Banjo Hangout Logo
Banjo Hangout Logo

Premier Sponsors

Banjo Lovers Online

Songs For Singing, Episode 6: "Darling Corey"

Posted by Josh Turknett on Thursday, June 16, 2016

like this



DOWNLOAD THE TABS for "Darling Corey"

To DOWNLOAD THE TABS for this episodes, as well as the one for the above video. You'll also get a brand new classic clawhammer song and tab delivered to your inbox every week!

Click Here To Get The Tabs


EPISODE 6: "Darling Corey"

by Josh Turknett, clawhammerbanjo.net

I don't think it's possible to overstate how great of a banjo song Darling Corey is (originally “Cora,” but pretty much everyone pronounces it “Corey”) . On display is nothing short of everything that's great about the banjo and its traditional repertoire.

It's commonly played out of a tuning, gCGCC, that only a banjo player would dare dream up. A tuning that, despite looking redundantly ridiculous on paper, sounds incredible, wrapping our ears in a blanket of droning banjo bliss.

Plus, it's about moonshining. And somebody gets buried. 

So you have no choice but learn it.

Step 1: Know Thy Melody

Before embarking along the fretboard in search of the notes of the melody, make you sure you've committed the melody to memory. Warning: once implanted in your cranium, it'll likely worm it's way around there for quite some time.

Step 2: Find The Melody Notes

As is the case with many of the modal type banjo tunes, which emanate from a "pre-chordal" tradition of music, this isn't really a chord based song. As discussed in previous episodes, I typically find the chord progression as the first step in working up a new song, since these will form the foundation for backup playing. But an exception to this rule are the "chordally ambiguous" modal tunes, like Darling Corey.

So rather than start with the chord progression, in this case we'll instead start with the melody itself when building our vocal backup. 

And, without further ado, here's what I hear as the basic melody of Darling Corey: Corey Melody.mp3

 Go ahead and tune up your banjo to gCGCC (those last two strings are tuned to the same exact pitch) and see if you can locate those notes on your banjo. Check your work below:

Step 3: Add Some Clawhammery Stuff

Here, a simple clawhammer arrangement of this melody will make the perfect accompaniment to our voice. So, let's clawhammerify the above melody by adding a "ditty" strum after each of the melody notes that occur on the downbeat (the ones bolded in the tab above). This will serve as the foundation for what we'll play while singing. ​

Here's that represented in tab:

And here's how that sounds: Corey Clawed.mp3

Step 4: Embellish To Suit Your Tastes

Now, you could stick to playing the above arrangement both while singing, and play it as a “solo” in between the verses.

Or you can mess around with it a bit. One of the great things about this tune and tuning is that it's melodically sparse, and there are really only a few fretted notes to worry about, as denotes by the orange dots on the fretboard diagram below, which indicate the primary notes of the scale used for this tune down the neck (and remember that strings 1 and 2 are tuned to the same pitch):

In other words, there's lots of room for playing around with this tune. As long as you keep a pulsating clawhammer rhythm in the background and stick to these notes, it's hard to go wrong. It's a tune that's ideally suited to mindless noodling. 

Here's a sample of "Darling Corey" with just a few well placed hammer-ons. Nothing too fancy, but it sounds great:  Corey Decorated.mp3

Here's what that looks like in tab:

So have fun with this perfection of a banjo song. Click below if you'd like to download the tabs for this episode, including the tab for the arrangement I played in the initial video.

Click Here To Get The Tabs

Want to view all of the prior Clawhammer Core Repertoire Series episodes?

Head over to the Core Repertoire Table of Contents


About the Author

Dr. Josh Turknett is the creator of Breakthrough Banjo, the first music beginner to advanced system for learning clawhammer banjo that incorporates the science of learning and neuroplasticity and specifically target the adult learner (click to learn more)



1 comment on “Songs For Singing, Episode 6: "Darling Corey"”

Gary Trusty Says:
Friday, June 24, 2016 @6:53:35 PM

As a tone deaf "beginner", it is extremelly helpful when you tab the basic melody!! Thank you for helping me learn, Gary

You must sign into your myHangout account before you can post comments.

More posts from Josh Turknett

Newest Posts

Click for Details 'Gibson Style 6' 12 min

Click for Details 'He Made It!' 1 hr

Click for Details 'Gibson RB250' 2 hrs

More >  

Hide these ads: join the Players Union!

Hangout Network Help

View All Topics  |  View Categories