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Sep 17, 2019 - 2:31:24 PM
269 posts since 1/30/2019

Hi all,
I mentioned over in collector's corner that I had a box of this stuff which came with a vintage guitar I bought at auction. There are loads of plectrum banjo, g banjo, finger style as well as lots of ukulele, guitar, Hawaiian guitar and mandolin scores. All dating to between 1935 and mid 40s.
Some from fretted harmony magazine, some from BMG magazine and lots of single sheet music. One photo shows the collection, the other is the first finger style piece I found. This what you want @joelhooks? Photo ok?
I'll post more if folk want this stuff? There's more guitar and ukulele than any thing else.
Andy




Sep 17, 2019 - 5:10:11 PM

4673 posts since 9/21/2007
Online Now

Cool!  Lawes was interesting in that he played fingerstyle on a plectrum banjo with steel strings-- very unusually.  I made a video of his "Hot Frets" some time back.

Check out the collection of BMGs we have been working on at the Classic Banjo site...

https://classic-banjo.ning.com/page/bmg-magazines

See if you can fill in any holes.

I have this dream that ALL classic banjo music will one day be freely available on the internet.  I am doing all I can to make that happen (which has included scanning endless piles of paper).

Sep 17, 2019 - 11:06:51 PM

269 posts since 1/30/2019

quote:
Originally posted by Joel Hooks

Cool!  Lawes was interesting in that he played fingerstyle on a plectrum banjo with steel strings-- very unusually.  I made a video of his "Hot Frets" some time back.

Check out the collection of BMGs we have been working on at the Classic Banjo site...

https://classic-banjo.ning.com/page/bmg-magazines

See if you can fill in any holes.

I have this dream that ALL classic banjo music will one day be freely available on the internet.  I am doing all I can to make that happen (which has included scanning endless piles of paper).

 

 


Ok, thanks for the link. I am a member over on classic banjo Ning, but don't check in all that often. 

The BMG material I have are just the sheet music inserts, not the whole magazines. Happy to check and send anything from the missing issues. 

The photos below are from the July Aug issue of Fretted Harmony. Think you'll be interested...... 




 

Sep 17, 2019 - 11:26:43 PM

269 posts since 1/30/2019

Jul Aug 1938 that should have said.....

Sep 18, 2019 - 6:19:21 AM

2684 posts since 5/29/2011

Interesting that the music is written in E flat and A flat.

Edited by - Culloden on 09/18/2019 06:20:57

Sep 18, 2019 - 6:40:45 AM

4673 posts since 9/21/2007
Online Now

quote:
Originally posted by Culloden

Interesting that the music is written in E flat and A flat.


But common for 5 string banjo music prior to bluegrass and capo d'astros.

Sep 18, 2019 - 7:51:24 AM

269 posts since 1/30/2019

quote:
Originally posted by Culloden

Interesting that the music is written in E flat and A flat.


Maybe others more expert in finger style and tunings can explain that. Some of these old scores and pamphlet articles have details about tuning, but none of these would make either of those keys very easy!

It takes me weeks to work out a piece in standard notation. Months from Tab....

Sep 18, 2019 - 8:16:25 AM
like this

4673 posts since 9/21/2007
Online Now

quote:
Originally posted by Andyrhydycreuau
quote:
Originally posted by Culloden

Interesting that the music is written in E flat and A flat.


Maybe others more expert in finger style and tunings can explain that. Some of these old scores and pamphlet articles have details about tuning, but none of these would make either of those keys very easy!

It takes me weeks to work out a piece in standard notation. Months from Tab....


I'm not sure what you mean-- there was only one "tuning" gCGBD.

About 10% of the music stipulates to raise the bass one step to D which would put it into the home "tuning" of bluegrass.  This does not qualify as scordatura. 

On extremely rare occasion scordatura is given on a piece (put an emphasis on rare).  On those pieces the change in string pitch is ignored by the notation and one reads as if nothing was ever changed.  That is how scordatura is usually handled with notation.

Frank Lawes' pieces are on the more advanced end.  The one saving grace is that most of his pieces are played out of positions-- basically moving chord shapes up and down the fingerboard.

Watch me play Hot Frets and you can see what I mean (Hot Frets is also in three and four flats).

In the classic banjo world "Natural Keys" are C, G, F, and relative minors.  While most music was published in those keys, one encounters nearly all others.  Composers and arrangers will typically work out of positions to make them more comfortable to play.  It is not "easy"  but then again, it is not "hard" either.

Scales and experience (practice) make reading easy. 


