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Jun 8, 2024 - 1:00 PM

Kellie

USA

229 posts since 1/19/2018

Melodic style seems to limit the polyphonic capabilities of the instrument. The chords can't be spaced out that much, only two octaves, but The banjo is capable of being a polyphonic instrument. I feel like the acoustic electric banjola would be a better fit though I'm not quite sure yet.

Jun 8, 2024 - 2:27:36 PM
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5832 posts since 5/29/2011

Melodic style is pleasing when it is interspersed within the song. To me, when someone plays straight melodic style, it sounds like nothing but a continuous stream of notes and the melody seems to get lost somewhere.
I remember Bill Emerson once talking about melodic style. He used a good analogy about icing on a cake. He said that too much can ruin a song, but a little bit thrown in for effect can spice up a break really well.

Jun 8, 2024 - 2:27:57 PM
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RB-1

Netherlands

4003 posts since 6/17/2003

quote:
Originally posted by Kellie

Melodic style seems to limit the polyphonic capabilities of the instrument. The chords can't be spaced out that much, only two octaves, but The banjo is capable of being a polyphonic instrument. I feel like the acoustic electric banjola would be a better fit though I'm not quite sure yet.


How long have you been playing now?

Edited by - RB-1 on 06/08/2024 14:28:52

Jun 8, 2024 - 2:37:48 PM

RB-1

Netherlands

4003 posts since 6/17/2003

quote:
Originally posted by Culloden

Melodic style is pleasing when it is interspersed within the song. To me, when someone plays straight melodic style, it sounds like nothing but a continuous stream of notes and the melody seems to get lost somewhere.


I've yet to hear a good example of that.

quote:


Originally posted by Culloden

I remember Bill Emerson once talking about melodic style. He used a good analogy about icing on a cake. He said that too much can ruin a song, but a little bit thrown in for effect can spice up a break really well.

The way he played certainly benefitted from this approach ( he's one of my banjo heroes).

But for others a pure melodic style could do wonders.

Edited by - RB-1 on 06/08/2024 14:38:17

Jun 8, 2024 - 2:49:14 PM

Kellie

USA

229 posts since 1/19/2018

quote:
Originally posted by RB-1
quote:
Originally posted by Kellie

Melodic style seems to limit the polyphonic capabilities of the instrument. The chords can't be spaced out that much, only two octaves, but The banjo is capable of being a polyphonic instrument. I feel like the acoustic electric banjola would be a better fit though I'm not quite sure yet.


How long have you been playing now?


About almost a year I think. On and off but I get better every time I come back to it. I'm fully committed now. A lot of people were telling me that I can't do this, it sort of discouraged me.

Jun 8, 2024 - 3:23:57 PM

RB-1

Netherlands

4003 posts since 6/17/2003

quote:
Originally posted by Kellie
quote:
Originally posted by RB-1
quote:
Originally posted by Kellie

Melodic style seems to limit the polyphonic capabilities of the instrument. The chords can't be spaced out that much, only two octaves, but The banjo is capable of being a polyphonic instrument. I feel like the acoustic electric banjola would be a better fit though I'm not quite sure yet.


How long have you been playing now?


About almost a year I think. On and off but I get better every time I come back to it. I'm fully committed now. A lot of people were telling me that I can't do this, it sort of discouraged me.


Actually, when I was 1 year on my way, all I did was figuring out stuff way above my level.

This, by slowing down reel to reel tapes to half speed.

But it enabled me to find these notes on the fretboard and, by trial and error, on which string.

Next step is finding the proper pickin finger as one can't play two times the same finger in a row ( except quarter or longer notes).

But in the process I learned to play melodic pieces as well ( without actually realising tis was melodic, it was just banjo to me).

Meanwhile decades went by and  I'm still making new discoveries, also writing my own stuff and so.

All I want is warning you for disqualifying techniques based on (partial) theoretical principles.

In fact, most banjo playing is not polyphonic at all.

Jun 8, 2024 - 3:44:55 PM

Kellie

USA

229 posts since 1/19/2018

quote:
Originally posted by RB-1
quote:
Originally posted by Kellie
quote:
Originally posted by RB-1
quote:
Originally posted by Kellie

Melodic style seems to limit the polyphonic capabilities of the instrument. The chords can't be spaced out that much, only two octaves, but The banjo is capable of being a polyphonic instrument. I feel like the acoustic electric banjola would be a better fit though I'm not quite sure yet.


How long have you been playing now?


About almost a year I think. On and off but I get better every time I come back to it. I'm fully committed now. A lot of people were telling me that I can't do this, it sort of discouraged me.


Actually, when I was 1 year on my way, all I did was figuring out stuff way above my level.

