Minstrel Banjo

For enthusiasts of early banjo

One thing we really do not know about playing this old music....is where does the beat lay? Was there a greater emphasis on the downbeat, or the backbeat? It works either way. Some performers use one...some the other. I don't know that there are any historical indicators. Any opinions?

Views: 806

Reply to This

Replies to This Discussion

When I got to play with Sule Greg Wilson this year at the Sweeny Convergence, I noticed that whenever he would alter his rhythm on the tambo it would force my hand on the banjo to play the tune a little differently. I think the drum / banjo exchange is something we are missing and could learn from.

Strumelia.  We might think of 'sawstroke' differently.  I figured 'sawstroke' merely mean a change in direction for each note, no matter where in the measure they fall.  I very well could be wrong.  Anyway, what I'm talking about is an up-bow on every single 2nd and 4th beat of a 4/4 tune and ONLY the note that falls on that beat, no matter what the combination of notes might be.  All others are played with an up-bow.  And....yes, you are right and I almost wrote what you said.  Those 1970s players are today's old-timers and I guess, though I don't play in that method, I am becoming one of the old-timers!  But old-timers from the '70s are vastly different from today's old-timers and perhaps they were the last to play repertoires and methods that they learned in their locale.  Since then, we have learned from records, cassette tapes, CDs, DVDs, and the internet.  The handed down, local method is probably lost forever.

I just posted a tune. it was randomly chosen from AEBG. Watch and listen to what the natural tendencies of the group...and especially the tambo man does.

Agreed, Wes!   A large portion of all this music is from dance.  Now that I think about it, oldtime fiddle tune scene has kept a connection to dancing, with many oldtime musicians accompanying dances today...whereas you don't see a lot of dancing to bluegrass music and songs- it's more of an audience/performance/listening/song experience from what i see.

Wes Merchant said:

From the stand point of your garden varity jigs,reels,polkas,etc. I think the dance requires a strong downbeat,that's where the step or figure starts. I think as the dances moved to the stage professional dancers played with the beat to create more excitement and certainly as dance styles changed so did the placement of the accents.

I meant "all others are played with a down-bow".  All notes other than that that lands directly on the 2nd and 4th beat are played with a down-bow.

I think posting examples of what we speak of is invaluable. Thanks for the link Mark. I put up a few. The second one is Buffalo Gals from a gig last summer. I keep a pretty good pulse on 1 2 3 4 with my foot, but my jawbone guy uses the backbeat.

Al...totes!  lol  (meaning I totally agree)

 Yes I agree with your definition of sawstroke.  Maybe I/we are thinking of 'shuffle-bowing' then? like what you hear in the typical 'one potato two potatos..' to start a tune?   I'll be 60 in a few months- guess I'm become a geezer too.   =8-0

Al Smitley said:

Strumelia.  We might think of 'sawstroke' differently.  I figured 'sawstroke' merely mean a change in direction for each note, no matter where in the measure they fall.  I very well could be wrong.  Anyway, what I'm talking about is an up-bow on every single 2nd and 4th beat of a 4/4 tune and ONLY the note that falls on that beat, no matter what the combination of notes might be.  All others are played with an up-bow.  And....yes, you are right and I almost wrote what you said.  Those 1970s players are today's old-timers and I guess, though I don't play in that method, I am becoming one of the old-timers!  But old-timers from the '70s are vastly different from today's old-timers and perhaps they were the last to play repertoires and methods that they learned in their locale.  Since then, we have learned from records, cassette tapes, CDs, DVDs, and the internet.  The handed down, local method is probably lost forever.

Strumelia, I am speaking mostly of accompaniments...

Concerning backbeat ...  percussionists and banjoists keep this is mind. If you play 2 and 4 a millisecond BEHIND the beat, it makes all the difference. Drummer trick. It's what makes music glorious.

Ok, but when I accompany fiddlers (on my banjo), I'm almost always emphasizing the downbeat, I guess is what I mean too.

Tim Twiss said:

Strumelia, I am speaking mostly of accompaniments...

Can you post an audio/video sample of what you mean?

Perhaps....it is a matter to what degree these components are brought out. Please, audio sample...anybody. Way easier to speak of it then.

Reply to Discussion

RSS

About

John Masciale created this Ning Network.

© 2020   Created by John Masciale.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service