Sep 18, 2019 - 9:46:43 AM

2452 posts since 4/19/2008

Think Cm & Fm

Sep 18, 2019 - 10:01:07 AM

csacwp

USA

2372 posts since 1/15/2014

quote:
Originally posted by Andyrhydycreuau
quote:
Originally posted by Culloden

Interesting that the music is written in E flat and A flat.


Maybe others more expert in finger style and tunings can explain that. Some of these old scores and pamphlet articles have details about tuning, but none of these would make either of those keys very easy!

It takes me weeks to work out a piece in standard notation. Months from Tab....


Like Joel says, there was just one tuning back then- gCGBD. Every so often the C is raised to D. I can play in any keys without having to resort to alternate tunings, as could other banjoists before the folk scare.

Sep 18, 2019 - 10:43:54 AM
Players Union Member

janolov

Sweden

39793 posts since 3/7/2006

quote:
Originally posted by Joel Hooks
quote:
Originally posted by Andyrhydycreuau
quote:
Originally posted by Culloden

Interesting that the music is written in E flat and A flat.


Maybe others more expert in finger style and tunings can explain that. Some of these old scores and pamphlet articles have details about tuning, but none of these would make either of those keys very easy!

It takes me weeks to work out a piece in standard notation. Months from Tab....


I'm not sure what you mean-- there was only one "tuning" gCGBD.

About 10% of the music stipulates to raise the bass one step to D which would put it into the home "tuning" of bluegrass.  This does not qualify as scordatura. 

On extremely rare occasion scordatura is given on a piece (put an emphasis on rare).  On those pieces the change in string pitch is ignored by the notation and one reads as if nothing was ever changed.  That is how scordatura is usually handled with notation.

Frank Lawes' pieces are on the more advanced end.  The one saving grace is that most of his pieces are played out of positions-- basically moving chord shapes up and down the fingerboard.

Watch me play Hot Frets and you can see what I mean (Hot Frets is also in three and four flats).

In the classic banjo world "Natural Keys" are C, G, F, and relative minors.  While most music was published in those keys, one encounters nearly all others.  Composers and arrangers will typically work out of positions to make them more comfortable to play.  It is not "easy"  but then again, it is not "hard" either.

Scales and experience (practice) make reading easy. 

 

 

 


I enjoyed the video! One observation I made was that Joel seems to have a rather relaxed right hand and still doing a lot of rapid, advanced right hand patterns. When watching Bluegrass players they often seems to stress their hands a lot in unnatural positions.

Sep 18, 2019 - 11:14:28 AM

4673 posts since 9/21/2007
Online Now

quote:
Originally posted by janolov
quote:
Originally posted by Joel Hooks
quote:
Originally posted by Andyrhydycreuau
quote:
Originally posted by Culloden

Interesting that the music is written in E flat and A flat.


Maybe others more expert in finger style and tunings can explain that. Some of these old scores and pamphlet articles have details about tuning, but none of these would make either of those keys very easy!

It takes me weeks to work out a piece in standard notation. Months from Tab....


I'm not sure what you mean-- there was only one "tuning" gCGBD.

About 10% of the music stipulates to raise the bass one step to D which would put it into the home "tuning" of bluegrass.  This does not qualify as scordatura. 

On extremely rare occasion scordatura is given on a piece (put an emphasis on rare).  On those pieces the change in string pitch is ignored by the notation and one reads as if nothing was ever changed.  That is how scordatura is usually handled with notation.

Frank Lawes' pieces are on the more advanced end.  The one saving grace is that most of his pieces are played out of positions-- basically moving chord shapes up and down the fingerboard.

Watch me play Hot Frets and you can see what I mean (Hot Frets is also in three and four flats).

In the classic banjo world "Natural Keys" are C, G, F, and relative minors.  While most music was published in those keys, one encounters nearly all others.  Composers and arrangers will typically work out of positions to make them more comfortable to play.  It is not "easy"  but then again, it is not "hard" either.

Scales and experience (practice) make reading easy. 

 

 

 


I enjoyed the video! One observation I made was that Joel seems to have a rather relaxed right hand and still doing a lot of rapid, advanced right hand patterns. When watching Bluegrass players they often seems to stress their hands a lot in unnatural positions.


Thank you Jan!  I have also noticed that some Bluegrass players will hold the neck parallel to the ground and bend their wrist to get into position. 

I have spent a lot of time studying old photos of classic players and their position.  I have also watched many videos on classical/Spanish guitarists showing position. 

I am far from perfect and it does not hurt to play for hours and hours so I am currently happy (but that could change).

One fear I have is repetitive motion injuries, so I try to pay attention to anything I might do to cause stress.

My one "bad habit" is that I anchor my pinkie,  Since I learned using 19th century instruction books that was the way it was done.  I try not to press down but I am not always successful.

