM

Forward Roll I
---------o--------o-------o--------
-----o------------------------------
-o----------o----------------------
------------------------------------
-------o-------------o-------------
TIMTIMTM

Forward Roll II
---------o--------o-------o--------
------------------------------------
-o----------o----------o----------
------------------------------------
-------o------------o--------------
TMTIMTIM

Foggy Mtn. Breakdown Roll
------o-----o---------o------------
--o------o--------o----------------
-------------------------------------
-------------------------------------
----------------o------------o------
IMTMTIMT

Banjo Island - Posted - 07/21/2010:  01:29:51


quote:
Originally posted by Tam_Zeb

Lately I got to wondering how many roll variations there might be.


That way madness lies!!!

banjohangout.org/myhangout/blo...logid=374

banjohangout.org/myhangout/blo...ogid=2466

Jer

bob chappell - Posted - 07/21/2010:  03:06:53


To me, there has always been three main rolls. Foward, backward, and alternating rolls. Everything after that is just a variation.

5stringpicker2 - Posted - 07/21/2010:  04:28:09


That's correct on the 3 roll patterns. If you're picking toward your feet it's a forward pattern 3215 4215. If you're picking toward your head it's a reverse or backward roll 3125 4125. if you're picking a 3251 4251 it's an Alternating thumb or a Box roll.

all else are variations of the rolls and not as such a designated roll just a variation. You're on the right track keep on a picking

(I )===='---<::)

Prof - Posted - 07/21/2010:  05:24:26


I'm happy to read the responses so far -- I've never worried too much about learning various rolls outside of those three -- they all get mixed up in songs anyways!

eagleisland - Posted - 07/21/2010:  05:25:39


quote:
Originally posted by bob chappell

To me, there has always been three main rolls. Foward, backward, and alternating rolls. Everything after that is just a variation.



I think of it even more simply than that, for whatever it's worth. No doubt there are people with a lot more experience than I have who'll think differently than I do on this point, but what the heck. If we all did things the same way we'd all sound the same. There'd be half a dozen members of the Hangout and they'd all agree on everything. Boring.

There are a handful of basic moves -

forward: T I M

What Jeff Kimble (in the Banjo Newsletter, 2003) calls a "Beta Roll": T M I

Baclwards (Kimble argues that the backward roll doesn't really exist, being essentially a variant of the Beta. He suggests that in Scruggs playing you only ever hear it in Groundspeed and Home Sweet Home. I'm not one to argue, but I find it a lot in descending melodic runs): M I T

And from there, various two-note constructions - T I, T M, M T, I T, I M or M I.

Every eight-note roll is essentially a combination of the above building blocks.

Personally, I've always been more oriented to notes and sounds than shapes and patterns - and to be honest, during my first foray into the banjo about 17 years ago, the whole roll pattern idea proved so baffling to me that the banjo sat in the closet for more than a decade. When I finally found a teacher who showed me the building blocks, things started to fall into place.

I do think that an ability to recognize pattern shapes can be useful - at least insofar as giving us a comfort level when confronting a tricky passage. Let us not forget, however, that Earl and Don and Ralph and all the other pioneers didn't know from roll patterns and focused instead on what sounded good. Roll patterns are a comparatively recent construct, vis-a-vis learning the banjo. Sometimes it's easy to get caught up in pedagogy, when what we're really trying to do is play music.

JohnGP - Posted - 07/21/2010:  06:10:12


quote:
Originally posted by eagleisland and snipped by me.
Sometimes it's easy to get caught up in pedagogy, when what we're really trying to do is play music.



You can say that again Mr Eagleisland, as loud as you can manage. Possibly the most intelligent comment on banjo playing I have read on the Hangout.

KI4PRK - Posted - 07/21/2010:  06:27:12


TIMITIMI

Richard Dress - Posted - 07/21/2010:  06:38:39


Somebody published a book of 1024 rolls. Three is plenty. Three is enough for a beginner.

