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Fasola on the banjo

Posted by beanseo on Tuesday, November 13, 2007

I recently "discovered" Gm tuning.  Dude!  This is so cool.  I've been tinkering a lot with some minor fasola tunes (shaped note music a la Sacred Harp, etc.) and have worked out simple melodies for some beauties like:

  • "Amanda" (First line: "Death like an overflowing stream")
  • "David's Lamentation"
  • "Windham" (First line: "Broad is the road that leads to death")
  • "Russia" (First line: "False are the men of high degree; " alternate: "My spirit looks to God alone")

I first discovered the ability to translate the simple melodies from shaped note tunes to banjo when I was playing around with double-C tuning, but this Gm thing is wicked cool.

The place I want to get to now is figuring out how to add that texture that makes this kind of music so...awesome.  Most of it is written in 4-part harmony (though a good deal is in 3-part).  I wonder whether this would sound cool with different instruments taking different voice parts.  Banjo as tenor, guitar as bass.  What would fit as counter (alto) and treble (soprano)?  Thoughts?



1 comment on “Fasola on the banjo”

festusbug Says:
Tuesday, November 13, 2007 @7:18:42 PM

Boy - you've got the bug!

For my two cents worth you can't go passed a fiddle or cello or even a mouth organ.

Also, try another banjo. Two banjos can make a harmonically rich mix.

Some non-western instruments can also be very compelling eg. the mongolian two string cello/fiddles like the morin khuur and igil. Or the Tibetan dramyen, a plucked three course banjo, works really well against a regular banjo.

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