As you will be aware site member Anthony Peabody has been working extremely hard entering Morley scores into his notation software.

Starting with Morley's very earliest compositions we hope to be able to offer the majority of his works on our  WORKS OF JOE MORLEY  page.

For those who have not seen the page, the scores are viewable and the music can be played while you follow the score !!!  (Some achievement, by my web-developer son!)

BUT since the start of the project we have been plagued by the MIDI sounds available when playing the music. The General Midi Instrument list contains "BANJO" as a selection, but I am sure that those who have tried playing back their scores using this instrument have been sadly disappointed.

Here is:  VIOLET MAZURKA, one of Morley's very earliest compositions:

Have a listen to the computer default Banjo :

VIOLET MAZURKA General Midi...ouch!

Anthony and I decided that this was a "no go" as it sounded dreadful, so with a bit of experimentation we settled on using the General Midi:  Steel Guitar, with Piano second voice with Banjo as bass :

VIOLET MAZURKA Steel Guitar and piano...hmmm

We stuck with this until recently, but it was still too synthetic to my ears.  BUT I have been researching instrument sampling and I have had a first attempt at creating a Customised MIDI SOUNDBANK instrument.  This "soundbank" when installed on your computer allows any software using MIDI to select this NEW instrument and play it.

I chose my 11" Rosewood Weaver, fitted with a Renaissance head, Morley bridge and CE Medium strings to make the sound samples. This involved recording all 37 notes of the 3 Octave scale of the instrument. I followed Joe Morley's way of playing the scale across the strings and up the fingerboard, so many of the scale notes are played on the 1st string (D- top C).

Here is the scale :

WEAVER BANJO Scale samples

The individual notes were actually recorded for 4 seconds until they decayed. I used "Audacity" to create 37 individual notes,

and these were entered into a program called "Polyphontics" that creates instrument soundbanks.

This clever software allows you to assign note positions in relation to the piano keyboard and even will create notes beyond the range of the actual samples, ideal for creating a Bass banjo part.

It allows all sorts of other clever stuff that I am still experimenting with.

With the click of a button we now have a "Weaver_Banjo1" instrument sound that can be found with the General Midi Instruments

I have used this Weaver_Banjo1 instrument to resample all the Morley solos on the WORKS OF JOE MORLEY  page...

Anthony and I are undecided...  What do you think?


But they will have to do for now, as I am just about brain dead sampling sounds and listening to 70 Joe Morley solos over and over again is enough for anyone.  :-)

PS. Yes I said 70 solos... so soon I will upload another batch of his solos from the early years of the 20th Century, where you can begin to start to hear the influence of Ragtime in his compositions.

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Sounds good to me. I am still working on the biography, time has been at a premium.

What a worthwhile and ambitious project.  Weaver_1 sounds good to me too. Far more natural and realistic than either synthesized example.

For added musical variety, would you consider producing some tracks with piano accompaniment?

BTW, where do you find the time, as we have only 24 hrs a day here in N America? ;-)

sounds good  exept the D5 which seems to be sampled  on another Weaver , mapple  ;: i hear , too , that this D5 is played on a banjo with 2 non original hooks

I knew that we all had "good ears" here on CB NING, but I am a little surprised at Marc D.

As, a top flight banjoist and piano tuner how could you be so wrong?...  There are THREE hooks missing.


Glad you approve Richard...  The bio would be great as we are developing a big blank space at the side of the page now that the list of Morley's Compositions grows :-)

Richard William Ineson said:

Sounds good to me. I am still working on the biography, time has been at a premium.

I think the sound is viable. much better than the alternatives.

Richard William Ineson said:

Sounds good to me. I am still working on the biography, time has been at a premium.

Excellent. The Weaver samples sound so much better than anything else. Well done on a very ambitious project!

I think I found an error in "Favourite Waltz". In the MIDI, the repeated "B" note motif (and the following "A") is sounding an octave low for some reason.

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