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May 15, 2021 - 5:33:14 AM
330 posts since 2/23/2019

I'm teaching myself one of Vivaldi's concertos for solo banjo (RV 356) but about mid way through the concerto I realized the lowest note is a G. I assume I have 2 choices:

1) Either raise the entire piece up to a key that I can play its range more easily (if possible), or
2) Lower my 4th string down to a G (if possible, never tried it)

Is that the gist of it?

May 15, 2021 - 5:55:30 AM
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3061 posts since 2/18/2009

Or just play that one note an octave out of place. It will not sound the same, but it will not be discordant.

May 15, 2021 - 6:20:48 AM
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3460 posts since 9/12/2016

It depends a bit on the note's role in the piece.imo. What you say about hits the nail on the head.Sometimes I raise the whole phrase an octave. Seeing the notation would possibly ,add things to the details

May 15, 2021 - 6:43:12 AM
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57397 posts since 12/14/2005

What a perfect excuse to buy another banjo!
When you are about to perform Vivaldi's piece, tuck wadded padding under all but the 4th string, tune the 4th to the required G, lay the banjo on the floor (on a suitable pad, of course!).
Take off one shoe, sit comfortably, play the piece, and when the low G is needed, strum the string with your toe.

I offer this advice, not as a command, but, obviously,  merely as a footnote.   wink

May 15, 2021 - 7:21:31 AM
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3757 posts since 3/28/2008

I see three notes that lie outside the banjo's range: an A in bar 17, a G in bar 20, and a B in bar 34. They all occur in similar passages, where they're not part of a linear melody, but are preceded and followed by big jumps. In that context, I think it'd be fine to play them an octave higher than in the original score.

Edited by - Ira Gitlin on 05/15/2021 07:21:47

May 15, 2021 - 8:40:33 AM
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1373 posts since 5/19/2018

Buy a Theorbo.

People seem to be pretty impressed when someone pulls one of those out of a case, unlike a banjo.....

May 15, 2021 - 8:44:49 AM
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Players Union Member

janolov

Sweden

41064 posts since 3/7/2006

I agree with Ira Gitlin. In this tune you just can play these three notes one octave higher. I think there are very few persons that would discover this if they were listen to you.

May 15, 2021 - 11:09:02 AM
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8547 posts since 8/28/2013

I also agree with Ira Gitlin. I also agree with Jan that "very few people would discover this..." unless perhaps they had thorough knowledge of the piece.

May 15, 2021 - 11:26:28 AM

3460 posts since 9/12/2016

yep that is why I asked for the score,but seeing it was Ira answering I knew it was well covered and no need to dig deeper

May 15, 2021 - 12:39:26 PM
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20 posts since 5/8/2021

Just bump it up and octave, and I think you'll be fine. It's baroque, so if anybody has a problem with it, just tell them it's an embellishment.

May 16, 2021 - 4:13:02 AM

330 posts since 2/23/2019

Thanks all, that's what I'll do, a lot simpler than trying to redo the piece with transposing, changing tunings, or buying/changing instruments.

May 16, 2021 - 7:37:58 AM
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57397 posts since 12/14/2005

quote:
Originally posted by Alvin Conder

Buy a Theorbo.

People seem to be pretty impressed when someone pulls one of those out of a case, unlike a banjo.....


Oh, my my!

Oh, HELL yes!!

May 16, 2021 - 7:53:17 AM
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3757 posts since 3/28/2008

quote:
Originally posted by Tractor1

yep that is why I asked for the score,but seeing it was Ira answering I knew it was well covered and no need to dig deeper


Aw, shucks....

Edited by - Ira Gitlin on 05/16/2021 07:53:36

May 16, 2021 - 8:07:53 AM
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395 posts since 2/16/2014

finger-picker

I sure would like to hear it once you are up and running with the tune.

May 16, 2021 - 9:53:29 AM
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330 posts since 2/23/2019

quote:
Originally posted by aintbrokejustbadlybent

finger-picker

I sure would like to hear it once you are up and running with the tune.


It's a really pretty song, I will record myself once I get up to a reasonable tempo. I've recorded several other classical pieces already if you want to peruse my library on the Hangout or on Youtube. Not professional/performance worthy recordings but benchmarks to which I can learn and grow from:

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCbdv7RfXy47qa8PwHTTEZUA


May 16, 2021 - 10:30:46 AM
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3460 posts since 9/12/2016

Nice ,You certainly show you know what to do,some are polished some need a bit more( millions hours of practice) to go into the realm of polished ,but man that is one tall hill you are climbing. .All of my music needs work so this ain't an expert pointing downward..I especially like that minuet in A on the front page the way it morphs to the minor. John Mkuen with Nitty Gritty has a bach piece he plays on the Uncle Charlie album

May 16, 2021 - 12:27:01 PM
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11718 posts since 6/2/2008

Agreeing with everyone who said to just play those unattainable notes an octave higher.

