One of my hobbies...passions...( okay, obsessions ) is finding new banjo material. I try to do it from the perspective of the original Early banjo players, using sources available to them and integrating it according to the examples left behind in the tutors.
I have a fresh source and I would like to share how i seek out material and then arrange it.
I am using Kerr's Merry melodies for the the violin. It is well known that much of the original Minstrel banjo is rooted in European folk music. Fiddle and fife melodies are a great source of songs that became either direct lifts of the music, or twisted into specific arrangements for the banjo. It did not take long long for me to open up book one, and find a "candidate".
I feel fortunate that I can read music, as i can go through these and play them, making my own choices for what i like, and what is not a good "fit" for the banjo. I also totally utilize reading "Briggs" and Rice" styles according to the key signatures. Generally music with one or two sharps will lay well with the Briggs ( using the D string as the thumb string ) and likewise the music with 3 and 4 sharps ( using the E string as the thumb string ). Even then, some music has a flat...or two. What then? I can try it both ways....
I stopped on the third tune, called "John McAlpine". It is a short one line tune ( A /B ). It is also a Strathspey.
This is uncommon, but not unheard of in the Early banjo repertoire. It has a slower, more stately pulse, and that "scotch snap' of a rhythm. This one "lays" well on the banjo. I'll add my fingerings so you can see my conception. I have not recorded it yet, but this is where i am with it right now....just a "find". Seems like something you could very well see in a Buckley book.