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Study Schedule for Week 1
Exercises for learning to read the notes: 1
Chords and exercises in C Major: 1
The Yodler; Amusement Waltz
Weidt in C TUTOR
I'm staffing a booth at a genealogy conference today and I've been working on the "assignment" during the down times.
I can see, right away, that one of my challenges is going to be making it through the period where the suggested left-hand finger choices aren't yet intuitive. I'm guessing that comes with effort?
Whoops, weren't we going to use the C notation version o the book?
I've been working on The Yodler and Amusement Waltz for a couple of days and they should be firmly in my head by the time I go to bed tonight. Funny how simple tunes are sometimes hard to remember because it's easy to make things up along the way. :)
A couple of things I've been thinking about ...
1) I like The Yodler. It's a good reminder that easy doesn't necessarily mean boring. I'm noticing that when I think of the lower Gs in the second and third measures as pickup notes (like the high G that starts the tune), the phrasing seems to start to give the tune a nice lilt. I still can't "just play it," but hopefully I'll get beyond the need to think soon.
2) Amusement Waltz is basically an arpeggio study of the basic chords, right? Again, simple, but it's kind of a challenge for me right now, to play the eighth notes in time and it gives me a chance to think about how I might want the fingers to move.
Changed the strings on my main banjo to nylon to support this endeavor and I'm enjoying the tone.
I did not like the Yodler at all. It got on my nerves. But then I tried your "trick" of playing the low G-s as pickups and the tune came to life and now I don't mind it at all. Yes Amusement Waltz is as you describe it. It sounds nice too.
Are we the only 2 people doing this project? If so, that's good enough for me. But let's see... the week is not over.
I think I need to send a quick message to others who have expressed an interest. I'll try to do that before the day is over.
I'm thinking that anyone who wants to work through the books can start whenever -- although, selfishly, it would be enjoyable to be able to draw on a number of perspectives as I work my way through.
At any rate, the blog posts will endure when the first version of the experiment is over and I hope people who come along later--even much later--will be able to read, contribute, and benefit.
On both pieces make sure you are following the dynamics. Give the forte a good strong right hand in the second strain of the Yodler.
Make sure to bring it back on the pianissimo in the Amusement Waltz. Use the LH fingerings for the last two measures in AW. I would probably play this x . x . x if it was not noted but the fingering Weidt gives is a good exercise.
Good point about the dynamics. I usually ignore such markings in an actual banjo solo because I've always played banjo according to how I'm feeling at the particular time I'm playing. But in an exercise? Ohyesindeed!
I'm finding Weidt's right hand alternate fingering "system" sensible and relatively easy to implement in a 2 octave C major scale (or A major in the original A tuning) compared to what most printed tutors recommend. Playing the first 4 notes of the C major scale on the bass string leading with the thumb (x . x .) makes more sense to me than leading with the index ( . x . x ) which feels backwards to me. Even more interesting is the fingering for the next 11 notes. G A B is gotten with a "forward roll"/ TIM/ + . .. followed by another stroke of the index on the octave C on string 2 at fret 1. The remaining notes are 3 strokes on the first string, one thumb stroke on the fifth string and 3 more strokes on the first string. Weidt indicates MIM (.. . ..) for DEF and this accords with most printed tutors but then after the thumb stroke he indicates the same right finger pattern once more ( .. . ..) whereas other tutors say to use IMI (. .. . )
I tried it both ways and I find that the Weidt method is a bit smoother for me.
I found it helpful to play these as patterns independent of any left hand fingering. So first + . + . on the open bass. Then + . .. . entirely on the G (3rd) string. Then the same pattern with the first 2 notes on the G string and the next two notes on the B string, still with no left hand fingering. Then .. . .. + .. . .. entirely on the first string except for the thumb stroke on the fifths string. So the notes are D D D G D D D. And then I put in the fingering. This helped a lot with smoothness. I also practiced the transitions from one string to the next.
What I find curious is that this tutor, like many others, presents ascending scales in the beginning but give little or no attention to descending scales. I find this odd to say the least.
The interesting thing to me experimenting with the dynamics is that, at the moment, I feel like I have unwanted right-hand finger noise, when I try to play quietly. Maybe it can't be heard from a distance, but it bothers my sensibilities.
I've started to wrap my mind around fingering for the scale (looking for patterns and approaches that will eventually simplify the choices to be made) -- but not to the extent I see above. I'm looking forward to reading through the comments with a banjo in hand.
The only time I had finger noise is when I used polished gut strings. They were waterproofed with *something* and they squeaked like nobody's business. What brand of nylon are you using? What sort of noise is forthcoming?
When you play quietly on open strings do you hear this noise? or only when fingering a string with the left hand?
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