Some of you may have visited by tablature website, banjr.com, now and again, searching the internet for some strange tune or another. For close to 15 years now, I have been posting my tabs of fiddle tunes arranged for three finger style banjo, generally as soon as I finish working them up, mostly so I will know exactly where to find them myself if I need one of them. All are posted in both Tabledit and PDF format. Everything is free.
Today was a milestone for me, I posted my 400th tab, and I decided to brag about it. The tab is my banjo arrangement of a haunting fiddle tune composed by my good friend Don Couchie, who wrote it in honor of the water protectors of Standing Rock. Don is from North Bay, Ontario, and is a member of the Nipissing First Nation of the Anishinaabe Ojibwe. I have had the privilege of camping with Don at Clifftop for the past ten years or so, sharing tunes and brotherhood. He is perhaps the most talented musicians I have ever played with, equally at home on fiddle, banjo, guitar, mandolin, bass, and pedal steel guitar. He plays old time , bluegrass, classic country, and I don't know what else.
Don's Standing Rock is a modal tune, in A Dorian. What is truly unique about it is it's timing. The entire tune is structured so that a phrase of three beats is followed by a resolution to a two beat phrase essentially composed of a single note. So it may be accurate to say it is in 5/4 time, but I have divided the measures here as a 3 beat measure followed by a 2 beat measure. Don mentioned to me that this is based on a traditional Ojibwe drum pattern. It makes for a very powerful sounding fiddle tune.
Hi! I'm new to banjo so was really glad to find your tab page and website. Thank you for all the work you've put into those tabs. And enjoyed seeing the pictures of Fred the Banjo Cat -looked like a great cat!
Don, thank you for making my music one of the milestones of your amazing musical journey. It has been an honour for me to be able to share and be a part of a lot of wonderful music with you. Our yearly trips to Clifftop WVa. are now a part of my life that I look forward to. My trips to Boston are another thing I've been looking forward to for the last few years. But most of all it is the friendship and music that I hold dear to my heart. You have been a kind and generous friend not only to me, but to the entire music community and this milestone post of 400 tunes is a testament to that generosity. We are all grateful and our lives are enriched by your talent and insight. Carry on brother.
Thanks, everyone, for all the encouragement. Don Couchie, when this scourge is over, and the border is open, one way or the other we are going to play some real music again. There is no more spiritual experience. Thank you so much for sharing your friendship and music with me, it means a very great deal to me.