Rich Weill - Posted - 07/21/2010:  07:09:53


My thoughts on rolls are:

1. Rolls are finger patterns, not string patterns. If the finger order remains the same, the roll is the same. A forward roll (TMTI MTIM) on strings 2152 1521 is the same as a forward roll on strings 2153 1541. Arguably, there is an exception to this when the 5th string is involved. Playing TMTI MTIM on strings 2132 1521 -- where the second "T" no longer is playing the 5th string but now plays an inside string -- does change the character of the roll. My teacher always considers a pattern where the thumb plays "inside" versus "outside" a different roll, even if the finger order remains the same.

2. The less you play the 5th string, the more room you have for melody and chord notes (which is very helpful when trying to bring out the sound of an unusual chord) -- but the less you play the 5th string, the less it sounds like a banjo. It's an interesting balance.

3. The more rolls (or rolls variations, which includes the same roll on different strings or the same roll with pauses added) you know well, the less you have to think about rolls when you play. You simply go from melody note to melody note with your well-practiced fingers filling in the blanks from what you learned before. On the other hand, the more rolls and roll variations you know, the more opportunity you also have to play the same passage in different ways, simply by swapping the rolls you use.

4. Every roll has specific places where melody notes fit most comfortably. For each roll you learn, you should also learn where the melody notes go when using that roll.

5. Learn some rolls that start of the 1st string (and they needn't be backward, or entirely backward). They come in very handy.

6. Learn some extended rolls, that cover two measures. They also work well and add variety to your playing.

7. Look at Alan Munde's "Getting into Bluegrass Banjo" on Google books: books.google.com/books?id=uieG...q&f=false Click "Contents," and then "Roll Logic." It's very interesting.


Edited by - Rich Weill on 07/29/2010 08:24:37

Ira Gitlin - Posted - 07/21/2010:  07:16:53


I'm in the "only a few basic moves" camp, too. I think that learning from tablature--useful as the stuff is--sometimes leads people to view the music in one-measure chunks. So there's a tendency to define "roll" as "measure of eight eighth-notes". While there are some eight-note patterns that can be thought of this way, the focus on single measures can prevent the student from noticing the flow of the music. That flow often comes from RH structures like forward roll that may begin in the middle of one measure and continue into the middle of another measure. If your definition stops at the bar line, you won't see this.

Tam_Zeb - Posted - 07/21/2010:  07:42:03


Thanks Folks

That's most helpful

stormoveroklahoma - Posted - 07/22/2010:  22:37:36


TITM TITM TITM

TMTI TMTI TMTI

MTMI MTMI MTMI

IMIT IMIT IMIT

ITIM ITIM ITIM

MIMT MIMT MIMT

TIMT IMTI MTIM TIMT

MITM ITMI TMIT MITM

I like to practice these rolls on each single string (to get the cadence correct)
(til I am able to play them on ALL five strings smoothly and easily)

as:
---T-I-M-T-------T-I-M-T-------T-I-M-T-----------------------
------------------------------------------------------------------
------------------------------------------------------------------
------------------------------------------------------------------
------------------------------------------------------------------

OR:
------------------------------------------------------------------
------------------------------------------------------------------
---T-I-M-T-------T-I-M-T-------T-I-M-T-----------------------
------------------------------------------------------------------
------------------------------------------------------------------

etc.,etc.,etc.

also arpeggio rolls of TITM TITM TITM TITM or TITI TITI TITI TITI arpa style across the strings


as:

------------------------T------------------------------------I----------
-----------------M-------------------------------------T---------------
-----------I--------------------OR---------------I---------------------
-----T--------------------------------------T---------------------------
-------------------------------------------------------------------------


Edited by - stormoveroklahoma on 07/23/2010 07:36:37

Tam_Zeb - Posted - 07/23/2010:  04:40:23


Thanks Tracy. Much appreciated

banjer5 - Posted - 07/23/2010:  07:41:38


Not that many patterns to worry about but don't get hung up on patterns cuz they get chopped, sliced and diced to make the timeing fit. Anymore I concentrate on making the "noise" fit the time frame available.

stormoveroklahoma - Posted - 07/23/2010:  07:48:32


I don't know how I forgot to list the very important
MIMT MIMT MIMT OR MTMI MTMI MTMI

those three rolls are referred to as thumb-lead(TITM), middle-lead (MIMT), or index-lead(IMIT). very important for changing your melody note from string to string.


