From what little I know of playing the guitar ( less then I know about the banjo), I believe that you have a scale starting in 1st position and progressing down the neck and rising by one octave per position. Therefore I suppose that if you had a piece of piano music that spanned 3 octaves, ie Bizet's Carmen, you could commence in 2nd position and utilise the upper and lower position in order to play the piece? I am struggling to find a way of doing this on a banjo, can anyone help? For those thinking that this is a stupid question, why would someone want to play an opera on a banjo? The reason is, I practice my banjo plying in my works car park early each morning and it has been noted by the other employees, a lot of whom are accomplished musicians. I am being asked if I can play " when I am cleaning windows" so these accomplished musicians are confusing instruments and artists which does not say a lot. I know at some point I will be pressurised into performing at some future company party and I would like to play something a little different than "cleaning windows". Plus, the question does raise an important issue and my level of ignorance, regarding playing scales of a banjo. From what I have read there does not appear to be repeating finger patterns along the banjo neck relating to scales.
Why Bizet's Carman? I suggest you watch this ..........youtube.com/watch?v=K2snTkaD64U very few performances give me goose bumps but this is amazing. I just love this piece of music and would love to play it (or part of it) on a banjo, it's got nothing to do with where Elina Garanca keeps her apples.
It's none of my business if you're a gypsy queen, but congratulations...
As to your question, I would advise against using a piano score to figure this song out. You will have a hard time playing all the notes as written. There is a repeating pattern of scales. In this piece. It's a descending chromatic scale. Maybe that's what is confusing you. Try using the music you have and learn the melody from it and then throw in some chords here and there to reinforce the melody. You can also use harmony notes after the first couple of lines (especially where the orchestra chimes in).
I think the melody is about an octave and a half or so (if you use your low D as the lowest melody note), so you shouldn't run out of notes if tou are in standard G tuning. Choose your supporting chords wisely and you shouldn't have a problem.
Never once has anyone requested that I play "When I'm Cleaning Windows" but I suggest you learn it for fun. Good luck
Ps. You should start the song out by playing the baseline and doing your best imitation of an opera diva (really loud)...should get lots of laughs, then play it seriously so the snobby ones can hear how well you pick.
Here's a tab generated by a midi, many parts are unplayable as is but it will give you the idea of what you are trying to do. All I did was change the key from F# minor up to A minor. A great exercise would be to arrange this so it is all playable either by deleting, changing octaves, changing string locations, etc.