Minstrel Banjo

For enthusiasts of early banjo

I have hit upon a puzzlement, and have a question

I am learning the tune "Cotton Pod Walk Around" in Tim's Early Banjo Book

I am carefully listening to it and trying to play along.

It seems to me that the last two notes in the first full measure

do not match what I hear on the cd. Assuming the cd is correct

then the last two notes of that measure appear to be reversed.

I have carefully checked this using my slow down software and it

confirms what I feel when I attempt to play it.

Would someone check this for me and let me know which is the way it should go

I don't want to learn this incorrectly.


Many thanks


Ron H

Views: 189

Comment by Strumelia on April 19, 2013 at 5:08pm

I like finding or speculating on mistakes, just like I liked seeing that 100+ year old dead fly pressed in the pages of the tutor.  The zen beauty of unexpected imperfection.  I may or may not feel compelled to play them though...  ;D

Comment by Tim Twiss on April 19, 2013 at 8:13pm

That just proves that there were no set arrangements. They were all made up on the fly.

Comment by Strumelia on April 19, 2013 at 8:59pm

hahaha!   :D  

Comment by Ian Bell on April 20, 2013 at 7:17am
I've come to think of any formalized version of old fiddle/banjo tunes (sheet music or recordings) as being a template to be used when making music - like a recipe in a cookbook.
Sometimes it's fun to follow then exactly, and sometimes it's fun to add more garlic. If folks hadn't subtly changed these tunes as they played them over time we wouldn't have near as many of them as we do now. But then,maybe I just think this way because I'm not a very good music reader.
Comment by Rob Morrison on April 20, 2013 at 9:35am

Ian--I agree.  Let's remember that most of this early material is first, last, and primarily folk music.  If you read Alan Jabbour's notes on recording Henry Reed's tunes for the Library of Congress, you discover Henry would keep changing the tunes over time and from one performance to another.  That's my take on this music.  It should be malleable.--Rob

Comment by Ron on April 20, 2013 at 10:28am

Thank you for all the responses I am learning a lot. I'm having to get over my built in quirks.

some of which hark back to when I was taking guitar lessons (1957). My Teacher would have a harsh

reaction if my play back wasn't exactly as written in the lesson material. (hey I now understand why I dropped out of guitar class) He always said I had to learn it as written before experimenting with it.

That's what I think I'm trying to do now is build a correct foundation to build upon. I've just been too uptight about it.

Comment by Wes Merchant on April 20, 2013 at 1:55pm

Another thumbs up for Ian, a lot of these things are transcriptions not compositions, so they are one person's version of how a tune might be played one time. I've always felt like you need to vary it to keep it interesting for yourself and the listeners but at the same time sort out the part of the tune that keeps it recognizable so that it still works when you play with other players.


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