This, by slowing down reel to reel tapes to half speed.

But it enabled me to find these notes on the fretboard and, by trial and error, on which string.

Next step is finding the proper pickin finger as one can't play two times the same finger in a row ( except quarter or longer notes).

But in the process I learned to play melodic pieces as well ( without actually realising tis was melodic, it was just banjo to me).

Meanwhile decades went by and  I'm still making new discoveries, also writing my own stuff and so.

All I want is warning you for disqualifying techniques based on (partial) theoretical principles.

In fact, most banjo playing is not polyphonic at all.

 

 


Yes but it can be polyphonic. Also Dedillo picking allows you to play one string twice with the same finger. Like Alfred Farland. The truth is banjo has a sustain on every note you pluck due to the nature of the head. I know banjos aren't known for sustain, but think of it like a piano It always has a sustain pedal that's pushed down. A guitar does this too sure, but on banjo this effect is amplified not sure why.

Jun 8, 2024 - 4:16:32 PM

RB-1

Netherlands

4003 posts since 6/17/2003

quote:
Originally posted by Kellie
quote:
Originally posted by RB-1
quote:
Originally posted by Kellie
quote:
Originally posted by RB-1
quote:
Originally posted by Kellie

Melodic style seems to limit the polyphonic capabilities of the instrument. The chords can't be spaced out that much, only two octaves, but The banjo is capable of being a polyphonic instrument. I feel like the acoustic electric banjola would be a better fit though I'm not quite sure yet.


How long have you been playing now?


About almost a year I think. On and off but I get better every time I come back to it. I'm fully committed now. A lot of people were telling me that I can't do this, it sort of discouraged me.


Actually, when I was 1 year on my way, all I did was figuring out stuff way above my level.

This, by slowing down reel to reel tapes to half speed.

But it enabled me to find these notes on the fretboard and, by trial and error, on which string.

Next step is finding the proper pickin finger as one can't play two times the same finger in a row ( except quarter or longer notes).

But in the process I learned to play melodic pieces as well ( without actually realising tis was melodic, it was just banjo to me).

Meanwhile decades went by and  I'm still making new discoveries, also writing my own stuff and so.

All I want is warning you for disqualifying techniques based on (partial) theoretical principles.

In fact, most banjo playing is not polyphonic at all.

 

 


Yes but it can be polyphonic. Also Dedillo picking allows you to play one string twice with the same finger. Like Alfred Farland. The truth is banjo has a sustain on every note you pluck due to the nature of the head. I know banjos aren't known for sustain, but think of it like a piano It always has a sustain pedal that's pushed down. A guitar does this too sure, but on banjo this effect is amplified not sure why.


I had to look up dedillo picking.  I don't see the connection, it's a technique for classical guitar.

I don't see how one could ever play that, wearing banjo fingerpicks (we're talking melodic banjo, aren't we?) Thumb picks down, index and middle are picking up...

Sustain in a banjo comes from the minimal loss of vibrational energy.

The heavy wood rim and -even heavier- cast tone ring will reflect most energy back to the head.

A guitar body is way more flexible and thus dampening the vibrations.

But sustain never bothered me while paying melodic stuff, more the opposite.

So I think, you're caught up in theoretic assumptions, instead of actually playing the banjo.

Jun 9, 2024 - 7:39:03 AM

Kellie

USA

229 posts since 1/19/2018

quote:
Originally posted by RB-1
quote:
Originally posted by Kellie
quote:
Originally posted by RB-1
quote:
Originally posted by Kellie
quote:
Originally posted by RB-1
quote:
Originally posted by Kellie

Melodic style seems to limit the polyphonic capabilities of the instrument. The chords can't be spaced out that much, only two octaves, but The banjo is capable of being a polyphonic instrument. I feel like the acoustic electric banjola would be a better fit though I'm not quite sure yet.


How long have you been playing now?


About almost a year I think. On and off but I get better every time I come back to it. I'm fully committed now. A lot of people were telling me that I can't do this, it sort of discouraged me.


Actually, when I was 1 year on my way, all I did was figuring out stuff way above my level.

This, by slowing down reel to reel tapes to half speed.

But it enabled me to find these notes on the fretboard and, by trial and error, on which string.

Next step is finding the proper pickin finger as one can't play two times the same finger in a row ( except quarter or longer notes).

But in the process I learned to play melodic pieces as well ( without actually realising tis was melodic, it was just banjo to me).

Meanwhile decades went by and  I'm still making new discoveries, also writing my own stuff and so.

All I want is warning you for disqualifying techniques based on (partial) theoretical principles.

In fact, most banjo playing is not polyphonic at all.

