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Transpose either Briggs' or Rice notation into TAB.

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Comment by Tim Twiss on June 12, 2012 at 9:38pm

Oh yea, 3 sharps.....good eye.

Yes...that's the idea.

Comment by Nicholas A Bechtel on June 13, 2012 at 12:37am

OK. here I go...been standing here on the side lines observing this one. I have this confusion myself. I understand  the two tuning's, and that for reading the notation, as the Rosetta Staff points out, Rice is for music with three sharps and higher, while Briggs is best for one or two sharps. That being said, what about flats?

And as for my banjo, which is 27" scale and is noted rings better in the Briggs tuning. How do I approach the written notation when it is in the key that the Rice tuning would address.  Do I just go with it?  As stated previously, I then am confused when I see the flats.  And thirdly, or fourthly, what scale length would address both turnings at the same time in keeping the tone warm, as the tone I get when I'm in the Briggs.

Before finishing this reply I tuned my banjo up to Rice, and though it changed to a higher pitch.. obviously, I noticed the organic process once again that comes with these instruments, it's there, just have to in a subtle way to find the sweet spots for the notes again, takes a little more concentration to get the notes to ring. Did I just answer my own question? well except for the flats part...  >_/p>

Comment by Tim Twiss on June 13, 2012 at 5:48am

Yes ...just go with it. It is all relative to the thumb string. Put your banjo at any pitch you want, but the arrangement is based upon where the thumb string lies.

Flats.....unless there is a thumb string in the arrangement, it is up to you how to do it. See Van Bramers Jig here....the thumb string gives us the great advantage by being a D. That is where I created my arrangement.

 

Comment by Tim Twiss on June 13, 2012 at 6:12am

Okay, here's a weird one. This illustrates many points we are discussing here. Refer to "Jake Bacchus' Jig" in the Buckley 1860. This is a piece from the "back of the Buckley" that is a fiddle piece tossed in. It is NOT a banjo arrangement. The entire Buckley book acts under the premise of "E" tuning....like Rice. This piece has 2 sharps. Hmmmmm, now that's a problem. Do you reference "E" or "D" as the thumbstring? I used "E", staying with the logic of the book. I got to AEBG, and others had used "D". We were incompatable. I had to tune my banjo differently to play with them, it being too difficult for me to change on the fly. I encountered this over and over as I transcribed from Ryan's. SET IT UP TO GIVE THE BANJO THE GREATEST ADVANTAGE. Some of them are one, two, three, or four sharps. Some one or two flats. See how it lays. 

Comment by Michael Pasquerette on June 13, 2012 at 8:06am

I think you are on to it (the clef issue is less so than the key issue)! I have been a brass player for years (Eb and Bb cornet, Eb alto/tenor, BBb tuba) and having to transpose from one key to another became a way of life. Regarding the tutor vs TAB reading, TAB is the equilizer, but as you say - only if you are playing alone or with others similarly tuned.

Where I get into trouble is if I am tuned one way (in D lets say) and then I start playing with another banjo player who might be tuned in E, one of us needs to move if we are just playing from the TAB notation. Or if I tune to D and then try to play with a fiddler who is reading the actual music (notes), if we switch from a Briggs to a Converse tune for example and I am playing just by TAB then we won't be in sync.

I have solved this problem however the same way I solved it when playing trumpet - I bought multiple trumpets (a Bb, C, and Eb). So now I have two banjos, one I tune in D and the other in E - and all I have to learn is the TAB for now and I just use the same fingering on either depending on who I am playing with at the time:)  [No, I did not post this on behalf of any banjo maker]

Comment by Tim Twiss on June 13, 2012 at 8:08am

I have solved this problem however the same way I solved it when playing trumpet - I bought multiple trumpets (a Bb, C, and Eb). So now I have two banjos, one I tune in D and the other in E - and all I have to learn is the TAB for now and I just use the same fingering on either depending on who I am playing with at the time:)  [No, I did not post this on behalf of any banjo maker]

That is a good summary.

Comment by Strumelia on June 13, 2012 at 9:07am

What a great conversation! 

(But I hope this doesn't mean I have to learn to play trumpet before I can understand minstrel banjo tunings...lol!)

Comment by Tim Twiss on June 13, 2012 at 9:11am

Hope it was helpful....??

Comment by Strumelia on June 13, 2012 at 9:14am

This whole conversation is incredibly helpful!  I can relate even to the trumpet thing, because I have other kinds of instruments where I keep two different ones for particular tunings/voicings.

Comment by Genford Brewington on June 13, 2012 at 9:17am

Ditto on the multiple voices/transposing idea.  It helped a lot.

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