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 Playing Advice: 4-String (Jazz, Blues & Other Trad Styles)
 ARCHIVED TOPIC: Gregorian chant for CGBD Plectrum Banjo


Please note this is an archived topic, so it is locked and unable to be replied to. You may, however, start a new topic and refer to this topic with a link: http://www.banjohangout.org/archive/353938

Ondrej - Posted - 05/16/2019:  06:50:25


songs: Veni Creator Spiritus; Ave Maria; Attende Domine



youtube.com/watch?v=ePvjHqfL6mM

G Edward Porgie - Posted - 05/16/2019:  08:07:00


Chant on a banjo doesn't work for me, even with the somewhat longer than usual sustain of that particular banjo. One of the appeals of Gregorian chant is that it was sung in very resonant buildings, which allowed notes to overlap in a mysterious and haunting sort of "harmony."

Rob MacKillop - Posted - 05/16/2019:  08:34:28


I think you're being harsh, Georgie. There is a LONG tradition of lute and guitar players (also other instruments) arranging liturgical works for private devotion and study at home.

Some nice moments there. The plectrum banjo is capable of successfully exploring a wide range of music.

mmuussiiccaall - Posted - 05/16/2019:  09:31:56


Hmmm, stiff and unmusical comes to my mind.

pdinneen1 - Posted - 05/16/2019:  09:49:49


Onedrej - disregard the negative posts. Please keep doing what you’re doing and go for whatever your soul tells you to play.

Rob MacKillop - Posted - 05/16/2019:  09:52:54


+1

Jim_R - Posted - 05/16/2019:  10:13:16


That was interesting. Is there anything a banjo can't do?

Omeboy - Posted - 05/16/2019:  10:41:35


Onedrej.......

I've always loved listening to Gregorian Chants, so I salute your success on these timeless pieces. Trying to emulate the original vocal versions in the phrasing on an instrument is always worthwhile. The closest I've come is Sheep May Safely Graze, but you've inspired me to revisit some of this beautiful music.  Thanks for the post.

Ondrej - Posted - 05/17/2019:  02:00:55


Thank you for the discussion. And also for encouragement. I agree that in the cathedral with reverberation, my execution could sound better.
Rob, thank you for reminding us of tradition. I myself take Gregorian Chant as the "cornerstone" of European music.
If I managed to recall Gregorian chant with my recording, I am very happy.

G Edward Porgie - Posted - 05/17/2019:  07:09:51


In defense of myself, I only said this doesn't work for me.  I have no bones to pick with others about their feelings on the matter, nor am I ignorant of efforts and traditions regarding the use of liturgical music on other instruments in other settings. Just because chant doesn't appeal to me except in its original venue does not mean that it is wrong for others to attempt playing it on any instrument other than the human voice, and I do appreciate the effort involved in those attempts. 



I am quite certain that there are others for whom certain musics, be they Gregorian Chant, Delta Blues, or Indian Ragas, don't work when taken from their original contexts.



 



 

MacCruiskeen - Posted - 05/17/2019:  07:35:17


quote:

Originally posted by Ondrej

Thank you for the discussion. And also for encouragement. I agree that in the cathedral with reverberation, my execution could sound better.

 






Since chant is not normally staccato, and the banjo is, and the melody moves stepwise, you could break up the staccatoness a bit with slides between notes. Also, maybe try adding octave pinches. Strictly speaking, there's no harmony in chant, but you could still create some effect of multiple voices. It's never going to sound exactly like choral music, so don't worry about trying too hard to get that.

Ondrej - Posted - 05/18/2019:  04:09:38


quote:

Originally posted by G Edward Porgie

In defense of myself, I only said this doesn't work for me.  I have no bones to pick with others about their feelings on the matter, nor am I ignorant of efforts and traditions regarding the use of liturgical music on other instruments in other settings. Just because chant doesn't appeal to me except in its original venue does not mean that it is wrong for others to attempt playing it on any instrument other than the human voice, and I do appreciate the effort involved in those attempts. 



I am quite certain that there are others for whom certain musics, be they Gregorian Chant, Delta Blues, or Indian Ragas, don't work when taken from their original contexts.



 



 






I understand your opinion. Thank you for writing it. Ondrej

Ondrej - Posted - 05/18/2019:  04:10:25


quote:

Originally posted by MacCruiskeen

quote:

Originally posted by Ondrej

Thank you for the discussion. And also for encouragement. I agree that in the cathedral with reverberation, my execution could sound better.

