Richard Yates
  • Salem, OR
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Richard Yates's Discussions

Frank Lawes' Cute an' Catchy (guitar transcription)
8 Replies

I've finished up a guitar transcription of Cute an' Catchy that combines the banjo solo with the bass line from the piano accompaniment. I hope it does not offend the banjo purists here (are there…Continue

Started this discussion. Last reply by Steve Harrison Mar 2, 2012.

Morley - Shuffle Along tablature
5 Replies

My second attempt at generating banjo tablature. Please let me know of any errors that you find.…Continue

Started this discussion. Last reply by Mike Moss Feb 28, 2012.

Frank Lawes
7 Replies

Is there any way to determine (or narrow down) the dates of composition or first publication of Frank Lawes' tunes 'Got a Happy Feelin' and 'Cute an Catchy'?Continue

Started this discussion. Last reply by Mike Moss Feb 21, 2012.

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At 16:45 on February 15, 2012, Mike Moss said…

Welcome! Are you Richard Yates, the classical guitarist?

At 17:59 on February 15, 2012, Mike Moss said…

By all means. Three big names you might want to start with are Joe Morley, Emile Grimshaw and Alfred Cammeyer -- they have three very distinct styles but were some of the foremost players of their time.

Joe Morley was probably one of the most prolific composers for Classic Banjo -- he enjoyed exploring all genres and styles and his compositions are very diverse as a result, but they all have an essential "banjo" flavour.


In contrast, Alfred Cammeyer's compositions are often very lyrical and gentle -- he mostly wrote for the zither-banjo, his preferred instrument, and his compositions often require the piano accompaniment for full effect.

If you want a taste of this diversity, listen to the tracks of this LP, "Banjo Reminiscences" by one of the foremost artists, Derek Lillywhite. The first tracks are played on a Weaver banjo -- the ordinary banjo, favoured by Morley, for instance -- whereas the other side of the LP features zither-banjo solos by himself and Cammeyer.

http://classicbanjotunes.com/audio/lillywhite/Banjo%20Reminsences/

I hope some of this music inspires you to carry on exploring the Classic Banjo repertoire -- it's well worth it!

At 21:49 on February 15, 2012, Mike Moss said…

It was a very common practice back then for all banjo solos to be published with the 2nd banjo (accompaniment) and piano parts available for an additional fee, as can be seen in the old catalogues. Some pieces even had banjeaurine, mandolin or guitar parts available for ensemble playing. The composer either provided his own 2nd banjo and piano parts, or, if he didn't, the editor would provide them (Bernard Sheaff, Cammeyer's star pupil and Derek Lillywhite's tutor, was the editor of BMG in the 1950s and wrote articles for Keynotes -- John Alvey Turner's magazine --  in the 1920s).

In most cases, the 1st banjo part is a true solo and the 2nd banjo or piano parts are optional -- though a good 2nd banjo part will greatly enrich any performance --, but some were clearly written as duets in which the 1st and 2nd banjo parts are equally important and sometimes printed on parallel staffs. Furthermore, some pieces require the piano part and are incomplete without it, though it is possible to work around these passages if the piano is not available (William J. Ball, for instance, adds the 2nd banjo introduction into his 1st banjo performance when playing Cammeyer's "Humoresque", or adds the short bass runs which are usually left to the piano in "Palladium March").

In fact, most solos which do not have the 2nd banjo part available are often solos which were published later on, perhaps by specialist magazines such as BMG or The Five-Stringer in the 1940s - 1970s, when which most major publishers (Clifford Essex, John Alvey Turner, Emile Grimshaw & Son, Cammeyer) had stopped printing banjo music altogether.

Most of Frank Lawes' late compositions (1950s - 70s) do not have 2nd banjo or piano parts, as well as Morley's unpublished solos and manuscripts which were printed in BMG after his death -- though 2nd banjo parts have been recently written by Alan Middleton for a number of unpublished Morley solos which have been published in two albums called "Morley Memories".

It's a mixed bag, really -- the omnipresence of piano and 2nd banjo parts is more of a by-product of the Classic Banjo's playerbase and editorial practices at the time (since there was a strong social element in the structure of the old banjo clubs and a lot of focus on ensemble and duet playing) so as a result some 2nd banjo parts seem to be a mere afterthought whereas others are an essential part of the performance.

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