Clawhammer Core Repertoire Series, Episode 9
Okay, loyal CCRS reader, this month you’re in for a slight change of pace. How so? Two reasons:
Reason #1: We’re learning a rag (well, sort of...it might be better categorized as “raggish”, as its format and rhythmic stylings don't quite fit the rag prototype).
Reason #2: In the interest of providing a full multimedia experience, I’ve recorded a video of the final version of the tune, which you’ll find directly below this list of reasons.
Reason #3: I could only think of two reasons, remember.
Note: If you'd like to get a free, downloadable ebook of lessons 1 thru 7, and be sent the next book when it's ready, just click here.
So, following the same compositional procedure we used in episodes 1-8, we’ll now dig down into the nitty gritty of creating the arrangement you just heard. It's time to make the sausage.
And here’s a nice version, recorded in 1926, with Posey Rorer on fiddle and Charlie Poole on the 5-string, courtesy of youtube.
Remember, our first goal is just to identify the core notes of this tune. When you can whistle or hum it to yourself, then you're ready to move on to Step 2.
Once you’ve got the basic melody down cold, it’s time to find it on your banjo. Remember, we're only looking to find the melody notes. No banjo filler yet.
Here’s my version of the unadorned melody:
And this is how it looks in tab. Since this is a D tune, I find it works itself out quite well in double D tuning (aDADE):
Now it’s time to give that melody some banjoistic bounce. As per our usual method, we’ll play all the melody notes that occur on the downbeat with our frailing finger, and then follow that with a ditty stroke. You’ll notice there are a few instances in the tab below (in the A part primarily) where you’ll be fretting a different melody note on the ditty stroke. This is slightly more advanced than the basic versions I’ve presented in the past, however, I think it makes a noticeable improvement in the sound of the arrangement, and I think you folks are more than up to the task at this point.
And here’s what that sounds like:
At this point, if you find a fiddling buddy to play it along with (or use the fiddle backup at oldtimejam.com), the two of you should now sound something like this:
And just like that, you’re jamming up a storm.
Like I said, Ragtime Annie is one of those tunes where fiddlers like to strut their stuff. Especially in Texas.
So now it’s your turn. Go ahead and add any embellishments that suit your fancy, or perhaps find a tricked out fiddle version you like and try to emulate that.
You can hear my attempt to take things up a notch in the video above. Here’s what it looks like in tab:
As you’re working through this tune, be sure to take advantage of the backup tracks over at oldtimejam.com. It’s part of the old-time “top 20” playlist, which of course is why it earned a spot in the core repertoire. Now go get raggin!
Burton Kramer Says:
Monday, May 26, 2014 @8:05:22 AM
Josh Turknett Says:
Monday, May 26, 2014 @9:06:57 AM
You bet, Burton!
Monday, May 26, 2014 @11:15:45 AM
Thanks for this nicely done post--and the OT Jam site. (What I really wonder is how you find the time, with a day job like yours!) Anyway, we're all much obliged!
Monday, May 26, 2014 @1:05:14 PM
Thanks. Your three step process has really helped me learn some of these songs.
Josh Turknett Says:
Monday, May 26, 2014 @2:53:05 PM
Eric - I believe the answer to your question is: obsession. :)
Jimmy - that's wonderful to hear.
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