Keynotes Rag for Classic Fingerstyle Banjo

A composition by the famous banjoist of the last century, Joe Morley. This was a recording made to test out my Zoom H2 digital stereo microphone.

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Views: 120

Comment by thereallyniceman on February 5, 2013 at 16:47

A few days ago Mike was discussing the VCM grading for banjo and mentioned that he thought that there were“more interesting” ragtime compositions that could be on the syllabus other than Whistling Rufus!  He mentioned “Keynotes Rag” by Morley and I decided to dig it out and have a go as I haven’t played it since the dark ages!


Mike has been experimenting with a new microphone and is getting some great results. I have a Zoom H2 mic that I have not used much and decided to give it a try as my video camera inbuilt microphone is not great.


The Zoom H2 looks a cheap plasticy heap of rubbish that would break as soon as you look at it, but it certainly gives quality recording, even Lynn thought that I was actually playing live when she overheard the recording.


I will experiment so see if I can mix audio tracks and video on my iMac using iMovie, but it is a bit fiddly.


The problem I have found with the microphone is that it has not improved my playing at all. It notices all the buzzes and clearly picks up the sniffy and coughy remnants of my flu here and there!!!


Keynotes Rag is a great tune and quite easy to play… give it a go. The score is in the MUSIC LIBRARY…but do keep your eyes open for the wrong fret positions and incorrect fingers noted on the score!

Comment by Mike Moss on February 5, 2013 at 17:52

Hey mate that was brilliant playing, even better than Bill Ball's recording! Great syncopation and professional-quality sound!

Comment by German David Patarroyo on February 6, 2013 at 0:21

Damn, I wish I could play like that Ian!, congrats!!..I will continue in the "comfortable" waters of the waltz tunes for a little bit more... 

Comment by Becky R. Schneider on February 18, 2013 at 16:48

So nice to hear such a fine interpretation of this wonderful piece.  It has always been a favorite of mine, and I can't help but remember the great man himself playing this piece when I listen to your recording of it, especially the delicate section C.  Nice handling of it, and congrats on the new mic.  It captured the recorded sound well.  Regards, Becky

Comment by Richard William Ineson on February 19, 2013 at 8:21

Yes, fine playing that brought back memories of playing this old tune with Bill in his front room when Bernadette and I used to call on him, a long time ago now.

Comment by thereallyniceman on February 20, 2013 at 10:06

Thanks to everyone for the kind comments on my version Keynotes Rag. It is nice for a novice, like me, to be compared to my hero William J Ball. I think that I was more relaxed when playing the solo as I was only busy concentrating on the flashing lights on the microphone rather that attempting to stare out a video camera!

I particularly have to thank The Zoom Corporation for a great recording quality and Alfred Weaver for a great sounding banjo!

Keynotes Rag “flows” nicely under the fingers. Most of the Morley stuff I have tried does this. Some composers (or compositors) pieces are a struggle as the fingers, particularly the RH, seem to move in an awkward order over the strings often ending up at the wrong side of the fingerboard for the next note. Van Eps said that the fingers should flow (alternate) ,where possible, throughout the piece for speed, and it just “feels” better when they do!

It is difficult to explain, but there is a big difference when a piece flows well.

Anyone else spotted all the mistakes on the score !!??

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