 






Since chant is not normally staccato, and the banjo is, and the melody moves stepwise, you could break up the staccatoness a bit with slides between notes. Also, maybe try adding octave pinches. Strictly speaking, there's no harmony in chant, but you could still create some effect of multiple voices. It's never going to sound exactly like choral music, so don't worry about trying too hard to get that.






Thank you for the advice. Ondrej

G Edward Porgie - Posted - 05/18/2019:  13:46:22


quote:

Originally posted by MacCruiskeen

quote:

Originally posted by Ondrej

Thank you for the discussion. And also for encouragement. I agree that in the cathedral with reverberation, my execution could sound better.

 






Since chant is not normally staccato, and the banjo is, and the melody moves stepwise, you could break up the staccatoness a bit with slides between notes. Also, maybe try adding octave pinches. Strictly speaking, there's no harmony in chant, but you could still create some effect of multiple voices. It's never going to sound exactly like choral music, so don't worry about trying too hard to get that.






One thing I will say in favor of Ondrej's renditions is that he has done his best to gain sustain with the set-up of his banjo. It has possibly the most sustain I've ever heard with a plectrum banjo. I think adding slides and pinched notes would only detract fro his playing and diminish the value of what he has attempted to do. After all, Chant does not include either slides or octave pinches.



I think if he wishes to add anything, it would be to use multiple recording tracks, so that he could have multiple banjos playing the same "vocal" line. 

Ondrej - Posted - 05/20/2019:  00:18:24


quote:

Originally posted by G Edward Porgie

quote:

Originally posted by MacCruiskeen

quote:

Originally posted by Ondrej

Thank you for the discussion. And also for encouragement. I agree that in the cathedral with reverberation, my execution could sound better.

 






Since chant is not normally staccato, and the banjo is, and the melody moves stepwise, you could break up the staccatoness a bit with slides between notes. Also, maybe try adding octave pinches. Strictly speaking, there's no harmony in chant, but you could still create some effect of multiple voices. It's never going to sound exactly like choral music, so don't worry about trying too hard to get that.






One thing I will say in favor of Ondrej's renditions is that he has done his best to gain sustain with the set-up of his banjo. It has possibly the most sustain I've ever heard with a plectrum banjo. I think adding slides and pinched notes would only detract fro his playing and diminish the value of what he has attempted to do. After all, Chant does not include either slides or octave pinches.



I think if he wishes to add anything, it would be to use multiple recording tracks, so that he could have multiple banjos playing the same "vocal" line. 






Yes. Multiplied by a banjo, it would help.



Even in the original, the choir sings Gregorian chant:-)

Rob MacKillop - Posted - 05/20/2019:  01:00:51


With respect, I think some of you are missing the point. Ondrej doesn't need advice or help. He is not trying to imitate choirs or cathedral acoustics. Some of the 19th-century banjo repertoire is simple settings of operatic arias - no one suggested it sounds better with a singer and orchestra in an opera house. It's just nice to play melodies you like in your own domestic setting, in a simple way upon your instrument, be it a banjo, lute, piano, guitar. No need for overdubbing choirs of banjos.

I'm not the slightest-bit religious, but Ondrej clearly is, and playing these ancient melodies is for him a kind of prayer. In doing so, he is entirely successful, and it's nice of him to share it, so that even heathens and devil worshipers like me ;-) can enjoy listening to it.

As for sustain and the banjo: any player is free to do whatever he likes, be that a traditional method or something completely new.

mike gregory - Posted - 05/20/2019:  01:12:31




"UTINAM OMNE PENDATUR"



-Saint Michael the pluckangel-



 



We Gregorians just LOVE the sound of our chants.



And if others  might  not like it quite as much, that's just a chants we'll have to take!  cheeky



 



PS: "Utinam Omne Pendatur" is something I read in a magazine, in 1963!



After seven semesters of Latin, that's the one bit which stands out in my memory.



It means "Let it all hang out!", a very popular phrase IN 1963.



 

malarz - Posted - 05/20/2019:  04:10:08


Ondrej,

Thanks for sharing.

G Edward Porgie - Posted - 05/20/2019:  06:24:26


quote:

Originally posted by Rob MacKillop

With respect, I think some of you are missing the point. Ondrej doesn't need advice or help. He is not trying to imitate choirs or cathedral acoustics. Some of the 19th-century banjo repertoire is simple settings of operatic arias - no one suggested it sounds better with a singer and orchestra in an opera house. It's just nice to play melodies you like in your own domestic setting, in a simple way upon your instrument, be it a banjo, lute, piano, guitar. No need for overdubbing choirs of banjos.