 

 


Yes but it can be polyphonic. Also Dedillo picking allows you to play one string twice with the same finger. Like Alfred Farland. The truth is banjo has a sustain on every note you pluck due to the nature of the head. I know banjos aren't known for sustain, but think of it like a piano It always has a sustain pedal that's pushed down. A guitar does this too sure, but on banjo this effect is amplified not sure why.


I had to look up dedillo picking.  I don't see the connection, it's a technique for classical guitar.

I don't see how one could ever play that, wearing banjo fingerpicks (we're talking melodic banjo, aren't we?) Thumb picks down, index and middle are picking up...

Sustain in a banjo comes from the minimal loss of vibrational energy.

The heavy wood rim and -even heavier- cast tone ring will reflect most energy back to the head.

A guitar body is way more flexible and thus dampening the vibrations.

But sustain never bothered me while paying melodic stuff, more the opposite.

So I think, you're caught up in theoretic assumptions, instead of actually playing the banjo.

 


That's also part of the reason I don't use finger picks. That and I just don't like the sound that they make. Although they probably have their uses, I find them more limiting. 

Jun 9, 2024 - 8:08:57 AM

5832 posts since 5/29/2011

You only need fingerpicks if you want to be heard in a group. If you only play by yourself, you can do without them.

Jun 9, 2024 - 8:10:15 AM
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RB-1

Netherlands

4003 posts since 6/17/2003

Kellie, I apologize for coming across so harshly and opinionated. sad

I just noticed we're not in the Playing Advice/ Bluegrass/Scruggs Style forum. blush

Coming from the Notifications/Newest posts on the right, I never saw the header above your contribution.

Now realizing that you're talking Classical Banjo, I see that my earlier remarks make no sense at all.

You had me on the wrong foot by mentioning "melodic style", which to me means "Three finger Keith/Thompson style". Playing that without fingerpicks would sound like playing a toy instrument with rope strings.

In this melodic style (for 90+%) every next note is being played on a different string, by a different finger.

The effect (once mastered wink) is a longer sustain per note and a great rhythmic flow.

The complementary (Single string or Reno) style has a choppy nature and is played by alternating thumb and index on the same string.

Modern (three finger) players will combine the classic Scruggs and Stanley styles with the afore mentioned ones in a balanced way into a modern approach to this tradition.

Jun 9, 2024 - 11:43:49 AM

Kellie

USA

229 posts since 1/19/2018

quote:
Originally posted by RB-1

Kellie, I apologize for coming across so harshly and opinionated. sad

I just noticed we're not in the Playing Advice/ Bluegrass/Scruggs Style forum. blush

Coming from the Notifications/Newest posts on the right, I never saw the header above your contribution.

Now realizing that you're talking Classical Banjo, I see that my earlier remarks make no sense at all.

You had me on the wrong foot by mentioning "melodic style", which to me means "Three finger Keith/Thompson style". Playing that without fingerpicks would sound like playing a toy instrument with rope strings.

In this melodic style (for 90+%) every next note is being played on a different string, by a different finger.

The effect (once mastered wink) is a longer sustain per note and a great rhythmic flow.

The complementary (Single string or Reno) style has a choppy nature and is played by alternating thumb and index on the same string.

Modern (three finger) players will combine the classic Scruggs and Stanley styles with the afore mentioned ones in a balanced way into a modern approach to this tradition.

 


It's really ok! I am talking about melodic style as popularized by Keith. I was just explaining why I don't use it or scruggs for classical music. I feel like everyone today who has attempted classical music on the banjo has done it wrong, or that it could be done better. Just an opinion though. The truth is, for classical music you would need a hybrid of all of these possible techniques. The old guitar style is probably the most versatile when it comes down to it. I'm updating that style or at the very least, using it.

Jun 9, 2024 - 1:05:59 PM

8348 posts since 9/21/2007

quote:
Originally posted by Kellie
quote:
Originally posted by RB-1

Kellie, I apologize for coming across so harshly and opinionated. sad

I just noticed we're not in the Playing Advice/ Bluegrass/Scruggs Style forum. blush

Coming from the Notifications/Newest posts on the right, I never saw the header above your contribution.

Now realizing that you're talking Classical Banjo, I see that my earlier remarks make no sense at all.

You had me on the wrong foot by mentioning "melodic style", which to me means "Three finger Keith/Thompson style". Playing that without fingerpicks would sound like playing a toy instrument with rope strings.

In this melodic style (for 90+%) every next note is being played on a different string, by a different finger.

The effect (once mastered wink) is a longer sustain per note and a great rhythmic flow.

The complementary (Single string or Reno) style has a choppy nature and is played by alternating thumb and index on the same string.

