There has always been something about tunes from West Virginia and Kentucky
that have drawn me to them. Maybe it’s the melody lines, or the crookedness of so many
of them that appeals to me. Whatever it is, it has the same effect as when I hear a gaggle
of Highland Pipers marching and playing in unison. It might be my heritage that makes
the connection between the old world and new.
This book is just a taste of the many, many tunes from that area. Almost all of
them were transcribed from Fiddle tunes, since I learned most of them either directly or
indirectly from Fiddlers. I have tried to write out a Banjo version that is pretty close to
note for note, with a few exceptions, what the Fiddle is playing. Because of that, there are
some interesting syncopations that, for the most part, I was able to transfer to the Banjo. I
have tried to give suggestions for fingerings for both hands, but these are only
suggestions and you may find better ways on your own.
Keep in mind too that every one of these tunes probably has scads of versions, so
don’t limit yourself; give them all a try. There is a lot of information about many of the
musicians cited in this book and I urge you to explore the web, and other sources, to find
out more about them. Knowing where the music comes from is key in my mind to getting
the right feeling in your playing.
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