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 Playing Advice: All Other Styles

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yankee1 - Posted - 02/16/2007:  14:01:26


Just a question I'd throw out there, has anybody been able to play an fiddle "air" on the banjo? I'm trying with a song called "The Dark Island," but I'm not sure if I am to play it note for note, or embellish the melody sorta like Scruggs-style. Anybody got any advice or tips?



Banjowen - Posted - 02/16/2007:  14:58:07

I'm glad there's someone else who likes to have a go at playing airs on the 5-string,I play Dark Island by playing the melody notes and brushing down the strings, I try to get a harp like effect,...... as there is no set time to play a "slow air" always play them in your own time and don't rush, two airs that also sound quite good on the banjo are Eleonor Plunkett and Blind Mary.....


yankee1 - Posted - 02/16/2007:  15:56:11

Would you say then that you form a chord, and play the note out of the chord formation?

I never thought of it like a harp, so thanks for that advice. Now I have somewhat of a sound (more or less) to go after?

Thanks Owen,


imac50 - Posted - 02/16/2007:  22:10:16

I have tabbed out Dark Island as a waltz for dancers, but it can be played as an air by slowing it down and playing it rubato (not in strict 3/4 time). Any melody can be turned into an air by letting it breathe and adding spontaneous personal variations. Using Scruggs techniques is fine but putting it into strict meter will not make it an air. Airs are played from the heart with an *elastic* sense of time, pausing at will, speeding up and slowing down certain phrases -- not doing it exactly the same way twice. Having tune settings for airs is at cross purposes with feeling them in the moment.


Banjowen - Posted - 02/17/2007:  04:53:30

Originally posted by yankee1

Would you say then that you form a chord, and play the note out of the chord formation?

Thanks Owen,


Not necessarily full chords, sometimes broken ones....but your on the right lines...


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