Hi Everyone--

In the early 20th C. people commonly arranged piano music for banjo. I would like to develop that skill but don't really know how to get started. Are there any useful publications, past or present, that would help with this task? Any suggestions for how to take a piano score and arrange it for banjo would be appreciated. Thanks. Jim

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Hi Jim. It's all very well arranging piano music to play on the banjo, but how would you manage to tuck the piano under your arm? Ray
But have you seen my arms Ray? Lifting my B&D Silverbelle out of the case all these years has made for some big guns. However, I'm getting a bit too old for anything larger than a spinet piano now.

I've asked the question about arranging piano music for banjo on a couple of different lists, so far without much luck in terms of technical insight. For the past several months I've been receiving posts from the Ragtime Piano list. I asked them about this issue but haven't heard anything yet.

I'll just jump in and start with the right hand of a piano score and add chords as needed. The tricky part for me comes in when having to change keys to better suit the banjo. I guess it's time to bone up on some music theory and circle of fifths etc. In any event, I thought there might me something on this topic somewhere in the early 20th C classic banjo literature since at that time it was common practice to arrange piano scores for banjo (and other stringed instruments). Sometimes, of course, the influence went in the other direction as per the notes of Joplin and Gottschalk, among others.

This is for a project that I'm beginning that will attempt to develop some banjo pieces from early 20th C Latin American composers--especially Lecuona, Cervantes, and Narareth.

Today is Thanksgiving in the USA. Wishing all a happy and peaceful Thanksgiving wherever you are. Jim
Someone out there must know how to do it Jim. It would really add to our banjo knowledge and expand the banjos possibilities. It must be in some way of taking the piano melody line and developing key notes into banjo chords. Come on, you theorists give Jim a helping hand. I can only say that it's a ' grand ' idea.

Jim Abrams said:
But have you seen my arms Ray? Lifting my B&D Silverbelle out of the case all these years has made for some big guns. However, I'm getting a bit too old for anything larger than a spinet piano now.

I've asked the question about arranging piano music for banjo on a couple of different lists, so far without much luck in terms of technical insight. For the past several months I've been receiving posts from the Ragtime Piano list. I asked them about this issue but haven't heard anything yet.

I'll just jump in and start with the right hand of a piano score and add chords as needed. The tricky part for me comes in when having to change keys to better suit the banjo. I guess it's time to bone up on some music theory and circle of fifths etc. In any event, I thought there might me something on this topic somewhere in the early 20th C classic banjo literature since at that time it was common practice to arrange piano scores for banjo (and other stringed instruments). Sometimes, of course, the influence went in the other direction as per the notes of Joplin and Gottschalk, among others.

This is for a project that I'm beginning that will attempt to develop some banjo pieces from early 20th C Latin American composers--especially Lecuona, Cervantes, and Narareth.

Today is Thanksgiving in the USA. Wishing all a happy and peaceful Thanksgiving wherever you are. Jim
i can tell you what i discovered by myself ; piano is 88 notes ( 7 octaves 1/ 4 ) & banjo only 3 ; so you have 1 / to choose the key and if you need to transpose the tune or not ? _ 2 / choose the banjo ; a full scale is harder to play but 22 cases instead of only 17 or 18 .depens of the tessiture of the tune 3 / bass in C or D ? 4/ you have sometimes to play the some part one octave lower than the piano original part
For ragtime music , sometimes , one of the 4 parts is repetited at the upper octave _ you cant do this on the Bj _ you have to play the same part twice
For the ragtimes from the piano parts ( my vidéos ) , it is impossible to play at the full speed that you could do on the piano ; because you have 2 hands on the piano , one for the melody , and the left and for bass/ harmony poum_ tchac . If you want to play ragtime banjo solo and give an idea of the hamony , you have to slow down the tempo ; Of course , it is possible to play full speed , but playing single notes only ( like bluegrass melodic style ) , and then , same problem , you need at least a 2nd banjo to play the harmony
What I have found is that I tend to get bogged down in the harmony. If I can whistle the melody, I can generally lay it out on the banjo (if it doesn't exceed the range of the banjo). Adding harmony is an art and I have never found a book that really laid it out so I could totally understand it. It takes a huge amount of work and talent...even for simple stuff.

Music programs (like TablEdit) allow me to key the tune into the computer in its native key and then transpose to a key that fits the banjo...then I start noodling around with the bits that don't work well or the harmonies that are way out of range (typically LH piano harmonies). The good thing about all this computer stuff is that you can replay it anytime and listen to what you've done.
Many moons ago, while he was still in the North East David Miles MBE and Jack Haliday did a book together of Ragtime arrangements which included things like Silver Swan and Cascades. David did a second book of 100 tunes but I don't have a copy of that. Copyright on all David's work has now been assigned to Clifford Essex Music and I'm pleased to report that some of his Ragtime arrangments will be available shortly. Incidently I have copies of David's arrangment of Marching Through Georgia - please email me off-list if you are interested.
David

 I had banjo lessons from David and I have just started to play again. 


David Wade said:

Many moons ago, while he was still in the North East David Miles MBE and Jack Haliday did a book together of Ragtime arrangements which included things like Silver Swan and Cascades. David did a second book of 100 tunes but I don't have a copy of that. Copyright on all David's work has now been assigned to Clifford Essex Music and I'm pleased to report that some of his Ragtime arrangments will be available shortly. Incidently I have copies of David's arrangment of Marching Through Georgia - please email me off-list if you are interested.
David

If you want to understand the harmony part for your transposition, I suggest reading Complete School Of Harmony for the Banjo by William A. Huntley. I've been told that what he wrote had already been done in the classical era of piano but he applied it to banjo. You'll just have to accept that it's written in banjo A notation when looking at the finger placements. I have also read somewhere that for banjo the chords of piano music would have to be inverted but I don't remember in which text that was written. Hopefully I run across it again and I hope this helps even though its years later!

W. A. Huntley's Complete School Of Harmony for Banjo : William A. H...

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