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Banjo Lessons: “Plantation Symphony”

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[MUSIC]
I'd
like to do another tune from the classic,
or parlor style era, and
it's a tune called the Plantation
Symphony.
A gentlemen who's very into this classic
style of banjo playing from
the early 1900s, late 1800s.
Bridal's at the term parlor style, because
he said, when you play bluegrass,
you don't play parking lot style.
Do you?
I thought it was a point well taken.
But it is something that people would play
in their parlors.
And, this is a technically somewhat more
demanding tune.
And it's called again, the Plantation
Symphony.
And one of the things that people do in
this era, they would write banjo tunes,
and this one's composed for the banjo in
such a way that it would sound like two
people were playing, even though it was
just one person playing.
So let me play a little bit of the
Plantation Symphony, and
you'll get a since of what I'm talking
about here.
[MUSIC]
[MUSIC]
[MUSIC].
Yes, that is a happy banjo tune.
It's so much fun to play this stuff.
And you noticed a little bit of Yankee
Doodle in there.
And what I find really fascinating about
this
tunes in terms of the history of the
melodic style.
45 years before Carol Bested started
playing his Cripple Creek in a square
dance, whoever wrote this tune, I think it
might be Paul Ino,
right around 1900, 1901, somewhere in that
general area.
He was doing the melodic style.
As you notice the tune starts
[MUSIC].
Sorry.
[MUSIC].
These are melodic positions right here,
and
any correctly reasoning person would have
to say that's the melodic style.
So this tune is kind of the smoking gun,
indicating how far back the melodic style
went.
And it even goes farther back then that
really,
but that's a pretty nice example of it.
So you're just using the middle finger and
the index on the fifth and fourth frets of
the first two strings, and you just slide
it up to the ninth and tenth.
Frets here.
[MUSIC].
And the tune begins, that's more of a, of
an introduction.
[MUSIC].
To a G 7th.
[MUSIC].
And then you have a C.
[MUSIC].
And I grab the pinkie down here on the
fourth fret of the fourth string.
[MUSIC].
To a barred A chord.
[MUSIC].
D seventh.
[MUSIC].
With an open third string.
[MUSIC].
Bring the middle down, let go of the
pinky.
[MUSIC].
Let's see.
[MUSIC].
[MUSIC].
Now, in the single string style, you'll
use a thumb and index.
And these days.
[MUSIC].
You go back and forth between the index
and middle finger on the first string.
[MUSIC].
And here are some sixths.
[MUSIC].
Two and four, four and five, five and
seven.
[MUSIC].
Now he's the first example, at least to my
ears.
Of, where it sounds like there are two
people playing.
[MUSIC].
And you've got sixths here.
[MUSIC].
And you've got the melody.
[MUSIC].
You've got a note on the third string.
[MUSIC].
But then you're going.
[MUSIC].
On the first string, back and forth
between index and middle fingers.
[MUSIC].
Again, sixths.
[MUSIC].
Down a fret, back up.
[MUSIC].
Down to a five and four, four and five,
sixth.
[MUSIC].
Now you're doing thirds on the first two
strings, five and five.
[MUSIC].
The same thing, thumb on the second
string.
[MUSIC].
Action on the first string.
[MUSIC].
[MUSIC].
Sorry.
[MUSIC].
Up to your A.
Bar the index across the first two
strings.
More sixths, two and four, four and five,
five and seven. One more fret
chromatically leading you into G.
[MUSIC].
That's the first ending, then.
[MUSIC].
D seventh to G.
[MUSIC].
[MUSIC]
Now many years before Wes Montgomery was
playing octaves on the guitar, banjo
players were playing octaves.
Now, I'm not making a case for
the banjo being the Progenitor of jazz
music, but anyway.
[MUSIC]
Just kidding.
[MUSIC]
You're on the fifth fret of the first and
fourth strings.
I'm using the ring and middle, and in the
right hand.
[MUSIC]
In the, in the original sheet music for
this, they talked about using the middle
and thumb.
I find it's easier for me to use the
index, and index and
thumb instead of the middle and thumb.
Whichever you prefer is fine.
[MUSIC]
Forward rolls.
[MUSIC]
Three, two, one, three, two, one, five.
[MUSIC]
More octaves, Yankee Doodle.
[MUSIC]
Back and
forth between the index, middle on the
first two strings.
[MUSIC]
And even though, I,
I think, whereas, I was playing it
earlier, I was going between a bar
position on the first two strings at the
fifth fret, and the middle and ring.
In the book, or in the sheet music, it
indicates that you should use the index.
But you can go either way, but I like the
index.
[MUSIC]
Down a fret.
And then ring and pinkie on the sixth and
seventh frets, so
the first two strings respectively.
[MUSIC]
This
is the other example of twin banjos with
just one person playing them.
[MUSIC]
Right here, you're on your C chord.
And they have you using the index and
middle finger.
[MUSIC]
So you're pinching on the first two
strings, then the index comes over to the
third string.
[MUSIC]
Same thing.
[MUSIC]
So one more time, the whole thing.
[MUSIC]
The Plantation Symphony.
[MUSIC]