Many players do that in Bach's Cello Suite in G Prelude. There are low C# and C just below the banjo's usual range. Search tabs and you'll find some in drop C tuning to hit that low note as written and some in standard G playing them an octave higher. You have to know the piece to notice the difference.

Here's Jens Kruger playing it in drop C. The low notes occur at 1 minute.

Here's someone else playing it very well, but jumping the octave for the C# and C. Happens at 1:02.

Here's someone playing the whole piece an octave lower, though probably the octave as written. Apparently in standard G. Still, when he comes to the section I mentioned above, he jumps the octave. There are some phrases in here that don't sound the same as others. Can't put my finger on it.

A friend from the Hangout once told me that with classical works, there's sometimes uncertainty as to which manuscript is the oldest or most accurate to the original. Point is, even though these are composed pieces, you might have some room to modify. And who's going to know?

May 16, 2021 - 1:39:43 PM
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57397 posts since 12/14/2005

"Who's going to know?" indeed!
We had a talent show in 1965.
Classmate of mine was singing a folk song, hit a clinker, goggled in embarrassment, and started that verse over.
But, in that 99-seat theater, only her, and her mom and her dad, would have known she said the wrong word in CHINESE!

May 16, 2021 - 2:45:18 PM

8547 posts since 8/28/2013

Not much is ever noticed. I played the wrong chord many times as a Shakey's Pizza Parlor player.

The best (worst?0 example I remember was at a concert wind and piano piece was being performed. The clarinaet and oboe both somehow lost there places and the flute had to improvise to cover them. Besides the performers, I was the only audience member who could tell something was amiss. I had been to the dress rehearsal.

May 16, 2021 - 2:48:54 PM

chas5strings

France

675 posts since 5/3/2014

You're going to have to treat bar 12 the same if you're playing the note up an octave? but bar 34 (was it?) is different so it would be nice to keep that leap.

May 16, 2021 - 4:09:04 PM

330 posts since 2/23/2019

quote:
Originally posted by Old Hickory

Here's someone playing the whole piece an octave lower, though probably the octave as written. Apparently in standard G. Still, when he comes to the section I mentioned above, he jumps the octave. There are some phrases in here that don't sound the same as others. Can't put my finger on it.


His version sounds very metallic, maybe the mic is too close? Also it looks like he’s doing tons of sliding up and down his fretting positions which might be adding more passing tones that just sound cluttered. Couldn’t pick out a certain section that veered off the path too far though. 

May 16, 2021 - 6:08:01 PM

11718 posts since 6/2/2008

quote:
Originally posted by finger-picker
His version sounds very metallic, maybe the mic is too close? Also it looks like he’s doing tons of sliding up and down his fretting positions which might be adding more passing tones that just sound cluttered. Couldn’t pick out a certain section that veered off the path too far though. 

I think the tone he's getting is a combination of recording gear and setup, his Chinese Fender banjo (which, like its Washburn cousin tends toward treble), and maybe picking technique. He's a good player. I've seen his stuff elsewhere. But in this piece, it sounds to me like he's attacking it like bluegrass instead of trying for a more mellow tone. Now, seeing as he's picking up near the bridge it could well be that he's going for a different tone and the recording is to blame for what we hear.

I pick up a few melodic variations here and there from what I believe is the usual way this goes. I think those are accommodations for the change in octave.

That being said . . . I think dropping this an octave sounds really good. I've been working on this piece off and on for many years. Not diligently enough to get it done! I've been doing it up the neck where most versions are written. Now I wonder if down the neck is worth pursuing.  Then I'll definitely never get it done.

May 17, 2021 - 6:51:45 AM

330 posts since 2/23/2019

quote:
Originally posted by Old Hickory
quote:
Originally posted by finger-picker
His version sounds very metallic, maybe the mic is too close? Also it looks like he’s doing tons of sliding up and down his fretting positions which might be adding more passing tones that just sound cluttered. Couldn’t pick out a certain section that veered off the path too far though. 

I think the tone he's getting is a combination of recording gear and setup, his Chinese Fender banjo (which, like its Washburn cousin tends toward treble), and maybe picking technique. He's a good player. I've seen his stuff elsewhere. But in this piece, it sounds to me like he's attacking it like bluegrass instead of trying for a more mellow tone. Now, seeing as he's picking up near the bridge it could well be that he's going for a different tone and the recording is to blame for what we hear.

