Playing with Clarke this last weekend has given me a new appreciation for the second banjo part. The way Clarke plays it it sounds like a whole rhythm section. Re-listening to Pat Stephanelli I hear things I didn't notice before--bass lines, tasty chord inversions, and that dynamic rhythmic pulse that makes banjo music crackle. I wish I had someone to play second for.
Amen, Carl. I had a duet partner for a very short time and it was a lot of fun. Unfortunately, his interest level in classic banjo was nearly zero and I could not convince him to learn anything of substance.
When we did play, I kept having attention problems 'cause I was listening to the parts co-mingle...I'd forget where I was in the piece!
We're both going to AEGB III, right? Why don't we choose a CB tune and do the duet thing while there? It would probably be a good break from all that stroke-style stuff. ;-) Joel's gonna be there too, we could have a trio! Now, I wonder if I could borrow that Cello-banjo from Tom Nechville...
Yesterday I posted another take on "St Louis Tickle," on which I play second banjo. So I agree, Carl, that the second part can really add something to the performance. Playing second parts also has other useful attributes. First of all, it will familiarize one with the harmonic structure of a piece much more than the solo part will. Second, second parts will help one learn the fingering patterns for chords and their several inversions. Third, they can improve one's sight-reading skills. One of my favorite activities at rallies of the American Banjo Fraternity was, at late night jam sessions, to just play second parts while others played the lead parts. Since I never actually made any effort to learn the second parts, I was essentially sight-reading them each time. It was fun and good practice as well.