Modern (three finger) players will combine the classic Scruggs and Stanley styles with the afore mentioned ones in a balanced way into a modern approach to this tradition.

 


It's really ok! I am talking about melodic style as popularized by Keith. I was just explaining why I don't use it or scruggs for classical music. I feel like everyone today who has attempted classical music on the banjo has done it wrong, or that it could be done better. Just an opinion though. The truth is, for classical music you would need a hybrid of all of these possible techniques. The old guitar style is probably the most versatile when it comes down to it. I'm updating that style or at the very least, using it.


It us yours to use and update!  That is the great thing, do what you want.

But I think your feelings of persecution is a bit unfounded.  I don't recall anyone telling you that you can't do what you want.  I do remember, however, people reccommended that you not discount the classic era whole cloth without studying it.  I also seem to remember some recommendations that there was no reason to reinvent the wheel, particularly when writing music for banjo with a long established system of edit markings and reading aids. 

I also remember you professing the superiority of a method of using all 5 right hand fingers while people reccommended you look at the classic era system of alternate fingering of first second and thumb as this was tried and well worked out for rapid playing. 

Anyway, good luck and I would love to see your etudes if you ever want to share them in written form. 

Jun 9, 2024 - 1:11:47 PM

RB-1

Netherlands

4003 posts since 6/17/2003


Originally posted by Kellie

quote:
 

It's really ok! I am talking about melodic style as popularized by Keith. I was just explaining why I don't use it or scruggs for classical music. I feel like everyone today who has attempted classical music on the banjo has done it wrong, or that it could be done better. Just an opinion though. The truth is, for classical music you would need a hybrid of all of these possible techniques. The old guitar style is probably the most versatile when it comes down to it. I'm updating that style or at the very least, using it.

Making me curious what your opinion is about Jens Krüger's and Béla Fleck's renditions of classical pieces.

For me the emotional level is on par with classical on "traditional" wink classical instruments. My first love, way before banjo, was classical after all.

Having said that, my preferent banjo sound is the old Mastertone sound and one variation on that theme, the Jens Krüger banjo. Anything else doesn't quite have it, IMHO.....laugh

Edited by - RB-1 on 06/09/2024 13:14:57

Jun 12, 2024 - 11:54:53 AM

Kellie

USA

229 posts since 1/19/2018

quote:
Originally posted by RB-1

Originally posted by Kellie

quote:
 

It's really ok! I am talking about melodic style as popularized by Keith. I was just explaining why I don't use it or scruggs for classical music. I feel like everyone today who has attempted classical music on the banjo has done it wrong, or that it could be done better. Just an opinion though. The truth is, for classical music you would need a hybrid of all of these possible techniques. The old guitar style is probably the most versatile when it comes down to it. I'm updating that style or at the very least, using it.

Making me curious what your opinion is about Jens Krüger's and Béla Fleck's renditions of classical pieces.

For me the emotional level is on par with classical on "traditional" wink classical instruments. My first love, way before banjo, was classical after all.

Having said that, my preferent banjo sound is the old Mastertone sound and one variation on that theme, the Jens Krüger banjo. Anything else doesn't quite have it, IMHO.....laugh


Jens Krüger and Bela Fleck... I don't really like them that much. They don't really utilize the banjo as a full instrument in and of itself. The banjo is capable of so much more than people use it for. It has the potential to be polyphonic yet everyone uses it for monophonic lines exclusively. If someone wanted to impress me they would need write a fugue for the instrument or something. The only one who has impressed me is Alfred Farland oddly. He utilized the instrument to its full potential or at least close to it. Even playing Dedillo tremolo on the bass string while plucking the higher strings in one of his variations on carnival of Venice. Sorry I don't have a lot of time to reply, I'm at work.

Jun 12, 2024 - 12:38:41 PM

6105 posts since 3/6/2006

Probably millions of people over hundreds of years have been expanding the technique on the banjo. But the banjo (like all instruments) has its limitations. Without those limitations, it would be nothing, or at least not a banjo anymore. I don't really know what you're going for - do you? That's okay though, I admire your motivation to do something different.

Jun 12, 2024 - 12:53:31 PM

Kellie

USA

229 posts since 1/19/2018

quote:
Originally posted by Laurence Diehl

Probably millions of people over hundreds of years have been expanding the technique on the banjo. But the banjo (like all instruments) has its limitations. Without those limitations, it would be nothing, or at least not a banjo anymore. I don't really know what you're going for - do you? That's okay though, I admire your motivation to do something different.


I'm aiming to push current limitations beyond what people think the banjo is capable of. Although I'm thinking of switching to the banjola merely because it's electric acoustic and everything I do on the banjo can be heard better.

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