This Blog has been all over the place as of late (well...maybe it always has) - however, rather than stubbornly sticking to some pre-determined plan (i.e. messing with "La Rotta" as promised here), it seems appropriate to use this blog to chronicle what's actually going on in my "banjo-life" from week to week. In that spirit, I'll be talking about the tune "Maggie Meade" this week - the biggest reason for this is that a local fiddler and I were filmed playing it on our lunch break (and its also one of my favorite tunes at the moment!):
"Maggie Meade" played by myself (on my Buckeye) and Molly McBride (on fiddle).
Great tune right??
While the Michigan weather allows it, Molly and I get together on our lunch break once a week and play some tunes. This is mostly for our own amusement but on occasion we get an audience - this week, Molly had a co-worker film us as a promo video for her upcoming concert at the 10 pound fiddle (details on that event here). I was flattered that she'd want me in her promo video, and I thought we sounded pretty great!
The tune we played here is called "Maggie Meade" - its a G minor tune from Kentucky fiddler J.P. Farley...and I just freakin love it! As with all of my G tunes, I play "Maggie Meade" in Old G tuning (gDGDE - more on that tuning here). If you read the post in that link, you'll see that the fact that Old G works for minor tunes is one of the "pros" I listed for this tuning. However, this "pro" was a bit theoretical when I wrote that original post - "Maggie Meade" is the first G minor tune I've ever come across! I definitely loved the tune the second I heard it and wanted to learn it at any cost - its especially nice to not have to retune for just one song so Old G was quite the blessing.
I decided that I'd write up a tab of "Maggie Meade" for anyone who'd like to add it to their repertoire:
A quick word on that tab: I had to jump around octaves a bit to make the thing playable in the banjo's range. Rather than falling in the "natural octave" for a banjo (which is, in my opinion, one octave below where the fiddle plays - more on that here), I mostly play in unison with the fiddle since this tune veers fairly low in the fiddle's range. However, there's a stretch in the A part (measures 4 and 5) where the fiddle jumps up, but my banjo stays low - to stay in unison with the fiddle, I'd have to jump way up the neck here....and I just don't wanna : )
Hope that anyone reading found that useful! To finish up, I'll point out that Molly and I actually did a second minor tune as well. Here's a video of us playing "Sally in the Garden" in D minor:
Molly and I playing "Sally in the Garden"....in a garden (well, quad)
other than a few subtle variations and a low harmony in the B part, I pretty much stick to Mike Iverson's tab of this tune (I talked a bit about his site here). Good luck with "Maggie Meade" - see you next week!
PS - if anyone has other favorite G minor old time tunes, please mention them in the comments section - I'd love to learn them!
About this blog
I have lots of ideas about banjo playing and music in general - this blog allows me to get them all out of my head and see what you think.