This is my first post so hopefully I am in the right place. I am wondering if anyone knows what the banjo part is in The New Pornographers "Challengers". I am a beginner and my ear is just not that good yet. Here is the link to the song and the banjo comes in at 3:38.
Not my type of music, but all he's doing is strumming across the strings using mainly barre chords .... at least that's what I saw and heard.
Thank you for the quick reply! I got that part, but wondering if you could hear what tuning it is in or what the chords are?
To find out the chords: Slow down the song with Audacity (which does not change the pitch unless you tell it to). Put your banjo in your favorite, most understood tuning, preferably one that will make a chord with no fretting (ie. an "open" tuning, like gDGBD, open G). Be sure you are tuned to standard pitches by using your electronic tuner to check that your strings are neither sharp nor flat. Then have Audacity to repeat one phrase over and over. At the beginning of many songs, the chord of the initial phrase is often the same as the key. Then, make barre chords on your banjo to try to match the chord repeatedly playing in Audacity.
If you can't figure out the 1st chord, then repeat the procedure with a strong song chord in another part of the song. The last chord of the song is often same as the song's key, for instance.
If no barre chord matches precisely, then the song musicians likely altered their tuning away from standard pitches. This was Very common in the old time days, often to make the song easier for the lead singer. Alteration away from standard pitches also occurs commonly in old field recordings because the batteries of the tape recorder (or the wire recorder, my teacher in 7th grade used one) were getting old, and the reel-to-reel machine was spinning slower than it normally spun. In this situation, you can use Audacity to alter the pitch of the song up or down a bit: I start with 1/2 a semitone or maybe a complete semitone. It's easier/faster to alter the song electronically with your computer than retune your banjo. Then go thru the barre chord matching procedure again.
Once you have figured out the key, then try playing along with the song in the 3 most common chords in folk music: the I, IV, and V chords. That is the 1st note of the scale chord, the 4th note of the scale chord and the 5th note of the scale chord. For key of C, these would be C, F, G chords; for key of G: G, C, D chords, for key of D: D, G, A. A major chord, the most usual in music, is comprized of the 1 3 5 notes, that is every other note starting on the name of the chord note. For C chord, this would be C E G. For G chord: G B D. Sharps and flats may be needed in the chord (except for key of C): I just write out the scale putting the sharps or flats in the right place, then pick out the 1 3 5 notes from the written scale. eg. Key of G one sharp F#: G A B C D E F# G, I IV V chords = G B D, C E G, D F# A
Free Audacity program site for both Mac and Windows (and I think Linx):
Hope this helps. If you already knew all this, no offense intended.
Edited by - BrooksMT on 06/01/2020 09:55:51
Aww dang, thank you! So much info. Thanks. I have used chordify with some success, but the audacity method sounds great??
You can also slow down the Youtube. On the bar in the lower part of the video there is a whell symbol. Click there and choose the speed you want. Then you still can watch the film and listen to the music with the same speed.
And that doesn't affect the pitch, making it a different chord?
Correct, the pitch does not change when the tempo is slowed on YouTube.
Good to know. Thank you so much, David.
rascalphoto Youtube has it's own slowdown--not as good as audacity, maybe. There a cogwheel icon below the video on YT. click on it and a set of options are show. You slow or speed the video.
Thank you so much!