Minstrel Banjo

For enthusiasts of early banjo

So, almost done. Pay a visit to

https://storage.googleapis.com/wzukusers/user-30315204/documents/5b...

Only about a dozen left

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Thanks so much for doing and sharing this, Tim - that's a ton of work! I have idly thought about resetting Briggs with Lilypond and generating versions for A notation/C notation but never got around to it beyond various one-off tunes I've worked on over the years.

Thanks Andy. Still doing a little cleanup, so if you spot something, let me know. Now that I have the foundation, I can do other stuff. Joel seems to think there is value in C notation. I would like to do a completely "fingering free: version. Also, would like to interpret it as Converse did in the Analytical. But, got to get rid of the clunkers first. The first 95% of a project like this is easy. The final 5% is grueling.

I've gotten more comfortable with C notation than anything over the last couple years as I've been working on newer classic-era stuff.  Granted, plenty of that music was also set in A, but a lot of the time I'll set a tune I'm working on into Lilypond so I can generate a reference midi anyway, and from there it's trivial to transpose it to C so that's what I usually wind up doing.

The other thing I've been doing lately is trying to work out the chords for a given tune while I'm learning it, and adding those to the notation; I think that playing this early stuff has the potential to be a lot less lonely if you can  hand another musician with no context/knowledge of the repertoire a chord chart so they can at least vamp along.

is there a way to play tuned in C from A notation without transposing or playing akwardly?

Steven, the thing that 'Briggs' (dGDF#A), 'Rice' (eAEG#B) and 'C' (gCGBD) tuning all have in common is that the intervals between each string remain the same; this effectively makes any banjo a transposing instrument for any notation written for a banjo tuned in those intervals. 

If it helps, think of it terms of using a capo; if you capo a eAEG#B banjo at the third fret (and 5th string, 8th fret.) and the same exact fingerings, you'd still be reading 'A' notation but you would effectively be tuned to 'C'.

TL;DR - Yes, to play in C from A notation, just play the same fingerings on your C banjo as you would on an A banjo; the banjo takes care of the transposition.

The question of "tuning" vs "pitch" vs "notation" seems to come up a couple of times a year - Joel always does a pretty good job of explaining how they all relate, as he did here.

Remember what F.B. Converse told his pupils-

"You're in G and I'm in A,

we read the music in the same old way."

From his "tuned and confused" series c. 1901

(I have read classic banjo notation with low C and G bass but trying to read the noites and transfer them into the correct fingering is very hard for me. Thanks for the advice

A.N. Chase said:

Steven, the thing that 'Briggs' (dGDF#A), 'Rice' (eAEG#B) and 'C' (gCGBD) tuning all have in common is that the intervals between each string remain the same; this effectively makes any banjo a transposing instrument for any notation written for a banjo tuned in those intervals. 

If it helps, think of it terms of using a capo; if you capo a eAEG#B banjo at the third fret (and 5th string, 8th fret.) and the same exact fingerings, you'd still be reading 'A' notation but you would effectively be tuned to 'C'.

TL;DR - Yes, to play in C from A notation, just play the same fingerings on your C banjo as you would on an A banjo; the banjo takes care of the transposition.

The question of "tuning" vs "pitch" vs "notation" seems to come up a couple of times a year - Joel always does a pretty good job of explaining how they all relate, as he did here.

It might help you to use an old trick on one or two of the A notation pieces to get your brain to make the switch.

Get a pencil and a straightedge. On the A notation sheet, draw a new staff line at C, below the original's bottom staff line. Erase or mark out 3 of the current sharps. Now you treat the new bottom line as E (you can erase the top line of the staff to make it complete...but I never did) and read normally in C. Compensate for raised bass as usual (D bass).

This may only take a line or two of modified staff to jog your brain into making the switch. It depends on how your brain is processing the specific position of the notes. I did an experiment with the Viola and within a few lines of staff, I could read A but use the fingering for C.



steven leuschner said:

(I have read classic banjo notation with low C and G bass but trying to read the noites and transfer them into the correct fingering is very hard for me. Thanks for the advice

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