Minstrel Banjo

For enthusiasts of early banjo

So I sub-divided the book into 3 parts to make each volume a reasonable size. ( appr. 38 tunes each ). This is the start of the second part, beginning on page 25 with Raccoon Jig, and Corn-husking Jig. I've done them both a lot before, but as usual....under close scrutiny, flaws pop up that need fixing. Got 2 pretty good takes, using the Bell Boucher for this leg of the trip. The interpretation of the dotted rhythm is a bit of a beautiful mystery to me yet...

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Comment by Tim Twiss on November 20, 2012 at 5:25pm

Do it if you dare. Often not too flattering, but it really does make one better. I find that if it seems I am playing it slow, it is most likely about right. I'll continue that mindset untill it is truely in my DNA.

Comment by Tim Twiss on November 20, 2012 at 11:08pm

One more for tonight. If you truely like old old melodies, this is one of them. Money Musk.

There was a good thread on the Banjo Hangout about this tune when it was the TOTW (tune of the week). http://www.banjohangout.org/archive/204616

Comment by Tim Twiss on November 20, 2012 at 11:48pm
Comment by Ian Bell on November 21, 2012 at 2:00pm

Monymusk is mentioned by Mark Twain in either "Tom Sawyer" or "Huckleberry Finn" and in "The Little House In The Big Woods/Prairie etc." If you ever read those books to your kids you'll remeber that "Pa" was always hauling out his fiddle and playing "Pop Goes The Weasel" or Monymusk". I know a particularly demented French Canadian setting of the tune that I got from an old player from Windsor Ont. (just across the river from Detroit) If I bring the squeezebox to Antietam I may inflict it on you.

Comment by Tim Twiss on November 21, 2012 at 10:41pm

11/21/12 Got a few more in on this fine Thanksgiving eve. On page 29, there was Betsey's Night Cap. Thsi was one i thought I had done, but perhaps not. Small detail, but if anybody ever plays or tabs it, the "D" in the 3rd M of the 2nd line should be a sharp. I changed it. No fingerings, but I used closed positions for all those chords up high. The fabulous Arkansas Traveler was next, with it's minor variation. This certainly a great arrangement. Harmonic Waltz is more about displaying a technique than being a good piece of music, but none the less, it is okay. Ended with the wonderful Rapahanock Jig. It is short, but tags along well if you kook it into another song. I like it.

Comment by Al Smitley on November 22, 2012 at 6:20am

Ian,...I hope you and your squeezebox can show up at Antietam.  I've always liked playing with accordion/concertina players but rarely had the chance.

Comment by Tim Twiss on November 22, 2012 at 10:53am

11/22/12 Happy Thanksgiving everyone. I'm not sure what it is like for most of you, but I find the best playing comes from 1.Time and 2.Environment. If you have both of those in place, good things result.

I have a little of both right now, so I am just going for it. There is a group of tunes right now that have the same sort of flavor. Marches...mazurkas....stuff drawn from Classical listening, or dances..or both. I am feeling that Buckley draws upon the Classical literature for inspiration, so i approach the tunes thus. He did not specify what is fingerstyle, and what is stroke, although there are clues in the music. As a result, i relaxed and played them as i felt them...most often a hybrid style. I prefer stroke, mainly for the tone you get out the notes....I don't know what happens in actuality, but they seem richer in overtones as opposed to a plucked feel. So far, i have done Violet Mazurka, Buckley's March, and Wild-flower Mazurka. I'm working to keep the tempos back, and I am glad for it. I don't see any stumbling blocks coming up, but I recall the harmonics in Leavit's Polka being difficult to get to come out.

Comment by Tim Twiss on November 22, 2012 at 12:12pm

Thanks Mark. Two more....might be it for today. Add the grand Hail Columbia, and the short but playful Unsworth's Giggle Toot. You can find James Unsworth in Monarchs of Minstrelsy. Was he in that batch that Joel posted? I'll have to look back. Back on the old briggs' site, there was a discussion about titles..."Giggle Toot"...one fellow said it was a a mixture of ether and cocaine....for musicians in the 19th Century. Ha...I believed it for a bit.

Comment by Strumelia on November 22, 2012 at 4:31pm

Embarrassed to admit, but I am clueless as to where exactly to listen to all these pieces you are describing playing, Tim.  Can you please include a link to connect this blog to the music you are talking about playing?  Or are they on your Youtube channel?  I bet I'm not the only dimwit to not make the connection.

Comment by Tim Twiss on November 22, 2012 at 5:27pm


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