I'm not the slightest-bit religious, but Ondrej clearly is, and playing these ancient melodies is for him a kind of prayer. In doing so, he is entirely successful, and it's nice of him to share it, so that even heathens and devil worshipers like me ;-) can enjoy listening to it.



As for sustain and the banjo: any player is free to do whatever he likes, be that a traditional method or something completely new.






With all due respect, Rob, I did say "If he wishes."  I only made the suggestion to counter someone else's idea that slides and pinches could improve his rendition, which I felt was nonsense. As I said earlier, I don't find it wrong for others to do what they wish. 



As far as I'm concerned, Ondrej can play whatever and however he wants. But I also feel that BHO is a discussion forum where opinions and suggestions are part of every thread, and when someone posts something, it is open to such discussion. That can not only include praise, but also critiques, advice, and possibly even suggestions for improvement. It is up to the OP to decide what is most important to him and whether he wishes to do anything differently. 



"If he wishes," Ondrej can continue to play these chants just as he has, and that's equally fine with me (I just won't listen :-) )

Rob MacKillop - Posted - 05/20/2019:  06:40:45


Haha, fair enough :-)

trussrod - Posted - 05/20/2019:  08:57:00


Ondrej -
I belong to the East Bay Banjo Club near San Francisco USA. Several years ago we were invited to perform at Táborská Setkání in Tábor. We also traveled to Cesky Krumlov and performed in the square. We visited Praha but did not perform. Our group had about 18 players.

Banjotrading - Posted - 05/20/2019:  13:03:32


Let this thread be a reminder to me of why I dont post videos, song of month, on this forum.

Ondrej - Posted - 05/20/2019:  13:41:06


Thank you for your opinions. I had no idea what kind of discussion I would start :-)



Rob, your opinion most closely matches mine. Thanks for writing it well.



But it's one more thing. I like the moment when I arrange the song. My favorite style is classical music and Central European folk music. I'm trying to show the other players this music. I would like the banjo to have the widest repertoire. That's why I complement it. And if my arrangement is expanded by another instrument and inventively improved by using the advice from the banjo forum, I will be glad.



As an example, I will mention the link to guitarist Doc Bailey who took my book Gregorian chant for DADGAD Guitar and added his idea. https://soundcloud.com/klengelhasser/sets/sacred-music



And as she writes in the thread, I'm interested in what I like. I'm working on another book "Songs from old Prague for Plectrum Banjo". I've already edited them for tenor banjo and now it's Plectrum banjo :-) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P-RtHw2YvME



Ondrej

mmuussiiccaall - Posted - 05/20/2019:  13:51:41


Hmmm, I didn't give any advise like I should have, as stated above by George.
Here goes, I would recommend staying on one string, as much as possible, using one finger, sliding up and down in order to achieve a glissandro effect.

Rob MacKillop - Posted - 05/20/2019:  13:56:59


I'm with you, Ondrej. The old Prague tunes are wonderful. I arranged 17th-century Scottish lute music for tenor banjo: robmackillop.net/the-scottish-tenor-banjo/ which some people have played. Irish music and trad jazz will always be the core repertoire for most four-string players, but there is no harm at all in extending it into other areas, even if those areas are far from the original sources.

Ondrej - Posted - 05/21/2019:  00:33:25


quote:

Originally posted by Rob MacKillop

I'm with you, Ondrej. The old Prague tunes are wonderful. I arranged 17th-century Scottish lute music for tenor banjo: robmackillop.net/the-scottish-tenor-banjo/ which some people have played. Irish music and trad jazz will always be the core repertoire for most four-string players, but there is no harm at all in extending it into other areas, even if those areas are far from the original sources.






Rob, thank you. I've known your website for a long time. When I switched from tenor guitar to tenor banjo or plectrum banjo, I always looked at it and found interesting songs and information. Thanks for them.

Omeboy - Posted - 05/21/2019:  09:01:10


quote:

Originally posted by Tbert

Let this thread be a reminder to me of why I dont post videos, song of month, on this forum.






Beyond that, if you don't play five string or tenor, it can be pretty discouraging for the most part.  You can't fix apathy.

Veerstryngh Thynner - Posted - 06/01/2019:  00:14:14


"I would like banjo to have the widest repertoire."



