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May 20, 2024 - 2:19:08 PM
37 posts since 4/10/2006

Does anyone have any experience of playing banjo in the Steve Martin musical 'Bright Star'? If so what was your experience like? Are there tabs to work from and was it difficult?

May 20, 2024 - 2:28:35 PM

153 posts since 12/26/2019

There are mentions of it in the forum archive; you can search for 'Bright Star'

One of them mentions a 'Bright Star' iPhone app with tabs:

May 20, 2024 - 6:13:43 PM

15255 posts since 6/2/2008

Bright Star app.

Be aware: The banjo score is written with the suggestion two banjos in two different tunings. I've read a comment from someone -- maybe it's in the linked discussion -- that they did the show using just one banjo.

It may not important that the banjo parts be played exactly as Steve Martin envisioned and worked out with Bennett Sullivan throughout tryouts and the Broadway run. To most audiences, banjo sounds like banjo. I saw the show on Broadway, and my recollection is there are only a few places where the notes played by the banjo are important -- to the extent they matter for what's happening on stage at the moment. They're plicked phrases to go along with the action, the way background music occasionally does in shows.

For all the rest -- I don't think it matters in the scheme of things if you play something in a different tuning or use a capo or play three-finger when the original was clawhammer. Even the entr'acte -- a bluegrassy instrumental with a three-finger banjo lead -- might conceivably be played clawhammer if that's what you do.

Finally, Bennett is a member here. He might be open to offering insight or pointers on doing the job.

Have fun and good luck.

May 21, 2024 - 1:59:09 PM

37 posts since 4/10/2006

Thank you for your insight. I kind of figured that since this is not Broadway that I could get by not playing the exact score.

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