Whoops, I'm a little behind with the updates here - I'm better on instagram (where my handle is ArcaneBanjo.) But, here's day 11, Armistice Hornpipe.


Notation and tab available at: archive.org/details/armisticeh

I should probably start listening to all of my previous entries before starting a new one, because I feel like I might be repeating myself a bit.

Day 8: Dan Backslide's Jig. Pretty happy with this one - both the music and the title.

Belated day 7 update: Another day slipped as life got in the way and I wound up working until midnight last night.

Still hoping to do the thing, but making peace with the idea of maybe not making it to November 30 with a full complement of 512 bars.

Just spun up a bitbucket repository to store all my sources - more importantly, I'm going to try to use the accompanying built-in wiki and bug tracker to log the various "Gotta go back and fix/finish that" things that occur to me as I go, because if I leave them in my head I'll forget most of them. My future self will be grateful if I do decide to feed some of these pieces into an attempt next February.

Forgot to post day five yesterday (still a day behind, but determined to catch up.)

This one is for early-mid 19th century 'stroke style' banjo, in the style of the many, many little pieces in various banjo instruction books of the period. This one definitely shares some DNA with Frank Converse's "Calabash Dance" from his 1865 'yellow book'.

The funky E notes with 16th flags are a notational convention for 5-string banjo that indicates 'open 5th string'

Got into the weeds with day 4; foolishly thought maybe I could use my iPad to get my ideas down, spent too much money on Notion and the handwriting upgrade. I’m sure a big part of it is learning curve but it’s so frustratingly indirect. I’m really spoiled by Lilypond’s “type a series of notes and durations” direct input that doesn’t require you to constantly switch modes and menus. Anyway, I’ll have to play catch-up tomorrow.

It's now officially a Halloween tradition that I play music on my front step while the kids trick-or-treat, as long as I can stand the cold. This year and last I've played 'oud, which one must play seated. So there I am at eye level with the little ones, with a fat guitar-like, warm-sounding thing. Many of them are mesmerized at music right in front of them. It's really charming. I think it's my favorite holiday.

day 3, with apologies to Mr. Satie. TIL that 16 bars is really not enough for a gymnopédie style piece. (Also, I have only the slightest idea what I'm doing in terms of more formal composition.)

Against my better judgement, I'm going to attempt - I had to play catch up today, so here are day one and two.

(This is all @artsyhonker 's fault.)

I'm a bit late in sharing here, but here's some ridiculousness I put together for Halloween: an 1882 banjo duet with added theremin, rhythm bones and bass drum.


Every once in a while I fool around with some of the little pieces in the Notebook for Anna Magdalena Bach, and I'm always irked by the fact that even though some of them (BWV Anh. 114) were definitively determined to have *not* have been written by Bach decades ago, everyone still titles their scores and recital videos "Minuet in G by J.S. Bach"

I just spent like an hour on a reply to a week-old comment on /r/banjo that nobody is ever going to read, but dammit, someone was wrong on the internet and it was right in my 19th century banjo wheelhouse.

(There is not now nor was there ever a widespread popular style called "classical banjo." The repertoire and style of playing from the late 1800s-early1900s was *later* labeled "Classic style" as an attempt to differentiate it from new-fangled country playing. Nothing "classical" about it.)

question for the hive-mind: I've seen various videos on YouTube with music accompanied by what amounts to a page-turning slideshow; [n] measures per screen, flipping automatically to the next [n] measures in time with the music. Presumably this can be automatically generated by something... anyone know what it is? (I guess my real question is, is there a free/open source tool to accomplish this with a minimum of fuss?)

So, I've gotten a bee in my bonnet to learn about in ; I have a project in mind. Anyone have some favorite resources to recommend?

I'm at that point where I understand the 10,000 foot view in terms of waves/frequency/amplitude/samples but the actual implementation is opaque. What I want is to be able to take a live stream of data, use it to control pitch, and send it to an audio output. (Yes, like a but with ultrasonic sensors.)

I'm nowhere near there yet, but I was fooling around with John Morris' wonderful 'Transylvanian Lullaby' on theremin just now and actually felt like I was in the neighborhood of some of the key phrases. Maybe by next Halloween.

I may be meddling with powers I can't possibly comprehend, but so help me god I've started tinkering with a accompaniment for a spooky 1882 composition by S.S. Stewart; with practice I hope to pull it together in by .

You know you're watching a master when they make it look easy. I'm quickly discovering that requires two disciplines that most other instruments are more forgiving towards: absolutely perfect pitch and proprioception.

Theremin is particularly unforgiving, being subject to minute variations in pitch response that can change with even the weather. you have to be able to feel and hear it, and adjust on the fly.


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