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Why are there two lines on this banjo tab sheet music

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Jul 4, 2020 - 2:43:01 PM

nhojaw

USA

6 posts since 3/15/2020

I’m still a novice, so please forgive me if this is a bad question or if I use the wrong words.

I have some sheet music that has two lines/rows for each row. The top line is the melody, and the bottom line has rolls and licks, but the rolls and licks don’t seem like a very good substitute for the melody. What is the 2nd row for? A second banjo?

I put an example in the attached image.

While we’re at it, the melody notes don’t sound anything like the Wagon Wheel song as I know it, could it be that I need to tune my banjo differently? There’s no notation about that anywhere on the sheet music.

Thanks in advance for any and all advice and information!


 

Jul 4, 2020 - 2:48:06 PM
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chuckv97

Canada

50976 posts since 10/5/2013
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No, the second line is ok,, and with regular G tuning. Played slowly when first learning it might not sound like the song. Not every melody note is found in the rolls.  As well the surrounding notes mixed in with the melody can seem strange at first. That’s the nature of bluegrass banjo picking.

Edited by - chuckv97 on 07/04/2020 14:57:56

Jul 4, 2020 - 2:53:15 PM

nhojaw

USA

6 posts since 3/15/2020

Thank you @chuckv97. So, I could do any of these?

1. Just play the melody on the top line
2. Use the top line and add my own licks and rolls
3. Use the bottom line and use the authors licks and rolls

Jul 4, 2020 - 3:00:24 PM
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chuckv97

Canada

50976 posts since 10/5/2013
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Yes, if you don’t like the author’s picking version, you can change it to get more of the melody notes. But make sure you have the right number of notes/beats per measure. If you have some other music experience I’m sure you can figure out a way to do that. BTW, is that from the Hal Leonard "Easy Banjo Solos" book?  I have it and it looks the same.  Some note changes should be made here and there in that solo, either to get melody or because it's not feasible in places.

Edited by - chuckv97 on 07/04/2020 15:04:46

Jul 4, 2020 - 3:06:58 PM
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nhojaw

USA

6 posts since 3/15/2020

That is from sheet music direct dot com. Thanks again for the advice and tips!

Jul 4, 2020 - 3:09:17 PM
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3195 posts since 5/29/2011
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You can do any of the three options. The top line alone will sound pretty stale because it is the melody without any embellishment. If you play the top line and use your own rolls and licks you will develop your own version. If you play the bottom line and use the author's rools and licks you will be playing someone else's style.
I would opt for working on option 1 until you know the melody inside and out. Then try option2. Develop the song the way it fits you. Using option 3 will give you some ideas about how someone else plays the same song. Work on another person's licks and see if you can fit them into your playing as a variation from your own way. Stealing(borrowing) licks from other players and working them into your playing is a centuries old custom not confined to banjo playing.
I hope that made sense.

Jul 4, 2020 - 3:29:47 PM

chuckv97

Canada

50976 posts since 10/5/2013
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quote:
Originally posted by nhojaw

That is from sheet music direct dot com. Thanks again for the advice and tips!


Ok, ya, it says "powered by Hal Leonard" so it will be the same as in the book I mentioned. 

Jul 4, 2020 - 5:30:10 PM

Owen

Canada

5843 posts since 6/5/2011
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Me too... I’m still a novice, so please forgive me if this is a bad question or if I use the wrong words.... could the two lines (?) be combined into one, with the melody highlighted (like in Jack Hatfield's book)?

And tongue-in-cheek, there is another option: Throw in the towel now, while you still have a modicum of sanity left.   cheeky

Jul 4, 2020 - 5:32:05 PM
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chuckv97

Canada

50976 posts since 10/5/2013
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Yes you could ,Owen......a capital idea if I say so myself !

Edited by - chuckv97 on 07/04/2020 17:33:08

Jul 4, 2020 - 6:48:50 PM
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10958 posts since 6/2/2008

quote:
Originally posted by Owen

could the two lines (?) be combined into one, with the melody highlighted (like in Jack Hatfield's book)?


It would not be very easy to play. It could be downright unplayable.

Edited by - Old Hickory on 07/04/2020 18:49:12

Jul 4, 2020 - 7:04:05 PM
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chuckv97

Canada

50976 posts since 10/5/2013
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I was more or less thinking along the lines of the poster’s #2 option, not literally combining everything on both lines.