Sep 18, 2019 - 11:59:19 AM

269 posts since 1/30/2019

Thanks for sharing that @Joelhooks, really nice. I guess what I meant by difficult was that in any of those keys the number of open strings played in any piece will be low in comparison to pieces played in the more natural keys you mentioned.
That would be more difficult for me for sure.
I really want to try a piece in this style, what you recommend as suitable for someone coming with relatively sound banjo / fretboard knowledge and some skill in other styles? Oh and I'll post another score in a few mins.....
Andy

Sep 18, 2019 - 12:11:44 PM

2684 posts since 5/29/2011

quote:
Originally posted by mmuussiiccaall

Think Cm & Fm


The musical notation ends on the major chords.

I didn't realize my original comment would stir up such a hornet's nest.

Sep 18, 2019 - 12:12:10 PM

269 posts since 1/30/2019

I might have answered my own question. This one looks ok...... But still open to suitable finger style piece for a finger style learner please!


 

Sep 18, 2019 - 12:38:34 PM
likes this

4673 posts since 9/21/2007
Online Now

quote:
Originally posted by Andyrhydycreuau

I might have answered my own question. This one looks ok...... But still open to suitable finger style piece for a finger style learner please!


Most people recommend a schottische titled "Sunflower Dance."

My views differ from many people.  I feel like instead of spending a month or two trying to learn one piece, that time could be spent learning the basics by working through "Mel Bay's Banjo Instructor" by Frank Bradbury.

This not only teaches the basics, but gets one versed in alternate fingering and position playing which is the key to this music.

So the choice is, two months spent learning one piece, or two months spent learning how to play and read music.

With the first choice you will be able to play one piece.  With the second you will be able to play all pieces up to your skill level (which gets better the more you practice).

The above Lulu has some cakewalk like syncopation which is not the best option for a first timer.  But it does not look hard either.

Sep 18, 2019 - 12:53:26 PM

269 posts since 1/30/2019

quote:
Originally posted by Joel Hooks
quote:
Originally posted by Andyrhydycreuau

I might have answered my own question. This one looks ok...... But still open to suitable finger style piece for a finger style learner please!


Most people recommend a schottische titled "Sunflower Dance."

My views differ from many people.  I feel like instead of spending a month or two trying to learn one piece, that time could be spent learning the basics by working through "Mel Bay's Banjo Instructor" by Frank Bradbury.

This not only teaches the basics, but gets one versed in alternate fingering and position playing which is the key to this music.

So the choice is, two months spent learning one piece, or two months spent learning how to play and read music.

With the first choice you will be able to play one piece.  With the second you will be able to play all pieces up to your skill level (which gets better the more you practice).

The above Lulu has some cakewalk like syncopation which is not the best option for a first timer.  But it does not look hard either.


Ok, off to work. I'll try the ebook version here https://www.melbay.com/Products/93238EB/banjo-method.aspx

That's the one you mean right?

Another score to follow....

Edited by - Andyrhydycreuau on 09/18/2019 12:56:10

Sep 18, 2019 - 1:02:29 PM

269 posts since 1/30/2019

Here's another..


 

Sep 18, 2019 - 1:46:32 PM

2452 posts since 4/19/2008

first half of It Goes Like This notice the minor flavor


Sep 18, 2019 - 2:02:14 PM

269 posts since 1/30/2019

quote:
Originally posted by mmuussiiccaall

first half of It Goes Like This notice the minor flavor


That's brilliant, thanks. What software does this?

I'm really quite sure this is no beginners piece!

Sep 18, 2019 - 2:14:43 PM

10702 posts since 4/23/2004

I think the Tarrant Bailey, Jnr. stuff is still in copyright.

While Joel's recommendation to learn notation is indeed the best way, I would pick a tune...maybe just a piece of one...and see if I enjoyed it. If you do, move forward. If not, you haven't acquired a book you'll never use.

"Sunflower Dance" is very accessable for modern banjoists. It has a strong, memorable melody and uses very common positions and fingerings. I tend to use melodic techniques (open strings if available) as well as standard 3-finger rather than "schoolbook" classic-style techniques (although it taught me the barre position in the B part).

Most of the period tutors contain 'basic' learning pieces but if you are already intermediate in another genre it can be painful to have to go thru the basics again (which I never did...I went right for the stuff I liked).

As far as keys go, any modern banjoist is going to cringe when they see Eb and Ab. Nobody* is trained to play in those keys without a capo. A clawhammer person might very well faint. ;-) Very different methodology for classic-style. The banjo becomes an orchestral instrument...any time, tempo or key!

*except the remaining 200 or so classic-style players in the world...

