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Uncommonly Strong Clawhammer Tunes #2

Posted by tfaux on Wednesday, September 18, 2013

like this

Szép a Rószám

This month’s uncommonly strong tune is a Hungarian csárdás (pronounced CHÁR-dash,) a wild rubato dance often accompanied by violin and cimbalom--a kind of hammered dulcimer--that was first played by Romani musicians in the torch-lit taverns of 19th century Budapest. The music form spread throughout the Austro-Hungarian empire and was eventually picked up by western European composers, for whom it represented the untamed Gypsy spirit: the “Czardas” by the Italian composer Vittorio Monti is the most famous. The csárdás has come to be considered a national folk dance style of Hungary, performed by costumed folkloric groups on festival stages and in tourist restaurants—similar to the tango in Argentina, or the tarantella in Italy. In recent years however, the form has been rescued from the professional folklore stage by a younger generation of Hungarian dancers who combine the old style with punk rock-like energy, not unlike square dancing in the US.  

Szép a Rószám” (Beautiful Rose) is a well-known csárdás among Hungarian traditional musicians and singers; a passionate song about love gone sour. While popular singers often perform the tune at a regular tempo, traditional practice can be wild and fluid. Gypsy violinists often start each phrase slowly, increasing the tempo and intensity to the end of the phrase, and each time around the tune becomes faster and more passionate. If you’re the kind of banjo player who likes to speed up, this tune is for you. 

As usual, I have left out the “ditties,” or off-beat shuffle strokes.  I've also left out the filler notes that banjo players love to throw in. If you’ve gotten this far I assume you know where they go. For the same reason, I have indicated occasional fingering preferences with slur marks, but have not included such notes as “hammer-on,” “pull-off,” “slide,” “adjacent string pull-off,” etc.  I have included a standard notation melody with the tablature so that your favorite fiddler or accordionist can play along. 

And as always, transcriptions are meant to be a launch pad from which to create your personal version.

The .pdf tab is here>

A fast and furious performance is here>  (the tune starts at about 50 seconds.) 

My banjo version is here>

NOTE: Last month's tab "Anatolian Memories" has been corrected and is now playable.

Next month, China!

9 comments on “Uncommonly Strong Clawhammer Tunes #2”

graemechorley Says:
Monday, October 14, 2013 @11:43:25 AM

absolutely terrible!!!!!!!!!!!!!

kratty Says:
Monday, October 14, 2013 @12:39:41 PM

To the previous poster: Can't imagine what is "terrible" about this.

This is great! Thanks so much for posting this.

Mulberry Says:
Monday, October 14, 2013 @4:41:44 PM

I like it. Would love to play it someday, but for me thats a long way off I think lol.

rkearton Says:
Monday, October 14, 2013 @7:27:34 PM

To Mulberry: I see from your page that you are just starting out, but I think you'd be pleasantly surprised if you tried to play this tune. If the chords worry you then just play the top notes when there's a chord and you'll find yourself with a simple, yet lovely, tune. The 10th fret may seem daunting at first, but really, it's just up a few steps from the 5th fret.....go on, give it a go!

To tfaux: I love the expansiveness of your musical taste. In addition to the obvious fact that old-time clawhammer music provides a wonderful field for happy grazing, you clearly show that the banjo has a strong voice that can sing effectively in many languages. Keep these tunes coming!

tfaux Says:
Tuesday, October 15, 2013 @10:32:53 AM

Thanks for commenting all. Even you graemechorley.
Mulberry, next month's tune will be an easier one.

banjomac Says:
Tuesday, October 15, 2013 @3:33:37 PM

absolutely terrific!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I'm trying to learn mostly be ear these days and found that the notes fall quite nicely under the fingers. It's a satisfying tune to play, with room to noodle. Thank you. I'm looking forward to the next one.

jimmocks Says:
Thursday, October 17, 2013 @7:54:36 PM

Great work. The tab is very playable and refining like that shows great skill. In my opinion.

zevio Says:
Thursday, October 17, 2013 @10:54:17 PM

thanks TF - enjoying playing this and the Anatolian Memories (just like I remember it). demonstrating what a versatile instrument we have. eagerly looking forward to your next post.

Sleepingbear Says:
Saturday, October 19, 2013 @4:45:48 AM

Thank you. this is awesome !!!

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