Comment by Rob MacKillop on May 5, 2019 at 22:57

Two of the best compositions by Frank Converse, especially the second of the two recored here. Sadly I no longer have this excellent banjo: a Parslow pot with a Temlett neck.

Comment by Trapdoor2 on May 6, 2019 at 2:17

Brilliant, of course.

Made me print out a copy of Boquet and attempt to key it into Musescore. Ha! Sneaky old FBC...putting in 4/4 measures where they oughtn't be...

I thought the tuplets might be a, they're easy. Figuring out how to get both voices to match Frank's notation in the one measure prior to the first volta bracket (m6?) brain hurts!

Obviously, you have sacrificed mightily to Kronos, as he has blessed you.

Comment by Rob MacKillop on May 6, 2019 at 6:19


Both pieces are tabbed out already in my "Early American Classics for Banjo" (Mel Bay). Everything fits under the fingers, although the A7 chord at the start of measure 12  (The Dell Schottische) makes me  hesitate a little. From the bass upwards it is ac#ga, which in tab could be x 9 6 8 7 or 0 9 6 10 x - either way is difficult at speed. 

I can't play as well now as I did then, at least not without six months of dedicated practice, which is harder to achieve as you get older. But I'll see what I can do on the SSS Orchestra 2, although its longer length makes it a bit more daunting. 

Comment by Rob MacKillop on May 6, 2019 at 6:21

PS that awkward chord appears at the 44-seconds mark in the video. 

Comment by Trapdoor2 on May 6, 2019 at 11:32

Ah, I thought it might be in your book (which is packed away in a box somewhere). I simply popped Converse up and when I saw it, it looked like a nice challenge for Musescore. Took me an hour or two...but I got it done and in the meantime, learned something. Works for me!

Stuff like "Boquet Mazurka", with all the tuplets, have always interested me but I've always skipped on to something else because I could neither count it out nor could I key it into a program that would allow me to hear what is going on. Now I can do both!

Playing Viola in the string orchestra has forced me to learn to count. That has helped a lot too...

Reading Converse was like one of those tests where you must speak the color shown on the screen, not the word. "RED" is in blue you see "red" but say "blue". Tricky. In one measure, there is a tuplet marked "9" but it only has 6 notes. Sneaky! 

Comment by Rob MacKillop on May 6, 2019 at 13:22

Certainly, it is not a mazurka to be danced to...

Comment by Trapdoor2 on May 6, 2019 at 14:02

"Not to be danced to..."

Yes. That is part of my problem...I am thinking "dance", when I should just think "tune". It took me a few listens to really start hearing the tune and not the dance.

Funnily, I play quite a number of traditional tunes that are "crooked" (meaning they have irregular meter...usually the final measure of  one or both parts). I play those by ear. Many tune books have them and almost all of the books have trouble notating such things.

Comment by Rob MacKillop on May 6, 2019 at 16:43

It was not uncommon in the Romantic period of music to contract or expand bars as the emotion dictated. We either view Converse as tapping into that fashion, or he was incompetent. I'll give him the benefit of the doubt, and assume the former. 

Comment by Trapdoor2 on May 6, 2019 at 17:03

I would certainly assume he knew what he was doing! Whether the publisher knew...

Expansion/contraction...yah, I think that there has always been a conflict between "technical" and "emotional" in notation. Do you simply expand the measure to follow the path or do you adhere to a technical format and add measures in different meter?

I recently bought a very hefty volume of notated traditional music...and the authors decided that rather than address the occasional irregular meter, they removed all measures and left simply the string of notes and a time sig. Very disconcerting...I wouldn't have paid so much for the damned thing if I knew they were going to do that!

Comment by Pär Engstrand on May 6, 2019 at 19:09

Rob, that's absolutely fantastic playing! And the sound you get out of your banjos are a true inspiration, something one, or at least me, don't hear often in the world of classic banjo. I like to imagine, that that would have been the parlor sound of the day, as opposed to the concert sound, or the sound we hear on recordings. Then on the other hand, I don't have much experience in the field of banjo playing. Or listening... :-)

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