Edited by - trapdoor2 on 09/18/2019 14:19:36

Sep 18, 2019 - 2:21:46 PM

10702 posts since 4/23/2004

quote:
Originally posted by Andyrhydycreuau
quote:
Originally posted by mmuussiiccaall

first half of It Goes Like This notice the minor flavor


That's brilliant, thanks. What software does this?

I'm really quite sure this is no beginners piece!


Looks and sounds like TablEdit to me. I used it for a long time. Now I use Musescore (which is free and actually produces better looking scores as well as doing a great job with banjo tab).

Sep 18, 2019 - 2:28:51 PM

269 posts since 1/30/2019

quote:
Originally posted by trapdoor2
quote:
Originally posted by Andyrhydycreuau
quote:
Originally posted by mmuussiiccaall

first half of It Goes Like This notice the minor flavor


That's brilliant, thanks. What software does this?

I'm really quite sure this is no beginners piece!


Looks and sounds like TablEdit to me. I used it for a long time. Now I use Musescore (which is free and actually produces better looking scores as well as doing a great job with banjo tab).


Ok, I had musescore on my last phone, never found out that it could do tab. I'll have a play again someday. 

Sep 18, 2019 - 2:33:23 PM

269 posts since 1/30/2019

quote:
Originally posted by trapdoor2

I think the Tarrant Bailey, Jnr. stuff is still in copyright.

While Joel's recommendation to learn notation is indeed the best way, I would pick a tune...maybe just a piece of one...and see if I enjoyed it. If you do, move forward. If not, you haven't acquired a book you'll never use.

"Sunflower Dance" is very accessable for modern banjoists. It has a strong, memorable melody and uses very common positions and fingerings. I tend to use melodic techniques (open strings if available) as well as standard 3-finger rather than "schoolbook" classic-style techniques (although it taught me the barre position in the B part).

Most of the period tutors contain 'basic' learning pieces but if you are already intermediate in another genre it can be painful to have to go thru the basics again (which I never did...I went right for the stuff I liked).

As far as keys go, any modern banjoist is going to cringe when they see Eb and Ab. Nobody* is trained to play in those keys without a capo. A clawhammer person might very well faint. ;-) Very different methodology for classic-style. The banjo becomes an orchestral instrument...any time, tempo or key!

*except the remaining 200 or so classic-style players in the world...

 

 


I almost did faint. And the tab shared above proves my point about open strings. But like you say, this is a different mindset. 

Fascinating stuff though. 

And oops re copyright. Will try to remove.....

Sep 18, 2019 - 3:50:45 PM

10702 posts since 4/23/2004

quote:
Originally posted by Andyrhydycreuau
quote:
Originally posted by trapdoor2

I think the Tarrant Bailey, Jnr. stuff is still in copyright.

While Joel's recommendation to learn notation is indeed the best way, I would pick a tune...maybe just a piece of one...and see if I enjoyed it. If you do, move forward. If not, you haven't acquired a book you'll never use.

"Sunflower Dance" is very accessable for modern banjoists. It has a strong, memorable melody and uses very common positions and fingerings. I tend to use melodic techniques (open strings if available) as well as standard 3-finger rather than "schoolbook" classic-style techniques (although it taught me the barre position in the B part).

Most of the period tutors contain 'basic' learning pieces but if you are already intermediate in another genre it can be painful to have to go thru the basics again (which I never did...I went right for the stuff I liked).

As far as keys go, any modern banjoist is going to cringe when they see Eb and Ab. Nobody* is trained to play in those keys without a capo. A clawhammer person might very well faint. ;-) Very different methodology for classic-style. The banjo becomes an orchestral instrument...any time, tempo or key!

*except the remaining 200 or so classic-style players in the world...

 

 


I almost did faint. And the tab shared above proves my point about open strings. But like you say, this is a different mindset. 

Fascinating stuff though. 

And oops re copyright. Will try to remove.....


The tab posted by Rick has not been optimized, I would guess he simply wanted to let us hear the piece and back up his "Cm/Fm" key proposition. IOW, I don't think he was presenting the tab as a finished product.

When you start thinking "orchestral", you realize that there is much more control required for note duration. You wouldn't want to assign an open string to a 16th note...it rings far too long for that (even though a banjo note dies out quickly). Closed positions allow you to better control note duration...

Sep 18, 2019 - 5:36:02 PM

4673 posts since 9/21/2007
Online Now

Well,  I am glad you posted "Taking It Easy" as I have not seen it before and so I nabbed it.  It is a cute piece.

for some of the finest left hand work ever captured on film check out the TBJ films on youtube.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YIkGXKV4SFU

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5O6_EPu_920

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=as4FGoaly9A

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