TITM is very important for leaving the thumb ready to play the fifth note of the series.

any roll that changes up the sound...there are many yet to be discovered.

Mixing it up buy playing inside rolls on (D-G-B strings)(4th, 3rd, 2nd) as well as out side rolls on (G-D-g or G-B-D strings)(5th,4th,3rd or 3rd,2nd,1st)


cheers

Tracy

Roll Player - Posted - 07/23/2010:  14:49:29


quote:
Originally posted by 5stringpicker2

That's correct on the 3 roll patterns. If you're picking toward your feet it's a forward pattern 3215 4215. If you're picking toward your head it's a reverse or backward roll 3125 4125. if you're picking a 3251 4251 it's an Alternating thumb or a Box roll.

all else are variations of the rolls and not as such a designated roll just a variation. You're on the right track keep on a picking

(I )===='---<::)



I agree with what Terry says here, and with Bob and Skip as well. All the longer patterns are just combinations of the 2 basic directions -- forward (toward your feet) or backward (toward your head). In fact, even the alternating roll can be thought of as a combination -- T I (toward your feet) T (backwards toward your head) M (starting the backward sequence over again). Any time you skip the index finger in the sequence T (i) M or M (i) T, you are starting at the beginning of a new forward or backward sequence.

It's also important to remember that music doesn't always come in one measure phrases. That's why it can be so hard to fit melodies to 8 note roll patterns when the musical phrase is still going but your 8 note roll is over. There are a lot of times when you want a forward-rolling sequence to go on longer than 8 notes so it can fit the melody better -- at least that's the way I tend to think about it.

DaveInCA - Posted - 07/23/2010:  19:58:43


Here's my list: wholegrain.com/misc/banjo/roll...ctice.tef

Dave

plunker - Posted - 07/23/2010:  20:00:15


I'll admit that I haven't read all the replies to this thread. IMHO just become familiar either three or four rolls and learn to incorporate them well into your melody line---I mean be able to use them without thinking--- and all the other rolls are not needed in your memory. Fleck or Trischka made a comment about this in a recent Banjo News Letter. Don't overload yourself with stuff that you will never use.

grogzilla0 - Posted - 07/23/2010:  21:56:35


So much to learn...so little time.

dlc - Posted - 07/24/2010:  00:19:24


The three or four basic rolls I use have done good by me for more than 30 years. If I were a banjo specialist, instead of a multi-instrumental generalist, I'd probably work up more need for more roll patterns.

I guess it depends on how deeply into the subtle intricacies of the instrument you want to go.

Tam_Zeb - Posted - 07/24/2010:  01:30:23


quote:
Originally posted by DaveInCA

Here's my list: wholegrain.com/misc/banjo/roll...ctice.tef

Dave



Wow Dave... Thanks for this Much Appreciated

Tam_Zeb - Posted - 07/24/2010:  01:32:28


Thanks to everyone for all your responses.

stormoveroklahoma - Posted - 07/26/2010:  17:18:13


new SS lick just taught to me by Doub Pearce TIMT MITM

forward thumb/roll, reverse middle/finger/roll

8 note alternating roll with even thumb accents 3-T's, 3-M's, 2-I's
I suppose you could play it TMITIMTI accents 3-T's, 3-I's, 2-M's

Storm


Edited by - stormoveroklahoma on 07/29/2010 07:44:08

answerguru - Posted - 07/30/2010:  10:47:29


I just had some great classes with Chris Pandolfi at Rockygrass Academy and he had some interesting thoughts on roll patterns. Essentially, they should be used as a tool that opens up the various patterns that you can play -- allowing you to pick any string and any time with (almost) any finger. You don't really want to play a roll pattern over and over without any variation, as that can be pretty monotonous.

He still gave out some interesting roll pattern exercises, but they were tailored more to gaining flexibility with normal / inside rolls and string choice within the pattern.

That being said, I still started learning quite a rolls that definitely helped my backup playing and consistency.



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