Minstrel Banjo

For enthusiasts of early banjo

Workbook material.

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Comment by razyn on May 27, 2010 at 1:04pm
I'm thinking, we may be witnessing the birth of the "Schradieck exercises" of the Minstrel Banjo. At some point you might post the workbook -- unless you want to copyright it. But if some of us work through it with you, you might get some useful feedback, and might change a few details. I had more conversations with Greg than with you, at the workshops. And I just had a couple of suggestions -- mostly about closing cadences (e.g. in the Triplets exercise, p. 3; and for tunes in which the B section doesn't resolve to the tonic). Also in your "Rosetta staff," p. 15, mention in the text that the first five notes on a line are the tuning, to play in the keys indicated for that line.
I think it's likely that players more experienced than I -- or more dedicated to practicing -- might have other suggestions. Anyway I for one found it very user-friendly, compared to other methods I have bought, but haven't actually employed -- because they don't seem to start with basics.
Comment by Tim Twiss on May 27, 2010 at 1:38pm
I would welcome comments and accept ideas for changes. I was not going to post the book out of respect for those that paid for the workshop. I did not close cadences or add anything to it, just to keep it "as is" and draw no confusion to the text. If this were performance oriented, I would change it, but it was purely to demonstrate the written page.
Comment by razyn on May 27, 2010 at 3:28pm
Well, fine, I'm happy to have one of the twelve copies (or whatever) of the rare volume. But with regard specifically to the three videos you have posted today, there's a very tiny fraction of your potential viewership that has the tab you are demonstrating, and to which you refer orally on the video. This is very basic, educational stuff. I think others deserve to see it -- at least the specific exercise, or tune, that each video demonstrates.

Also, you don't have to omit what is obvious (to you) -- just because Tom Briggs or somebody did, and you've already gotten past that hurdle. One instance of this is the tuning info, in the Rosetta staff -- name it, on the charts (in the revised, second edition). And also mention that it's in 54321 order; somebody won't know that.

And the whole concept of "up" and "down," we have learned from birth, had to do with gravity and the (largely theoretical) plane of the earth -- opposites, on a line perpendicular to a tangent of sea level. Pick up a minstrel banjo, and suddenly these terms refer to the "plane" of the strings, between the bridge and the nut. "Down" is slightly toward the head, "up" is slightly away from it. This special use of very basic language needs to be stated, expressed, admitted... confessed? Or something. It still messes with my head -- as it did when Carl Anderton discussed it with me at AEBG II.

The goal of "purely" demonstrating the written page is laudable, and all, but so is the goal of teaching people to play stroke style while doing so. Particularly when you have written the page under discussion (the part of your workbook that did not come from Briggs and Rice). That's why I mentioned the Schradieck exercises for violin, or any similar tools -- I think Dawg wrote some for mandolin -- that one employs more or less daily, as warmup and flexibility aids.


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