Minstrel Banjo

For enthusiasts of early banjo

So it would appear I am going to have to learn Anthony Street Reel in standard notation as opposed to tablature (a 1st for me, since I can't find the tab for this awesome tune anywhere).  I just want to make sure I am starting off in the right place.  Just to double check, what is the proper string tunings for this?  (I appreciate the patience with the newbie questions).  

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Many thanks Joel.   What a great thread!

FYI: Conway (p. 230) says that these terms are used most often by banjo players who are also fiddlers such as Hobart Smith, Tommy Jarrell, and Fred Cockerham.

Thanks again.

Joel Hooks said:

With rare exception the terms "high bass" and "low bass" seem to be fairly recent in common use. I have only found it used on a few period pieces.  

I have found it useful to be able to read all three notations. This isn't for my own playing but for playing with other groups.  Often I am handed music and have to make it work.  It can be confusing at times, but usually with a little practice making the appropriate jumps in thinking works out.

John, Joel & others

Please explain why having learned to read music based on a particular tuning, it is adviseable to learn to read music based on another tuning given the notes on the stave are the same.

My apologies if this is a dumb question.

Thanks in advance

Eric

This book by George Lansing teaches how to read in the different "systems" of notation.

http://contentdm6.hamilton.edu/cdm/ref/collection/spe-ban/id/1897

The body of banjo notation that was published prior to 1908 in the US is pretty much all in A notation.

Post 1908 (and all British publications from about 1880 on) were published in C notation.

Collectively there it is estimated that there are close to if not more than 300,000 solos that were published for the banjo before 1940 and over 200 instruction books.

If you are only playing music published in America before the switch over then there is no need to read C notation.

Hi Joel

Thanks for that. I'll have a look at the Lansing book.

I'm aware of the A & C notation "divide". I didn't make myself clear it seems as my question was actually about the fact that the "dots on the line" are the same for both. So a dot on the middle line is a B in both tunings. Does that help clarify my question?

Eric

 Hooks said:

This book by George Lansing teaches how to read in the different "systems" of notation.

http://contentdm6.hamilton.edu/cdm/ref/collection/spe-ban/id/1897

The body of banjo notation that was published prior to 1908 in the US is pretty much all in A notation.

Post 1908 (and all British publications from about 1880 on) were published in C notation.

Collectively there it is estimated that there are close to if not more than 300,000 solos that were published for the banjo before 1940 and over 200 instruction books.

If you are only playing music published in America before the switch over then there is no need to read C notation.

Yes, but they are played at different frets with the different systems.

In C notation the fourth string is middle C.

in A notation the fourth string is A.

Right, so it's about linking dots on the page to frets on the banjo, and my focus should be on where to place my left hand fingers in response to the note I see on the page.  

Eureka!

Thanks Joel

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