I pick up a few melodic variations here and there from what I believe is the usual way this goes. I think those are accommodations for the change in octave.

That being said . . . I think dropping this an octave sounds really good. I've been working on this piece off and on for many years. Not diligently enough to get it done! I've been doing it up the neck where most versions are written. Now I wonder if down the neck is worth pursuing.  Then I'll definitely never get it done.


I'm pretty sure he's using the Hal Leonard drop C version of Prelude. I recorded it at a slower tempo and also capo'd up to E Flat, our hand movements look to be very similar. This version uses a lot of slurs throughout the piece. I'm actually practicing it in C more nowadays to get that full bass note feel and also playing the individual strings in place of the slurs because I think it sounds a bit better. Anyway, here is the page 1 excerpt and my video, attached. 

I'm curious if this version is taking some liberties and whether I should actually learn another version that's more true to the original source? 


May 17, 2021 - 2:11:16 PM

11718 posts since 6/2/2008

quote:
Originally posted by finger-picker
(1 ) I'm pretty sure he's using the Hal Leonard drop C version of Prelude. I recorded it at a slower tempo and also capo'd up to E Flat, our hand movements look to be very similar.  
(2)  This version uses a lot of slurs throughout the piece.
(3) I'm actually practicing it in C more nowadays to get that full bass note feel and also playing the individual strings in place of the slurs because I think it sounds a bit better. Anyway, here is the page 1 excerpt and my video, attached. 

(4)  I'm curious if this version is taking some liberties and whether I should actually learn another version that's more true to the original source? 


1 > Well that explains a lot! As I mentioned above, some transcribers have tabbed it out in drop C in the key G. This is, after all, the prelude from Cello Suite Number 1 in G.

2 > Judging just from the sample page and from the player's video, I believe the slurs are used to avoid tricky fingering or even two-note single string passages, which might not be all that tricky.  This is a perfectly acceptable banjoistic choice.  Using slurs to simplify the sounding of notes is an important part of m personal technique or approach to banjo. But late in life I'm now trying to accomplish more of those with single-string. I find it can sometimes keep a roll going, even if two strikes in the roll are on the same string.

3 >  As hinted at in answer 1 above, and in one of my previous posts, you can get that full bass note feel playing the piece in the key of G by playing the piece in drop C.  In the last few measures leading up to the pause at measure 23 or 24, the melody hits a low C# and then a low C.  What threw me off about the recording we're discussing is this version starts on low notes and plays some low notes throughout the first 23 measures. BUT, when it gets to the phrases leading up to the pause, this version jumps the octave for what would otherwise be the actual two lowest notes in the piece. I only just now realized that's because this version is in C, not G.

So let me say for the third or fourth time: As written in G, the two lowest notes in the piece are C# and C. You can hit those in the key of G in drop C tuning, with C being the lowest note on the banjo.

4 > For the fifth or sixth time: one liberty this version takes is transposing the piece to the key of C. I don't have the time to listen to it measure by measure to catch what I think are differences. And hearing it in a different key makes that harder to do. Comparing the standard notation in two different keys wouldnt be particularly easy for me, either. So I'm going to say this version sounds different to me and leave it at that.

Have fun with whatever version or approach you take. You're taking on some ambitious material. It will pay off in the end.

May 17, 2021 - 5:01:13 PM

330 posts since 2/23/2019

quote:
Originally posted by Old Hickory
quote:
Originally posted by finger-picker
(1 ) I'm pretty sure he's using the Hal Leonard drop C version of Prelude. I recorded it at a slower tempo and also capo'd up to E Flat, our hand movements look to be very similar.  
(2)  This version uses a lot of slurs throughout the piece.
(3) I'm actually practicing it in C more nowadays to get that full bass note feel and also playing the individual strings in place of the slurs because I think it sounds a bit better. Anyway, here is the page 1 excerpt and my video, attached. 

(4)  I'm curious if this version is taking some liberties and whether I should actually learn another version that's more true to the original source? 


1 > Well that explains a lot! As I mentioned above, some transcribers have tabbed it out in drop C in the key G. This is, after all, the prelude from Cello Suite Number 1 in G.


Wow I never realized it was in the key of G, lol, but as this piece states, they transposed to key of C. Hmmm, maybe I'll learn a key of G version. Here's the full tab btw, wasn't sure how copyrighted material works if I should just post an excerpt or the whole thing. I'm sure someone will say something if I'm not allowed to do this. 


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