Jul 5, 2020 - 10:16:41 AM

nhojaw

USA

6 posts since 3/15/2020

I find it really hard to play the licks and rolls when they’re all written out like the bottom line. Too many notes to read.

Jul 5, 2020 - 10:26:31 AM
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Texasbanjo (Moderator)

USA

24653 posts since 8/3/2003

quote:
Originally posted by nhojaw

I find it really hard to play the licks and rolls when they’re all written out like the bottom line. Too many notes to read.


The more tabs you learn to play, the easier it gets.  You'll begin to recognize certain rolls, licks and/or phrases and won't have to stop and figure out how to play them.  It happens with time, effort and lots of practice, practice, practice.

Jul 5, 2020 - 11:00:03 AM

nhojaw

USA

6 posts since 3/15/2020

I'll keep working on it!

Jul 5, 2020 - 11:28:38 AM

chuckv97

Canada

50976 posts since 10/5/2013
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“No pain, no gain”

Edited by - chuckv97 on 07/05/2020 11:31:48

Jul 5, 2020 - 12:57:55 PM

3195 posts since 5/29/2011
Online Now

quote:
Originally posted by nhojaw

I find it really hard to play the licks and rolls when they’re all written out like the bottom line. Too many notes to read.


Then your option number 2 is probably your best bet. I tend to play that way from standard notation. If I have a melody line to go by I can fill in the rest.

Jul 5, 2020 - 4:54:14 PM
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10958 posts since 6/2/2008

quote:
Originally posted by chuckv97

I was more or less thinking along the lines of the poster’s #2 option, not literally combining everything on both lines.


Got it. The rolling tab comes close to a melody then stays off it in spots.  I find Wagon Wheel to be deceptive. Sounds like it should be easy. And it is easy to play backup or a non-literal solo. But more actual melody in a solo, not so much.

Jul 6, 2020 - 3:51:52 AM
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3521 posts since 12/6/2009

I don’t read music so I’m guessing why the two diagrams. The top is to show the true melody of the music. With Scruggs style it is impossible to play that melody note for note so tabs the bottom diagram lines are instructions from a writer’s interpretation as what he/she thinks gives a good illusion of that melody sound using rolls and tricks to help. I can remember Bobby Thompson once saying he pursued the single note playing to try and solve that melody problem which led to more and more melodic banjo. (which I think failed IMHO).
Most experience BG pickers already know the melodies and the older ones all play “ by ear” so automatically can intertwine the two in a comprehensible creation with as minimal distractions as possible. You will however notice a lot of the new so called “progressives” going note crazy. Bill Monroe quote:” a whole lot of notes about nothing”….so keep it close to the vest if playing good bluegrass.

Jul 9, 2020 - 3:45:40 PM

RB-1

Netherlands

3733 posts since 6/17/2003

quote:
Originally posted by overhere

I don’t read music so I’m guessing why the two diagrams. The top is to show the true melody of the music. With Scruggs style it is impossible to play that melody note for note so tabs the bottom diagram lines are instructions from a writer’s interpretation as what he/she thinks gives a good illusion of that melody sound using rolls and tricks to help. I can remember Bobby Thompson once saying he pursued the single note playing to try and solve that melody problem which led to more and more melodic banjo. (which I think failed IMHO).
Most experience BG pickers already know the melodies and the older ones all play “ by ear” so automatically can intertwine the two in a comprehensible creation with as minimal distractions as possible. You will however notice a lot of the new so called “progressives” going note crazy. Bill Monroe quote:” a whole lot of notes about nothing”….so keep it close to the vest if playing good bluegrass.


Of course the above - and especially the last sentence-  is just an opinion.  Of -to put it bluntly- rather limited musical comprehension. Which in itself is OK, of course, but it shouldn't be abused for limiting a  style to something that is only a part of it. An important foundation, but by no means defining the complete style.

Of course melodic Banjo is by no means the lesser to traditional Scruggs, just a logical way to play things more exactly as where the original Scruggs style couldn't cope anymore.

Monroe himself encouraged his banjo players to develop a style of their own and as a result, melodics earned their justified place in his music.

Just not throwing out the child with the bath water, but that's not what I read in the rant above. This process of renewal and development hasn't stopped after Monroe (and Scruggs) left us and continued it's natural way.

Bluegrass is like Jazz, or Classical music, it keeps developing.

