Minstrel Banjo

For enthusiasts of early banjo

I promised I'd tab out Converse's "Old Indian Jig" for Huston...here is the TablEdit file. Since my old PC crashed, I'm still trying to get some of the software up to date and haven't gotten Acrobat back up and running yet. I'll repost this Monday in .pdf format.

If you don't have TablEdit viewer, you can download it (free) from their website: http://www.tabledit.com

You can view, print and play the MIDI file from the viewer.

BTW, this is a very cool tune...Amin I believe (out of eAEG#B tuning).

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One tune which would be fun to work out for a discussion would be "Modoc Reel". You familiar with this?
Yup. You want me to do the TAB this evening? Shouldn't take long at all.
Trapdoor2 said:
Yup. You want me to do the TAB this evening? Shouldn't take long at all.

Yes. Do you have Flesher's? Check yours with his when you're done.
Can you play it tonight, too?
I think Marc can come out to play. ;-) You talkin' about the chatroom here? What time?
Trapdoor2 said:
I think Marc can come out to play. ;-) You talkin' about the chatroom here? What time?

No, just a video post. I don't even know what the chatroom is.
Ok...I have "Modoc" from the Converse Analytical, I'll tab it out in a few minutes. Question is: Where did Bob Flesher get his version? His book says "From Buckley's Banjo Guide, 1868"...but I can't find "Modoc" in the Guide.

What gives?
Trapdoor2 said:
Ok...I have "Modoc" from the Converse Analytical, I'll tab it out in a few minutes. Question is: Where did Bob Flesher get his version? His book says "From Buckley's Banjo Guide, 1868"...but I can't find "Modoc" in the Guide.

What gives?

Surprise! Bob's version is identical to that from the Analytical...fingering is same (as far as I can tell).
Let's try this again...

Here is the TAB for "The Modoc Reel". This is from Converse's Analytical of 1886. I corrected my previous error in m7 and updated the note at the bottom.

My video is based on Bob Flesher's TAB which both notates the grace notes as 32nd notes and has an altered measure 7. The triplet figures missing in Bob's TAB are there in his rendition on CD, so I suppose it does indeed help to have something to listen to.

Tim's version is spot on, mine is not! ;-) I dunno where I got that last measure in the A part...call it improv!
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Thanks for the TAB and video Marc. (Fabulous ending, by the way). I played "Modoc" as you did until yesterday morning when I ran acoss it in the Analytical. As I played it, I realized it was a litlle different, so I looked up my old Flesher book. It was one of the first I learned, but have since not kept it going, as there are a few others that are similar. I then tried to find it in Buckley 1868, as per his reference. I don't know why it was referenced as being from that book. The first thing I noticed, on top of the oddly stemmed notes in M4, was the way the chord resolved from G to A in M7. I can see the grace note thing being misunderstood as he wrote it, but I do see the dot to lengthen it and not make it a triplet. Anyway, it was fun to lay it down as written in the Analyitcal. And then, I hope I am not alone, as I checked out the FANTASTIC fingerings put down by Converse. All the combinations (bold lines) and hammer strokes were notated there. Very, very cool. It is surprising to find this amount of detail in what appears to be an early style Stroke piece. It strengthens my feeling that the Stroke Style was really continued and developed through time, and Converse really put definable technique to it. Certainly, this tune is played quite effectively without all the Converse fingerings. When it IS played with them, it really shines an illuminating light back through time...all the way to Briggs. Very subtle to the listener, but significant to the player. The techniques are not that difficult, and may have been employed by banjo players much earlier. It is quite a natural feel...very nice. He has several in that book that are similar. I find myself playing older tunes from other sources with similar techniques.

So yesterday was an interesting day to think about TAB and notation, and strengthens my resolve to try and include the original music with TAB. Variations from TAB mistakes will not end the world as we know it, but as long as there is a chance to preserve the original intent, we should do it. For music with no fingerings in the original (as in the Winner's and much of the Buckley) care should be taken to let the reader know that it is only an interpretation, or fingering suggestion if they are added to TAB. I do think fingerings make a big difference in the early stages of learning Minstrel Banjo. With Winners, a "Rice" feel (with more thumb) works as well as a Briggs or Converse feel, with fingers employed in other ways. Certainly, "group edits" would be valuable here.
I'm right there with ya, Tim. I think that Converse looked at Stroke Style as simply another tool in the toolkit. It deserved to be studied and codified for the generations to follow. Thankfully, he did a great job...and thankfully we discovered it!

I'm thinking about sending a note to Bob F. about his version. I keep wondering where he found this piece. Converse lists it as "original" but not "original for this work" as some are listed. It isn't in the greenback book or the little yellow book and it ain't in either Buckley...

I'm thinking about sending a note to Bob F. about his version. I keep wondering where he found this piece. Converse lists it as "original" but not "original for this work" as some are listed. It isn't in the greenback book or the little yellow book and it ain't in either Buckley...


It is from the Analytical. He plays it on Minstrel Banjo CD, and is quoted as such.
Well then, that makes more sense. I'll have to go give that track a listen.

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