Ondrej, in his post of 20. May previously.



Ondrej,



You're a man after my heart. Your desire one I fully subscribe to.



In my late teens, I started out in Trad jazz. But after some four decades, Trad has become a little stale and, I'm afraid, too predictable. Or perhaps, after George's example, I should rephrase that as too predictable for me. What I wanted, basically - and still want actually - is branching out to other genres. But in England, banjo seems synonymous with bad musicianship: I have lost count of the times musicians from outside Trad "suggested" that I'd better stick to Trad. Usually not bothering with a sample of my skill, but judging purely on the basis of my instrument of choice.



Getting nowhere, I thus did not touch my banjo for several years. I also avoided jazz in every shape or form. A home studio finally snapped me out of my frustration. And what also happened was wonderful musicians like John Bullard and Rob McKillop showing me alternative routes. John with Bach On Banjo; Rob with Scottish ballads and banjo quartets. Rob's ballads inspiring a closer look at Dowland, for instance. And also further exploration of setting up a digital banjo quartet or quintet of my own; also based on some of Rob's YouTube clips.



Ondrej, I apologise that I can't listen to your music on BHO just yet, due to a hearing impairment and, besides, just an Android for basic online communication. Furthermore my life is currently going through major transition. I'd really like to catch up with your recordings posted to BHO so far, but I'll need a functional laptop/desktop for this. Things seem to move in that direction, at long last. I do like your descriptions, though, of what you are trying to achieve. So I, too, am 100% behind your ideas.



Finally a question for Tbert: Tom, could you please expand a little on why you don't want to post your music on BHO? I'd love to send in some of mine, only I don't dispose of technical facilities to make that feasible, right now.



Veerstryngh Thynner


Edited by - Veerstryngh Thynner on 06/01/2019 00:25:56

Ondrej - Posted - 06/05/2019:  04:29:26


quote:

Originally posted by Veerstryngh Thynner

"I would like banjo to have the widest repertoire."



Ondrej, in his post of 20. May previously.



Ondrej,



You're a man after my heart. Your desire one I fully subscribe to.



In my late teens, I started out in Trad jazz. But after some four decades, Trad has become a little stale and, I'm afraid, too predictable. Or perhaps, after George's example, I should rephrase that as too predictable for me. What I wanted, basically - and still want actually - is branching out to other genres. But in England, banjo seems synonymous with bad musicianship: I have lost count of the times musicians from outside Trad "suggested" that I'd better stick to Trad. Usually not bothering with a sample of my skill, but judging purely on the basis of my instrument of choice.



Getting nowhere, I thus did not touch my banjo for several years. I also avoided jazz in every shape or form. A home studio finally snapped me out of my frustration. And what also happened was wonderful musicians like John Bullard and Rob McKillop showing me alternative routes. John with Bach On Banjo; Rob with Scottish ballads and banjo quartets. Rob's ballads inspiring a closer look at Dowland, for instance. And also further exploration of setting up a digital banjo quartet or quintet of my own; also based on some of Rob's YouTube clips.



Ondrej, I apologise that I can't listen to your music on BHO just yet, due to a hearing impairment and, besides, just an Android for basic online communication. Furthermore my life is currently going through major transition. I'd really like to catch up with your recordings posted to BHO so far, but I'll need a functional laptop/desktop for this. Things seem to move in that direction, at long last. I do like your descriptions, though, of what you are trying to achieve. So I, too, am 100% behind your ideas.



Finally a question for Tbert: Tom, could you please expand a little on why you don't want to post your music on BHO? I'd love to send in some of mine, only I don't dispose of technical facilities to make that feasible, right now.



Veerstryngh Thynner






Dear Veerstryngh Thynner



Thank you for your support.  I will continue to try to find interesting repertoire for the banjo.



Ondrej

G Edward Porgie - Posted - 06/05/2019:  08:12:59


quote:

Originally posted by Omeboy

quote:

Originally posted by Tbert

Let this thread be a reminder to me of why I dont post videos, song of month, on this forum.






Beyond that, if you don't play five string or tenor, it can be pretty discouraging for the most part.  You can't fix apathy.






I agree with "...if you don't play five string or tenor..." but I also think that this discussion alone (not many threads last into a second page here) shows that maybe people aren't as apathetic as you might think.



Maybe Ondrej has simply hit a nerve and interest will die again. But just possibly, and hopefully, his use of the plectrum banjo will spur greater interest in playing this instrument in new ways. 

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