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EPISODE 6: "Aint Gonna Work Tomorrow"
by Josh Turknett, clawhammerbanjo.net
“Oh I ain't gonna work tomorrow, and I ain't gonna work next day”
Now those are some lyrics we can all get behind.
Or, better yet, belt out at the top of our lungs whilst making a mighty racket on our banjo!
It should come as no surprise that, if you're looking for a song for winning a crowd over, you'd be hard pressed to find a better candidate. So here we go!
Step 1: Know Thy Melody
I know you've already made plans for what you'll be doing tomorrow in lieu of your work obligations, but let's not get ahead of ourselves. First, you must know how to play the song.
And in order to know how to play the song you must first know how it goes.
Fortunately, there's nothing too complicated here. In fact, this tune has just one part. No reason to get fancy when you've got such a simple message to deliver.
Step 2: Find the Chords
So we're singing this song in the key of C, and here I'm playing it out of what's typically referred to as “standard C”, or sometimes “drop C.”
While this tuning may not be quite as well suited towards playing notey fiddle tunes, it works great for providing a rich sonic backdrop for vocals (and was the preferred tuning of Charlie Poole, one of the most noteworthy singing banjoists of all time).
So get thy banjo into gCGBD tuning (like gDGBD tuning, except the 4th string is dropped from a D to a C).
This song only uses the C, F, and G chords (the I, IV, and V, respectively), which can be found down the neck in these positions.
Alternatively, you can also take the fingering used for the C chord and create a movable chord shape you can use to make any major chord along the banjo neck. So, here are the C, F, and G chords using that technique:
So, sing and strum this song a bit and see if you can identify the chord changes. When you think you're on to something, check your answers below.
Step 3: Play A Basic Backup Pattern While Fingering the Chord Progression
Now, to create a basic backup arrangement, we'll just play a bum ditty pattern while fingering those chord shapes. Here's what that sounds like: Basic Work.mp3
And here's how it looks in tab:
Step 4: Add Some Easily Accessed Melody Notes
If we wish to add a little interest to what's going on behind our voices, we can play some easily accessed melody notes in the background as we sing, first looking for the notes that don't require us to do nothing more with our fretting hand than just maintain the chord shapes.
This requires we know where said melody notes are on our banjos. So, here's what the basic melody of the song sounds like: Working Melody.mp3
And here are those notes tabulationally represented:
If we throw in the melody notes that require no extra movement of our fretting hand, we get the following arrangement:
Add our voice behind this arrangement, and it sounds something like this: With Vocals.mp3
And there it is! Now we've created a pleasing backdrop upon which to declare our occupational opposition.
In my version in the video for the “Song of the Week” series, I’ve added a few additional embellishments to double the melody as I sing, and I throw in a solo in between the verses. Click below if you’d like to download those arrangements:
Want to view all of the prior Clawhammer Core Repertoire Series episodes?
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)
Wednesday, July 27, 2016 @5:57:15 AM
Great song - I'd love to be able to play that song but I have no experience with the clawhammer style. What do you have for an introduction to that style?
Friday, August 19, 2016 @10:00:30 AM
I got it - and started working on it. THANKS TW
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