For enthusiasts of early banjo
Scottish fiddle tune and Appalachian variant by Rob Morrison
This tune, which appears in James Buckley's 1860 banjo tutor, hales from Scotland. Monymusk is a small village in Aberdeenshire. The Scottish violin tune composer Daniel Dow called it "Sir Archibald Grant of Moniemusk's Reel." I t was composed around 1776. The tune migrated to America and the Appalachians where it was called "Money Musk." Alan Jabbour recorded Virginia fiddler Henry Reed's version of the tune for the Library of Congress. Alan said that, depending on the occasion, Henry played between two and five parts. I'm playing four of them here. The 1860 Buckley version is much closer to the tune's Scottish roots.
The banjo I'm playing here is one of the famously inexpensive, mass-produced banjos out of the Buckbee factory. It has a rolled brass cladding and union shield brackets. It's a great banjo, wonderfully easy to play.
That was sweetly played, and it's really neat to see how much overlap there is between the two styles.
Thanks Andy. I think the way the tune evolved is interesting. Despite claims to the contrary, 19th century banjo style (or stroke style, if you prefer) and clawhammer are basically the same thing. Techniques like arpeggios, strings plucked with the left hand, hammer-ons, pull-offs, drop thumbs, harmonics, and steady fifth string drones are all commonly practiced by clawhammer players. The only noticeable difference between the two styles is that clawhammer renditions ( at least in the South) tend to be continuous to keep a steady rhythm. There aren't a lot of rests.
Heck Yeah! that was nice. I like that middle part right at 1:06 min into the video. What song is it that your playing at that point. Whatever it is I like it. Nice tone on the banjo.
Nicholas--The second tune I'm playing is also a version of Money Musk, as it's played in the Appalachians. These tunes evolve over time into sometimes barely recognizable tunes. It's all part of the folk process.
Thanks Ian. I'd love to play a 10 or 15 part tune. One thing I do sometimes do is play medleys of tunes that obviously have a common ancestor, such as Matt Peel's Walkaround, Camptown Hornpipe, Cotton Pod Walkaround, Rural Walkaround, Coon Hunt Walkaround, and Philadelphia Walkaround.
Sounding good, Rob! Like "Soldiers Joy", "Money Musk" has stood the test of time. Perhaps they will still be playing it 100 years from now.
Very cool I liked it!
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