Jazz from the 21st century sounds considerably different from Jazz that was played at the beginning of the 20th, still it's Jazz. Classical music from the 21st century sounds different from that, written in the 14th, yet both are Classical music. If we treat Bluegrass just as serious as both previous examples, labeling it a Style, then it's logical to expect Bluegrass from it's birth (Dec. 1945) sounding considerably different from Bluegrass "written" and recorded in the 21st century.

Labeling Traditional as 'good' and anything else as 'bad' is not a realistic representation. It can be an expression of taste, but nothing more. The other way round would be just as ridiculous.

To the original question, the top line is a close approximation of the melody ( yet with the finer timing and note bending details left out), the second is a very crude 3 finger 'arrangement' that sticks to the chords, but that's about it.

For back up it's 'too busy', for a solo it contains no melody.  IMHO it's not a good example for beginners.

Jul 10, 2020 - 3:49:56 AM
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3521 posts since 12/6/2009

RB-1....
Your analogy is typical. You see developing a “new” approach doesn’t necessarily mean an extension of an original. It simply means “a new way”….Bluegrass is an entity onto itself. Thinking because playing in a progressive style and trying to make it just something added to is a falsehood. Melodic is not bluegrass period. As is not playing in abstract and calling it similar to jazz….Jazz is not of any part of any music. Jazz is a form unto its own. Progressive Banjo playing is an entity onto its own….lack of imagination only prevents it from having a label (title) (identity). I suppose because it’s a Banjo and banjos are a hard sell by themselves…. Attaching the sound to something familiar is a way of selling it. I am not against the banjo from growing into or for a better word morphing into its own new sound and I encourage any form of banjo playing that sells itself in popularity a plus. My objection is…. [ when it isn’t bluegrass it isn’t bluegrass] don’t call it bluegrass….like Jazz….Rock….Gospel….Oprah…etc find a new home for it…..example;….as great and as talented as Bela Fleck is I don’t see too many Bluegrass fans at his concerts….so call it maybe Bela Fleck music eh? And I’ll tell you another secret because I am an old guy….when Bill Monroe was first told about Bill Keith and Monroe had him come to his dressing room to check him out….the results were Monroe saying and I have to paraphrase as I don’t have any link….” A fine player but it’s not my kind of music”….. I think at the time Keith played him Sailors Hornpipe. But for some reason won’t hear those quotes too often.
I also am not saying some play their music in various styles that can be argued as “progressive” and are very good at it…Seldom Scene…. But their roots keep it inside a circle of acceptance …John Duffy said it " there are really good musicians out there....but they aren't playing bluegrass" ........Music genre doesn’t change….it morphs into something new and should be labeled as such. You say…”.like Jazz bluegrass changes”….I say “no it doesn’t change, A new music is born” , not bluegrass…MHOP

Edited by - overhere on 07/10/2020 03:58:44

Jul 10, 2020 - 1:48:38 PM

RB-1

Netherlands

3733 posts since 6/17/2003

Then let me re phrase:

To all newcomers, beware of people who are trying making you believe that something, containing non-supertraditional banjo, can't be Bluegrass.

That phase ended over 60 years ago, when non-traditional banjo players started playing Bluegrass in Bluegrass bands. Don Reno and Don Stover come to mind, but there are more....

As soon as you have enough understanding of Bluegrass as a style, you will understand expressions of taste (this is/ in't Bluegrass) shouldn't be mistaken for a style's definition.

Béla Fleck, playing with the Flecktones clearly isn't playing Bluegrass, but him playing Bluegrass in a Bluegrass band clearly is, no matter the complexity of his playing due to his technical superiority to most of us mortals.

Jul 13, 2020 - 3:09:57 PM

2218 posts since 4/5/2006

Getting back to the OP's original question. The top line is the straight melody as one would sing it. The bottom line is someone's interpretation of a Scruggs style banjo break. Scruggs style is often syncopated, resulting in a melody note being a little ahead or behind where it would be in the straight melody referenced above. This is not as unusual as it may seem, even vocalist's do it as an attention getter. The other thing that is lacking in tablature is emphasis of the individual notes. Drives beginners nuts. Just listen to a computer generated speech pattern. It's English, but that robot sound is making it barely intelligible. Training the mind to run on auto pilot, making the fingers put the emphasis where it belongs is just a matter of time & practice. Hang in there. One day, just like Ruebin came to Earl, it'll happen.

Jul 13, 2020 - 3:22:02 PM

nhojaw

USA

6 posts since 3/15/2020

Thanks! I'm finding better success with other songs.

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